The antibacterial healing power of Manuka honey has long been known in naturopathy. The honey could be used in the future to treat dangerous bacterial lung infections without many side effects.
Manuka Honey to fight Mycobacterium abscessus
By combining natural Manuka honey with a widely used drug, it seems possible to treat drug-resistant and potentially fatal lung infections while minimizing side effects that occur at the same time.
In a new study involving experts from Aston University, Manuka honey was successfully used to inhibit the pathogen Mycobacterium abscessus and a number of drug-resistant clinical isolates in vitro. The study results were published in the journal Microbiology.
Kill Mycobacterium abscessus by combined treatment
The team used samples of the bacterium Mycobacterium abscessus previously collected from 16 people with cystic fibrosis. The researchers then investigated what dosage of the antibiotic amikacin is necessary together with manuka honey to kill the bacteria present.
In the study, a lung model and a so-called nebulizer were used in a laboratory. This device is often used to inhale medications due to its ability to create fine droplets of liquid, allowing them to travel deeper into the airways.
Effective treatment with fewer side effects / lung infections
This combined treatment was shown to have the potential to kill the highly drug-resistant pathogens. This was true even when manuka honey was combined with low doses of amikacin, resulting in fewer side effects than usual treatment, the researchers report.
The combined treatment not only increases the likelihood that those affected will survive, it also leads to fewer side effects thanks to fewer antibiotics required, which has a positive effect on the quality of life of those treated, according to the team.
The usual dosage of amikacin is actually 16 micrograms per milliliter and the combination with manuka honey can reduce this dose to just two micrograms per milliliter.
How dangerous is Mycobacterium abscessus? / Manuka Honey
Mycobacterium abscessus is a bacterial pathogen in the same family as tuberculosis that causes serious lung infections in people (particularly children) with pre-existing lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis, and also causes skin and soft tissue infections, the team said.
A major problem in the fight against Mycobacterium abscessus is its inherent resistance to drugs. According to the researchers, current treatment regimens therefore require a long period of time and the use of several antibiotics.
Such a 12-month treatment is usually associated with severe side effects and has little chance of success, the experts explain.
“To date, treatment of Mycobacterium abscessus lung infections has been problematic due to its drug resistance. The various antibiotics required to fight the infection result in serious side effects,” study author Victoria Nolan said in a press release.
According to the expert, the combination of amikacin and manuka honey represents a promising approach for improved therapy for dangerous lung infections. “There is a need for better treatment outcomes and we hope that this potential treatment can be tested further in the future,” adds Nolan added.
“By combining an all-natural ingredient like Manuka honey with amikacin, one of the most important but also most toxic drugs used to treat Mycobacterium abscessus, we found a way to kill these bacteria with eight times less drugs than previously,” explains study author Dr. Jonathan Cox.
Improved strategy in the treatment of cystic fibrosis
The results of the study pave the way for future research that could ultimately lead to a change in strategy for the treatment of cystic fibrosis.
In addition, they demonstrate the benefits of manuka honey when incorporated into the treatment of respiratory infections with antibiotics, according to the research team.
Manuka Honey Lung Infections…