Biofilms are absolutely fascinating and almost of a Sci-Fi nature, but these days they are also a hot topic in the bacterial science world. Pharmaceutical companies are in fierce competition to be the first to finish line on the subject. Microorganisms are an integral part of our world. They are so minuscule that we cannot see them with the naked eye. These tiny microorganisms, named as bacteria, viruses, or fungus are found everywhere around us including inside and outside of our bodies. These microorganisms are helpful at times but they can pose serious problems as well. A common problem caused by these microorganisms is the biofilms they tend to produce. Biofilms are formed on moist surfaces and happen to form on critical locations in the food & beverage industry causing spoilage of food and posing serious health concerns. Biofilms are at their most dangerous when they invade human cells or form on sutures and catheters used in surgeries. It’s very dangerous because the protective shell can keep out potential treatments. The biofilms, therefore, are a subject of concern. Let’s dive into the multifaceted world of biofilms.
What Is a Biofilm?
So, what is a biofilm? It is a bacteria that influence human life a bit more as compared to other microorganisms. Most of the bacteria are helpful; termed as pathogens but quite a few can cause diseases as well. The disease-causing bacteria are called pathogens. If one of these pathogenic bacteria finds its way into our body, it is likely to cause infections. Normally, microorganisms found in our body are in planktonic forms – like a free-floating cell. They tend to stick to wet surfaces generally and form colonies; called biofilms.
Bacterial biofilms generally thrive in a moist environment. Dental plaque is one of the most common examples of biofilms. It is a thin layer of bacteria that is formed on the surfaces of teeth. A biofilm may contain more than one type of bacteria or fungi. Biofilms pose a serious threat to human health when they attack human cells and tend to form on equipment used in surgeries. These biofilms are unwanted most of the time, so ways to inhibit and disrupt biofilms have been in use from their identification to date. Antibiotics and herbal remedies are used for biofilm defense mostly. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are sometimes ineffective against biofilm infections because of the resilient nature of the microbial layer. Organic, herbal, and non-herbal substances exist in nature with antimicrobial activity. These substances are natural biofilm busters. They are the first course of action against the biofilms and are used in order to break down the structural matrix of the film, and help to bring bacteria back to its planktonic form.
How Is a Biofilm Formed?
Biofilms are not formed at once; rather they take time for the formation of a mature structure. Initially, microorganisms/bacteria in the planktonic form attach to each other and to a solid or liquid-gas interface. After adherence to a supporting surface, they start to secrete a gluey extracellular polymeric substance (a network of protein, sugar, nucleic acids such as DNA and polysaccharides, etc.) which helps in developing a mature structural matrix for a biofilm. This substance confiscates calcium, magnesium, iron, and whatever other mineral is available in its surroundings and strengthens the polymeric matrix. The bacteria present inside this structure are invisible and the outer layer keeps the immune system cells from detecting the pathogenic bacteria. Studies suggest that antibiotics used against infection may induce biofilm formation. Hence, conventional treatment for bacterial infections becomes less effective. Mostly, under these circumstances, symptoms of the infection are suppressed for a while but reappear with even more intensity.
Why are Biofilms Important in Infectious Diseases & Microbiology?
The study of biofilms has great importance in microbiology because they cause infections that are difficult to fight against with traditional antibiotics. Within a biofilm, usually more than one type of bacteria or fungi share nutrients and undergo changes to deceive the immune system. The thin layer of biofilm acts as a physical barrier and real disease-causing bacteria in biofilms are well-guarded. So, conventional antibiotics cannot counter the pathogenic bacteria because of their inability to penetrate through the microbial film.
Natural tolerance of biofilms to antibiotics against infections makes treatment difficult. A study suggests that about 80% of human infections affecting the gastrointestinal, genitourinary and respiratory systems, oral mucosa and teeth, eyes, middle ear, and skin are caused by biofilm-associated microorganisms. A useful natural process is required to break down the problematic biofilms so as to bring bacteria back to its planktonic form and trigger immune action. Currently ‘natural biofilm disruptors’ are used for this purpose. Studies suggest interesting results about natural biofilm disruptors against biofilm infections. Natural biofilm disruptors are found in different food substances, as well as in some herbal and non-herbal forms. Some enzymes with anti-biofilm activity are thought to be useful to fight against biofilm development and even in the disentanglement of a mature biofilm structure
Biofilms are formed in the human body as well and their removal is necessary to prevent the pathogenic bacteria from harming the individual’s health. Sometimes, biofilms grow in those parts of the body from where they are easy to be removed physically e.g. dental plaque. Physical removal of the biofilm and its affected body part is the most common method employed for defense against biofilm infections. But the biofilms grown inside our body are very difficult to remove by physical methods and even impossible to be detected by the immune cells.
