SURREY, England, Sept. 28 (UPI) – Vitamin D has been known to diminish the severity of tuberculosis in humans, but it’s never before been studied in animals. New research suggests the vitamin could have similarly positive effects on animals infected with TB.
Bovine tuberculosis is a problem for ranchers and other livestock farmers all over the globe, but particularly in southern Europe. Cows pick up the disease from close contact with infected wild animals. Wild boar and red deer are known to spread TB.
Recently, a team of researchers from the University of Surrey experimented with use of vitamin D to protect livestock herds from TB in Spain.
Scientists supplemented the grain of some cows with vitamin D, while a control group received their normal feed. Among cows with TB, those with higher concentrations of vitamin D in their blood showed fewer symptoms. Researchers found a correlation between reduced concentration of disease and vitamin D.
“We know that eradicating TB — a massive problem in animals worldwide — is a complicated process. However, nutritional factors could play a significant role as a preventative measure,” F. Javier Salguero, a veterinary scientist at Surrey, said in a news release. “This research points to the fact that supplementing animals’ diet with vitamin D could be a very cost effective approach to reduce [the] prevalence.”
Scientists published their new findings in the journal Research in Veterinary Science.