A new study suggests that a maple syrup extract could improve the effect of antibiotics.
Dr. Nathalie Tufenkji, who led the team of researchers at McGill University behind the study, began examining the syrup extract after hearing about the anti-cancer properties of maple syrup’s phenolic compounds.
Phenols, the chemical compounds central to the study, give maple syrup its antiseptic and disinfectant properties—as well as its golden colour. The compounds are the active ingredient that works as an antibiotic booster in the syrup. It may also help decrease negative side effects caused by taking the medication, such as killing off good bacteria that helps keep our bodies healthy and immune to infections.
While initial tests revealed that they extract alone does not have much effect on bacteria, Tufenkji realized that it could be used to boost antibiotic medicine. When the team combined the extract with medication, it took 90 percent less antibiotic to achieve the same therapeutic effect.
This research is especially important since prolonged exposure to high doses of antibiotics can strengthen bacteria, making it harder to treat a recurring issue. In addition to this, antibiotics have been losing to highly resistant bacteria known as “superbugs”. Adding this maple syrup extract to an antibiotic regiment could help prevent these issues.
While this may seem like a recent discovery, Dr. Tufenkji says that maple syrup has a long tradition of being used to combat illness.
“Native populations in Canada have used maple syrup to fight infections. I have always been interested in the science behind these folk medicines.”
This isn’t the only health benefit the liquid gold can provide. Maple syrup is rich in key minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus sodium, potassium, and zinc.
However, the benefits of phenolic extract is achieved when it is separated from the water and sugar content of the pancake topping—so don’t go chugging maple syrup out of a bottle next time you’re feeling under the weather!