Maple Syrup Makes Antibiotics More Effective, Research Shows, So Maybe Superbugs Won't Kill Us After All

Scientists are constantly on the lookout for new antibiotics, and for ways to make existing antibiotics work better, especially now that the spread of stronger germs is a thing we have to worry about. They may have just lucked out, because of all the substances out there, it turns out that maple syrup makes antibiotics more effective. Maybe maple syrup is about to become the newest superfood on the block!

Researchers at McGill University in Montreal, Canada conducted an experiment with maple syrup and antibiotics to determine whether there might be any interaction. Why were they interested in maple syrup in the first place? This plant juice contains phenols, compounds known to have antiseptic and antioxidant properties (they occur in many other foods too). As published in the academic journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, the researchers found that an extract prepared from maple syrup fought the bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections to some extent by itself (as did an antibiotic), but that the combination of maple syrup extract plus the antibiotic worked much better than either alone. Great news, especially for anyone familiar with the excruciating pain of a UTI.

Basically the maple syrup extract helps to make bacteria more porous to antibiotics flooding into their cells, and less effective at fighting off the antibiotic once it's inside (both physically and epigenetically). A few caveats, though: the maple syrup extract was fighting bacteria in a lab dish, not in a woman, so the results in humans remain to be seen.

Additionally, maple syrup in its natural form (not as an extract) contains so much sugar that it might do as much harm as good — there's some evidence that sugar consumption may suppress your immune system. Finally, just because our antibiotics situation might be looking a little less bleak due to research like this, that's no reason to go taking antibiotics (or having sex) irresponsibly now. The history of humanity is a history of our war against dangerous germs, and it's too soon to see who will be the ultimate victor yet.

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