Superbugs have a new enemy, and it can be found at your local supermarket.
Australian scientists have found that a collection of enzymes in the stems and roots of pineapples can cure diarrhea in piglets, providing a natural remedy rather than having to use antibiotics. Treating piglets in this way would remove antibiotics from the human food chain and likely provide an alternative treatment for humans as well, according to La Trobe University biochemist Rob Pike.
Professor Pike said, “Indiscriminate use of antibiotics has resulted in resistant bacteria, and this contributes to the rise of superbugs.”
Superbugs are predicted to be more deadly than cancer if left unchecked — killing about 10 million people a year by 2050 — reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
Rather than targeting the bacteria itself, like antibiotics, the pineapple enzymes work with the cells in the pig’s gut to make it difficult for the bacteria to attach to the cells and therefore prevent it from taking hold in the first place.
“I believe this is a whole new way of going about the treatment of diarrhea,” Professor Pike said. “It means that the pig cells are no longer vulnerable to bacteria.”
Pig farmers currently rely on antibiotics to treat scour, or pre-weaning diarrhea in piglets, a common cause of death that costs the Australian pig industry more than $7 million a year.
Check out our roundup of feel-better foods that double as natural remedies.