Doctors have discovered that adding sugar to antibiotics
increases their ability to knock out persistent staph infections (abstract
). Certain types of bacteria called persisters shut down their metabolic processes when exposed to antibiotics. Adding sugar keeps the bacteria feeding, making them more susceptible to drugs. From the article: "Adding such a simple and widely available compound to existing antibiotics enhances their effectiveness against persisters, and fast. One test showed that a sugared up antibiotic could eliminate 99.9 percent of persisters in two hours, while a regular antibiotic did nothing. Doctors believe that this discovery will help treat urinary tract infections, staph infections, and strep throat, but its most life-saving application may be against the age-old disease tuberculosis. This infection of the lungs kills many people, and is hard to fight off. A little sugar could help save a lot of lives."