The researchers found that to weaken the immune system and cause pneumonia, bacteria use hydrogen peroxide, also known as a bleaching agent that is used to whiten teeth or hair, as a stain remover, as well as for cleaning surfaces and disinfecting wounds.
“By using hydrogen peroxide to defeat the immune system, you could say that the bacteria are fighting fire with fire. The body itself also produces hydrogen peroxide as a defence against the bacteria,” said research leader Nelson Gekara from Umea University in Sweden.
“Therefore, it was surprising to see that many types of bacteria actually use the same substance to overcome the body´s defences,” he said.
“One of the best-known substances with the ability to neutralise hydrogen peroxide and that could hence boost anti-bacterial immunity are vitamins such as Vitamin C found in fruits. Perhaps the old adage ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ is not off the mark,” Gekara added.