Probiotics And The Health Of Your Ear, Nose, And Throat


Every year, millions of people around the globe experience signs and symptoms of allergy, inflammation, and infection during the autumn season.

While this time of the year might be a favorite for many people, it does not come without problems. Experts attribute this phenomenon to the widespread of pollen grains that hover above cities for hundreds of miles.

Add to that the relatively confined space of your child’s classroom, which is optimal for the transmission of infections, and you got yourself the perfect recipe for allergy and annoying symptoms.

When these viruses and bacteria try to penetrate the mucosal wall to invade your cells, the immune system needs to be at peak performance to stop the spread of the infection.

Unfortunately, the immune system by itself cannot prevent the thousands of pathogens that target your ear, nose, and throat every second. Therefore, the body has recruited another solid armor that’s always on the look for any rogue microbes.

It’s the oral microbiome.

Oral flora

Over the past few years, the terms “physiological flora”, “microbiome”, and “microbiota” have become more popular in the general population, but what do they mean?

To understand the nature of the oral flora, we need to take a look at how the body deals with microbes. There are two main “milieux” in the body:

Sterile milieu

These organs are clear of any type of microbes, as the penetration of foreign pathogens can lead to serious infections, such as sepsis, myocarditis, and meningitis.

Examples of organs that are sterile include:

  • Brain
  • Heart
  • Blood
  • Liver
  • Kidneys
  • Bladder
  • Extraperitoneal organs

The body incorporates several defense lines to keep these organs free of microorganisms that could potentially destroy the healthy tissue.

Contaminated milieu

Contrary to the previous environment, these organs are full of microbes from all types (e.g. bacteria, viruses, parasites) that live together in harmony.

Examples include:

  • Mouth
  • Lungs
  • Intestines
  • Urinary tract
  • Skin

You might be wondering “how can these organs have germs inside and not cause trouble all the time?”

The answer is simple: these microorganisms live together to form a physiological flora that feeds off our waste products.

In return, they also help us with some metabolic processes that our enzymes are incapable of performing.

This system offers other important benefits, such as preventing other opportunistic pathogens from disrupting this harmony.

Now that you’re familiar with the notion of the microbiome, you can easily understand the constituents of the oral flora.

Note that every microbiome has different types of organisms, which some species uniquely found in that particular flora.

In the next section, we will cover some types of microbes that can be beneficial to you, especially during the autumn season.

Special microorganisms that improve your health during the fall season

Throughout this article, we discovered the important roles of the microbiome and how it protects us against daily pathogenic invaders.

However, this environment might get depleted and need replenishing. Fortunately, we have just the solution for that; probiotics.

If you’re not familiar with probiotics, they are products that contain microorganisms necessary for the microbiota’s balance.

However, each product contains different species of bacteria and fungi, hence the need to address your personal deficiencies.

In the fall season, a large portion of the population experiences ENT problems that resembles an influenza infection. These symptoms include:

  • Runny nose/congested nose
  • Constant sneezing
  • Itchiness
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Otalgia (ear pain)
  • Tinnitus

While these symptoms might seem benign, it is quite a hassle to deal with every year!

So, let us see what types of microbes can help relieve your symptoms:

In a 2014 study, scientists found that supplementing your body with Lactobacillus paracasei can significantly reduce the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

Researchers concluded that “This study performed by GPs shows that LP-33 improves the quality of life of subjects with persistent AR who are currently being treated with an oral H1-antihistamine.”

Other people who suffer from unpleasant sensations of stuffiness and fullness of their heads can benefit from probiotics that have Lactobacillus sakei.

This was confirmed in a 2012 study that emphasized the importance of the ENT microbiome on the host’s health by stating that “These studies demonstrate that sinus mucosal health is highly dependent on the composition of the resident microbiota as well as identify both a new sino-pathogen and a strong bacterial candidate for therapeutic intervention.”

Aside from ENT issues, probiotics offer a wide range of benefits for all organ systems, including the digestive tract, urinary system, and the skin.

Practical tips to prevent ENT problems

Be careful when choosing your probiotics

As previously discussed, not all microorganisms are suited for the ENT region. Therefore, before you buy any product, make sure to read the label and identify the organisms that benefit your specific symptoms.

Avoid products that interfere with microbiomes

Many food elements disrupt the normal flora, leading to what’s known as “dysbiosis”, which is a state of imbalance between microorganisms.

Foods rich in carbohydrates are known to interfere with the normal flora.

Other products include smoking, mouthwashes with antibacterial chemicals, and certain types of toothpaste.

No self-medicating with antibiotics!

With the constant rise of self-medication and the abuse of antibiotics, more resistant strains of bacteria and fungi are starting to surface. This is especially true for broad-spectrum antibiotics, which are designed to kill a wide range of germs.

When you think about it, that’s the best choice, right? You want to take the antibiotic with the largest spectrum that is capable of killing any germ that’s causing your infection.

However, that’s not the whole story.

When you take large spectrum antibiotics, the drugs will kill everything in their way, including harmless bacteria and fungi found in your ENT flora.

As a result, the competition that prevented certain germs (opportunists) from growing and becoming pathogenic is no longer there.

Takeaway message

Having a healthy ENT microbiome can dramatically improve your symptoms without the need for pharmacological drugs.

Hopefully, you got more familiar with the importance of the microbiome and how to optimize it.

If you still have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below.