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Friday 28th October 2016

Vitamin D could help treat TB

4th September 2012

A study has found that patients with tuberculosis recovered faster when given vitamin D and antibiotics, rather than antibiotics alone.


The research, which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggested that TB patients got better nearly two weeks faster when they were given vitamin D tablets.

The study looked at 95 patients at hospitals around London and found patients given antibiotics and vitamin D recovered in an average of 23 days, while those taking antibiotics and a placebo pill took an average of 36 days.

Doctors are concerned that TB is becoming antibiotic-resistant and the World Health Organisation (WHO) says 3.4% of new cases of the illness are resistant to the two main treatment for the disease.

The study found that vitamin D appeared to calm the body's inflammatory response when it was infected with TB.

This response allows more white blood cells into the structure of the lungs to fight infection. However, the TB bacteria can then take up residence in the minuscule spaces created by the inflammatory response. 

Dr Adrian Martineau, from Queen Mary University of London, told the BBC: "This [vitamin D] isn't going to replace antibiotics, but it may be a useful extra weapon. It looks promising, but we need slightly stronger evidence." 

He added: "If we can help these cavities to heal more quickly, then patients should be infectious for a shorter period of time, and they may also suffer less lung damage." 


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