Spoonful of Sugar Will Make Bacteria Go Away

First-line antibiotics for chronic bacterial infections may be enhanced by sugar

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Sugar can be added to anything to make it sweeter. We all know that candy is the number one "medication" for all children. Adults like sweets just as much as children do.

We also know that urinary tract and staph infections are difficult to get rid of sometimes. Current research says otherwise! The study's rsearchers suggest that adding sugar to antibiotics will help kill bacteria.

"Sugar helps kill persistent bacteria."

James Collins from Boston University studied the effects sugar would have on antibiotics. Chronic and recurrent infections are caused by bacteria that have the ability to survive "antibiotic onslaught" by hiding. These bacteria eventually will come back out of hiding and be stronger and more aggressive.

This persistent bacteria eventually causes infections to last longer than they need. Collins and colleagues found that adding sugar to antibiotics will make antibiotics work better against persistent bacteria. The sugar stimulates the bacteria to act normally and not hide making them more susceptible to the antibiotics.

A study was done with E. coli, which is a common cause of urinary tract infections, and antibiotics with and without sugar. The sugar added antibiotics killed 99.9 percent of the persistent bacteria within two hours. Another study was done similarly with Staphylococcus aureus.

More studies need to be done to see if the added sugar to antibiotics will work on tuberculosis.

The Study

  • Sugar additives to antibiotic kills E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus
  • Works by acting against bacterial persisters, bacteria able to switch to power-save mode while rest of bacteria die
  • Inexpensive and effective method of enhancing already existing antibiotics
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Review Date: 
May 12, 2011
Last Updated:
May 15, 2011