Credit: © luckybusiness / Fotolia

Credit: © luckybusiness / Fotolia

Manuka honey fights deadly C. Difficile infections

Manuka honey fights deadly C. Difficile infections, according to new research from Elisabeth-TweeSteden Hospital in the Netherlands.

Antibiotic resistance has become one of the world’s biggest epidemics. Antibiotics are being way overprescribed and overused, which causes superbugs, or bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

Clostridicum difficile (C. Difficile) infections are not just resistant to antibiotics, they are actually caused by them as well.

C. Difficile occurs from depletion of good gut bacteria, which is caused by antibiotics. This leads to an overgrowth of bad bacteria, which would normally be kept in check by good gut bacteria.

The study researchers described C. Difficile infections as follows:

Clostridium difficile-associated disease is an increasingly common health problem. C. difficile is a causative agent of antibiotic associated pseudomembranous colitis, antibiotic-associated colitis and antibiotic-associated diarrhea. C. difficile overgrowth usually occurs during antibiotic therapy as the normal gastrointestinal flora is disrupted. Discontinuation of antibiotics does not lead to symptomatic improvement, and new strains of the pathogen have a substantial failure rate after therapy cessation.”

C. Difficile has become a serious problem in the U.S., with an estimated 453,000 cases diagnosed each year. In 2011, there were 29,000 deaths associated with the infection.

The researchers of the study, along with previous research found that Manuka honey has potent antibacterial effects. They also found that Manuka has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

The study also reported the following story from a woman who showed improvements from Manuka honey:

Here we describe, to the best of our knowledge, the first case of therapy-resistant CDI with complete resolution of symptoms following bowel lavage with diluted honey. A 71-year-old woman was seen at the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Outpatient Clinic of Elisabeth-TweeSteden Hospital (Tilburg, The Netherlands) presenting with frequent watery stools and faecal incontinence. Results of laboratory investigations and colonoscopy showed CDI. The patient was initially treated with vancomycin. However, diarrhoea persisted during treatment and concurrent therapy with metronidazole resulted in adverse side effects. Consequently, the patient was treated with fidaxomicin and following 10 days of antibiotic therapy she experienced a decrease in symptoms.

However, 1 day after cessation of therapy the patient exhibited a relapse of watery stools. The relapsing nature of the infection dictated continuous antibiotic therapy over months with relapse of diarrhoea immediately after cessation of fidaxomicin. Treatment with FMT was discussed; however, the patient refused this approach in therapy.

As an alternative, the patient was offered a therapeutic intervention with commercially available manuka honey with UMF 26+ and received a 300 mL endoscopic honey lavage with a solution of 8% honey, administered throughout the entire colon. Following initial lavage treatment the patient remained symptom free for 5 days before frequent watery stools re-occurred.

A second lavage of the colon and terminal ileum was administered with 15% honey solution, after which the patient experienced complete cessation of watery stools and has remained symptom free for 12 months. Further stool analysis following treatment failed to identify C. difficile following the procedure. This case report demonstrates the possible therapeutic value of honey lavage as a treatment for therapy-resistant CDI, indicating the need for more clinical research into this matter.

The study showing that Manuka honey fights deadly C. Difficile infections was published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents.

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REFERENCES:
1. “Exotic Honey Comes To Rescue In Fighting Deadly C. Difficile Infections.” GreenMedInfo.com. GreenMedInfo.com, 02 July 2015. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.
2. “Successful Treatment of Persistent Clostridium Difficile Infection with Manuka Honey.” International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.

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