Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest public health challenges of our time. According to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), at least 2 million people get an antibiotic-resistant infection, and at least 23,000 people die.
Fortunately, scientists at the University of Surrey have discovered that a natural antioxidant commonly found in green tea can help eliminate antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Aztreonam is an antibiotic commonly used to treat infections caused by the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the main cause of swimmer’s ear.
P. aeruginosa is linked with serious respiratory tract and bloodstream infections. In recent years, it has been more and more difficult to get rid of P. aeruginosa because it has become resistant to many major classes of antibiotics.
Although doctors are trying to apply combination of antibiotics against P. aeruginosa, the infections are also becoming increasingly difficult to treat. At this point, the use of green tea merged, because it contains a substance called epigallocatechin (EGCG), which can restore the activity of aztreonam, the antibiotic against P. aeruginosa.
How well EGCG and aztreonam cooperate
To assess the synergy of EGCG and aztreonam, researchers designed experiments to see how they interacted with the P. aeruginosa, individually and in combination.
The result showed that the combination of aztreonam and EGCG was significantly more effective at reducing P. aeruginosa numbers than applying the two substances alone.
Lead author Dr. Jonathan Betts said: "Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a serious threat to global public health. Without effective antibiotics, the success of medical treatments will be compromised. We urgently need to develop novel antibiotics in the fight against AMR. Natural products such as EGCG, used in combination with currently licensed antibiotics, may be a way of improving their effectiveness and clinically useful lifespan."
Apart from antioxidant against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, green tea benefits human bodies in multiple ways.
Compounds in green tea can improve brain function and make you smarter, because green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can work synergistically with caffeine in it to improve brain function. It may also protect your brain from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Green tea increases fat burning and improves physical performance since some studies showed that it can boost the metabolic rate in the short term.
The antioxidants in green tea may also lower your risk of some types of cancer. Considering the advantages green tea offers you, it may be a good idea to have a nice cup at your daily coffee break.