Natural Remedies for Immunity
A and Infections
Vitamin A and Respiratory System
Vitamin A has been found to be very important for combating infection originating in the respiratory system.
Several studies have shown that Vitamin A is very effective in managing and controlling measles. (1-5) Because measles is partly a respiratory infection, physicians have begun investigating the protective role of vitamin A in other infections, particularly those of the lungs.
Our bronchial tubes and lungs are coated and protected by
mucus linings that are depended on vitamin A for its protective powers. Vitamin A appears to be essential in many aspects of normal lung development and function. (6)
When our bodies are under attack by infection, we need more vitamin A to heal injured tissues at least for a while.(1, 7)
Vitamin A supplementation results in faster healing of epithelial tissues, less risk of secondary infections, and a stronger immune response to the infection.
Vitamin A and AIDS
Vitamin A seems to help people with AIDS.
Measles and AIDS trigger a rapid decline in the number of T cells. Vitamin A supplements increase T cell counts and antibody responses.(9)
Researchers gave vitamin A supplements to 118 infants of HIV- infected women. Both mothers and infants (at age one month) had normal vitamin A levels. Half of the infants received vitamin A supplements every three months until they reached fifteen months of age. (Eighty-five of the infants were later diagnosed with HIV infections.) Infants receiving vitamin A supplements suffered fewer illnesses, ranging from simple rashes to respiratory infections, regardless of whether they were infected with HIV. The children with HIV suffered less diarrhea, helping them avoid a deadly cycle of infection, malabsorption, and malnutrition.(10)
Next Topic: Natural Sources for Vitamin A
Stephensen, C. B., et al., "Vitamin A Is Excreted in the Urine during Acute Infection," American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, September 1994, 60:388-391.
Richard P. Huemer, MD., and Jack Challem, Natural Health Guide to Beating the Supergerms, Pocket Books, New York.
Sommer, A., et al., "Impact of Vitamin A Supplementation on childhood Mortality: A Randomized, Controlled Community Trial," Lancet, 1986; 1:1169-1173.
Sommer, A., "Vitamin A, Infectious Disease and Childhood Mortality: A 2cents Solution?," Journal of Infectious Diseases, May 1993; 167:1003-1007.
Fawzi, W. W., "Dietary Vitamin A Intake and the Risk of Mortality among Children," American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 1994; 59:401-408.
Chytil, F., "The Lungs and Vitamin A," American Journal of Physiology, May 1992; 262:L517-527.
Neuzil, K. M., et al., "Serum Vitamin A Levels in Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection," Journal of Pediatrics, March 1994; 124:433-436.
Ozsoylu, S., et al., "Vitamin A for Varicella," Journal of Pediatrics, December 1994; 125:1017-1018.
Coutsoudis, A., et al., "Vitamin A Supplementation Enhances Specific IgG Antibody Levels and Total Lymphocyte Numbers while Improving Morbidity in Measles," Pediatric Infectious Diseases Journal, 1992; 11:203-209.
Coutsoudis, A., et al., "The Effects of Vitamin A Supplementation on the Morbidity of Children Born to HIV-Infected Women," American Journal of Public Health, August 1995; 85:1076-1081.