Marmite contains a bug busting ingredient that could be the key to beating the deadly superbug MRSA. Niacin (vitamin B3) has been found to boost the body's defences against Staphylococcus bacteria and improve the immune system's ability to beat various different bugs by up to 1,000 times.
Experts hope that this discovery could be a turning point in the battle against antibiotic-resistant bugs, such as MRSA, that pose a threat in hospitals. But though it's rich in B vitamins, including the key niacin, Marmite is not rich enough alone to provide its lovers with the full benefits the study found.
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To experience the immune boost, researchers used clinical 'megadoses' of niacin, far beyond what's absorbed in a normal diet. And currently the findings have also only been on mice and human blood samples, requiring more investigation.
Lead researcher Dr Adrian Gombart, from Oregon State University in the US, said: ''This is potentially very significant, although we still need to do human studies.
''Antibiotics are wonder drugs, but they face increasing problems with resistance by various types of bacteria, especially Staphylococcus aureus.
''This could give us a new way to treat staph infections that can be deadly, and might be used in combination with current biotics. It's a way to tap into the power of the innate immune system and stimulate it to provide a more powerful and natural immune response.''
But before we're tempted to start scoffing Marmite and vitamin pills, Gombart also stressed that there was no evidence that B vitamins in ordinary diets and normal-strength B3 supplements had a similar effect.