Who doesn’t love maple syrup? It’s sweet and goes well with french toast or pancakes! But maple syrup is so much more than just sugar and flavor. In fact, according to researchers at a Canadian University, it could be a way to fight off bacterial infections and reduce our reliance on antibiotics.
Maple Syrup Extract = Antibiotic Superhero
Chemical engineers from Canada’s McGill University have made an epic discovery: maple syrup may be the next best thing to treat bacterial infections. Better still, it could one day come to replace antibiotics. How is this possible?
Maple syrup contains natural plant phenols, a compound that is found in the sap of the North American maple tree. When the sap is concentrated to make maple syrup, the phenols are also concentrated. Those extra-strength phenols are effective at fighting bacteria.
To determine just how effective they were, the Canadian researchers purchased locally-sourced maple syrup in Montreal. The samples were frozen then used to prepare a syrup with extra-strength phenolic compounds. They exposed the phenol-rich syrup to different strains of bacteria–UTI-causing Proteus mirabilis and E.coli, one of the main causes of food poisoning.
Alone, the maple syrup proved to only be “mildly” effective at getting rid of the bacteria. But when mixed with a course of antibiotics, it performed much, much better.
According to Nathalie Tufenkji, lead researcher in the study,
“We found that it makes the bacteria more susceptible to antibiotics and it also makes the bacteria less able to build biofilms.”
The extract acted “synergistically” with the antibiotics, enabling the medication to destroy communities of bacteria that had proven resistant to antibiotics alone. The maple syrup stopped the bacteria from expressing genes that made them resistant to the medications.
So what does this mean for you? How can this benefit you in your daily life? Simply put, this discovery could make dealing with difficult and hard-to-treat infections (such as recurring UTIs) potentially easier. If maple syrup stopped the bacteria from being resistant to the medication, it would enable the antibiotics to do their job much more easily.
“We would have to do in vivo tests, and eventually clinical trials, before we can say what the effect would be in humans. But the findings suggest a potentially simple and effective approach for reducing antibiotic usage. I could see maple syrup extract being incorporated eventually, for example, into the capsules of antibiotics.”
Health Benefits of Maple Syrup
Here are a few more reasons to add maple syrup to your life:
Fight cancer. That’s right, the phenolic compounds in maple syrup fight toxins and free radicals. These antioxidants can help to reduce your risk of cancer as well as osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s.
Prevent colds. The manganese and zinc in maple syrup will give your immune system a boost and help you fight colds.
Improve skin health. Apply a bit of maple syrup to your skin and watch it glow! Just like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and other topical antioxidants, the phenolic compounds in maple syrup can do wonders for your skin.
Aid in digestion. Beat the bloat of eating sweet foods by cooking with maple syrup. It’s far less likely to lead to gas, nausea, and indigestion.