Tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the deadliest infectious diseases in low-income countries, with approximately 1.6 million people dying of the disease each year. In a new study, researchers show that sun-exposed oyster mushrooms offer a readily available source of vitamin D that can help TB patients respond better to anti-TB drugs by improving immune response. "TB is becoming more difficult to fight due to the emergence of drug-resistant strains, creating an urgent need for new treatments that can support first-line drugs," said TibebeSelassie Seyoum Keflie, a doctoral fellow at University of Hohenheim, in Stuttgart, Germany. "This source of vitamin D is ideal for low-income countries because mushrooms can easily be distributed and administered in a safe, low-cost, easy-to-replicate manner." Keflie, who performed the research with Hans Konrad Biesalski, PhD, at the University of Hohenheim, will present the research at Nutrition 2019 (https://meeting.nutrition.org/), the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting, held June 8-11, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. The title of the abstract (OR15-04-19) is “Vitamin D2 as Adjunctive Therapy of Tuberculosis” (https://www.eventscribe.com/2019/ASN/fsPopup.asp?Mode=presInfo&PresentationID=544946). Studies have shown that vitamin D induces the body to form an antimicrobial compound that attacks the bacterial cause of TB. Although sun exposure can boost a person's vitamin D levels, it must be obtained through diet when sun exposure is scarce. The researchers used oyster mushrooms because they offer a cheap, safe, and readily available source of vitamin D that is easily absorbed by the body. Although fresh oyster mushrooms contain almost no vitamin D, the fungus produces it the after exposure to sunlight much like the human body.
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