Vitamin C helps in treating Tuberculosis

Taken in diet with medication, it will enhance treatment

TB is the leading killer of HIV-infected people. In South Africa, 73% of TB patients are HIV positive. Pixabay
TB is the leading killer of HIV-infected people. In South Africa, 73% of TB patients are HIV positive. Pixabay

Foods rich in Vitamin C (such as dark leafy greens, broccoli, kiwifruit and oranges) can enhance treatment and enable a faster recovery for people suffering from tuberculosis (TB), if taken along with regular medication.

TB is one of the world’s deadliest diseases, with one third of the global population infected. In 2016, it affected 10.4 million people around the world and caused 1.7 million deaths.

Vitamin C helps treating TB. Pexels
Vitamin C helps treating TB. Pexels

Findings

  • Giving Vitamin C — a powerful antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress to the body and also lowers cancer risk — with TB drugs could reduce the unusually long time it takes these drugs to eradicate this pathogen.
  • The addition of Vitamin C to TB drug treatment potentiates the killing of bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) and could shorten TB chemotherapy.
  • That’s important because treatment of drug susceptible TB takes six months, resulting in some treatment mismanagement, potentially leading to the emergence and spread of drug-resistant TB.

Vitamin C had no activity by itself, but in two independent experiments, the combination of Vitamin C with the first-line TB drugs, isoniazid and rifampicin, reduced the organ burdens faster than the two drugs without vitamin C, said Catherine J. Vilcheze, at the varsity.

“Vitamin C is known to be safe and our current mouse studies suggest that Vitamin C could enhance TB chemotherapy,” said lead investigator William R. Jacobs, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

TB is one of the world's deadliest diseases, with one third of the global population infected. Wikimedia commons
TB is one of the world’s deadliest diseases, with one third of the global population infected. Wikimedia commons

Methodology

  • The team treated MTB-infected mice with anti-TB drugs or vitamin C alone, or the drugs and vitamin C together.
  • Experiments in infected tissue cultures demonstrated similar results, shortening the time to sterilisation of the tissue culture by seven days.

The study was published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. (IANS)

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