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Vitamin B3 May Offer Protection Against Infections

Laboratory studies on animals and human bloods demonstrate that high doses of vitamin B3 (nicotinamide) may be able to kill antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus (staph) bacteria and other “superbugs.” These infections, which are sometimes resistant to antibiotic treatment, have killed thousands of patients, posing a significant threat to public health.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, UCLA, and other institutions. It was supported by several grants from the National Institutes of Health and was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The investigators found that megadoses of vitamin B3 increased the ability of immune cells to kill staph bacteria by 1,000 times. These therapeutic levels (for medical purposes), which are far beyond the amounts provided by any normal diet, are doses that have already been used safely in humans. They found that clinical doses of the vitamin help fight infection by increasing the numbers and efficacy of a specialized type of white blood cell called “neutrophils,” that can kill harmful bacteria.

Adrian Gombart, an associate professor in OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute says that nicotinamide may be used in combination with current antibiotics as a new way of treating resistant infection. However, he adds that evidence is still lacking on the beneficial effects of using conventional-strength supplements of vitamin B3 in preventing or treating bacterial infection.

Co- authors Pierre Kyme and Nils Thoennissen found that using clinical doses of vitamin B3 in human blood appeared to eliminate staph infection in only a few hours. Dr. George Liu, an infectious disease expert at Cedars-Sinai and co-author on the study, states that using this vitamin could help reduce people’s dependence on antibiotics.


Oregon State University. Vitamin B3 may offer new tool in fight against staph infections, ‘superbugs’. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2012.

Posted in: Antibiotics, Vitamins and Minerals

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