What’s the cause of chronic sinusitis?

by | | Gut Brain Axis

Chronic sinusitis is unbelievably common. This is a condition termed in the medical literature as chronic rhinosinusitis or CRS. My five year old son has some dry inflammation in his sinus cavity. When I’ve taken him to get it checked out conventional medicine offers a steroid spray.  I know steroids are very drying and won’t help the underlying issue. It may even make things worse in the long run. (1)

My son wasn’t even diagnosed with CRS.  Instead it was suggested that he is asthmatic.  I was offered steroids yet again.  Kids get sick often.  This is how their immune systems develop.  Of course I want to prevent anything serious from developing.  So I did some research.  Recurrent upper respiratory tract infections are associated with the same root cause as CRS. (2) Despite numerous research papers published on the topic doctors are failing to notice.     

The Real Cause of Sinusitis

Research is showing that CRS is related to biofilms. (3) Many people still believe it is a fungal infection is the underlying cause.  Fungal CRS is easily diagnosed and is in fact quite rare. Why then is the fungal hypothesis still the first thing that comes to mind?  I’ve had a patients who were convinced that they had a systemic fungal infection causing CRS but their labs denied this. Eosinophilic mucin is used to diagnose a local fungal infection so its easy to rule out.

What is a biofilm? Why do some people suffer more than others?

Biofilms are extracellular matrixes where bacteria live. They host pathogens by providing a way for them to share nutrients and DNA while providing protection from antibiotics. A biofilm we are all familiar with is plaque on teeth.

Biofilms seem to proliferate in people with compromised immune function. To strengthen immunity botanicals like astragalus and cordinopisis are safe, even for children. Vitamins A, C and D are essential. I recommend a buffered vitamin C along with a good quality cod liver oil for A and D.

Post surgery is another time when biofilms seem to proliferate. Extra care needs to be taken at these times. I have a protocol I give to patients for pre and post surgery to prevent issues.

Treating Sinusitis

Nasal Irrigation is the best way to affect local biofilms in the sinus cavity. PubMed suggests using baby shampoo. In a study 60% patients responded positively to this.

Xylitol is a natural agent that works against biofilms. It’s loved by even conventional dentists and hygienists. Unlike steroid sprays xylitol is not drying. In fact, it’s a lubricant allowing the body to clear pathogens with nasal mucus the way it usually does.

There is no research on using systemic biofilms however this would be an interesting area to explore.  We know that the gut microbiome affects the skin and sex organ’s microbiomes. Therefore it makes sense that the nasal passage is also interconnected.

What about Fungal Infections?

Many patients ask about how to treat fungal infections on the skin, genitals and in the intestines. Once you have a clear diagnosis that this is actually what’s happening here are a few things you can try.

Biotin binds to a sugar called arabinose, which is produced by yeast. Arabinose forms pentosidine causing inflammation. This is seen in Alzheimer’s disease and autoimmune responses. Biotin is also an antifungal in a higher dose of 5mg.

Molybdenum helps convert a toxin called acetylaldehyde that is produced by fungal organisms. If the conversion to acetic acid doesn’t happen B6 gets blocked and several crucial biochemical don’t happen. Acetylaldehyde can react with neurotransmitters and cause pain.

Several herbs are beneficial but best to work with a medical herbalist. I’ll mentiona few of my favourites. Olive leaf, allicin, cardamon, black walnut and yerba mansa.  Binders can also be helpful in clearing both toxins and fungal infections. I use chorella, modified citrus pectin and clay.

Many people try to starve out the bugs by avoiding carbs. This is not recommended as some research shows yeasts can thrive on ketones. Low carb diets can also lead to dysbiosis or an imbalance in the gut microbiome. This is why I focus on a long-term ancestral type diet with my patients.

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22241786
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21865700
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22287462






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