NAM (the abbreviation for “nicotinamide”) is one of several closely related nutrients that together are known as “Vitamin
B3”. Since they are to some extent interconverted in the body, one can use any of them as nutrients to fulfill the basic need
for this vitamin, which plays an indispensable role in energy metabolism. However, each form of the vitamin plays additional
roles besides that in metabolism; these other roles depend on which form of the vitamin one uses. NAM, in particular, has
long been known to be an anti-inflammatory, with anti-bacterial properties that have remained unexplained until very recently.
These anti-bacterial properties are unique to the NAM form of the vitamin, and are not obtainable from other forms of vitamin
Despite the name “nicotinamide”, this form of vitamin B3 has biological effects unrelated to the tobacco alkaloid nicotine.
They are chemically different substances; NAM has no addictive or habit-forming properties whatsoever.
Staphylococcus aureus is the most common species of staphylococcus to cause “staph” infections. It can cause illnesses ranging from minor skin
infections to major life-threatening conditions. The bacteria can infect many kinds of tissue: skin, bones, muscle, vascular
and respiratory tissues, etc. Examples of such infections include: pimples, boils, abscesses in skin, muscle and bones, impetigo,
flesh-eating disease, cellulitis folliculitis, carbuncles, scalded skin syndrome, pneumonia, meningitis, inflammation of the
heart, toxic shock syndrome, bacteremia, and sepsis.
Pictures of staph infections can be seen on Google Images — but be forewarned: many of these images are appalling and depressing.
A significant portion of the population are long-term carriers of S. aureus. Since these bacteria are carried on the skin and in the nose, they are deposited on surfaces, handles, and railings everywhere,
and exposure to them is impossible to avoid. Some strains of these bacteria can survive for hours to weeks, or even months,
on dry or wet surfaces.
Hundreds of thousands of patients in American hospitals contract staphylococcal infections every year, and many millions of people contract infections outside of hospitals.
The presence of S. aureus on skin or nasal passages does not always indicate infection or require treatment. But when infection does occur, treatment
is needed immediately, since some infections proceed rapidly and devastatingly.
S. aureus infections may spread from person to person by skin-to-skin contact with an infected person, or contact with objects such
as towels, sheets, clothing, or athletic equipment used by an infected person. Prosthetic joints put a person at particular
risk for septic arthritis, staphylococcal endocarditis (infection of the heart valves), and pneumonia.
Methicillin-resistant S. aureus, abbreviated MRSA, is one of a number of greatly feared strains of S. aureus which have become resistant to most antibiotics. A recent study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute showed that
nearly half (47%) of the meat and poultry in U.S. grocery stores were contaminated with S. aureus, with more than half (52%) of those bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
Since MRSA infections are difficult or impossible to treat with drugs, they can be extremely destructive to the body, and
can result in amputations, major disfigurements, and death.
Why have resistant strains of Staphylococcus become such a threat? Several factors are often cited as explanations, all of them probably true:
- First, the antibiotics that have until recent years been effective in treating staph infections have been used so widely and
so carelessly, and for so long a period, that the bacteria have become resistant to them.
- Second, government regulatory agencies have put so many obstacles in the path of drug development that pharmaceutical companies
have been discouraged from developing new kinds of antibiotics.
- Third, although the threat from MRSA has been foreseen for decades, politicians and medical bureaucrats failed to take the
threat seriously enough; regulatory policy changes and research programs that could have averted the growing catastrophe were
not undertaken in a timely way.
Where does this leave the public?
It leaves us to some extent having to fend for ourselves. We are starting to be overwhelmed by diseases that were thought
to have been brought under control decades ago, and could have been kept under control had the medical and political system
acted sensibly. Despite huge strides in understanding infectious diseases and their underlying genetic and molecular details,
and despite paying vast amounts of money for medical services and medical research, the medical system is now scrambling to
find ways to deal with this ominous situation, and many people are dying or being maimed by uncontrollable infections.
Fortunately, a few very smart researchers are investigating alternate treatments for MRSA infections — treatments that are
already available on the open market.
In August of 2012 an article by Pierre Kyme, and colleagues, appeared in a medical journal describing the use of nicotinamide
(NAM) to treat Staphylococcus infections. The article provides a detailed explanation of how NAM acts upon the genetic regulators controlling the body’s immune cells.
These researchers showed that in mice with MRSA-like staph infections, NAM treatment reduced blood levels of S. aureus bacteria to one thousandth of the levels in untreated mice in less than 3 days. The treatment also worked in human blood
samples infected with S. aureus.
Should we be surprised that a common, inexpensive vitamin shows promise as a life-saving infection-fighter? Not really. NAM
has a long history of usage for treating less serious skin infections in which milder forms of S. aureus play a role.
Is this an approved treatment?
Research into NAM as a treatment for resistant staph infections is clearly in its earliest stages. It would therefore be premature
to claim that it is a proven treatment for these infections. Nevertheless, the best evidence we have at this time clearly shows that NAM does stimulate the specific types of immune cells that fight these infections. Since NAM is available, affordable, and completely
safe, it makes sense to keep some on hand in case of emergency.
Rezistaf NAM should not be thought of as a substitute for seeing a physician about a new skin infection, but it can serve
as a back-up in case a physician cannot see you immediately, or prescribes an ineffective antibiotic.
Dosage and duration
How much NAM is needed to have a killing effect on S. aureus in humans? Pierre Kyme’s group discusses this question in some detail. They conclude that a dose of about 5 grams per day
(80 mg/kg/day) would be reasonable, given the limited data available at this time. NAM is quite safe to consume at considerably
higher doses than this, so there is little reason to worry about toxicity.
The 5-gram daily dose (10 tablets of Rezistaf) should be divided into two or more portions consumed hours apart.
Although NAM is used as an immune-system stimulator, not as an antibiotic, the same rules apply: do not discontinue NAM usage
as soon as visible signs of infection diminish or disappear (assuming that they do diminish). Unless the staph bacteria are
completely gone, the remaining bacteria may make a come-back, and these will be the staph strains that are more resistant to your immune
system. Since you should be consulting a physician, and probably using an antibiotic treatment in conjunction with NAM, your
physician should be able to tell you when it is safe to end the regimen. Be prepared for a regimen lasting 30 days, perhaps
longer. That means at least 300 tablets of Rezistaf at 500 mg each.