Vitamin D may help protect against tuberculosis, says a British study that found that the vitamin boosts the body's ability to fight the growth of mycobacteria that cause TB.
Researchers took blood samples from 131 people and then divided them into two groups. One group received a 2.5 milligram dose of vitamin D, while the other group received a placebo, BBC News reported.
Six weeks later, the researchers took more blood samples and infected the samples with mycobacteria. An analysis conducted 24 hours later showed there was 20 percent less mycobacteria growth in the blood samples of the people who took vitamin D than in the samples from those who took the placebo.
The study appears in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
The researchers said their findings suggest that vitamin D could be used as a preventive treatment for people at high risk for TB, BBC News reported.
"This shows that a simple, cheap supplement could make a significant impact on the health of people most at risk from the disease," lead researcher Dr Adrian Martineau said.
Vitamin D was used to treat TB before the development of antibiotics. TB kills about two million people worldwide each year. – (HealthDayNews)
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