July 15, 2011

Coffee, Tea Drinkers Have Lower Risk For MRSA Superbug

More than 5,500 Americans participated in a government study that found that those who regularly drink tea or coffee were about half as likely as non-drinkers to ward off methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, according to a published study in the Annals of Family Medicine.

"Hot tea and coffee have been found to have antimicrobial properties," lead researcher Eric Matheson at the University of South Carolina, Charleston wrote.

"Consumption of hot tea or coffee is associated with a lower likelihood of MRSA nasal carriage."

Reuters and IBTimes.com report that less research has been done on coffee compounds, but there is some evidence of antibacterial powers there as well.

About one percent of the U.S. population carries MRSA in the nose or on the skin, but somehow they seem to dodge getting sick.

The study showed that 1.4 percent of participants, overall, had bacteria in their noses, but the odds were lowered by half among those who said they drank hot tea or coffee, compared to those who were non-drinkers.

However, results from the study do not make a direct link between drinking coffee or tea and a lowered risk of MRSA, Matheson says.

Instead, an association between the two is shown, "but you never can conclude causation from an association," he says. "I can't tell you that his finding isn't just a coincidence."

Several other factors were accounted for by the researchers which included age, income or self-rated health, but coffee and tea consumption still gave the lower odds of being a MRSA carrier.

"Our findings raise the possibility of a promising new method to decrease MRSA nasal carriage that is safe, inexpensive, and easily accessible," Matheson writes.


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