Tuberculosis

Although malnutrition and vitamin A deficiency seem to be major risk factors for the progression of tuberculosis, clinical management usually involves chemoprophylaxis and chemotherapy alone, rather than any special concern for host nutritional status. Cod-liver oil, a rich source of vitamins A and D, was used as treatment strategy for tuberculosis for over 100 years (Williams and Williams, 1871). The role of nutrition and tuberculosis remains a major area of neglect, despite the promise that micronutrients have shown as therapy for other types of infections and the long record of the use of vitamins A and D for treatment of pulmonary and miliary tuberculosis in both Europe and the USA.

A recent clinical trial suggests that high-dose vitamin A supplementation does influence the morbidity of tuberculosis in children (Hanekom et al., 1997). Studies have not been conducted to address the use of multivitamins and minerals or vitamins A plus D as adjunct therapy for tuberculosis.

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