Biofilms – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Biofilms are protective coatings that bacteria and fungus form to protect themselves from antibiotics and herbal treatment. Biofilms may be at the root of infections that won’t go away like Candida, fungus, H. pylori and SIBO.
Read on to learn more about biofilms, why they turn bad, how to tell if they are affecting you, common infections associated with biofilms, testing and how to treat biofilms.
What are Biofilms?
Biofilms exist pretty much anywhere there are microbes and moisture. Therefore, you can find them at the bottom of the ocean. You encounter them in the mucous membranes of any animal which includes their digestive tract, lungs or even in blood vessels.
Not all biofilms are bad. In the digestive tract of humans, the friendly bacteria use biofilms to protect themselves. So some play a part in us staying healthy. So we do not want to get rid of all biofilms.
When Biofilms go from Good to Bad to Ugly
You can illustrate the different biofilms by visualising a spectrum in front of you. Going from left to right, on the left you have good biofilms and on the right the bad biofilms.
The majority of biofilms begin as good or healthy. A useful way to imagine biofilms is to use an analogy of a fence. Good biofilms are like a garden fence that keeps the healthy bacteria in and any other unwanted intruders out.
As biofilms begin to become worse, then the fence becomes higher, and it starts to hold on to unfriendly bacteria.
At this stage, biofilms are known as early phase or phase type 1 biofilms. These are unhealthy but relatively easy to eradicate.
As you become sick and rundown and you lose your good bacteria, or they get rundown, the fence becomes more like a cage. Researchers liken this to a hive community, where you can have bad bacteria, viruses, parasites, protozoans, as well as friendly bacteria.
How to Tell if Biofilms are affecting you?
According to Dr, there are some broad indicators that may suggest biofilms are playing a role in your health.
- If you have a lab diagnosed pathogen such as H Pylori that has been unresponsive to a standard treatment protocol. That is usually a sign that there’s biofilm protecting a pathogen.
- If you have been chronically sick for than a year or two.
Infections Commonly Associated With Biofilms
Certain infections are most prone to formation of biofilm including:
- H. pylori, probably the most well known.
- Pseudomonas family, which can cause persistent lung infections and death from pneumonia.
- Gram-negative type bacteria like the E. coli
- Lyme and coinfections
- Parasitic infections such as Blastocystis hominis
- Methane Producers such as archea found in SIBO
How to Test for Biofilms
There is currently no easy way to test for biofilms. You can look for them through biopsy, but this is not practical or cost effective.
Diagnosis is mainly based on empirical evidence from signs and symptoms.
Treatment of Biofilms
In most traditional diets, there are anti-biofilm things that are either part of the food or part of the additives to the food such as:
There are a number of different natural compounds or biofilm disruptors that have been found to be effective for treating biofilms.
Weak Natural Biofilm Disruptors
- Oils including Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary
- Herbs including Curcumin and Olive leaf
Moderate to Strong Natural Biofilm Disruptors
- Black cumin
- Thiols like n-acetylcysteine and alpha-lipoic acid is also a thiol which can have that effect.
- DMSA or DMPS
Strong Natural Biofilm Disruptors
Any natural biofilm disruptor stronger than those above are new molecules that have been developed from individual natural compounds. Examples of popular strong natural biofilm disruptor include:
There is currently no scientifically validated prescription drugs to that treat biofilms.
How To Know If Treatment Is Working
When using biofilm disruptors it reasonable for you to experience some acute die off symptoms. This is a good sign that the treatment is working. Biofilm disruptors open up biofilms and make your immune system aware of the pathogens inside. When this happens, you get a very aggressive immune response which can not only be uncomfortable but scary.
Although every case is different, symptoms usually resolve between one and six weeks
Die-off versus Intolerance symptoms
Intolerance symptoms occur when you react to something in the supplement or drug. People tend to react to more sulphur containing compounds such as NAC, ALA or DMPS.
Typical intolerance reactions include flushing of the skin, itching, rashes and headaches.
Die off symptoms tend to be stronger and more global than from intolerances. Die off symptoms may include multiple painful joints or whole body muscle pains.
Ways to counter Die-off symptoms
Die off symptoms can be very unpleasant. There are however some useful strategies to help manage these symptoms.
- Over-the-counter antihistamine medications
- High amounts of adrenal support supplementation
- Sauna can be very helpful
- Drinking lots of water
If you want to learn more about biofilms, I recommend the following article, “Biofilms: What Have We Learned from the Research?” written by Dr Paul Anderson.
This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Now I’d like to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below.
