VITAMIN A by Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, N.D.
>>Vitamin A plays several essential roles in protecting us from infections.
>>First, it is required for maintaining the integrity of the epithelial and
>>mucosal surfaces and their secretions. THese systems constitute our first
>>line of defense against infection. Second, vitamin A is necessary for the
>>production and activity of several types of white cells. Deficiency can
>>result in atrophy of the lymph glands, a decreased number of lymphocytes,
>>and reduced B and T cell functioning.
>>Vitamin A deficiency is very common in developing countries. For example,
>>in Indonesia, 236 children who received the DPT vaccination were
>>evaluated after they received either 60,000 mcg of vitamin A or placebo.
>>It was foudn that both the Vitamin A deficient and the supposedly vitamin
>>A adequate (healthy) children who received the vitamin A supplement
>>showed significantly greater antibody response to the vaccine than the
>>children who receive the placebo. So much evidence now supports the
>>importance of adequate levels of Vitamin A for proper immune response
>>that the WHO's expanded program for Immunization recommends that children
>>in Vitamin A deficient communties be given Vitamin A at the time of
>>Unfortunately, vitamin A deficiency is not unusual in the U.S. either,
>>especially in children with significant infections. For example, in one
>>study, when 180 children with rubeola (hard measles) were tested for
>>Vitamin A levels, 91% were found to have levels far below normal.
>>Supplementation with 200,000 per day for two consecutive days resulted in
>>and 87% decrease in death rate in the children under two years of age. In
>>another study of 123 children, those with low serum levels of Vitamin A
>>had significantly decreased T cell counts. Administration of vitamin A
>>restored their T cell counts to normal. Not only does vitamin A
>>deficiency decrease the number of T cells, it also decreases T cells'
>>ability to respond to pathogens. Severe deficiency also leads to atrophy
>>of the Thymus and spleen and a marked decrease in the number of all white
>>cells in the blood.
>>In a recent study in New York City, vitamin A levels were evaluated in 89
>>children younger than two years of age with measles. In 22%, they were
>>found to be low. Children with low levels were more likely to have fevers
>>of 40 degrees Celcius or higher (68% versus 44%), to have fever for seven
>>days or more (54% versus 23%), and to be hospitialized (55% versus 30%).
>>Children with low vitamin A levels also had lower measles specific
>>antibody levels. No child in the control group of children without
>>measles had low Vitamin A levels.
>>World-wide, 1.5 million children die of measles each year. The children
>>with the severest forms of measles have the lowest serum levels of
>>Vitamin A. Even children from communities that are not normally deficient
>>in vitamins are still at risk of low Vitamin A levels during infection
>>with measles. Providing as little as a single large dose (400,000 IU) of
>>Vitamin A has resulted in a remarkable reduction in morbidity and
>>mortality in children hospitalized with measles in Capetown, Africa
>>resulted in reductions in Hospital stay, intensive care admissions and
>>death rates.
>>Research shows that now only are children with low Vitamin A levels more
>>likely to get measles, they also get a worse case and suffer an increased
>>rate of side effects and death. Supplementation with even modest amounts
>>of this cheap nutrient results in a very significant improvement in
>>immune function."