Vitamin D, cod liver oil, sunshine, and phototherapy: Safe, effective and forgotten tools for treating and curing tuberculosis infections − A comprehensive review
The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, online 26 July 2017, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2017.07.027
Patrick J. McCullough a, b, Patrick.mccullough at mha.ohio.gov , Douglas S. Lehrer a, b
a Summit Behavioral Healthcare, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45237, USA
b Department of Psychiatry, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Dayton, OH,45435, USA
Follow the money - proven low-cost treatments no longer are used now that high-profit treatments are available
- Tuberculosis 4.5X more likely if vitamin D less than 10 nanogram – meta-analysis May 2015
- Vitamin D in respiratory diseases – Spring 2017
- Tuberculosis recovery speeded up by single 450,000 IU dose of vitamin D – RCT Jan 2017
- Tuberculosis -100 percent cure rate with 10,000 IU of vitamin D daily – RCT 2006
- The Antibiotic Effects of Vitamin D – 2014
- Every TB patient benefited from 2 doses of 600,000 IU of vitamin D – RCT Jan 2013
- Boron and Granulomas (TB, Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's, Rheumatic Fever etc.) - 2015
See also Vitamin D and Boron
See also 10 mg of Boron daily increased Vitamin D and other levels – Dec 2010
- Overview Tuberculosis and Vitamin D
- Sunlight no longer treated TB after UV was blocked by windows
It is estimated that over 2 billion people are infected with tuberculosis. 10.4 million new cases and 1.8 million deaths occurred in 2015 making it one of the top ten causes of death worldwide. The UN & WHO are working to end the epidemic, as approximately 95% of new TB cases occur in developing countries. Cod liver oil, phototherapy, sunshine & vitamin D were proven safe and effective treatments in the past and need to be re-evaluated as current treatments are inadequate.
1849: Cod Liver Oil cures TB
Dr. CJB Williams published a report in the London Journal of Medicine which documented his experience using cod liver oil in over 400 TB cases of varying severity.
Of his results in 234 cases, he wrote: "In the large proportion of 206 out of 234, its use was followed by marked and unequivocal improvement...
"The power of staying the demon of destruction, sometimes displayed by the Cod-liver oil, is so marvelous, that I will attempt no general description."
He dosed patients with "six drachms of oil three times daily" and noted that cod liver oil was also used successfully in other diseases at that time.
Vitamin D was eventually discovered in 1922, isolated from both cod liver oil and the skin of laboratory animals.
- Williams CJB. On the Use and Administration of Cod-Liver Oil in Pulmonary Consumption. London J of Med, Jan 1849, No 1, p 1-14.
- LE Tavera-Mendoza, J White. Cell Defenses and the Sunshine Vitamin. Scientific American, Nov 2007, p 62-72.
1903: Phototherapy cures TB
Dr. Neils Ryberg Finsen received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1903 for curing longstanding cutaneous TB (lupus vulgaris) with refracted light rays from an electric arc lamp. He treated over 800 cases from 1895-1901, and cured over 50%. "Thus it was that Finsen's method was hailed as a benefit to humanity when his treatment of lupus gave results which can without exaggeration be described as brilliant." (Nobel Prize Speech).
Finsen wrote: "My conviction that the sun had a useful and important effect on the organism (especially the blood?) became stronger and stronger. What this useful effect really was, I could not find."
The Finsen method became the standard of care for treating TB for the next several decades, but eventually fell out of favor with the emergence of antibiotics in the 1940's.
Nobel Prize Award Ceremony Speech for Physiology or Medicine, 1903. Presented by Count KAH Morner, Rector of the Royal Caroline Institute, Dec 10, 1903.
- Niels Ryberg Finsen - Biographical: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel prizes/medicine/laureates/1903/finsen-bio.html
1930's: Sunshine cures TB
Dr. AR Masten and others investigated the effects of sunshine and climate on the course of TB infections in the 1930's, and published reports documenting the beneficial their effects in curing TB infections.
"In the treatment of tuberculosis a cool, dry, high altitude with the greatest number of sunny days adds much to the percentage of recovery.
It was recognized that "in certain kinds of tuberculosis such as tuberculosis of the skin, glands or bones, heliotherapy is the ideal treatment."
1940's: Oral vitamin D and injectable vitamin D cure TB
Drs. Dowling, Raab, and several others reported in the 1940's on the successful use of both oral and injectable forms of vitamin D in curing chronic TB infections of both the skin (lupus vulgaris) and lungs.
Vitamin D in doses of 100,000 to 150,000 lU/day were used and improvement was often noted within a few weeks to a few months with complete cures in most cases. Physicians had come to speculate that the mechanism of action of the phototherapy treatments in curing TB was due to the production of vitamin D:
"It would now appear that we have constructed our wonderful light equipment, our Kromayer, our Finsen-Reyn lamps, merely for the sake of applying a dose of calciferol to the skin, when it could have been given more readily by the mouth." (FF Hellier, from GB Dowling, et al).
