The curious case of the Malassezia restrica

Our recent post by Dr Barbara Brockway delved into the history and future-promises of pre, pro, and postbiotics. Hidden in the article was a fascinating tale of the fungus Malassezia restrica – this caught our attention and we wanted to focus in on the intricate presence of this fungus.

It is normally associated with scalp dandruff but studies on the gut microbiome have linked a genetic weakness in a human gene, which is known to be important for immunity to fungi, to higher levels of Malassezia restrica on the gut surface.

Reading further, Dr Brockway then explains how individuals with this genetic weakness are more likely to suffer from chronic stomach conditions, such as Crohn’s disease. However, the complexities and interconnections do not stop there.

Separate research shows how groups of dandruff sufferers have higher ratios of Malassezia to Propionbacterium, and Propionbacterium to Staphylococcus on their scalps – which flows logically from our initial statement: it is normally associated with dandruff.

Yet, many of us playing host to Malassezia restrica with it living harmlessly on our gut and scalp. So, it may also play an essential role in the overall health of the local microbiome, or even be benign.

This one fungus provides an intriguing example of how the balance of the microbiome is an ever-giving area of research in which the initial culprit for a condition may simply just be caught at the scene.

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