Scientists from the Medical University of South Carolina have found that hot tea and coffee have anti-microbial properties and people who drink tea or coffee have half the risk of carrying MRSA in their nasal passages, compared with people who don’t drink these beverages.
"An estimated 2.5 million persons (1.4% of the population) were MRSA nasal carriers," based on the study.
After accounting for other factors that could have caused the reduction in MRSA carriage, such as age, gender, income, health and whether the person had been taking antibiotics, they still found a 50% reduction in MRSA nasal carriage in tea and coffee drinkers.
The researchers had the idea for the study after realizing that topically applied or inhaled tea extracts showed anti-MRSA activity.
The research concluded, "Consumption of hot tea or coffee is associated with a lower likelihood of MRSA nasal carriage. Our findings raise the possibility of a promising new method to decrease MRSA nasal carriage that is safe, inexpensive, and easily accessible."
However, the researchers still don’t know whether tea and coffee can prevent hospital acquired infections or if the findings are purely coincidental. They are also unsure whether a person who carries MRSA in his/her nose is at increased risk for infection.
Dr. Eric M. Matheson, lead study author, said not enough is known to recommend people start drinking tea and coffee. Further studies need to be conducted.
Annals of Family Medicine 9:299-304 (2011) - http://www.annfammed.org/cgi/content/abstract/9/4/299
Daily Mail, 15th July 2011 - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2014657/Drinking-tea-coffee-protect-MRSA-virus.html
Reviewed July 18, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/. She is author of the book, 'Breast Milk: A Natural Immunisation,' and co-author of an educational resource on disabled parenting, in addition to running a charity for people damaged by vaccines or medical mistakes.
Edited by Shannon Koehle