(NaturalNews) Sometimes the old fashioned ways of treating disease are still the safest and most effective. A recent review of an 1848 study conducted at the former Hospital for Consumption in Chelsea, UK, now known as the Royal Brompton Hospital (RBH), has found that cod liver oil, which is rich in vitamin D, is still an effective treatment for tuberculosis.
Professor Sir Malcolm Green, who used to work at RBH but has since retired, unearthed the old study which involved over 1,000 patients with tuberculosis, a contagious bacterial infection that can lead to death. One group composed of 542 patients was given standard treatment along with cod liver oil, while another group of 535 patients was given only the standard treatment.
At the conclusion of the study, doctors saw stabilization of the disease in 18 percent of the patients given cod liver oil, while only six percent of those in the control group saw improvement. Thirty-three percent of patients in the control group also ended up dying, compared to only 19 percent of those in the cod liver oil group.
"It could well be that the widespread use of cod liver oil encouraged by doctors played a significant part," in mitigating tuberculosis, said Prof. Green. The steady decline of the disease in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is commonly attributed to improved sanitation and living conditions, but Prof. Green says improved nutrition was also crucial.
"A role for vitamin D in combating tuberculosis gives a rational basis for sunshine therapy, which was widely practiced for patients in sanatoriums before chemotherapy became available, as vitamin D is synthesized in the skin when exposed to the sun," added Prof. Green. "Patients were put out on their beds to lie in the sun in summer and winter, and many were sent to Switzerland and other sunny countries for treatment."
A study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine back in October also confirms that, in order for the immune system to develop the capacity to fight tuberculosis infection, it must have optimal levels of vitamin D. Many patients with tuberculosis who are tested often turn up vitamin D deficient, which suggests that supplementing with vitamin D or getting more sunlight exposure can greatly improve healing capacity (http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/vitamin-d-act...).