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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/22/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Vitamin C may shorten the course of treatment for people with TB

Researchers say they have found, quite by accident, that vitamin C may be useful in combating drug-resistant tuberculosis.

Vitamin C is cheap, widely available, and very safe.

Vitamin C is cheap, widely available, and very safe.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/22/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Vitamin C, TB, drugs, treatment, drug-resistant, accidental, discovery


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A team from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York says that adding vitamin C to courses of chemotherapy and other drugs in the treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis could help shorten the course of treatment.

Publishing their report in the journal, Nature Communications, lead author Dr. William Jacobs Jr., an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, said researchers made the discovery while trying to figure out how TB becomes resistant to  first-line treatment with isoniazid.

Researchers studying the bacteria were working with TB cultures to see if they could create a drug-resistant strain in the laboratory. They blended the drug isoniazid with vitamin C among other things.

However, instead of becoming resistant, the bacteria was killed. In fact, even without the drug, and just vitamin C, the bacteria died off.

In other words, vitamin C by itself is sufficient to kill all known drug resistant strains of TB, at least in the laboratory.

This is a bombshell discovery given that researchers are scrambling to keep TB from reemerging as a major killer.

In 2011, about 8.7 million people around the globe contracted TB and 1.4 million of those victims died. Imagine if the cure for their illness could be as simple as vitamin C.

The discovery was made by accident, in an effort to make the disease drug resistant. Nobody has previously thought to test simple vitamin C against drug resistant strains of TB.

Now, researchers will need to test the effect of vitamin C on TB in animals and eventually humans to see if it has the same effect within the body as in the lab. If it does, then we may be on the verge of a significant breakthrough in the fight against this legendary and evolving killer.

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