By Erik Galuppo, co-founder of Lanto Health
This is my personal story of how I went from two decades of struggling with chronic sinus problems, to ten years of sinus health. It has been an amazing odyssey - from discovering the health benefits of Lactobacillus sakei, to helping thousands suffering from sinusitis. I could not have imagined all this at the beginning of this journey.
It all started years ago after my family moved into a new house. Within a year we all started getting sinus infections, one after another. Every cold or sore throat led to a sinus infection, which meant round after round of antibiotics. Soon all family members had chronic sinusitis.
It was discovered that the central air conditioning system had been installed incorrectly, and this resulted in a mold problem. The constant exposure to high levels of ordinary mold led to inflammatory and allergic responses, resulting in chronic sinus infections. The entire A/C system was replaced immediately, but the sinus problems continued.
Over the years all sorts of things were tried, many doctors visited, but nothing worked to stop the sinus infections. I’ve tried without success all sorts of antibiotics, dietary changes, breathing steam vapor (both plain water and also with added antibiotics), xylitol, chewing on beeswax, raw garlic, different herbal treatments, fish oil, air purifiers, decongestants, corticosteroid nasal sprays, and saline nasal rinses. Even balloon sinuplasty.
New discovery leads to sinus health
In 2012 groundbreaking research was published that changed my life. This research suggested that the bacteria Lactobacillus sakei could be used to treat sinusitis. The researchers also found that the bacteria occurs naturally in healthy sinuses, but is depleted in the sinuses of persons with chronic sinusitis.
Of course, we immediately went searching for this bacteria, but couldn’t find it. At that time there weren’t any probiotic products containing Lactobacillus sakei (also referred to as L. sakei). Interestingly, a few studies mentioned that Lactobacillus sakei is present in most kimchi at certain times during fermentation.
This led to us experimenting with live fermented kimchi from local grocery stores, and resulted in an amazing finding. Dabbing kimchi juice in the nose resulted in the sinuses feeling healthier within a day. And after a few weeks of daily use all sinusitis symptoms were gone. It felt miraculous!
Unfortunately, it turned out that kimchi wasn’t reliable – you never knew if a jar contained L. sakei or not, and it seemed to die out quickly. Next was trying sausage starter cultures that contained L. sakei. The cultures worked, but felt harsh and also had storage problems.
Eventually we decided that the answer was developing our own Lactobacillus sakei product, which led to Lanto Sinus. This product is an easy way to introduce good bacteria into the sinus microbiome. Since then, my family and I have successfully used Lanto Sinus for years whenever needed.
Studies done in the last few years supported our personal findings that some commonly available products (e.g., xylitol, Lactococcus lactis, and nasal corticosteroids) may provide short term relief, but do not improve the sinus microbiome. Only Lactobacillus sakei has done that for us.
This isn’t surprising since so much research finds that L. sakei is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and has immune boosting effects. It also dominates over harmful (pathogenic) bacteria that are a frequent problem in sinusitis (e.g., Staphylococcus aureus).
Some lessons learned over the past decade:
-It is possible to successfully deal with sinusitis and regain sinus health without antibiotics. I’ve done this for ten years!
-Lactobacillus sakei has been consistently effective for the past decade in rebalancing my sinus microbiome. The key has been to use when needed.
-There are many microbial species living in the sinuses, and sinus health is when they are in equilibrium.
-I found that the sinuses keep improving for days after stopping Lactobacillus sakei (Lanto Sinus). Sinus rebalancing is going on.
-Over time I’ve found that my sinus infections are resolving quicker.
-Without doing anything more than trying to eat well, my gut microbiome slowly improved this past decade (judging by how I feel). This matches study results showing that antibiotics suppress or kill off many microbial species in the gut microbiome, and it may take years to recover.
-All of me feels best when eating a healthy diet (rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, olive oil), getting enough sleep, and getting some exercise.