Our expert says:
Often the nutritional status of a TB patient and his or her use of nutrients are adversely affected following an infection and its treatment.
According to the Nutrition Information Centre at the University of Stellenbosch the increased energy expenditure and tissues breakdown associated with infection are thought to increase the requirements of micronutrients such as vitamin A, E, B6, C, D and folic acid. It is also known that a decrease in blood levels of trace elements such as iron, zinc and selenium occur during the infection.
According to their finds some of the most frequently used anti-tuberculosis drugs (i.e. isoniazid) in the treatment of the disease are antagonists of vitamin B6 (piridoxine) and may case peripheral neuropathy (relatively rare) due to a nutritional deficiency of vitamin B6. They recommed a standard procedure to supplement adults with 25 mg of vitamin B6 per day (in the form of supplements). Children are not routinely given vitamin B6, but if their blood levels are low or if they get large (more than 10 mg of isiniazid per day) dosages of isoniazid, they will also need 25 mg of vitamin b6 in the form of supplementation.
They recommend that a good multivitamin and mineral supplement, providing 50%-150% of the recommended daily intake, is advisable since it will be most unlikely that a person with TB will be able to meet the increased requirements for vitamins and minerals with diet alone (due to a poor appetite).
Supplements however should preferably be given after consulting your prescribing doctor first.
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