Deadly staph infections may have a potent new foe: Vitamin B3. Megadoses of the vitamin can help the immune system fight the superbug MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus), researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute and other institutions have found.
The findings could lead to new treatment options for health officials who have seen rates of bacterial skin infections spike in hospitals and nursing homes. In recent years, MRSA has made aggressive forays into the wider community as well, turning up in daycares, military barracks, gyms and other places where people have skin-to-skin contact.
“This is potentially very significant,” says Oregon State researcher Adrian Gombart. “Antibiotics are wonder drugs, but they face increasing problems with resistance by various types of bacteria, especially S. aureus.” However, Gombart warns against taking high doses of the vitamin, noting that the findings haven’t yet been tested in humans.