Scientists have found a new weapon in the fight against antibiotic resistance – fish oil.
They discovered a link between the role of normal cod liver oil in breaking down the ability of super bacteria to work against the drug.
Research conducted by Flinders University in Australia, published in the international journal mBio, found that the antimicrobial properties of the fatty acids in the oil could help people taking antibiotics fight infections more easily. Cod liver oil and other fish oils can be found in supermarkets, pharmacies and health food stores in the UK for as little as £ 2.49.
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“In the experiments and additional supercomputer models, we found that these fatty acids in fish oil make the bacteria more susceptible to various common antibiotics,” said the microbiologist Dr. Bart Eijkelkamp, who heads the Bacterial Host Adaptation Research Laboratory at Flinders University.
The World Health Organization has warned that antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest threats to global health, food security and development today.
The misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process and a growing number of infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhea and salmonellosis are becoming increasingly difficult to treat.
Antibiotic resistance leads to longer hospital stays, higher medical treatment costs and higher death rates.
Antibiotic resistance is the “silent pandemic” the world has to deal with, says the former chief doctor
Research is crucial in the area of infectious diseases caused by bacteria such as Acinetobacter baumannii, a leading hospital-acquired pathogen with unprecedented antibiotic resistance around the world.
“With the advent of superbacteria, we have now been able to show that greedy bacteria cannot distinguish between ‘good and bad’ host fatty acids and consume them all during an infection,” says another co-author, Dr. Felise Adams from Flinders University.
“Our research has shown that fish oil fatty acids become part of the bacterial membrane, making the invading bacterial membrane more permeable and more susceptible to the antibiotics that attack them.”