How to Prevent Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Naturally
April 13, 2010
Studies have found that vitamin D plays an important role in mediating immune function via a number of pathways, including enhancing the release of antimicrobial peptides in your skin.
New research now shows that low serum vitamin D levels increase the risk of nasal carriage of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). An estimated 2.7 million people in the U.S. are MRSA nasal carriers.
The relationship held even after adjusting for age, race, recent antibiotic usage, recent hospitalization, and poverty. This means that vitamin D status could be a modifiable risk factor for MRSA carriage and potentially MRSA infection.
Just when you thought vitamin D couldn't possibly be beneficial for anything else, new evidence emerges!
This time, vitamin D tackles one of the most prolific and dreaded antibiotic-resistant bugs out there – methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA.
Vitamin D Acts as a Natural Antibiotic
This study builds upon the already established findings that vitamin D helps regulate your immune system and offers potent protection against infections. It does this by acting on specific genes that in turn produce over 200 anti-microbial peptides that help fight all sorts of bacterial and viral infections.
For example, recent research discovered that vitamin D can counter the effects of Crohn's disease (inflammatory bowel disease) by acting directly on two genes -- the beta defensin 2 gene, which encodes an antimicrobial peptide, and the NOD2 gene that alerts cells to the presence of invading microbes.
Here, they looked specifically at vitamin D's impact on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA); an antibiotic-resistant "superbug" that sickens an estimated 90,000 Americans each year, and claims more lives than HIV/AIDS.
According to the researchers, an estimated 2.7 million Americans, or just over one percent of the population, carry the MRSA virus in their nasal passages. In addition, about 30 percent of people carry MRSA on their skin without any noticeable side effects, and outbreaks have occurred that stemmed from places like schools and public gyms. Your house and even your pets are also places that can harbor and spread this dangerous bacteria.
Finding effective countermeasures to this growing public health threat has turned out few options, but increasing overall vitamin D levels in the population could turn out to be part of the solution.
As you're probably well aware of by now, vitamin D deficiency is more the norm than the exception these days, and according to this study, vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of being a carrier of the MRSA virus.
This echoes previous findings that have linked vitamin D status to a number of infectious diseases.
The Evidence for Vitamin D as a Primary Defense Against Infectious Disease
Over the past several months I've discussed the importance of vitamin D as a prophylactic remedy against infectious diseases such as colds and flu, which typically occur during the season when vitamin D levels in the general population are at their lowest.
At least five studies show an inverse association between lower respiratory tract infections and vitamin D levels. That is, the higher your vitamin D level, the lower your risk of contracting colds, flu, and other respiratory tract infections.
Increased vitamin D levels have also been shown to prevent and treat tuberculosis (which is caused by the tuberculosis bacteria). In fact, several studies have appeared in the last decade, indicating that vitamin D is one of the major keys that dictate whether you will actually develop the disease in the first place.
These studies have all come to the conclusion that vitamin D deficiency sets off the disease if you are a carrier of the bacteria. The more severe your vitamin D deficiency is, the higher your risk of developing the active form of TB.
One previous study was able to show an astonishing 100 percent resolution rate by treating TB patients with 10,000 units of vitamin D daily (compared with the 400 units usually advocated by conventional medicine).
There are even a growing number of studies looking at vitamin D's impact on the HIV virus.
Clearly, science is abuzz with findings of near unimaginable health benefits from vitamin D. The demonization of the sun as the vile cause of deadly skin cancer has unfortunately led to far more health problems than ever imagined when these sun-avoidance recommendations were first implemented.
For a deeper understanding of sunlight's vital role in maintaining optimal health, I recommend watching my free one-hour lecture on the topic.
My book, Dark Deception, also delves into the numerous health benefits of safe and appropriate sun exposure. Previous studies have actually found that more than one million people die every year from lack of sun exposure and subsequent vitamin D deficiency, so fear of the sun is really something that needs to be overcome.
The book takes an in-depth look at all of the various issues relating to sunscreen, cancer, vitamin D, and sunlight -- and exposes why the conventional wisdom to stay out of the sun is dead wrong.
Another great article I suggest you read through is William Faloon's piece in Life Extension Magazine, titled Millions of Needless Deaths.
In it he explains how raising vitamin D levels could slash US health care costs by TENS OF BILLIONS of dollars each year. For example, vitamin D has been shown to reduce heart attack rates by an impressive 142 percent – a far cry from Lipitor's claim of reducing heart attacks by 37 percent.
The reduction in heart attacks alone could save the US health care system $84 billion per year, and that's not including any of the other diseases that vitamin D has been proven to affect, which includes everything from diabetes to cancer to infectious disease…
VitaminD.Mercola.com: New Resource for all the Latest Vitamin D News
If you've been reading this newsletter for any amount of time, you've probably realized just how passionate I am about vitamin D. I believe optimizing your vitamin D levels may be one of the simplest, most effective ways you can significantly improve your health.
Because it is so vital to your health, I've recently added a special section to my website dedicated exclusively to keeping my readers updated on all the late-breaking vitamin D news.
VitaminD.Mercola.com provides you with important vitamin D resources you can't easily find on the web, such as articles, tips and an online forum that will help you avoid vitamin D deficiency and lead a healthier life.
I encourage you to bookmark this link and visit it often to stay on top of all the latest research and guidance on optimizing and maintaining your vitamin D levels.
How Vitamin D Performance Testing Can Help Optimize Your Health
Additionally, a robust and growing body of research clearly shows that vitamin D is absolutely critical for good health and disease prevention. Vitamin D affects your DNA through vitamin D receptors (VDRs), which bind to specific locations of the human genome. Scientists have identified nearly 3,000 genes that are influenced by vitamin D levels, and vitamin D receptors have been found throughout the human body.
Is it any wonder then that no matter what disease or condition is investigated, vitamin D appears to play a crucial role? This is why I am so excited about the D*Action Project by GrassrootsHealth. It is showing how you can take action today on known science with a consensus of experts without waiting for institutional lethargy. It has shown how by combining the science of measurement (of vitamin D levels) with the personal choice of taking action and, the value of education about individual measures that one can truly be in charge of their own health.
In order to spread this health movement to more communities, the project needs your involvement. This was an ongoing campaign during the month of February, and will become an annual event.
To participate, simply purchase the D*Action Measurement Kit and follow the registration instructions included. (Please note that 100 percent of the proceeds from the kits go to fund the research project. I do not charge a single dime as a distributor of the test kits.)
As a participant, you agree to test your vitamin D levels twice a year during a five-year study, and share your health status to demonstrate the public health impact of this nutrient. There is a $65 fee every six months for your sponsorship of this research project, which includes a test kit to be used at home, and electronic reports on your ongoing progress. You will get a follow up email every six months reminding you "it's time for your next test and health survey."