Staphylococcus aureus – the CFS maintainer?

My last two posts resulted from happenstance! While looking at vaccines as a possible trigger for CFS or CFS-like symptoms, I stumbled across a vaccine that resulted in significant remission for many CFS patients – a Staphylococcus aureus vaccine. Prior to this, I had been ping earlier in the week to investigate Protandim, a patented herb mixture which appears to result in major improvement/remission for several months and then stopped working. While investigating the individual herbs, I saw some were effective against staphylococcus aureus. I repeated my research for this specific bacteria and found they were particularly effective against staphylococcus aureus.

In this post I am going to explore if staphylococcus aureus (or some related unknown species) is likely connected to CFS and co-morbid conditions.  Then I am going to explore probiotics and herbs that appear to decrease staphylococcus aureus according to the literature. Remember staphylococcus aureus is the species and not the strain. Some strains may be good, other very bad and other may be neutral but support a dysfunction microbiome, i.e. a helper.

The Bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus

Staphylococcus aureus persistently colonizes about 20 % of the population and is intermittently associated with the remainder. The organism can cause superficial skin infections and life-threatening invasive diseases. The surface of the bacterial cell displays a variety of proteins that are covalently anchored to peptidoglycan. They perform many functions including adhesion to host cells and tissues, invasion of non-phagocytic cells, and evasion of innate immune responses. The proteins have been categorized into distinct classes based on structural and functional analysis. Many surface proteins are multifunctional. Cell wall-anchored proteins perform essential functions supporting survival and proliferation during the commensal state and during invasive infections. The ability of cell wall-anchored proteins to bind to desquamated epithelial cells is important during colonization, and the binding to fibrinogen is of particular significance in pathogenesis.” [2015]

“Strains of Staphylococcus aureus, an important human pathogen, display up to 20% variability in their genome sequence, [2008] (note that between humans and chimpanzee is 4%)

A list of a few strains identified.

Wikipedia cites

Co-morbid Conditions

  • “the primary Sjogren’s syndrome subjects displayed an increased frequency of C.albicans, Staphylococcus aureus, enterics, and enterococci”[2001]
  • High level of Staphylococcus aureus reported in IBS [2011]
    • ” it is advisable that the use of rifaximin as a therapy for IBS should be limited to single, acute, short-term treatment.” [2013] – to prevent resistance developing
  • Dry Eye: “Eighty-eight strains were isolated (48 strains of Propionibacterium acnes, 26 coagulase-negative Staphylococcus [CNS] species, six Staphylococcus aureus strains, and eight others). Of the 26 CNS strains, 17 (65.4%) were fluoroquinolone resistant, including four (33.3%) of 12 methicillin-sensitive CNS and 13 (92.9%) of 14 methicillin-resistant CNS.” [2008]
  • Central nervous System: “Staphylococcus aureus plays an important role as a bacterial pathogen after traumatic injury. The majority of isolated strains produces alpha-toxin, a 33-kDa protein, with membrane-damaging and lethal effects. The central nervous system (CNS) has been considered as the possible target for the lethal action of this toxin.” [1991]


Note: Many studies cites “inhibits” which may anything from 1% less to 99% less. If 50% is inhibited, what is not inhibited will grow back to fill the vacuum.

Herbs and Spices

I have checked out the availability of some of the uncommon herbs. There has been no attempt to evaluate these against other bacteria families.

Grapefruit Seed Extract is NOT effective “the potent as well as nearly universal antimicrobial activity being attributed to grapefruit seed extract is merely due to the synthetic preservative agents contained within.”[1999]


Staphylococcus aureus has become very resistant to most antibiotics. “Staphylococcus aureus is notorious for its ability to become resistant to antibiotics. Infections caused by antibiotic-resistant strains often occur in epidemic waves initiated by one or a few successful clones.” [2009]

  • “At a breakpoint of 32 μg/mL, rifaximin inhibited in vitro …100% of Staphylococcus aureus.” [2014]
    • It has had good reports in IBS
      • ” the efficacy of rifaximin for the resolution of overall IBS symptoms was greater than that of the placebos” [2016]
      • Rifaximin proved more effective than placebo for global symptoms and bloating in IBS patients. The modest therapeutic gain was similar to that yielded by other currently available therapies for IBS.” [2012]

Bottom Line

Staphylococcus aureus is likely a significant player for some symptoms seen with CFS. Treating it is a challenge because of its ability to adapt around most antibiotics (and thus herbs/spices). Rotation is essential and the rotation should also include sources of each herb. Herbs and spices show natural variation and thus the wider the sources, the more likely that it will contain some variation of chemicals to further challenge this bacteria.

Rifaximin is effective at the moment, but there is great concern about it becoming resistant.

The experience with Rifaximin and IBS indicates that it is only a part of the dysfunctional microbiome. The vaccine and herb mixture likely was effective across a wider spectrum of bacteria than Rifaximin, hence the greater impact they have.