Vitamin B3 Cuts MRSA, Staph Bacteria

August 27, 2012

2 Min Read
Vitamin B3 Cuts MRSA, Staph Bacteria

CORVALLIS, Ore.High doses of vitamin B3 (nicotinamide) increased immune cells ability to kill staph bacteria by 1,000 times, according to a new study (J Clin Invest. DOI:10.1172/JCI62070). Antibiotic-resistance staph infections are increasingly common around the world, have killed thousands and can pose a significant threat to public health.

George Liu, Ph.D., an infectious disease expert at Cedars-Sinai and co-senior author on the study, said, This vitamin is surprisingly effective in fighting off and protecting against one of todays most concerning public health threats." Such approaches could help reduce dependence on antibiotics, he said.

Researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, UCLA and other institutions found clinical doses of nicotinamide increased the numbers and efficacy of neutrophils, a specialized type of white blood cell that can kill and eat harmful bacteria. The work was done both in laboratory animals and with human blood

The nicotinamide was given at megadose, or therapeutic levels, far beyond what any normal diet would provide, but nonetheless in amounts that have already been used safely in humans, as a drug, for other medical purposes.

Co-first authors Pierre Kyme and Nils Thoennissen found that when used in human blood, clinical doses of vitamin B3 appeared to wipe out the staph infection in only a few hours.

 This is potentially very significant, although we still need to do human studies," said Adrian Gombart, an associate professor in OSUs Linus Pauling Institute. Antibiotics are wonder drugs, but they face increasing problems with resistance by various types of bacteria, especially Staphylococcus aureus. This could give us a new way to treat staph infections that can be deadly, and might be used in combination with current antibiotics. Its a way to tap into the power of the innate immune system and stimulate it to provide a more powerful and natural immune response."

One of the most common and serious of the staph infections, called methicillin-resistant S. aureus, or MRSA, was part of this study. It can cause serious and life-threatening illness, and researchers said the widespread use of antibiotics has helped increase the emergence and spread of this bacterial pathogen.

Serious staph infections, such as those caused by MRSA, are increasingly prevalent in hospitals and nursing homes, but are also on the rise in prisons, the military, among athletes and in other settings where many people come into close contact.

In June 2012, a study reported supplementing with nicotinamide riboside (NR), a novel form of vitamin B3, reduced metabolic and age-related disorders.

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