Vitamin C Helps Treat Tuberculosis


A new study conducted by Albert Einstein College of Medicine and published in Nature Communications found that adding Vitamin C to tuberculosis drugs could reduce the time needed for TB therapy.  This innovative intervention could change the course of drug design in the long run if results hold up.

In 2011, Approximately 8.7 million people were infected by TB and over a million people died from the infectious disease.  While the numbers of infection are high, there are a significant amount of people who are not cured with current TB pharmaceutical intervention.  It is estimated that 650,000 people are faced with muti-drug resistant TB currently and in low income countries, this results in up to 95% of TB-related fatalities according to the World Health Organization.

Leading researcher at Albert Einstein College, William Jacobs Jr., Ph.D. found that isnoiazid-resistant TB bacteria had a deficit of the molecule, mycothiol.

Dr. Jacobs explained, “We hypothesized that TB bacteria that can’t make mycothiol might contain more cysteine, an amino acid,” explained Dr. Jacobs.

“So, we predicted that if we added isoniazid and cysteine to isoniazid-sensitive M. tuberculosis in culture, the bacteria would develop resistance. Instead, we ended up killing off the culture – something totally unexpected.”

Ultimately, by implicating that cysteine was destroying the TB bacteria, new interventions can be found.  The mechanism that Vitamin C elicits was found to react in a way that has the potential to destroy the TB bacteria.

Hopefully this will give further  insights into the development of new drugs and provide a gateway to new discoveries for anti-biotic treatments.

Anya Baroff

Anya Baroff received a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and has done extensive travelling to learn about nutrition, health and science around the world. Her love of understanding the unknown and new scientific discovery is what drives her eagerness to learn!