One of the Breakthrough Benefits of Vitamin C - It Kills TB

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Researchers have made a startling discovery about the benefits of Vitamin C - Vitamin C kills drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) in the lab. The study by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in NYC was published  in May 2013's issue of Nature Communications.

The discovery has potentially huge ramifications for the 8.7 million people worldwide infected with TB, of which 650,000  have the multi-drug resistant kind. In 2011, according to the World Health Organization, 1.4 million died of the disease making it one of the most significant public health issues going. Improving the currently available drugs for TB is just one of the benefits this discovery might herald.

The researchers were examining the function of certain drugs' effects on TB bacteria when they stumbled on the fact that Vitamin C alone killed outright both the drug resistant strain of TB as well as the drug susceptible type. According to the researchers, it appears that Vitamin C combines with iron to transform itself into a free radical (aka a reactive oxygen species) that kills the TB bacterium. This process is known as the Fenton reaction and opens new venues for combating the disease.

The benefits of Vitamin C in this arena are obvious. Vitamin C is inexpensive, widely available and has minimal side effects. 95% of the TB -related deaths come from from low and middle income countries. A cheap and effective solution to this killer might make a huge difference to those suffering its worst effects but least able to fight it.

While Vitamin C's effectiveness is acknowledged when it comes to immune support generally, it is rare for it to be so convincingly linked to fighting  a specific condition with its disease fighting mechanisms so clearly observed. The researchers hope to get funding to repeat these experiments in clinical trials in humans.

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