Tiny bacteria-specific viruses called phages could revolutionize health care and how we treat infectious diseases. Not only do phages show promise for treating antibiotic-resistant superbugs, but they also can help improve our gut microbiome health. Keep reading to find out how these tiny bacteria phages can target bad bacteria in the gut, and promote the growth of good bacteria, leading to improved digestive, immune and mental health.
If you’re like me, you’ve always been told that viruses are responsible for causing disease and you probably weren’t made aware of how viruses can actually improve your health and wellbeing. I’m not talking about just any viruses though, I’m talking about bacteria phages or phages for short.
There are many fascinating ways that these tiny bacteria-specific phage viruses are being used in medicine, agriculture, and wellness industries. From medical interventions to food treatment, to probiotics. These small phages are quite versatile and surprisingly can be used today to improve your digestion, immune system, and mood.
What is a bacteria phage?
A bacteria phage, or phage, is a small virus that infects only a specific category or family of bacteria. Phages are harmless to humans and only affect bacteria and archaea. It locates a host bacteria, attaches to the cell surface, and then injects its DNA into the bacterial cell. The bacteria then replicates the phage DNA, creating new phages inside, until the bacteria cell explodes and dies, releasing new phages to infect new bacteria.
(I’m really glad that I am not a bacteria)
Phages are found everywhere. They are on your skin, in your eyes, inside your organs. They are so abundant that there are more phages on earth than every other organism combined, including bacteria. Every day, 40% of the bacteria living in the ocean are killed by phages. There are actually 10 times more phages in your body than there are the 10 trillion bacteria inside of you.
Phages in treating antibiotic-resistant superbugs
Phages were actually discovered about 100 years ago by a French-Canadian microbiologist named Félix d’Hérelle, but interest in phages was overshadowed by the discovery of antibiotics such as penicillin. Antibiotics were easier to understand, and easier to manufacture, ship, and preserve. This resulted in a loss of interest in phages as antimicrobial agents. Unfortunately, overuse of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture has caused bacteria to evolve resistance to them, creating anti-biotic resistant super bacteria that are getting harder and harder to kill. It seems the golden age of antibiotics to fight infections is rapidly coming to an end.
This grim reality has prompted a renewed interest in phages over the last several years. Specific phages target very specific types of bacteria and show promise in treating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In fact, phages have already been approved for treating chronic ear infections in people. Many other animal and human studies are being carried out investigating phage therapy for infected burns and wounds, cystic fibrosis associated lung infections, and other infectious bacteria-related conditions.
Industrial uses of phages
Starting in 2006, the FDA and USDA have been allowing the use of phages in things such as poultry, meat products, and cheese to target pathogenic bacteria that could cause illness. There is even exploration of treating farmed animals with phages as an alternative to antibiotics to reduce the growth of antibiotic-resistant species.
Government agencies have also been exploring using phages to counteract biological weapons such as anthrax and botulism. Many western governments such as the US are also investigating the use of phages as biocides and sterilization agents for food preservation and medical devices.
Phages in probiotics
You don’t have to have an antibiotic-resistant infection to get personal benefit out of the magic of phages. There are actually probiotic products that contain phages. A patented mix of 4 different phage species called “PreforPro” has been developed and tested in clinical trials for their efficacy in seeking and destroying pathogenic bacteria found in the human intestine.
When these phages find and destroy their target, the bursting of the bacteria cell actually ends up feeding surrounding good bacteria. Phages create space in the very crowded and competitive microbiome by killing bad bacteria so that the probiotics have a fighting chance of actually taking residency in your gut.
This patented phage complex also has this fascinating ability to act as a prebiotic, augmenting the presence of good bacteria in the gut by 10-40 times the amount. Unlike other prebiotics which are usually indigestible fibers, the phage technology starts working in a matter of hours and does not cause gas or bloating.
Why your probiotics should contain phages
I’ve personally used phage containing probiotics and they are absolutely amazing. By far, I have found them to be the most effective probiotics out of any that I’ve tried. Most of the time, probiotics just pass through the gut because there really isn’t room for them to find a place to live in your intestine. Probiotic phages are great because they kick out bad bacteria known to cause disease, freeing up space for probiotics to come in and start improving your intestinal health.
Just like if you were going to plant a garden. You wouldn’t just throw some seeds in the dirt and expect that to work. You would have to remove weeds and make sure the soil is appropriate and that there’s space for your little seedlings to have a fighting chance. PreforPro phage complex clears out the bad bacteria that are crowding out good ones and gives your probiotics a fighting chance to actually do their job. This is why I always make sure any probiotic I take has phage technology in it.
If you’re looking for a probiotic with these clinically studies phages, I recommend Zenbiotic. Not only does it have this unique phage technology, it also contains spore-forming species of probiotics that are clinically studied and proven to survive heat, stomach acid and actually do good in the human gut. Along with some spore-forming probiotics, there are other species that have been carefully selected for their ability to boost mood, reduce anxiety and improve your emotional resilience to stress.
Zenbiotic is 100% vegan and free of synthetic excipients and fillers, ensuring that you get the cleanest, most pure, and effective probiotic possible.
If you’re ready to add some phages into your life, click below to start your health journey today.