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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid