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If you suffer from athlete’s foot, a common fungal infection of the skin, you can treat it with antifungal agents. But prolonged or incorrect usage can cause fungal infections to recur more often. This had lead clinical scientists to look for alternative treatments based on natural protection mechanisms.

Treatments for athlete’s foot

Current treatments for dermatophytes (fungi that cause skin infections) include antifungal therapy with antifungal agents such as terbinafine, itraconazole and miconazole. Some treatments can take up to two months to completely cure the infection. However, in 33% of the people the treatment doesn’t work as intended. When the therapy is prolonged for too long or used incorrectly, the infectious disease will come back more regularly. The lack of successful curing by long-term antifungal treatments has led to the need for alternative therapies.

Natural protection mechanism for fungi 

The new treatments that are in clinical development rely on the natural interactions between bacteria and fungi. Researchers have discovered that certain frogs have very similar skin fungi, which caused them to look more closely at how nature deals with fungal infections.

Chytridiomycose, the infectious disease in amphibians is amongst others caused by the fungi Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. This fungus feeds on keratin in the top layer of the skin and this process creates an infection.

Studies show that certain bacteria of the skin, such as Janthinobacterium lividum, have an inhibitory effect on the growth of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis as it produces antifungal substances.

Because Janthinobacterium lividum also grows on the skin of humans, the bacteria could equally be used for human beings as a natural protection mechanism. Researchers hypothesized that probiotic-related therapies  – using friendly, infection-fighting bacteria – might be extended to applications for humans to fight against fungal infections of the skin and nails.

Yun develops a natural treatment

In order to fight fungal infections of the skin, in particular foot fungi, YUN has developed a powder spray with benign bacteria. For this, YUN selected the most suitable strains of lactobacilli that are able to suppress the growth of dermatophytes. These strains were specifically chosen for their effectiveness towards dermatophytes and because they are guaranteed to be safe to long-term overall health.

Currently there is a clinical trial at the University Hospital Antwerp (UZA). This study will investigate the composition of the natural powder spray in order to test its efficiency.

 

 

Interesting references

  • Ramsey, J.P. et al., 2015. The cutaneous bacterium Janthinobacterium lividum inhibits the growth of Trichophyton rubrum in vitro. International journal of dermatology, 54(2), pp.156–9.
  • Rotta, I. et al., 2012. Efficacy and safety of topical antifungals in the treatment of dermatomycosis: a systematic review. The British journal of dermatology, 166(5), pp.927–33.

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