Science Update

Garlic may help combat drug resistant bacterial strains associated with UTIs

According to new research conducted at the Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences in India garlic extract may be an effective antimicrobial agent against drug resistant strains of pathogenic bacteria associated with urinary tract infections (UTIs). This offers a viable alternative to antibacterial resistance.

Urinary tract infections are one of the most common bacterial infections and are often caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli).  The standard treatment choice has been antibiotics; however increasing bacterial resistance has led researchers to search for alternative therapeutics.

Garlic has a broad range of health benefits. It has been traditionally used for the treatment of a wide range of microorganisms including bacteria fungi protozoa and viruses. Ajoene a natural product of allicin degradation exhibits broad spectrum antimicrobial activity and demonstrates the greatest activity compared to allicin and other garlic extracts. It has been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria such as E.coli Staphylococcus aureus Klebsiella pneumonia and Candida albicans.

In this recent study researchers found that 56% of 166 bacteria strains isolated from the urine of individuals with UTIs showed a significant amount of resistance to antibiotics while an impressive 82% of the bacteria were sensitive to the garlic extract. This presents evidence that supports garlics potential role in the treatment of UTIs.

Bacteriophages are also a great adjunct here. The growing levels of antibiotic resistance combined with the exit of major pharmaceutical companies from antibiotic development really makes phage therapy and garlic a substantial treatment of choice for the growing number of infections.

Phages can be used to support overall urinary tract health and are helpful for both prophylactic and therapeutic applications against bacterial infections. Phage therapy has an 80-90% success rate against bacteria likely to show antibiotic resistance such as E. coli. In contrast many antibiotics fail against evolved forms of these pathogens.


Source: University Putra Malaysia (UPM). "Using garlic to combat antimicrobial resistant urinary tract infections".