News / Health

    Study: Vitamin D is Powerful Weapon Against TB

    Helps trigger mechanism that kills bacteria

    Mycobacterium tuberculosis (red) is hiding in human white blood cells (blue and green) cultured in vitamin D deficient serum so it is not being efficiently killed by cathelicidin and other proteins.
    Mycobacterium tuberculosis (red) is hiding in human white blood cells (blue and green) cultured in vitamin D deficient serum so it is not being efficiently killed by cathelicidin and other proteins.

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Rosanne Skirble

    Vitamin D plays a critical role in fighting infection and now scientists say that it may be a powerful weapon against tuberculosis.

    In a study reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers studied how T-cells - a kind of white blood cell that fights infection - are especially effective against the bacteria that cause tuberculosis.  

    It’s known that people with low vitamin D levels are more susceptible to infection. It’s also known that people with reduced immunity - like those with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS - are more susceptible to tuberculosis.

    Robert Modlin, chief of dermatology at the University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine and study co-author says the researchers examined that connection.

    “And through that, we discovered that one particular type of T-cell, the one that secreted a protein called interferon-gamma, was able to activate white blood cells that were infected with the tuberculosis bacteria to then kill the bacteria.”

    But Modlin says it required vitamin D. “People that had low levels of vitamin D in their blood were unable to mount this mechanism and kill the bacteria.”

    In lab experiments, scientists supplemented blood samples that were deficient in vitamin D. That activated the T-cells to destroy the TB bacteria.

    Modlin says the findings could lead to new therapies using supplements to prevent TB or help in its treatment. “I think it could change how we think about vitamin D supplementation.”

    The paper also notes that while the skin absorbs vitamin D naturally from the sun, it takes more exposure for African Americans to reach the same level of vitamin D as white individuals.

    But too much sun can lead to skin cancer. So Modlin recommends supplements over sun exposure, while cautioning that high doses can be toxic.

    “I recommend that people consult with their internal medicine doctor and perhaps have their vitamin D levels measured if they think that’s appropriate and institute the right supplementation for them.”

    Modlin says the next step is to initiate clinical trials to learn whether vitamin D supplements can augment resistance to tuberculosis or other infections.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora