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Maple Syrup Extract: A Natural Way to Enhance Antibiotic Action

Maple Syrup Extract: A Natural Way to Enhance Antibiotic Action

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  • Maple syrup extract can be used to help fight antibiotic resistance, claims a new study
  • Phenolic compounds in maple extract can boost the antibiotic strength
  • Maple syrup can also be used to reduce chronic inflammation and increase the number of healthy bacteria in the gut

Antibiotics are medications that are prescribed to fight disease-causing bacteria. However, high doses of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance, which is the ability of the microbes to withstand the effects of an antibiotic. Now, a research team has found that maple syrup could be used to reduce the use of antibiotics and increase the potency of these drugs.

Maple Syrup to Fight Antibiotic Resistance

Maple syrup is a natural product that is extracted directly from the sap of the maple tree. It is rich in beneficial polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals. Numerous studies have been conducted to identify the health benefits of maple syrup. One such research is the effect of maple extract in fighting antibiotic resistance.


Antibiotic resistance is a global threat to public health and scientists have been conducting studies to fight antibiotic resistance. Research conducted by Nathalie Tufenkji, Ph.D. from McGill University conducted a study to find the antimicrobial activity of maple syrup.

"Native populations in Canada have long used maple syrup to fight infections," said Tufenkji. We conducted the research to find out the science behind maple syrup.

Tufenkji had previously conducted a study on the antimicrobial effects of cranberry extract and learned of the anti-cancer properties of a phenolic maple syrup extract."That gave me the idea to check its antimicrobial activity," says Tufenkji.

The research team used an extraction approach to separate the sugar and water from the syrup's phenolic compounds, which contribute to maple syrup's golden hue.

The research team conducted two tests to find the effect of maple syrup extract on antibiotics. In the first test, the team exposed several disease-causing bacterial strains to the maple extract, but there was no effect.

In the second test, the team checked if maple syrup extract could enhance the antimicrobial property of the commonly used antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin and carbenicillin. The team found a synergistic effect when combining phenolic extract with either of these medicines.

The team conducted the experiment on a variety of bacterial strains including E. coli, which causes gastrointestinal problems; Proteus mirabilis, which causes urinary tract infections and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is responsible for infections often acquired by patients in hospitals.

Effect of Maple Extract

The research team also tested the effect of the maple extract in fruit flies and moth larvae. The team dosed fly food with pathogenic bacteria and antibiotic with maple extract and also tested the fly food without the extract.

The flies fed with phenolic extract lived longer than flies fed without phenolic extract. A similar outcome was observed with the moth larvae.

How Does Maple Extract Enhance the Potency of Antibiotics?

The research team conducted experiments to figure out how the maple syrup extract makes antibiotics work better. They found that the extract increased the permeability of the bacteria, which helps antibiotics gain access to the interior of bacterial cells and destroy them. Another experiment showed that the maple extract might disable the bacterial pump that removes antibiotics from these cells.

Currently, the effect of maple extract on antibiotics is tested in mice. "It is likely to be years before maple extract would be available to patients as a prescribed medical protocol, and it needs to be purified further to avoid any potential allergic reactions," said Tufenkji.

"There are other products out there that boost antibiotic strength, but maple extract may be the only one that comes from nature," added Tufenkji.

The research team presented their study at the 253rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Other Benefits of Maple Syrup

A study conducted by a research team at the University of Rhode Island, revealed that maple syrup contains inulin, a complex carbohydrate that acts as a prebiotic and encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Antibiotic treatment can alter the gut flora. Maple syrup can increase healthy gut flora, which helps boost the immune system. "A healthy gut, with a balance of beneficial bacteria, helps to stimulate and support a healthy immune system. A healthy immune system, then, can help protect the body against chronic inflammation," said Dr. Navindra Seeram, Chairman of the Division of Agricultural and Food Chemistry of the American Chemical Society.

"Chronic inflammation has been shown to have a potential link to brain conditions such as Alzheimer's disease. As such, this research provides additional information linking pure maple syrup, a unique natural sweetener, to brain health. However, additional animal studies, along with eventual human studies, would be required to confirm these initial findings."

A phenolic molecule found in maple syrup called Quebecol significantly decreases the production of inflammation mediators.

Reference :
  1. No more 'superbugs'? Maple syrup extract enhances antibiotic action - (https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2017/april/no-more-superbugs-maple-syrup-extract-enhances-antibiotic-action.html?_ga=1.83248342.1906786091.1486989358)

Source: Medindia

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