- GB Dowling, et al. Lupus Vulgaris treated with Calciferol. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, Vol 39, March 1946, p 225-227.
- W Raab. Vitamin D - Its Bactericidal Action. Chest, Sep-Oct 1946, 409-145.
1940's: Antibiotics cure TB
Albert Schatz discovered the antibiotic streptomycin in 1943 while working for Dr Selman Waksman at Rutgers University. Streptomycin was noted to have activity against TB and by 1944, it was being used successfully to treat patients suffering from TB.
Dr Waksman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1952 for the discovery of streptomycin, the first antibiotic effective against TB. This marked the second time in 50 years that the Nobel Prize was awarded to a scientist for discovering a cure for TB, and yet TB remains widespread!
Although problems with resistance began to emerge, antibiotics soon replaced phototherapy and vitamin D for treating TB infections for several reasons, including ease of use and toxicity issues noted with vitamin D in treating other diseases, but not with TB.
- Nobel Prize Award Ceremony Speech for Physiology or Medicine, 1952.
- KHP Fuetze, et al. Clinical use of Streptomycin in the Treatment of Tuberculosis. Diseases of the Chest 1946; 12(6):515-519.
2006: How vitamin D enables the body to cure TB infections is explained
Dr PT Liu and colleagues showed that TB antigens bind to toll-like receptors on the cell surface of white blood cells. This signal turns on the genes that make copies of both the vitamin D receptor (VDR) and the enzyme 25hydroxyvitaminD 1-alpha hydroxylase, which converts circulating 25OHD3 into 1,25- diOHD3 (calcitriol), the active hormone form of vitamin D3. This enables calcitriol to be formed intracellularly on demand, and to have readily available VDR present to bind to.
Calcitriol was then found to turn on a gene that produces cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide (Camp), an 'antibiotic' that is bactericidal to TB. This explains why cod liver oil, phototherapy, sunshine and vitamin D were able to cure TB infections, by correcting the underlying vitamin D deficiency state.
- PT Liu, et al. Toll-Like Receptor Triggering of a Vitamin D-Mediated Human Antimicrobial Response. Science 311, 1770-1773, (2006).
• TB is a major public health problem, affecting one third of the world’s population.
• Vitamin D deficiency is common in patients infected with TB throughout the world.
• Cod liver, phototherapy, sunshine, vitamin D were all used to treat TB in the past.
• Each deserves consideration to be re-examined as a first-line treatment for TB.
• Vitamin D activates production of cathelicidin in white blood cells to kill TB
Tuberculosis remains an epidemic throughout the world, with over 2 billion people, or more than one third of the world’s population, infected with TB. In 2015, there were an estimated 10.4 million new cases of tuberculosis, and 1.8 million deaths, making TB one of the top ten causes of death worldwide.
Approximately 95% of new TB cases occur in developing countries, where the costs of treatment force many patients and their families into poverty. The United Nations and the World Health Organization are working to end this global epidemic.
- cod liver oil in the 1840’s,
- phototherapy in the 1890’s,
- sunshine in the 1890’s and 1930’s,
- oral vitamin D in doses of 100,000 to 150,000 international units a day the 1940’s, and
- injectable vitamin D in the 1940’s
were all shown to be able to safely treat tuberculosis. However, for reasons that are unclear, these treatments are no longer being used to treat tuberculosis. We will review several reports that documented the clinical efficacy of these seemingly disparate treatments in treating tuberculosis. Taken together, however, these reports show the consistent efficacy of vitamin D in treating tuberculosis infections, regardless of whether the vitamin D was produced in the skin from the effects of phototherapy or sunshine, taken orally as a pill or in cod-liver oil, or put into solution and injected directly into the body.
We will discuss how vitamin D, through its action as a steroid hormone that regulates gene transcription in cells and tissues throughout the body, enables the body to eradicate TB by stimulating the formation of a natural antibiotic in white blood cells, the mechanism of which was discovered in 2006.
We will speculate as to why vitamin D, cod liver oil, sunshine, and phototherapy are no longer being used to treat tuberculosis, in spite of their proven efficacy in safely treating this disease dating back to the early 1800’s.
In fact, in 1903 the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology was awarded to a physician who was able to cure hundreds of cases of long-standing lupus vulgaris (cutaneous TB) with refracted light rays from an electric arc lamp. Vitamin D, cod liver oil, sunshine, and phototherapy have never been shown to lose their ability to safely eradicate tuberculosis infections, and deserve consideration to be re-examined as first-line treatments for tuberculosis. These treatments have the potential to help cost-effectively and safely end the global TB epidemic.