Garlic May Cure Drug Resistant MRSA (Superbug)
Garlic took on a tough foe with MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). This hospital terror can resist even the strongest antibiotic, leaving people with painful, weeping, unhealed wounds for YEARS (Hiramatsu et al. 1997, Engemann et al. 2003)! People who enter hospitals or who undergo dialysis are particularly susceptible to picking up an antibiotic resistant strain of MRSA (Zacharioudakis et al. 2014).
Picture: Phillips garlic bulbs, lovely to look at, delicious to eat and deadly to MRSA and food poisoning microbes!
Recent research demonstrated that garlic compounds were effective against MRSA in the lab and in mice (Tsao et al. 2003, Cutler and Wilson 2004, Tsao et al. 2007). Dr. Ron Cutler has taken the lab tests a step further and started using a line of stabilized allicin products on University of East London hospital patients with incurable MRSA (Cutler and Wilson 2004). So far the garlic pills and creams have cured people suffering from MRSA for years within 8-16 weeks. Allicin can be very volatile so Dr Cutler used a stabilized form of allicin called AllicinMAX (disclaimer: Dr. Cutler is involved in the company that makes AllicinMAX. However, all the independent research supports his claims for garlic combating MRSA). Dr. Cutler states that so far several hundred hospital patients have been cured of MRSA.
So far most MRSA studies have focused on allicin as the main MRSA killer in garlic. Research indicates that other compounds in garlic may also be effective. Tsao et al. (2007) looked at the effect of diallyl sulphide (DAS) and diallyl disulphide (DADS) given to diabetic mice infected with MRSA (yes, it is not enough that the poor mice have diabetes...) DAS and DAS had several positive effects showing that they were combating MRSA on multiple levels.
These two garlic compounds decreased MRSA viability. MRSA increases inflammation by increasing concentrations of inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 and TNF-α and decreasing the activity of anti-coagulation factors such as AT-III. Treatment with garlic increased AT-III while lowering concentrations of inflammatory cytokines. Mice treated with DAS and DADS had reduced plasma levels of CRP; fibronectin and fibrinogen, and decreased malondialdehyde levels in the kidney and spleen (this indicates lipid oxidation which is enhanced in MRSA infected mice).
Short answer: go to the hospital. Each year, 1.2 million people catch MRSA as inpatients; 20% of all hospital infections. Around 85% of invasive MRSA infections were acquired in a hospital. The other 15% are aquired in the community.
Up to 1/3 of some people in health care settings (hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes) may be silent carriers of MRSA. The percentage of healthy people who carry MRSA is probably closer to 2-4% (although there isn't a lot of consensus on this figure). Many people carry MRSA without having an active infection. MRSA likes to colonize wet moist places like the nose, under the arms and in the groin.
Naturally people are more susceptible to MRSA if they are sick, have poor immunity, have recently used antibiotics, are in contact with people involved in health care as patients or workers, or have open wounds.
You can catch MRSA through contact with an infected person or by touching something contaminated by MRSA. Commonly contaminated objects in hospitals include bedside rails, toilet seats, TV remotes, blood pressure cuffs and doctors/nurses uniforms (so no grabbing your doctor)! The incubation period is 1-10 days.
MRSA Symptoms: Red swollen painful area in skin with or without pus or leaking. It may look like a large pimple or spider bite. There may be a cluster of these raised bumps. Can be very contagious. Infection may spread to blood and internal organs of the body. Internal infection may cause chest pain, coughing, muscle aches, chills, rashes and fatigue. This can lead to death.
How to prevent MRSA: Hand washing and good hygiene remain the best offense against this superbug. I would suggest avoiding hospitals if at all possible as well (since most people are infected in hospitals). If you or someone you care about ends up in a hospital or care facility make sure all the surrounding surfaces are clean and ask health care providers nicely if they have washed their hands before giving physical exams.
Take home message: Allicin seems to be effective against MRSA. Since allicin is volatile, treatment should be either with a stabilized version of allicin, such as AllicinMAX, or by using freshly crushed garlic applied to the infection several times a day. Eating fresh garlic may also help.
- Cutler RR, Wilson P. Antibacterial activity of a new, stable, aqueous extract of allicin against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Br J Biomed Sci. 2004; 61:71-4. Pubmed. Full text.
- Engemann JJ, Carmeli Y, Cosgrove SE, Fowler VG, Bronstein MZ, Trivette SL, Briggs JP, Sexton DJ, Kaye KS. Adverse Clinical and Economic Outcomes Attributable to Methicillin Resistance among Patients with Staphylococcus aureus Surgical Site Infection. Clin Infect Dis. 2003. 36: 592-598. doi: 10.1086/367653
- Hiramatsu, K., Hanaki, H. & Ino, T. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus clinical strain with reduced vancomycin susceptibility. J Antimicrob Chemother 1997;40:135–136. Full text.
- Tsao SM, Hsu CC, Yin MC. Garlic extract and two diallyl sulphides inhibit methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection in BALB/cA mice. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2003 Dec;52(6):974-80. Pubmed. Full text.
- Tsao SM, Liu WH, Yin MC. Two diallyl sulphides derived from garlic inhibit meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection in diabetic mice. J Med Microbiol. 2007;56:803-8. Pubmed. Full text.
- Zacharioudakis IM1, Zervou FN, Ziakas PD, Mylonakis E. J Am Soc Nephrol. Meta-Analysis of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Colonization and Risk of Infection in Dialysis Patients. 2014 Mar 20. [Epub ahead of print] Pubmed. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2013091028