The Most Potent B Vitamin That Combats Infections Better Than Antibiotics Ever Could
The Nicotinamide form of vitamin B3 is one of the most potent of blood B vitamins, absorbing four times more into the blood than any other vitamin. Cedars-Sinai researchers have discovered that the vitamin has the potential to provide a powerful weapon to fight superbugs and antibiotic-resistant staph infections that health experts see as a threat to public health.
B3 is one of 8 B vitamins. It is also known as niacin (nicotinic acid) and has 2 other forms, niacinamide (nicotinamide) and inositol hexanicotinate, which have different effects from niacin.
Foods high in Nicotinamide (or Vitamin B3) include Brewer’s Yeast, Sunflower Seeds, Raw Peanuts and Beets. Interestingly Beet Juice & Yeast have been shown to have remarkable cancer killing attributes. Possibly due to the sugars in the beets causing a beneficial form of fermentation to occur with the B vitamins in the Brewer’s Yeast.
The research, published in the September 2012 edition of The Journal of Clinical Investigation, found that high doses of the nicotinamide form of vitamin B3 stimulated a specific gene (CEBPE), enhancing white blood cells’ ability to combat staph infections, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA.
“It’s critical that we find novel antimicrobial approaches to treat infection and not rely so heavily on antibiotics,” said George Liu, MD, PhD, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Cedars-Sinai’s Maxine Dunitz Children’s Health Center and co-senior author of the study. “That’s why this discovery is so exciting. Our research indicates this common vitamin is potentially effective in fighting off and protecting against one of today’s most concerning public health threats.”
Most staph infections today are caused by antibiotic resistant Staph aureus. The infections can cause serious, sometimes life-threatening illness. The indiscriminate use of antibiotics by doctors has only led to a rapid rise and threatening spread of these resistant germs.
In laboratory tests with mice and human blood, Cedars-Sinai scientists found that vitamin B3 increased by up to 1,000 fold the ability of the immune system to kill staph bacteria. A feat impossible via standard antibiotics. Beyond its findings related to vitamin B3, the study indicates that similar targeting of the CEBPE gene with other compounds may offer a new immune-boosting strategy to fight bacterial infections.
Kyme and Thoennissen turned to vitamin B3, which has been shown to increase the expression of some other genes in the CEBP family. The results: When studied in human blood, clinical doses of the vitamin appeared to virtually wipe out the staph infection in only a few hours.
“There’s more research to be done, but we believe that vitamin B3, and other compounds that are able to increase the activity of this particular gene, have the potential to be effective against other antibiotic-resistant bacteria in addition to strains of staph,” he said.
All the B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning that the body does not store them. The body can meet all of its needs for B3 through diet. However, very high doses of B3 are mostly available by prescription, and have already been proven to prevent high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, alzheimer’s disease and cataracts.
Ironically, patients who are prescribed many antibiotics, are also advised to to avoid vitamin B3 because it interferes with the absorption of the medication.
John Summerly is nutritionist, herbologist, and homeopathic practitioner. He is a leader in the natural health community and consults athletes, executives and most of all parents of children on the benefits of complementary therapies for health and prevention.