Coffee or tea could help ward off flesh-eating bacteria - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Coffee and tea battle flesh-eating bacteria

Tens of thousands of people die every year in the U.S. from Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Infections, also known as MRSA.

Researchers may now have found a way to help bolster our immune systems to fight off this deadly bacteria.

Most of us drink coffee or tea to wake up in the morning, but did you know your morning beverage may also boost your immunity?

Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) might have found a way to combat the MRSA super-bug.

The idea for this study came from an earlier report that found when subjects applied or inhaled tea extracts, they had a lower risk of getting MRSA. That idea got researchers thinking and about 5,000 subjects drinking.

What's in your mug might be able to ward off a flesh-eating bacteria that could be brewing in your nose known as nasal MRSA.

"It's amazing where we find some of these therapeutic agents," said Wesley Thompson, a physician's assistant with the Infectious Disease Department of Carolinas Health Care System in Charlotte, N.C..

For many people, nasal MRSA can live inside their noses and doesn't create a problem.

However, this isn't the case for some people. If an infection develops, it can be deadly.

Researchers at the MUSC found that people who drank just one or more cups of coffee or tea per month lowered their odds of carrying nasal MRSA by 50 percent.

"Its amazing where we find some of these therapeutic agents," Thompson said. "Anything that avoids the use of antibiotics to prevent an infection is valuable information."

And this is exactly why tea aficionados are saying "I told you so."

"It has so many healthful properties, they should give it by prescription," said TEA ReX Founder and President Wayne Powers.

Scientists, however, are still pressed to find the exact cause of the link between the bacteria and your brew. They think it could be the antibacterial compounds found within the grounds or leaves.

Researchers say putting those compounds on ice lowers the levels of what you sniff and sip.

Until their proof is piping hot, you may not want to treat what's in your mug as medicine.

"I'm not a doctor; I can't prescribe tea to fix any problems, but I know that tea is healthy," Powers says.

So enjoy it and consider its potential health benefits an added bonus inside each bag or bean.

If you can't decide between a cup of coffee or tea, the study found that people who drank both had a 67 percent reduction of carrying MRSA inside their nose.

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