A ticking public health time bomb is antibiotic resistance. Infections that we currently consider innocuous, such as those that arise in a cut or wound, or maybe cystitis, will kill more people in 2050 than cancer, according to the WHO.
Because bacteria are experts at adapting, this is the case. When their existence is in danger, they change into a better, more resilient form of themselves that is immune to things like antibiotics. As a result, many germs that cause disease today are resistant to drugs.
– There you have it, bacteria. They always manage to do it! Naturally, resistance will develop since that’s how evolution functions, according to professor and director of research Birgitte Kallipolitis, who focuses on germs that cause disease at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at University of Southern Denmark.
Fatty acids’ abilities
And for that reason alone, she agrees with other scientists across the globe that it’s time to develop fresh strategies for combating or neutralizing the bacteria’s unceasing mutations.
She has been researching a certain kind of fatty acid for some time, and it has shown to be intriguing in this situation. To evaluate the impact of these fatty acids, the researchers utilize listeria as a model bacterial organism. Colleagues are conducting comparable studies with cholera and salmonella germs elsewhere in the world.
Not only can the specific fatty acids kill the listeria bacteria in Kallipolitis’ lab, but they can also switch off the bacterium’s capacity to infect and spread illness. This makes the fatty acids intriguing.
Experiments conducted by the researchers have demonstrated that the fatty acids have an antibacterial impact, or the ability to kill listeria germs. This first seems promising, but there is the issue of bacterial mutation; attempting to kill the bacteria just causes it to change into a new, resistant form of itself.
Here’s where fatty acids shine: They have the unique ability to render resistant bacteria harmless, preventing infection altogether.
-Thus, Birgitte Kallipolitis argues, the resistant microbe is no longer one that we must attempt to eradicate; rather, we stop it from proliferating and infecting humans.
Turning off a bacterium’s virulence refers to the idea of preventing it from spreading or infecting us.
A bacteria’s ability to produce adhesins and invasins, which are required for attachment to and entry into cells, is inhibited when the virulence of the bacterium is turned off.
Birgitte Kallipolitis explains that if a listeria bacteria cannot penetrate a cell, it cannot propagate, and no illness would result.
extra assistance for the frail and old
Only when their virulence is turned off are the Listeria bacteria used in Kallipolitis’ research safe. When the fatty acids that inhibit their pathogenicity are removed, bacteria recover their capacity to spread.
But this additional support can be what a patient needs to deal with an illness. According to Birgitte Kallipolitis, antivirulent drugs or supplements may be helpful in preventing infections, particularly in frail and elderly people.
She and her coworkers work with what are referred to as medium and long free fatty acids.
We have concentrated particularly on the free fatty acids palmitoleic acid and lauric acid, which are present in nuts, seeds, plants, milk, and other foods. They exhibit an antivirulent effect in our trials, she claims.
According to Kallipolitis, consuming nuts and seeds that contain lauric acid and palmitoleic acid will not have an antivirulent impact.
– The fatty acids need to be in their free state, which is uncommon in diet. Free fatty acids are available as supplements, however you should be aware that they are often locked and not in the free form.
– It is unknown at this time if ingesting free fatty acids would have the desired impact. It’s possible that the fatty acids are digested before they reach the digestive tract, where numerous resistant bacteria are being fought. She says, “Perhaps we need pharmacists or chemists to figure out how to get the fatty acids to the site of the conflict.”
She underlines that a unique dietary supplement or pill is thus not simply around the corner. A few tests are required before we arrive.