Phages 101

A reader asked about phages and supplied a Youtube and a BBC program on it

As well as a shop selling them.

Phage theraphy has been proposed for CFS and other conditions for at least 20 years. I am skeptical that it will be of significant help because my belief is that it is not a single bacteria responsible.

Phage Basics

A 2001 NCBI article does a nice background on it. I recommend strongly reading it BEFORE trying phages

“Bacteriophages or phages are bacterial viruses that invade bacterial cells and, in the case of lytic phages, disrupt bacterial metabolism and cause the bacterium to lyse[aka die]. ”

” In the 1940s, the Eli Lilly Company (Indianapolis, Ind.) produced seven phage products for human use, including preparations targeted against staphylococci, streptococci, Escherichia coli, and other bacterial pathogens…with the advent of antibiotics, commercial production of therapeutic phages ceased in most of the Western world. ”

Phages are far more specific than antibiotics — often effective against a single bacteria. 

“Very specific (i.e., usually affect only the targeted bacterial species); therefore, dysbiosis and chances of developing secondary infections are avoided… Because of the high specificity of phages, many negative results may have been obtained because of the failure to select phages lytic for the targeted bacterial species ”

Wait a minute, we are precise to a species!

So a phage for Bifidobacterium scardovii  will kill that one only and not any other bifidobacterium species. You may have a slackia overgrowth, using a phage may reduce Slackia isoflavoniconvertens, but the slackia overgrowth remains

FDA Workshops on Phage Theraphy

Bottom Line

So if you are targeting one specific species, a phage is ideal. It is “a smart bomb that take out a lance corporal in an army and leave the officers and soldiers untouched”. Antibiotics can be like atomic bombs — kills the soldiers, civilians etc.

If you have an overgrowth of the specific bacteria species that the phage is very targeted against, then it may be worth the experiment.

For example:


“a specific lysis of bacteria belonging to: Staphylococcus (S. aureus), Streptococcus (S.pyogenes, S. sanguis, S.salivarius, S. agalactiae), E.coli (Different types), Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, Proteus (Mirabilis and Vulgaris) spices. ”

We see from 300+ samples uploaded at  that

So the odds of it being a match will typically be 1 in 60 patients.  Looking at the data, exactly two uploads are good matches for the above.

I will see about adding a phage recommendation page (using the products listed at this weekend. It should make the decision much easier for every one (i.e. don’t waste your money if you have nothing that the phage will kill!).

Beware of Products being hyped on Phages but wrong ones!

I did an earlier review of an inappropriate one,  Phage-Complete-A-Review/