The inability of physical removal of biofilms from critical locations in the human body introduces substances named as biofilms inhibitors. To fight against bacterial-film infections, nature has blessed us with different substances that are characteristically biofilm inhibitors. Some of these substances are found in food and other organic materials, some are found in herbal and non-herbal forms and some natural enzymes are also used as biofilm disruptors. Serrapeptase and Nattokinase have been extensively used as natural biofilm disruptor enzymes. Studies suggest that biofilm disruptors may be taken for a period of two weeks to fight against bacterial infections. Serrapeptase; also known as ‘the miracle enzyme’, is a proteolytic enzyme and is believed to possess powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Originally it is obtained from silkworms. These potential biofilm dissolving enzymes have been worked in the form of helpful products like SerraZyme and Nattokizyme at the Whole Family Products store.
The Best Biofilm Defense: Natural Biofilm Disruptors
The best biofilm defense is the complete removal from the site of production. The removal of biofilms in the case of dental plaques might be easy but in some cases, it’s almost impossible to remove biofilms because of the critical and sensitive location of biofilms. Natural biofilm disruptors are extensively used against bacterial infections. Studies have shown interesting results for the use of Serrapeptase and Nattokinase enzymes as natural biofilm inhibitors.
How Does Goldenseal help with Countering Biofilms?
Goldenseal is a well known herbal remedy and generally used for skin-related infections. Research suggests exciting upshots that goldenseal may help as a defense against fungal and bacterial film infections. Goldenseal leaf extract is an ancient remedy that has been used for skin infections. Sometimes goldenseal root extract is also used but leaf extract has been found more useful according to the studies. This nutrient-rich extract has extensive health benefits. These substances are useful against bacterial films because all of these have an antimicrobial nature.
Are Serrapeptase and Nattokinase Helpful in Inhibiting and Disrupting Biofilms?
Serrapeptase is found in silkworms and is treated through various processes to make it usable for human consumption. As mentioned earlier Serrapeptase has anti-inflammatory properties and may help to break down the protein in the body and also to decrease body fat. As compared to proteolytic Serrapeptase, Nattokinase is ‘fibrinolytic’ and obtained from the Japanese original fermented soy product ‘natto’. Customarily, Nattokinase has been used to regulate healthy blood flow and fibrinolytic processes and also for the healthy activity of the body’s natural blood-clotting process. For these astonishing qualities, researchers believe that Nattokinase may help to reduce biofilm deposition in the body.
Studies have suggested that Serrapeptase may help to break down the mature structure of bacterial biofilms and Nattokinase might assist to slow down the film deposition keeping the bacteria in planktonic form making it traceable and more vulnerable to the body’s natural defense system. Nattokinase is useful for breaking down the strep biofilm which is a key player in children’s health. Biofilms Detox is deemed as a helpful herbal supplement and contains goldenseal ingredients. The great ingredients like goldenseal and burdock might work together to remove biofilms from the liver, blood, and other organs through a natural process of Fibrinolysis. Together with SerraZyme and SerraZyme Ultra the natural supplements for pain and inflammation, Biofilm Detox gives it the “one-two punch.”
How Do Natural Biofilm Disruptors Work?
Biofilm deposition takes time to reach maturity and develop a sustainable structure. The developed structure is so defensible that it becomes very difficult for conventional drugs to penetrate through it. Careful observation of the bacterial film deposition shows a gradual multi-stage procedure for structure maturity. This involves attachment of the microorganisms with each other, attachment with a solid or a liquid interface, secretion of extracellular materials, and development of the structural matrix. Studies suggest that bacteria can communicate with one another via cell-signaling which urges the same type of microorganisms to form colonies together. This mechanism is called Quorum Sensing. It is like a secret code for bugs. Quorum sensing pushes the microorganism to work together as a group. Microbial colonies change and adapt according to the available environment. Hence, interference with quorum sensing is required to rid the body of some types of bacterial biofilms. Disturbing the quorum sensing weakens the structure.
Is the method of action the same for All-natural Biofilm Disruptors?
Each of the natural biofilm inhibitors has its own way of destabilizing the polymeric matrix structure. Serrapeptase may help to disturb the quorum sensing and assist to break down the mature structure of the biofilm whereas Nattokinase may help to reduce biofilm formation ability of the microorganisms and inhibit the formation of new biofilms. Goldenseal ingredients, available in Biofilm Detox, with its unique ability to stimulate blood flow, may help to flush out the unwanted biomaterials from the body. So the healing procedure can be summed up as:
- Flush out of the bacterial biofilm
Hence, like the developing process, the healing process also takes a while. Natural biofilm disruptors mostly take twenty-four hours to start working. Some studies show that enzyme action starts within two hours of dosing. In some cases, biofilm development may be reduced to 50% within a day. However, natural biofilm disruptors may be taken for a period of two weeks or more. For long periods of time, you may consult with a holistic practitioner who knows of such things.