Supplements to Combat Biofilm: Part 1

Supplements to Combat Biofilm: Part 1

In one of my past blog posts, I wrote about biofilm. If you do not remember, biofilm is any group of microorganisms that stick together in a large colony on a surface. Bacteria, for example, adhere themselves to a surface, and to other bacteria by using tiny hair like appendages called pili. They also form polysaccharide matrices to further enclose their bacterial colonies to protect themselves. Bacteria can either multiply in the biofilm or disperse in a smaller biofilm colony to further infect the host while they are safely protected! Opportunistic bacteria form these protective biofilms to make eradication by antibiotics or your immune system very difficult. 1 2

There are many supplements that have been studied for their properties to disrupt biofilm. These supplements include:

  • D-mannose
  • EDTA
  • Enzymes
  • Fulvic acid
  • Lactoferrin
  • NAC
  • Cis-2-decenoic acid
  • Silver
  • Xylitol

Iron and Biofilm Formation

Iron in the body is currently either being used by your cells for survival or is bonded by transferrin in the duodenum upon ingestion to be transported into those cells. What little free iron that is in the body and iron that is stored in transferrin is sequestered by bacteria for survival and formation of biofilm. The body will attempt to limit the amount of free iron available and transferrin in circulation by incorporating as much as it can into cells during an infection. We can disrupt biofilm by either getting cells to incorporate iron more efficiently or by binding and eliminating what little free iron is available in the body. 3 4

Supplements That Hinder Bacteria’s Access to Iron

EDTA

Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid is often used in the medical industry for chelation therapy. 5 EDTA bonds with iron and removes it from the body before bacteria can use it to form biofilm. For caution, take supplements containing minerals four hours before or after taking and EDTA containing supplement. It is possible for EDTA to bind with calcium and magnesium. 6

Lactoferrin

Lactoferrin is a multifunctional transferrin protein that is one of the many components of an animal’s innate immune system. Lactoferrin exhibits strong antimicrobial activity and can easily be extracted from most mammals milk (supplemental lactoferrin is usually produced by from cows, goats, or sheep.) 7 Lactoferrin has strong antibacterial properties; it can destroy both opportunistic bacteria itself and disrupt biofilm.

Lactoferrin scavenges free iron in the body, forces cells to incorporate iron at a greater rate, 8 9 and binds to lipopolysaccharides in the bacterial cell walls. 10 These reactions cause bacteria to not be able to use properly for respiration. Access to iron is necessary for bacteria growth and function. When lactoferrin binds to lipopolysaccharides in bacterial cell walls, the oxidized bonded iron scavenged by the lactoferrin creates excessive oxidative damage. Lactoferrin also damages the bacterial cell membranes causing them to lose permeability. Finally, lactoferrin stimulates the immune system by increasing the phagocytic ability of white blood cells. 11

21 Comments
  1. My 8 year old son is going in for another IVIG in a couple weeks to help him with his symptoms from PANDAS. Although the treatments help, we cannot seem to get him 100% free from the horrific aftermath. I have been reading about biofilm and how the bacteria may be hiding from the antibiotics and I wonder if this is why we cannot get him better. What supplement would you recommend for an 8 year old that weighs 46 lbs to help us combat the biofilm?? Thank you so very much for any help. We go in on January 10th and 11th for our last IVIG so I want to start him on something soon.

  2. Hi John,

    Thanks for all the good information. Are you still recommending Lactoferrin for biofilm disruption? Like with SIBO (and herbal antimicrobials)? If so, how much and how long through the course of treatment? Is it better than something like Interfase Plus? Or can they be used together?

    Thanks!

  3. Hi John. By NAC do you mean n acetyl carnitine or cysteine? Thanks

  4. Hi! I am currently searching for ways to treat my SIBO/IBS. And I ran into the information that is it essential to take biofilm disruptors along with herbal antibiotics, to make them effective. The only problem, I can not find biofilm disruptors that are vegan friendly. Do you have any ideas?
    Also, I took a blood test recently, and my iron is too high. And it never was high. Can this be linked to SIBO? or any other digestion issues?
    Thank you

    • Being a vegan might be very hard when limiting bacterial overgrowth, because of fermentable carbohydrates. NAC should be vegan. Low iron is linked more to SIBO then elevated iron, might be a sign of liver issues.

  5. Have you looked into CHITOSAN? It has worked absolute wonders on destroying biofilms for me. I wake up with the feeling of a hangover for the first 5 days or so immediately after using it because of the die off. It’s terrible. I always make sure to do coffee enemas during this time to help flush everything out… There are times that I go to the bathroom later during the day to flush out a bit more of what was left behind… And that’s when you are able to see the biofilm!! It’s mind boggling the power of Chitosan. You have to take it with Vitamin C for it to work properly though and the body to absorb it..

    • Yes, but I believe it is helping more by improving the integrity of your mucosial barrier because of it being comprised mainly of NAG. NAG as a sugar may or may not exasperate yeast overgrowth, the studies are mixed.

  6. Could I take these while I also take antibiotics for a case of cellulitis on my nose? Doctors don’t want the infection spreading to my eyes or brain, so I’m on Bactrim and another antibiotic Cepha-something (to kill Staph and Strep).

    I don’t want these supplements interfering with the antibiotics… only to aid them.

    • Dear Gordon,

      I believe that none of the biofilm agents would interfere with the antibiotics but anything is possible as a word of caution.

      If I were you I might consider an inhaled silver spray, lactoferrin, and NAC.

  7. Could you please tell me if chlorella could fight biofilms . Found one which is not toxic and produced in glass tubes on the sun very expensive german chlorella. Together with cilantro I am planning to do a longer period detox but slow , for about one year long. Have problem with mercury dental, candida albicans in my intestines, ureaplasma also but uterine. Also would complemment with nascent iodine, magnesium chloride, NAC, and ALA, D3. I am afraid of biofilms since I have read your articles about PAsisst and have been using it for some problems like candida and other problems with diahrea, gases. Now I am also afraid to have some bacteria from PA which is attacking and I even dont know about it but luckily I drank PA only for a week and then found your site …Thank you

  8. Bismuth is a metal that interferes with iron transport/metabolism in bacteria. That’s why Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate) works so well in the gut. Both the bismuth and the salicylate stop bacteria from making biofilm. There’s a new bismuth compound in the pipeline that’s orders of magnitude more potent than current bismuth remedies, and seems to be a much better inhibitor of iron metabolism. You can read up on this new technology at http://www.microbioncorporation.com. I am the inventor, but currently working as a nutrition scientist.

    • Dr. Domenico you are correct. There are a lot of studies that point to the use of bismuth to help with H. pylori infections. I write about it in my book Fix Your Gut.

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