Saliva’s Secret Weapon

The mouth can be a dangerous place. Just think about it. We can ingest bacteria, cut ourselves on a sharp fishbone and anyone who has suffered the painful ignominy of biting one’s own tongue can relate. The first line of defense for the mouth is a little-known protein called Histatin 5. It also has some unique properties that could make it indispensable for the vagina.

Histatin-5 is one of our salivary peptides. A peptide is a chain of proteins and they carry out specialized tasks in our bodies, such as signaling to cells or even controlling perspiration. Peptides are made up of amino acids and Histatin 5 has 24 of them.

It has been understood for many years that Histatin 5 has effective anti-fungal properties. It is good to know that studies have identified that Histatin 5 has potent fungicidal activity against Candida albicans, the kind of candida that is responsible for vaginal yeast infections (source).

Although originally being thought to have mostly anti-fungal properties, it has recently been discovered that Histatin 5 has strong wound healing properties. New studies show that Histatin 5 plays an important role in the oral wound healing process and seems to be the major wound-closure stimulating factor in human saliva. In one study, Dutch scientists did a side-by-side study, bathing wounded cells in human saliva. After 16 hours, the saliva treated “wound” was almost completely closed. In the dish with the untreated “wound,” a substantial part was still open (source).

In fact, wounds in the mouth heal faster than on the skin and this is due to the efficiency of Histatin 5. The peptide does not stimulate proliferation, but induces cell spreading and migration, sending them off to help at the wound site. So scientists are looking at ways to use Histatin 5 for healing the skin (source).

Histatin 5 is a peptide that due to its capacity for repressing candida and expediting wound healing (dryness coupled with friction can cause little tears or microlesions in the vaginal wall) that can be harnessed to restore and maintain a healthy vaginal environment.

Licking your wounds actually works”- Your Friend, Violet

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