(Health Secrets) Tuberculosis is making a strong comeback mostly among the less well-off financially and the more immune challenged. The bacteria of this tuberculosis surge has figured out most of the current antibiotics that once dominated them. The disease is now termed multi-drug resistant tuberculosis or MDR-TB.
Among those actually infected there are around a third of whom don’t manifest symptoms but are carriers. And this multi-drug resistant tuberculosis bug is getting around.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recorded almost 9 million cases of tuberculosis worldwide in 2011. Of those, almost 1.5 million died. Currently, it’s estimated that 650,000 people have MDR-TB. An even worse version is XDR-TB (extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis), which has infected close to 10 percent of the MDR-TB population.
Study’s Surprising Results on Drug resistant tuberculosis With Vitamin C
A group of researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in NYC stumbled upon a potential cure for both MDR-TB and XDR-TB while attempting to study the mechanics of how the tuberculosis bacterium becomes resistant to the normal protocol of first line TB antibiotics.
The study was in vitro (in glass), so they created a tuberculosis bacteria culture to see how that bacteria would resist isoniazid (INH), a premier first line tuberculosis antibiotic. Dr. William Jacobs, a PhD microbiologist, and his team had observed that isoniazid-resistant TB bacteria lacked the mycothial molecule.
Dr. Jacobs said, “We hypothesized that TB bacteria that can’t make mycothiol might contain more cysteine, an amino acid. So, we predicted that if we added isoniazid and cysteine to isoniazid-sensitive M. tuberculosis in culture, the bacteria would develop resistance. Instead, we ended up killing off the culture— something totally unexpected.”
Surprised but now curious and willing to expand their study, the researchers decided to try some other experiments. Thinking cysteine acted as a reducing agent to damage DNA via free radical oxidation, they decided to use vitamin C as a reducing agent instead of cysteine and they got the same result.
This evolved to using only vitamin C, which not only killed the normally susceptible to isoniazid TB bacterium, but also but also the multi-drug resistant MDR-TB and XDR-TB strains, which are super resistant.
To justify human trials (in vivo) with vitamin C for multi-drug resistant TB, the researchers embarked on determining the molecular reasons vitamin C handled the petri dish bacterium.
After further research, it was determined that vitamin C caused iron to react with other molecules, creating a reactive oxygen type that was too much for the MDR-TB and XDR-TB strains that normally withstand all antibiotics. Dr. Jacobs offered this conclusion: “We … now have a rational basis for doing a clinical trial,” … “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.”
Vitamin C is widely available, but it’s unlikely that the AMA and Big Pharma will allow its use. Instead, they may use Dr. Jacob’s fine work uncovering the mechanics of vitamin C to create a patentable pharmaceutical TB drug that’s less effective, has serious side effects, and is much more expensive.
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