How Plant Extracts Affect Two Stubborn Gut Parasite Types

Jim Crocker
5th April, 2024

How Plant Extracts Affect Two Stubborn Gut Parasite Types

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Study at Pomeranian Medical University found natural extracts can fight common gut organism Blastocystis
  • Garlic and turmeric effectively inhibited Blastocystis subtype ST3; horseradish and turmeric were best against ST7
  • These findings suggest natural treatments could be an alternative for managing Blastocystis infections
Blastocystis sp., a microscopic organism found in the intestines of humans and animals, has long been a subject of scientific curiosity and concern. While it is one of the most common organisms found in human stool samples, its impact on health is not fully understood. Some individuals with Blastocystis experience digestive issues, while others show no symptoms at all. The challenge has been to understand the role of Blastocystis in human health and to find effective treatments for those who are affected by its presence. Recent research conducted by the Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin has shed light on potential natural treatments for Blastocystis infections[1]. This study focused on the inhibitory effects of extracts from garlic, turmeric, ginger, and horseradish against two specific subtypes of Blastocystis, known as ST3 and ST7. These subtypes are particularly significant because previous studies have shown that ST3 is the most common subtype found in humans[2], and ST7 has been associated with changes in the gut microbiota that could lead to health issues[3]. The study's findings are promising for those seeking alternatives to traditional pharmaceuticals. Garlic and turmeric extracts were found to be highly effective against ST3, while horseradish and turmeric showed the most potential in inhibiting ST7. The half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50), which measures the effectiveness of a substance in halting an organism's activity, ranged from 3.8 to 4.8 µg/ml for ST3 and from 3.3 to 72.0 µg/ml for ST7. These results suggest that natural extracts could be useful in the prevention and control of Blastocystis infections. The discovery that natural extracts can inhibit Blastocystis aligns with the ongoing research into the complex interactions between this protist and the intestinal microbiota. A study has demonstrated that the presence of Blastocystis ST3 can alter the composition of gut bacteria, affecting microbial functions and potentially influencing the pathogenicity of the parasite[4]. This interaction between Blastocystis and the gut microbiota could explain the varied symptoms experienced by infected individuals. Moreover, the variability in response to treatment observed between the two subtypes, with ST7 showing more resistance to the plant extracts than ST3, poses an additional challenge in managing Blastocystis infections. This resistance may lead to difficulties in eradicating ST7, which is particularly concerning given that certain subtypes of Blastocystis have been suggested to be associated with irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal disorders[5]. The research from the Pomeranian Medical University is a step forward in understanding how to manage Blastocystis infections. It builds upon previous studies that have explored the prevalence, genetic diversity, and potential health impacts of this organism. By identifying natural substances with antimicrobial activity against Blastocystis, this study offers alternative options for those who may not respond to or tolerate conventional treatments. In conclusion, the study provides evidence that certain natural extracts have the potential to inhibit the growth of Blastocystis ST3 and ST7, two subtypes of a common but poorly understood intestinal organism. This finding could lead to new approaches for the prevention and treatment of Blastocystis infections, moving towards more natural and potentially more tolerable options for patients. Further research is necessary to fully understand the implications of these results and to determine the most effective and safe ways to incorporate these natural substances into treatment protocols.

MedicineBiotechPlant Science


Main Study

1) The influence of plant extracts on viability of ST3 and ST7 subtypes of Blastocystis sp.

Published 3rd April, 2024

Related Studies

2) Epidemiology of Blastocystis Infection: A Review of Data from Poland in Relation to Other Reports.

3) Interactions between a pathogenic Blastocystis subtype and gut microbiota: in vitro and in vivo studies.

4) Gut bacteria influence Blastocystis sp. phenotypes and may trigger pathogenicity.

5) Blastocystis: to treat or not to treat..

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