London, England – A new study verifies the effectiveness of what used to be standard treatment for tuberculosis: sunbathing. Specifically, Vitamin D administered by the sun, has been shown to fight this deadly disease.
To test their theory, researchers gave Vitamin D along with antibiotics to 95 tubercular patients in several hospitals throughout London. The results were impressive.
According to the BBC:
“It showed that recovery was almost two weeks faster when Vitamin D was added. Patients who stuck to the regimen cleared the infection in 23 days on average, while it took patients 36 days if they were given antibiotics and a dummy sugar pill.”
As a treatment for tuberculosis, the results seem promising. However, doctors are quick to say that much more research needs to be done before they can routinely prescribe the “sunshine vitamin” to tubercular patients. Tuberculosis is a contagious, often deadly disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Although it primarily affects the lungs, it can attack almost any tissue or organ of the body.
Although we don’t hear much about this disease, Medical News Today reports:
“TB is a major cause of illness and death worldwide, especially in Africa and Asia. Each year, the disease kills almost 2 million people.”
Before antibiotics were invented, the death toll was even higher. Now it appears that there may be a new option in the treatment of tuberculosis.
There’s just one problem: Prescribing the sunshine vitamin isn’t new.
According to Reuters:
“From the late 1800s – well before the development of antibiotics in 1930s – TB patients were often sent to retreats where they were encouraged to soak up the sun’s rays in what was known as heliotherapy or phototherapy.”
Those doctors must have known something that we’re re-discovering today: The sun is good medicine! So get out and enjoy the sun while you still can.
The study was published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.