Like Chicken Little running around screaming, "the sky is falling," too many mainstream media and doctors have issued dire warnings about deadly bacteria that are no longer susceptible to antibiotics, leaving people virtually helpless if Big Pharma doesn't soon find more drugs that can kill potentially deadly germs. While it is true that so-called superbugs are dangerous, a healthy immune system bolstered by good diet and exercise helps lower the odds you'll ever be a victim to antibiotic-resistant pathogens. And now comes word that a natural substance -- nicotinamide, more commonly known as vitamin B3 -- can combat antibiotic-resistant staph infections.
S. Diddy / Esther Thomas
Researchers led by a team from the University of Minnesota found that those who took multivitamins, folic acid, copper, vitamin B6, zinc, magnesium and iron died at higher rates than those who did not take supplements.
These specific types of superbugs are increasingly common around the world and have taken the lives of thousands. One of the most common and serious forms of the staph infection, called methicillin-resistant S. aureus, or MRSA, was used in a study just published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation by researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University (OSU), UCLA, and other institutions. MRSA can cause life-threatening illness and, due to the widespread overuse of antibiotics, researchers say it is spreading rapidly and poses a serious health risk.
The new research showed that high doses of B3 increased the ability of immune cells to kill staph bacteria by 1,000 times. The study involved both laboratory animals and human blood.
"It's a way to tap into the power of the innate immune system and stimulate it to provide a more powerful and natural immune response," Adrian Gombart, an associate professor in OSU's Linus Pauling Institute, said in a press statement.
Dr. Gombart discovered 10 years ago that a human genetic mutation makes some people more vulnerable to bacterial infections. However, nicotinamide, B3, has the ability to "turn on" certain antimicrobial genes that greatly rev up the ability of immune cells to kill bacteria. His research team discovered that high doses of B3 increased the numbers and efficacy of "neutrophils," a type of white blood cell that can destroy harmful bacteria. While the doses of B3 tested were far beyond what a normal diet would provide, the scientists noted that they were in amounts that have already been shown to be safe for humans.
Dr. George Liu, an infectious disease expert at Cedars-Sinai and co-senior author on the study, also noted that B3 "is surprisingly effective in fighting off and protecting against one of today's most concerning public health threats (super bugs)." Such approaches, he added, could help reduce dependence on antibiotics.
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