Giving vitamin A supplements to young children may boost their immune system response to tetanus and other types of vaccines, US researchers say.
In regions of the world where vitamin A deficiency is common, preschool-aged children are often given vitamin A supplements along with vaccinations for tetanus and other pathogens, according to background information in the study.
However, whether vitamin A supplementation has an immediate effect on the immune system's response to the vaccine, or whether vitamin A helps immune response to vaccines only later in life, had not been tested, said a team from Pennsylvania State University.
In research with rats, they found that giving vitamin A supplementation to young rats helped improve immune response to tetanus vaccinations at a later age.
If the same is true in young children, the researchers said that "neonatal-age vitamin A supplementation may benefit the vaccine response of children whose post-weaning vitamin A intake is not adequate." – (HealthDayNews)