As scientists continue to look for new ways to tackle disease it looks like once again nature already has the answer…
Vitamin C can kill multidrug-resistant TB in the lab, scientists have found.
The surprise discovery may point to a new way of tackling this increasingly hard-to-treat infection, the US study authors from Yeshiva University say in Nature Communications.
An estimated 650,000 people worldwide have multidrug-resistant TB.
Studies are now needed to see if a treatment that works using the same action as vitamin C would be useful as a TB drug in humans.
In the laboratory studies, vitamin C appeared to be acting as a “reducing agent” – something that triggers the production of of reactive oxygen species called free radicals. These free radicals killed off the TB, even drug resistant forms that are untreatable with conventional antibiotics such as isoniazid.
Lead investigator Dr William Jacobs, professor of microbiology and immunology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University, said: “We have only been able to demonstrate this in a test tube, and we don’t know if it will work in humans and in animals.
“This would be a great study to consider because we have strains of tuberculosis that we don’t have drugs for, and I know that in the laboratory we can kill those strains with vitamin C.
“It also helps that we know vitamin C is inexpensive, widely available and very safe to use. At the very least, this work shows us a new mechanism that we can exploit to attack TB.”
It might be that vitamin C could be used alongside TB drugs. Alternatively, scientists could create new TB drugs that work by generating a big burst of free radicals.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, has many important functions in the body, including protecting cells and keeping them healthy.
Good natural sources of the vitamin include oranges, blackcurrants and broccoli and most people get all they need from their diet.
Dr Ibrahim Abubakar, head of TB at Public Health England, said: “We welcome any new research which will widen our understanding of how to treat TB. While the findings of this study appear promising, further research to confirm the observations would be essential before Vitamin C can be used to supplement TB treatment.”
2013 Miles in 2013
I am doing my 2013 miles in 2013 challenge in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as I have been surprised since I started fundraising for the CF Trust just how many people are unaware of this disease and so I hope my efforts will not just raise money, but also awareness of the UK’s most most common life-threatening inherited disease.
The first person to commit to sponsoring my 2013 mile challenge has committed to 1p per mile (£20.13 in total) and this got me thinking. I am hoping that as many as possible of those reading this will commit to do the same and the best thing is, if each person does this on a “pay as you go” type approach all you will need to part with is approx £2 just after each pay day. In January I completed 205.9 miles, in February I completed a further 200.9 miles, in March I completed 185.7 miles and in April I completed 192.1 miles. If you can please spare £7.85 to help the Cystic Fibrosis Trust it will be greatly appreciated.
The easiest way to give your sponsorship is to visit my Just Giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/2012-AYearWithoutBeer-CF.
2013 Miles in 2013 – The rules
The rules for my 2013 miles in 2013 challenge are quite simple:
- All miles must be completely self powered (no motors, sails, etc)
- I must be able to evidence all miles, either via GPS or with a picture of any static gym equipment
To complete my 2013 miles I will be running, cycling, rowing and who knows, I might even try a few other self powered methods along the way.