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Sun Therapy for Tuberculosis?

I was interested to see this news piece about how Vitamin D may improve the body’s ability to fight off Tuberculosis.  Vitamin D is found in some foods, but can also be created in your body when it’s exposed to UV light.  In the 1940′s Tuberculosis sanitoriums used “heliotherapy” (sun exposure) as a modality to treat TB.  I had often wondered about the utility of such treatments – with this photo etched in my mind.  And now it seems that they had it right.

Of course, we don’t know how many of those patients developed skin cancers later in life…  (Always a trade off, isn’t there?)  In the US, milk and orange juice are fortified with Vitamin D – however in Britain they have no such requirement and they are seeing an increase in TB cases.  “Got Milk?” only works if it’s “Got Vitamin D Fortified Milk?” I guess…This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

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2 Responses to “Sun Therapy for Tuberculosis?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Didn’t realize TB was still an issue. Will try to learn more. Thanks.

  2. ValJonesMD says:

    TB is still around for sure… I’ve seen many patients with TB in New York City (where I used to practice).  There have been frightening reports of a new strain of TB that is super resistant to antibiotics… we should keep an eye out for this tenacious bug! 

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