Researchers have revealed that vitamin D can accelerate the antibiotic treatment of tuberculosis (TB).
Scientists at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry completed the study, which demonstrates how the vitamin could affect the immune system's response to TB.
Dr Adrian Martineau led the trial, funded by the British Lung Foundation, which examined 146 patients with drug-sensitive TB, as they received either four oral doses of 2.5mg of vitamin D or a placebo. Every participant in the study received standard antibiotic treatment for their condition.
Average patients on standard therapy alone cleared TB from their lungs in six weeks, while those taking the additional vitamin D took five weeks. But this improvement was not big enough to be of statistical significance.
However, the research, which has been published in The Lancet, showed that patients who had a particular type of vitamin D receptor were much more vitamin D responsive and managed to clear the bacteria much more quickly with the vitamin D combined treatment.
Dr Adrian Martineau said:"The finding that patients who have a particular type of vitamin D receptor are very responsive to vitamin D is new and gives us insights into how vitamin D can affect the immune response."