Lungs Full of ….???

Lungs Full of ….???

In my last blog, I wrote about the different microbiome communities in our body that make up our total microbiome … and then, just like that, the latest and greatest Nature article about research into the lung microbiome and its relationship with diseases, like COPD, turned up in my inbox.

Here is a link - it’s an excellent read which I will summarize for you.

  • Until recently, lungs were thought to be sterile – a bacteria-free zone, but we now understand that there is a unique microbiome associated with the lungs, albeit one which looks very different to the highly diverse and populated microbiome of our gut;
  • In healthy lungs, the lung microbiome mostly mirrors the oral and upper respiratory tract;
  • Certain conditions, like chronic inflammation, can disrupt the delicate balance of the lung microbiome;
    • Inflamed lung tissue creates an environment conducive to bacterial colonization, leading to shifts in microbial composition and potential dysbiosis - mucus production increases, airway tissue swells, nutrients become more readily available to bacteria and potentially damaging strains such as Pseudomonasand Haemophilus influenzae can bloom and become resident;
  • What we don’t understand yet - a chicken or egg scenario – is whether the change in lung microbiome is caused by the inflammation and disease or the disease is causing the change in the microbiome (ain’t science grand – we seem to answer one question with another) – the evidence does show that the change in microbiome precedes the onset of diseases like COPD;
  • This is where it starts to get a bit confusing – the lung microbiome is transient, with populations coming and going, like a train station – in healthy people, certain species prevail and there are more of them - PrevotellaStreptococcusand Veillonella species (all common in the upper airway tracts); so it seems lots of good bacteria shuffling through the lungs is better than the wrong species hanging around the lungs – maybe like the high school kids that hang around the train station;
  • Good bacteria help promote a good immune response – “Benign commensals may have some beneficial roles in priming your immune system to respond better to a pathogen” – says Dr Segal;
  • This research may lead to new therapeutics targeted at enhancing the lung microbiome and/or reversing dysbiosis – we don’t have these therapeutics yet, so make sure you have lots of our lozenges chocka full of immune-enhancing oral Blis probiotics (that was my contribution, not in the article 😊).

All the best, Anna and Darcy.

If you would like to discuss any of this further, please contact Darcy or Anna (who you can contact at +64 27 599 2255 or +64 27 4861418 respectively) or via

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