Updated on 23 May 2013
More reasons to eat citrus fruits - Vitamin C triggers reactive oxygen production to kill drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB)
Singapore: Researchers at the Yeshiva University, US, have discovered that vitamin C triggers the production of reactive oxygen species called free radicals, which in turn killed the tuberculosis bacteria. The study found that even drug resistant forms that are untreatable with conventional antibiotics could be isoniazid using vitamin C. The research has been published in Nature Communications.
Dr William Jacobs, lead investigator and professor of microbiology and immunology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University, said that, "We have only been able to demonstrate this in a test tube, and we don't know if it will work in humans and in animals."
He also said, "This would be a great study to consider because we have strains of tuberculosis that we don't have drugs for, and I know that in the laboratory we can kill those strains with vitamin C. It also helps that we know vitamin C is inexpensive, widely available and very safe to use. At the very least, this work shows us a new mechanism that we can exploit to attack TB."
Dr Ibrahim Abubakar, head of TB at Public Health England, said that, "We welcome any new research which will widen our understanding of how to treat TB. While the findings of this study appear promising, further research to confirm the observations would be essential before vitamin C can be used to supplement TB treatment."
Vitamin C, which is also known as ascorbic acid, has several important functions in the body, including protecting cells and keeping them healthy. Good natural sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, blackcurrants and broccoli among others.