Before the use of antibiotics tuberculosis was treated by heliotherapy or phototherapy (use of sun rays). Latest research has shown that high doses of vitamins D are useful along with antibiotics for the treatment of TB. Vitamin D is present on human’s skin which is activated when exposed to the sun rays.
Adrian Martineau, a senior lecturer in respiratory infection and immunity at Queen Mary University of London, who led the study, said that vitamin D reduce the inflammatory mediators of the body and reduces the damage to the lungs.
“Sometimes these inflammatory responses can cause tissue damage leading to … cavities in the lung,” he said.
“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.”
Researchers have also found the effectiveness of antibiotics is not altered by the use of vitamin D which means that vitamin D can be used as supplement in combination with antibiotics against diseases as pneumonia, sepsis and other lung infections.
It was estimated that almost 8.8 million people were infected from TB and 1.4 million people died during the year of 2010.
Researchers conduct this study on 95 infected patients by making two groups. The duration of the study was six weeks during which 44 patients were given high doses of vitamin D along with standard antibiotics treatment and remaining 51 were given just placebo.
Anna Coussens from Britain’s National Institute for Medical Research evaluated the blood samples of the enrolled patients to determine the level of inflammatory mediators.
“We found that a large number of these inflammatory markers fell further and faster in patients receiving vitamin D,” she said.
This study was published in National Academy of Sciences.
Further study is needed to determine whether TB patients should be given vitamin D or not.
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