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Buffers against tuberculosis: vitamin D and zinc.

Buffers Against Tuberculosis: Vitamin D and Zinc

NEW YORK: Nutritional status of vitamin D and zinc may directly affect resistance to tuberculosis, according to a study reported at the New York Academy of Sciences conference on "Micronutrients and Immune Functions."

Tuberculosis, once believed to be a conquered disease, has been reemerging among high-risk populations such as the homeless and patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

According to Dr. David McMurray of Texas A & M University, past research has shown that vitamin D and retinoic acid (a form of vitamin A) could inhibit replication of the tuberculosis bacterium.

He found that vitamin D deficiency adversely affected the immune system's ability to control the tuberculosis infection. White blood cells from vitamin D deprived subjects did not proliferate well, an indication of impaired immune response.

Zinc deficient patients also had fewer numbers of T cells in the blood -- the cells responsible for mediating defense against viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi and cancer. They also had an impaired response by macrophages, the immune cells that engulf and destroy bacteria.

Dr. McMurray concluded that adequate levels of zinc and vitamin D directly affected resistence to tuberculosis.
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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Jan 1, 1990
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