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Oral Probiotics: Natural Remedy for Cold and Flu?

Q: Is BLIS K12 Probiotic Gum a natural remedy for the common cold and flu?

Professor John Tagg’s Answer:

Is BLIS K12 Probiotic Gum a natural remedy for cold and flu?The short answer is “yes.”

Awareness of the potential for anti-viral activity associated with the use of K12 preparations first came from some customer’s reports that heavy dosing with the product at the very first (prodromal) signs of an upper respiratory tract infection appeared sometimes to interfere with the customary clinical progression of their infection.

The interferons are cytokines that help trigger various protective defences of the immune system and some of these are especially important for fighting off virus infections. We found that (a)  the exposure of preparations of either mouse splenocytes or human leukocytes to K12 cells and (b) the consumption of large numbers of K12 cells by human subjects resulted in production of substantially elevated levels of gamma interferon. In other studies it has been shown that protection of the human host against virus infection can be triggered by gamma interferon (1) .

More recently (2)  K12 cells were shown to suppress bronchial and other epithelial cell inflammatory responses by inhibiting NF-kB pathways and other important immune cell functions.

My recommendation for those attempting to alleviate the progression of a viral upper respiratory tract infection is as follows –  at the very first signs of infection successively use 3 K12 chewing gums over a period of 10 -15 min and then repeat this another one or two times over the next two hours.


1.  Sethi S.K., Bianco, A., Allen, J.T., Knight, R.A., Spiteri, M.A. Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) down-regulates the rhinovirus-induced expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) on human airway epithelial cells.Clin Exp Immunol 110: 362-9 (1997

2. Cosseau C., Devine D.A., Dullaghan E., Gardy J.L., Chikatamarla A., Gellatly S., Yu L.L., Pistolic J., Falsafi R., Tagg J., Hancock R.E. The commensal Streptococcus salivarius K12   downregulates the innate immune responses of human epithelial cells and promotes host-microbe homeostasis. Inf. Immun 76: 4163-75 (2008)

(Do you have a Probiotic Health question for Professor John Tagg? Email us your question. If your question is not listed in our FAQ’s, we’ll ask Professor Tagg directly, email you back with his answer, AND post it here on our blog to benefit all our readers.)

Oral Thrush and Candidiasis – An Oral Probiotic Treatment

Professor John Tagg(Do you have a Probiotic Health question for Professor John Tagg? Email us your question. If your question is not listed in our FAQ’s, we’ll ask Professor Tagg directly, email you back with his answer, AND post it here on our blog to benefit all our readers.)

Reader’s Question:

I read that BLIS K12 Oral Probiotic is indicated for thrush (oral candidiasis). How would I use the BLIS K12 gum to treat this condition?

Professor John Tagg’s Answer:

BLIS K12 is indicated  for oral thrush. At bedtime, thoroughly brush and floss teeth as usual. Rinse mouth well with water. Chew one piece of CulturedCare Probiotic Gum with BLIS K12 for approximately 3-5 minutes. It is preferable to not eat or drink for the next couple of hours. Repeat for seven consecutive nights. Continue nightly as above or (for economical reasons) repeat this protocol every month. If you are using an antifungal to treat oral thrush, begin using the Probiotic Gum two hours after your last antifungal treatment.

Note:  This protocol supports the optimal colonization of the S. salivarius K12 bacteria during the night. Sweetened only with xylitol, isomalt and stevia, CulturedCare Probiotic Gum does NOT in any way contribute to tooth decay or gum disease.

“Probiotic Professor” John Tagg to Visit BC Health Food Stores and Appear on TV

Professor John TaggProfessor John Tagg, “The Probiotic Professor” will be in Vancouver as a guest speaker at the Canadian Health Food Association‘s annual Expo West industry convention and trade show this month.

Professor Tagg will also be visiting select health food stores in the Vancouver/Victoria region… PLUS he’ll be appearing on Fanny Kiefer’s TV show “Studio 4″ talking about his discovery of the oral probiotic BLIS K12.

(We’ll be giving away free samples of our CulturedCare Probiotic Gum w/ BLIS K12 at Professor Tagg’s health food store events.)

Professor John Tagg’s May, 2010 Vancouver  itinerary:

Thursday, May 13 – TV appearance on Fanny Kiefer’s Studio 4 (Shaw TV)
Broadcast Live at 9:00 am PST (and again at 1, 4 and 9pm PST)

Monday, May 17 – Instore at Whole Foods / Capers – Cambie
510 W. 8th Ave (at Cambie)
Vancouver BC

Monday, May 17 – Instore at Nature’s Fare Markets-Langley

2-4 pm
#120-19880 Langley Bypass
Langley BC V3A 4Y7
Phone Number 788-278-1300

Tuesday, May 18 – Instore at The Vitamin Shop
1-3 pm
1212 Broad St.
Victoria BC V8W 2A5

Wednesday, May 19 – Instore at Lifestyle Markets
1-2 pm
180-2950 Douglas St. Victoria BC

Wednesday, May 19 – Instore at Lifestyle Select
2:30-3:30 pm
9769 5th St.
Sidney BC

PowerPoint Intro to CulturedCare Probiotic Gum w/ BLIS K12

Oral probiotics are an exciting new category of probiotics for the mouth.

Oral probiotics have their own unique benefits and story.

We created this PowerPoint slideshow to help educate people about the differences between “gut” probiotics (which live in the intestinal tract) and “oral” probiotics (which live in the mouth.)

Health conscious consumers and retailers normally associate “probiotics” with digestive health. Oral probiotics are different. They offer protection from strep throat, bad breath, ear infections and related mouth, nose,throat and upper respiratory infections.

Probiotics – Thousands of Premature Babies Could Benefit Worldwide

(From The University of Sydney website)

Thousands more very premature babies could survive each year if probiotics were added to their feeds, according to research published recently in Pediatrics, a leading clinical journal.

Probiotics are ‘friendly’ bacteria present in many foods like yogurt and cheese. Babies born more than six weeks prematurely currently represent between three and four per cent of all births.

The systematic review of 11 randomised trials in over 2,000 babies born more than six weeks prematurely is published by Dr Sanjay Patole’s group, from the University of Western Australia.

In an accompanying commentary in Pediatrics, Professor William Tarnow-Mordi from the University of Sydney said the research had significant implications for survival rates of premature babies worldwide.

“These results suggest that probiotics could prevent tens of thousands of deaths annually,” he said.

“However, it will be some months before suitable preparations are available in Australia.”

Dr Patole said the review showed that survival was doubled in premature babies who had received certain probiotics.

“We believe that probiotics should now be offered as a routine therapy in preterm neonates,” he said.

“However, selection of a safe and suitable product with documented probiotic properties and close monitoring is a must before offering this therapy as routine in this high-risk and very deserving population.”

A number of Australian neonatal units are participating in the PROPREMS study, an ongoing randomised trial of probiotic versus placebo, co-ordinated by the University of Melbourne and funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Professor Tarnow-Mordi said enrolment in PROPREMS – and similar trials in other countries – was an excellent way for babies to receive appropriate probiotics until suitable products were available.

In Denmark, a national clinical guideline issued this year recommends that babies born more than ten weeks prematurely receive daily probiotics, until discharge from hospital.

(See also – Probiotics for Premature Infants Could Save Lives)

Ask Professor Tagg – “BLIS K12 Probiotic Gum for Sjogren’s Syndrome?”

(Do you have a Probiotic Health question for Professor John Tagg? Email us your question. If your question is not listed in our FAQ’s, we’ll ask Professor Tagg directly, email you back with his answer, AND post it here on our blog to benefit all our readers.)

Reader’s Question:

What about this gum for persons with Sjogren’s Syndrome? It’s an autoimmune disease which damages the moisture producing glands including the salivary glands. Excessive bacteria is a problem for persons with Sjogren’s due to lack of saliva. Thrush and oral yeast infections are regular issues. How would your gum work for that?

Professor John Tagg’s Answer:

Indeed the Probiotic Gum is perfectly applicable to individuals experiencing the hyposalivation of Sjogren’s Syndrome. The chewing of the gum not only will help stimulate saliva production but the release of BLIS K12 and subsequent colonisation will help counter oral thrush as the K12 cells occupy space on the mucosal surfaces that otherwise is vulnerable to fungal infiltration.

The Probiotic Battle in Your Mouth – Professor John Tagg (Video)

“Why would you want to kill your relatives?”

There is a constant battle in your mouth between healthy and pathogenic bacteria. Professor John Tagg talks about how BLIS K12 molecules help protect us from their dangerous relatives like Streptococcus pyogenes.

Chewing gum delivers a healthy dose of bacteria (Vancouver Sun article)

Probiotic gum puts friendly organisms in the mouth to defeat bad breath and infections

(Article by Pamela Fayerman, Vancouver Sun, March 8, 2010)

PNG / Probiotic Gum, based in part on years of research by microbiologists at UBC, is being touted for its health benefits.

Probiotic Gum, based in part on years of research by microbiologists at UBC, is being touted for its health benefits. Photograph by: Glenn Baglo, Vancouver Sun

You won’t find it on the shelves next to Juicy Fruit, but a new Canadian-made chewing gum is being touted for its health benefits, based in part on years of research by microbiologists at the University of B.C.

For those with an aversion to swallowing supplements or eating yogurt containing health-promoting bacterial cultures, Probiotic Gum may be a better vehicle for putting enough friendly bacteria in the mouth to do battle against the bad types that can lead to bad breath and infections.

The mouth contains billions of good and bad bacteria, and the good ones can be used as probiotics because they are living micro-organisms that raise immunity to infection from harmful germs, including the kinds that cause strep throat, earaches, respiratory infections, sinus infections and halitosis (bad breath caused by unfriendly bacteria).

The new gum contains a therapeutic dose (500 million active bacteria) of Streptococcus salivarius in a patented delivery mode. Dr. John Tagg, a microbiologist from the University of Otago in New Zealand, said his childhood experiences with strep throat leading to rheumatic fever led him on a 30-year mission to develop a probiotic product that would prevent strep throat and other infections.

“Infection protection starts in the mouth,” Tagg said. “There are many strains of probiotics for the intestinal tract, but they do not give protection where it is needed most: in the mouth.”

The gum is marketed and distributed by a Coquitlam company called Cultured Care (part of Prairie Naturals). It can be bought in health and nutrition stores and pharmacies, and is being sold for $6 to $8 for an eight-piece package.

Dr. Bob Hancock, Canada research chair and professor in the department of microbiology and immunology at UBC, said he has no proprietary interest in the gum, but Tagg used some of UBC’s research in the development process.

“There are loads of different organisms in the mouth, but this bug type (Streptococcus salivarius) produces antibacterial substances that can kill certain bad bacteria,” Hancock said in an interview, noting that good and bad organisms compete for food in the mouth from things such as leftover particles of food.

“Our body has the ability to discriminate against pathogens and the normal flora,” Hancock said. “Streptococcus salivarius is part of our normal bacteria that occupy the oral cavity.”

Hancock is interested in therapies that increase the efficiency of the innate immune system, sometimes called the inflammatory response. The response is good if it is short-term enough to naturally repair the problem, but bad if it leads to chronic inflammation and disease.

Hancock’s lab at UBC is trying to find agents to fight infectious diseases, which are said to cause a third of all the deaths in the world.

Although antibiotics are a first line of attack, they are not always effective, especially because of growing antibiotic resistance. So harnessing the body’s own immune system holds great appeal.

For the gum, Tagg used Hancock’s research in human cell cultures, which showed that probiotics can destroy harmful bacteria while dampening the potentially damaging inflammatory response that occurs when the immune system is activated to fend off an attack.

While Hancock is fairly sure the gum will be useful against the bacteria causing bad breath, he said he can’t predict its effectiveness against preventing infections. He hasn’t yet chewed the gum, but he does occasionally take probiotic supplements for gastrointestinal imbalances.

“I don’t really like yogurt and there aren’t necessarily enough of the right probiotics in yogurt to make a difference anyway. The thing about the gum is that it seems like a good way to introduce the healthy organisms to the oral cavity,” Hancock said.

Dr. Karen Madsen, a probiotics expert at the University of Alberta, said she looked at the research done by Tagg on the effects of Streptococcus salivarius. There is strong evidence that it does release a substance that can kill other pathogenic bacterial strains that can cause throat infections, ear aches and bad breath under laboratory-based conditions, she said.

“The idea of replacing pathogenic strains of Streptococcus in the mouth with non-pathogenic strains is a valid concept, and several different labs are carrying out research in this area to try to determine the most effective formulations and treatment times,” she said.

But she and Tagg are at odds over whether there is definitive proof of the claims for the effectiveness of the gum product.

“There is no evidence for the statement that [the gum] helps protect against strep throat infections by providing the friendly probiotic bacteria that fight strep infections,” Madsen said.

Tagg said in an e-mail interview that the science behind the gum research dates back more than 20 years. “The data for this assumption is irrefutable and the body of evidence is substantial,” he said, adding that in both lab and clinical trials in more than 100 humans, the probiotic organisms go to work as soon as gum-chewing begins.

Sun Health Issues Reporter

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Probiotics Prime Immune System To Fight

bacteria-neutrophil_1PENN (US)—Scientists have long pondered the seeming contradiction that taking broad-spectrum antibiotics over an extended period of time can lead to severe secondary bacterial infections. Now researchers may have figured out why.

Jeffrey Weiser, professor of microbiology and pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, likens the reason to starting a car: It’s much easier to start moving if a car is idling than if its engine is cold.

Similarly, if the immune system is already warmed up, it can better cope with pathogenic invaders. The study was published in Nature Medicine.

The implication of these initial findings in animals, Weiser says, is that prolonged antibiotic use in humans may effectively throttle down the immune system, such that it is no longer at peak efficiency.

Read the full story at:

Should I Chew Probiotic Gum While Taking Antibiotics?

Should-I-ChewOur Twitter friend ToothFairyCyber recently asked a very good question –

“Is it good idea to chew Probiotic gum while taking Antibiotics?”

We asked the expert, Professor John Tagg and got this answer –

“The best time to chew the probiotic gum is just as you are completing a course of antibiotics and then for the next couple of days immediately following the taking of antibiotics. At that time the probiotic will have more space available for it to attach in the mouth and start growing there.”

There you have it friends!