Vitamin D has been shown to improve the healing of tuberculosis patients. A study from Britain has found that a dual treatment with vitamin D along side antibiotics has a higher success rate than antibiotics alone. The cause of this effect is due to the inflammatory response of the lungs. Inflammation can cause tissue damage and eventually cavities or holes in the lungs. The damage takes longer to heal and this could mean life or death to a TB patient. Vitamin D has been shown to lessen the inflammatory responses, resulting in less lung damage. Tuberculosis is spread through coughing the bacteria into the air where it can infect other people. By controlling the lung damage and the coughing, less people would be infected from this disease. The researchers think this same vitamin effect can help in patients with other diseases such as pneumonia.
Tuberculosis may be a rare disease in developed countries, but it is still devastating countries around the world. In 2010, over 8.8 million people were infected worldwide, and 1.4 million people died. The danger comes from the recent mutations of tuberculosis. It has been evolving into a drug-resistant form that does not respond to antibiotics. The high rates of infection per year, plus the drug-resistant mutations have caused alarm for health officials. Research into this illness is ongoing and desperately needed.