Hi Dominick I have been trying to figure out if taking a Biofilm Disruptor (to prep for GI Maps test) has caused the following situation and what to do about it: 8 wks after using Kirkman Biofilm Defence I developed chronic diarrhea that finally resolved when I ate a very light diet for a few days. This continued off and on for @ 8 mths and then it stopped and I seemed to develop an uncomfortable GB/liver/pancreas infection or attack (bloodwork showed infection but no pancreatitis or raised liver enzymes and no stones or sludge on US) This resolved after about 8 wks of ACV, lemon water, dandelion tea and discontinuing most supplements, lysine in particular. Since then, 7mths, my BMs have not been the same, lighter coloured and ‘raggedy’ on the edges and often unformed. Formed ones dissolve as soon as they flush. Undigested food present where none before. My main concern with this is am I absorbing food and supps, I think I see undigested monolaurin in the stool. THANKS FOR ANY HELP!
Hi Jan, By taking the biofilm disruptor you have disturbed something pathogenic in your gut. Did you ever do the GI map test? Did it uncover anything? Probably you need to treat whatever you uncovered. Dominick
I had an almost identical experience to @Jan! I was taking Wobenzym digestive enzymes for a few months, and all of a sudden I had intense pains in what felt like my pancreas. I linked it to the digestive enzymes and so I stopped taking them. For the past month or so my stool has been light colored and turning from formed to loose very quickly. I have also seen bits of undigested food in them.
I don’t understand this process… is this good because the biofilm has been disrupted and now the pathogens can be treated? Or is it bad because now I feel terrible? What should I do next? Thank you.
I think that by working on the biofilms, you may have uncovered pathogens that your immune system will attack, so creating uncomfortable die-off symptoms. You need to seek out a practitioner who can help you. Kind regards Dominick
Thank you for the great article! I have a question –> Does having signs of intolerance mean the advanced biofilm is not working? Is there a chance it is working all the while I have intolerance symptoms at the same time?
I have been working with my functional doctor for 2 years and have worked up to targeting biofilm. It’s been 7-8 weeks using Advanced Biofilm 2, Biocidin, and a slew of supporting supplements (like adrenals , digestive enzymes, probiotics, and liver detox).
In these 7-8 weeks, I have experienced deep muscle pain, deep joint pain, and what *feels* like bone pain. However, I have also experienced massive headaches and migraines that are not getting any better.
My functional doctor is working with me on adding in more supporting supplements as he’s not sure where the headaches are stemming from.
So my main question is –> If my body is reacting with intolerance to some of the supplements, but also showing signs of biofilm die-off, is it possible to have both at the same time and ultimately the process is working?
Thank you so much, Anna
Yes it is possible to have both at the same time.
Great information i highly appreciate it! In regards to bio films i currently have SIBO and can’t seem to shake it off, i’ve just purchased kirkman labs biofilm disruptor and the dosage is 1 per day, would it be safe to have more than 1 capsule i just wanted to know what your opinion is and if it would be safe to do so, i look forward to hearing back from you, Best Regards.
Great article, thank you so much for the information. I’m hoping you can give me some advice.
I’ve been experiencing chronic illness for the better part of two years, mainly culminating in bad abdominal pain, nausea, and fatigue. I was diagnosed with Lupus and scleroderma about 18 months ago, and I was diagnosed with chronic Lyme and a coinfection about six months ago. As part of my treatment my naturopath recommended I start taking BiofilmX. The instructions say to take it 2x per day on an empty stomach. The very first morning I took it, I got the most terrible burning pain in my stomach and abdomen. My body started trying to evacuate my colon (from both ends), and the pain became so severe that I could barely breathe, couldn’t talk, and began to lose consciousness. It was very scary, and my partner even ended up calling the paramedics because we didn’t know what was happening. However, after about 45 minutes it slowly started to subside.
This opened up a can of worms, and I was then diagnosed with SIBO. I spent two weeks on ADP and peppermint oil and then began what was supposed to be two weeks of Rifaximin and BiofilmX. However, the very first morning I took it, the exact same thing happened again, and I was left in excruciating pain (at least I knew why this time). I stopped taking the BiofilmX and continued with the Rifaximin. Unfortunately, as of yet no treatment has worked.
I’m very scared to start taking any sort of biofilm disruptor again (it’s honestly the worst pain I’ve EVER had). But I also cannot stay sick forever.
So my question is this:
Do you think it will be possible for me to clear my infections without using a disruptor? Or is this something that I will need to suffer through in order to address the underlying infections? Do you have any other thoughts or suggestions on my situation?
Thank you so much for your help, I’ve been suffering for a long time and I’m needing to find hope.