DIRECTORY

Ask Dr. Zarkov

Q:I’ve been seeing a lot of awful news stories about flesh-eating bacteria and antibiotic resistance. Should I start preparing for a future bacterial onslaught?

A:The onslaught is not just in the “future” — it is already well underway. And yes, we should all be preparing for the very real possibility that we may get infected with a resistant strain of virulent bacteria.

As discussed in LifeLink’s article entitled “Invasion of the Body Snackers”,1 the most immediate and ominous current threat from antibiotic-resistant bacteria comes from “staph” infections — i.e., infections due to the common bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. This bacterium can produce devastating infections,3 and threatens to take our civilization back to the medical “Dark Ages” that preceded the invention of antibiotics.

Staph bacteria are found everywhere. You can’t avoid coming into contact with them; you can only hope that when you do, they don’t take hold in your body. And if they do take hold, you can hope that the strain you are infected with is not resistant to all available antibiotics.

But even if you have the misfortune to get infected with a highly resistant strain of “staph”, there is still hope. Thanks to a group of keen researchers led by Pierre Kyme at UCLA, it is now known that our immune system’s ability to fight antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria can be enhanced by higher-than-normal levels of nicotinamide — a derivative of the vitamin niacin.4

Nicotinamide (NAM) is an inexpensive supplement that can be kept on hand just in case of a staph infection. It is not itself an antibiotic (and, despite its name, it has no nicotine-like effects). NAM should not be thought of as a substitute for regular medical treatment — it is a back-up in case regular medical treatment fails.

I keep a bottle of LifeLink’s nicotinamide product, Rezistaf, on hand for each member of my household. I do not use it as a preventative, but if I ever get a skin infection that looks even remotely like a staph infection, I will immediately start using this supplement at 10 tablets per day while pursuing regular medical treatment at the same time.

For more information on nicotinamide and the “staph” menace, see LifeLink’s monograph for Rezistaf.1 I also recommend Frank Swain’s article on antibiotic resistance in The Guardian online newspaper.2

Last modified 2013.Mar.23

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this “Ask Dr. Zarkov” article contains no medical advice whatsoever — it contains biological information. Nothing in the article constitutes an effort to persuade readers to use, or not to use, this biological information as a basis for action.