MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria live in the nasal passages of an estimated 2.5 million people. According to recent research, the number would be higher if not for coffee and tea drinkers. Drinking hot coffee and hot tea is associated with a 50% lower risk of carrying the bacteria. Details are critical in this particular relationship, as the hot temperature plays a role; the lower risk does not hold for drinkers of cold coffee and tea. Quantity is also critical, as those who drank more of the hot beverages had lower risks. The webmd article by Denise Mann mentioned that more studies need to look into the mechanisms which cause the benefit of MRSA reduction. MRSA is called a superbug because of its resistance to antibiotics. Immune system-challenged people are more susceptible to the bacteria and the illnesses it can cause, which develop when the bacteria contacts an open skin wound. The theory attempting to explain the coffee/tea relationship is that the antimicrobial properties of coffee and tea help to destabilize and weaken the MRSA bug. Because of the heat relationship, it’s possible that the vapors breathed in by the drinker provide the benefit. Or, on the other hand, it may be that the icing of coffee and tea destroy the beneficial compounds in the beverages. Mann quotes one doctor as commenting “Tea and coffee do have antimicrobial properties, but antibiotics, which have massive microbial properties, don't work at eliminating MRSA.” The article doesn’t respond to this remark. If Mann had responded, she could have stated the following. It’s clear that there is a positive correlation between drinking hot coffee and tea and a lower risk of MRSA superbugs taking up residence in one’s nose. It’s also agreed that coffee and tea have antimicrobial properties. We’ve previously learned that no one really knows all the compounds in coffee. Man-made antibiotics on the other hand, are limited. What the chemists put in them is what you get, and one weakness with them is that they create bugs that are resistant to the antibiotics. In a natural substance such as coffee, the same resistance doesn’t seem to develop. The obvious conclusion is that the antibiotic value of coffee and tea is far superior to that of pharmaceutical antibiotics. When the additional research is finished, we may just find out what the natural substances in the coffee and tea are that are so beneficial. That will possibly explain the mystery of what it is about natural substances that are so superior to synthesized substances in fighting superbugs. Until then, brew antimicrobially.
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