Researchers say that vitamin B3 could be a viable tool in fighting antibiotic resistant staph infections and could hold promise in combating other “superbugs.”
Published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation by researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, UCLA, and other institutions, the research found that high doses of the vitamin increased the ability of immune cells to kill staph bacteria by 1,000 times.
“This is potentially very significant, although we still need to do human studies,” said Adrian Gombart, an associate professor in OSU’s 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,” Gombart said. “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.”
The researchers said that the immunity results were achieved with extremely high doses of the vitamin, and that there is more work to be done to better understand how to effectively treat infections with B3 vitamins.
Excellent sources of vitamin B3 (also known as niacin) include crimini mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, chicken, tuna and nutritional supplements.
Potentially life-threatening staph infections, such as those caused by MRSA, are increasingly prevalent throughout the Nation.