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Scientists Discover The Importance Of Vitamin D In Preventing Tuberculosis

October 12, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. and German researchers have found evidence that vitamin D – which is known to be instrumental in bone development – also seems to protect against cancer and autoimmune diseases and fight infections such as tuberculosis. The team discovered that certain white blood cells that play a central role in immunity release a protein called interferon-g that directs infected immune cells to attack invading tuberculosis bacteria. However, this activation requires sufficient levels of vitamin D to be effective. The next step is to launch clinical trials to learn whether vitamin D supplements can enhance the body's resistance to tuberculosis, which causes 1.8 million deaths a year, the researchers said.
Mario Fabri, et al., "Vitamin D Is Required for IFN-γ–Mediated Antimicrobial Activity of Human Macrophages", Science Translational Medicine, October 12, 2011, © American Association for the Advancement of Science
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