Vitamin D may assist in quick recovery of TB patients

Vitamin D may assist in quick recovery of TB patients

In an article entitled, “Vitamin D accelerates resolution of inflammatory responses during tuberculosis treatment”, published in September 18, 2012, issue of PNAS 109:39; 15449–15454, the lead author Anna K. Coussens with twenty one other associates from thirteen research groups investigated the effects of vitamin D on the immune responses of patients receiving treatment for an infectious disease. The findings indicate that high doses of vitamin D can dampen down the body’s inflammatory response to infection, enabling the patients to recover faster with less damage to their lungs. The researchers studied 95 patients receiving treatment for pulmonary tuberculosis, a contagious bacterial infection that involves the lungs. The authors gave 44 of the patients a high-dose vitamin D supplement, while 51 patients received a placebo. Patients who received vitamin D cleared tuberculosis bacteria from their lungs quicker  than did patients who received a placebo. The researchers also found that Mycobacterium tuberculosis (the bacterium that causes TB) was cleared from the patients’ sputum (the phlegm coughed up from deep in the lungs) faster  than in those who were taking vitamin D. According to the authors, tissue damage caused by inflammatory responses can sometimes lead to the development of cavities in the lungs. By accelerating the healing process patients could potentially be infectious for a shorter period of time and suffer less lung damage compared with the typical disease progression. The ability of vitamin D to calm inflammatory responses without compromising the actions of antibiotics raises the possibility that vitamin D supplementation could also benefit patients receiving conventional antimicrobial treatment for pneumonia and other lung infections. [Summarized by Samsad Razzaque – a graduate student in the Dept. Biochemistry & Mol. Biol., DU]

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