Good news: Maple syrup fights bacteria, makes antibiotics more effective

maple syrup bottle
CC BY 2.0 Lloyd Alter/ Hmm, almost out of the local stuff

I still had the taste of my morning oatmeal with Dorset's finest maple syrup in my mouth when I read this new reason to love the stuff: it fights infection causing bacteria. Professor Nathalie Tufenkji of McGill University of Montreal and her team found that combining phenolic compounds from maple syrup extract with antibiotics made them more effective against bacteria. According to McGill University's press release,

The researchers tested the extract’s effect in the laboratory on infection-causing strains of certain bacteria, including E. coli and Proteus mirabilis (a common cause of urinary tract infection). By itself, the extract was mildly effective in combating bacteria. But the maple syrup extract was particularly effective when applied in combination with antibiotics.

People have known for years that maple syrup was full 54 beneficial compounds with similar anti-inflammatory or anti-oxidant properties as blueberries, green tea and other "superfoods", But the effect on antibiotics is new. Tufenkji describes how it might be used:

The findings suggest a potentially simple and effective approach for reducing antibiotic usage. I could see maple syrup extract being incorporated eventually, for example, into the capsules of antibiotics.

Inside the capsules? What a waste.

Sister site MNN covered this story too, and suggests that "this might help to slow the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria."

Tags: Canada | Health

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