Vitamin B3 fights, protects against MRSA

August 29, 2012

Nicotinamide, better known as vitamin B3, may be capable of combating some antibiotic-resistant staph infections that threaten public health globally, according to a study.

National report - Nicotinamide, better known as vitamin B3, may be capable of combating some antibiotic-resistant staph infections that threaten public health globally, according to a study.

Researchers with institutions around the country found that high doses of vitamin B3 increased the numbers and efficacy of neutrophils, a specialized type of white blood cell that can kill and eat harmful bacteria, Newswise reports. Vitamin B3 was given at megadose levels far beyond what any normal diet would provide, yet in amounts that have been used safely in humans for other medical purposes.

The investigators found that high doses of vitamin B3 increased by 1,000 the ability of immune cells to kill methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The study, which was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, involved work on laboratory animals and with human blood.

The findings are significant, study authors said, as vitamin B3 may offer a new way to treat potentially deadly staph infections in combination with current antibiotics.

There is no evidence that normal diets or conventional-strength B3 supplements would have any effect in preventing or treating bacterial infection, researchers noted, and people should not start taking high doses of the vitamin.

The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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