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Veillonella - Advantages, Disadvantages, and Treatment

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Veillonella is an anaerobic gram-negative bacteria found in humans. Read this article to know more about the role of Veillonella.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Published At March 28, 2023
Reviewed AtMarch 28, 2023

Introduction

Veillonella is a genus of bacteria that belongs to the phylum Firmicutes and is found in the human oral cavity, gut, and vaginal tract. These bacteria are considered normal flora, meaning they are part of the natural microorganisms found in healthy individuals, and they play a role in maintaining the health of their host. Veillonella species are known to be anaerobic, which means they thrive in environments without oxygen. Anaerobic conditions make them well-suited to live in the human oral cavity, gut, and vaginal tract, which are all anaerobic environments.

These bacteria are key in breaking complex sugars into simpler compounds, such as lactic acid. The production of lactic acid by Veillonella helps maintain a low pH (potential of hydrogen) in the environment, preventing the growth of other harmful bacteria.

In recent years, Veillonella has received significant attention due to its potential as a probiotic. Probiotics are live microorganisms consumed adequately, providing health benefits to the host. Veillonella has been shown to have many beneficial effects on human health, including reducing inflammation and improving gut health.

What Is Veillonella?

Veillonella parvula is an anaerobic gram-negative coccus typically found in the oral biofilm. Anaerobic microorganisms respire without oxygen. Veillonella species are known to cause infections in individuals with weakened immune systems. Veillonella species exist in humans' oral, gastrointestinal, and genito-urinary tracts. The six species of Veillonella are listed below:

  • Veillonella alcalescens.

  • Veillonella atypica.

  • Veillonella dispar.

  • Veillonella parvula.

  • Acidaminococcus fermentans.

Veillonella parvula is the most commonly known subtype. Veillonella parvula is not harmful as it is present in oral flora (five percent) and hardly causes any infection. Veillonella is cultured at 30 ◦C to 37 ◦C in an anaerobic environment.

What Are the Advantages of Veillonella?

One of the most common health benefits of Veillonella is its ability to reduce inflammation. The following are the advantages of Veillonella:

  • Reduces Inflammation - Inflammation is a key factor in developing many chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that Veillonella can help reduce inflammation by producing anti-inflammatory compounds.

  • Improve Stomach Health - Research has demonstrated that Veillonella contributes to better digestive well-being by expanding advantageous microbes, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus.

  • Improves Athletic Health - Veillonella has the potential to improve the athlete's performance. A recent study showed that Veillonella improved running in mice. In addition, the researchers also found that Veillonella increased the levels of lactate in the mice, which led to an improvement in their performance while running. Lactate is a byproduct of glucose metabolism and is important in regulating energy production during exercise. Veillonella may also play a role in improving athletic performance in humans.

  • Probiotics - Veillonella has the potential as a probiotic.

  • Reduce Risk of Periodontitis - Veillonella has been found to lower the likelihood of developing periodontitis. Periodontitis is inflammation of the periodontal tissue (structures supporting gums). Periodontitis can lead to loss of teeth and is a serious gum disease. Studies have shown that Veillonella can help to reduce the risk of periodontitis by reducing the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth.

  • Treats Oral Diseases - Veillonella has been studied for its potential to treat oral thrush. Oral thrush is a fungal mouth infection caused by the yeast Candida. Veillonella has been shown to reduce the growth of Candida, making it a potential treatment option for oral thrush.

What Are the Disadvantages of Veillonella?

Veillonella is involved in bone and joint infections. The infections caused due to Veillonella generally occur in immunocompromised patients. Patients with Veillonella infection can be treated by anti-microbial alone.

Veillonella can cause the subsequent infection:

  • Meningitis (inflammation of the brain).

  • Endocarditis (inflammation of the layers of the heart).

  • Bacteremia (presence of bacteria in the blood).

  • Pulmonary infections (lung infection).

  • Orchiepididymitis (testes inflammation).

  • Osteomyelitis (bone inflammation).

  • Hip infection.

  • Back pain.

  • Neck pain.

  • Joint pain.

  • Spondylitis.

What Are the Symptoms of Veillonella Infection?

The following are the symptoms of Veillonella infection:

  • Lower back pain.

  • Nocturnal awakening.

  • Morning stiffness.

  • Neck pain.

  • Joint pain.

How Is Veillonella Infection Diagnosed?

Veillonella infection is diagnosed through laboratory testing of a patient's clinical specimens, such as blood, respiratory secretions, or wound samples. The most common diagnostic tests used to detect Veillonella infections include:

  • Culture Tests - Culture tests involve growing the bacteria in the laboratory from a patient's clinical specimens. The bacteria are then identified based on their characteristics, such as their shape, color, and biochemical reactions.

  • Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Tests - PCR tests detect the genetic material (DNA) of Veillonella bacteria in a patient's clinical specimen. These tests are very sensitive and can detect a small amount of bacterial DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).

  • Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing - This test determines which antibiotics are effective against the Veillonella bacteria causing the infection. The test involves exposing the bacteria to various antibiotics to determine which antibiotic inhibits their growth.

  • Imaging Tests - Imaging tests such as X-rays or CT (computed tomography) scans may be used to identify areas of infection, such as in the lungs or sinuses.

How Can Veillonella Infection Be Treated?

Veillonella infection is treated with anti-microbial, and in severe cases, surgery is recommended. According to a few studies, in half of the cases, antibiotics can cure spondylitis. In severe cases of spondylitis, spinal surgery is performed. Antibiotics such as penicillin, amoxicillin, clavulanic acid, cefoxitin, ceftriaxone, and cefotaxime are used. Sometimes antibiotics (amoxicillin/clavulanic acid and cefotaxime) can be combined with metronidazole. Pain and inflammation are treated by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and corticosteroids. The total treatment time ranges from six to eleven weeks.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Veillonella is a genus of bacteria found in the human oral cavity, gut, and vaginal tract. These bacteria play a role in maintaining the health of their host by reducing inflammation, improving gut health, and promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria. Veillonella has also been studied for its potential to improve athletic performance, reduce the risk of periodontitis, and treat oral thrush. Veillonella is a promising probiotic research subject with its many potential health benefits. Furthermore, the infection caused by Veillonella can be treated by anti-microbial alone.

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Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar
Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors)

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