A steroid vitamin that has been shown to have a wide range of health benefits, ranging from improving bone health to preventing osteoporosis, vitamin D is a frequent supplement recommended by health care professionals. It can be obtained through sun exposure as well as food or beverages, or can be taken in a supplemental form. Some other benefits of vitamin D include boosting immune system function, helping improve brain function with age, and reducing the severity of asthma symptoms. A new potential benefit that has recently been discovered is in helping patients suffering from tuberculosis.
When given steady supplementation of vitamin D in addition to antibiotics, patients may stand a better chance of overcoming tuberculosis. According to scientists at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, if 2.5 mg of the vitamin are administered to patients daily along with a regular antibiotics course, they may experience recover one week more quickly than their counterparts who receive antibiotics alone. Improving the outlook of these patients can now potentially be added to the various benefits of vitamin D.
These same researchers theorize that because the study was carried out in the United Kingdom, where it’s more difficult to receive vitamin D naturally through sunlight, due to the local weather conditions, supplementation may be necessary in general. Because the sun is one of the leading sources of this vitamin, those who live in climates that don’t have an abundance of sunshine will need to think about where they are getting their vitamin D from. Another theory was that these benefits of vitamin D might have been seen because the vitamin helps improve lung health, although the exact mechanism behind this has not yet been studied and will need further research.
Although tuberculosis is no longer as fatal as it used to be, it is still a disease that should be taken seriously, as it has not yet been completely eradicated. These new benefits of vitamin D are thus promising in its treatment, and will be studied further by scientists to determine what the mechanism is that makes such a difference in lung health. Those participants in the study who had a particular vitamin D receptor already in the body showed a greater response time than the other patients. This receptor is an inherited trait.
With so many different benefits of vitamin D, those living in climates that see a lack of natural sunshine should consider seeking out foods that are fortified with the vitamin, or else seek out additional supplementation. The Vitamin D Council states that the most effective form of the vitamin that you can take is cholecalciferol. This not only helps the body absorb calcium more efficiently, helping to improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis, but may now be linked to lung health through studies such as this one. More research is needed to continue to uncover these various benefits, but the known benefits alone make supplementation worthwhile.