Vitamin E Deficiency Increases Risk Of Tuberculosis (TB) Infection

haidut

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Most people in modern societies probably do not have much to fear when it comes to TB, as that disease is very rare in the Western world. The reason I am posting this study below is that it demonstrates once again the role of vitamin E in maintaining a healthy immune system. The benefits of vitamin E have already been confirmed in humans, by showing that a 400 IU vitamin E daily helps prevent pneumonia in the elderly and also protect against viral infection.
Vitamin E can be a treatment for pneumonia
Vitamin E Dramatically Lowers Risk Of Pneumonia

While the study below tries to explain this away with the known antioxidant role of vitamin E, I think a much more likely explanation is the fact that vitamin E is a powerful estrogen antagonist and as such it helps protect/regenerate the thymus.
Reducing Estrogen Synthesis Regenerates Thymus Destroyed By Aging

Another important finding of the study below is that alpha tocopherol was the isomer most strongly associated with lower risk of TB. This matches well the other threads above. I think the protective role of gamma tocopherol is related mostly to its effects as a LOX inhibitor, but the true estrogen antagonist may be the alpha isomer. So, a person using mixed tocopherols should be able to get the best of both worlds.

Vitamin E Status Is Inversely Associated with Risk of Incident Tuberculosis Disease among Household Contacts. - PubMed - NCBI
"...RESULTS: Among 6751 HIV-negative HHCs who provided baseline blood samples, 180 developed secondary TB during follow-up. After controlling for possible confounders, we found that baseline α-tocopherol deficiency conferred increased risk of incident TB disease (adjusted OR: 1.59; 95% CI: 1.02, 2.50; P = 0.04). Household contacts in the lowest tertile of δ-tocopherol were also at increased risk of progression to TB disease compared to those in the highest tertile (tertile 1 compared with tertile 3, adjusted OR: 2.29; 95% CI: 1.29, 4.09; P-trend = 0.005). We found no association between baseline concentration of γ-tocopherol and incident TB disease. CONCLUSIONS: Vitamin E deficiency was associated with an increased risk of progression to TB disease among HHCs of index TB cases. Assessment of vitamin E status among individuals at high risk for TB disease may play a role in TB control efforts."

Is an Increased Risk of Catching Tuberculosis Related to Vitamin E Deficiency? - Medical News Bulletin | Health News and Medical Research
"...Vitamin E plays a role in protecting immune cells from oxidative damage. Animal models indicate that vitamin E deficiency impairs cell-mediated immune responses. In addition, human studies have provided evidence that vitamin E enhances the immune response by stimulating T-cell differentiation and proliferation. There is also research showing an association between various micronutrient deficiencies and active TB disease. However, few studies have assessed whether pre-existing vitamin E status is associated with a higher likelihood of catching TB from a household member. In a recent study published in The Journal of Nutrition, researchers evaluated the association between baseline plasma concentrations of three vitamin E isomers (α-tocopherol, γ -tocopherol, and δ-tocopherol) and tuberculosis disease risk."

"...They found that vitamin E deficiency in individuals was associated with an increased risk of contracting tuberculosis from household members with tuberculosis. As such, they recommend assessing the vitamin E status of these individuals and possibly providing vitamin E supplementation to help curb the spread of tuberculosis."
 

Vinero

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Nice find, I was getting afraid Alpha-Tocopherol wasn't so good after all the talk from Travis that Gamma tocopherol is the protective one,
and that high intake of alpha-tocopherol displaces gamma-tocopherol in the body.
 

haidut

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Nice find, I was getting afraid Alpha-Tocopherol wasn't so good after all the talk from Travis that Gamma tocopherol is the protective one,
and that high intake of alpha-tocopherol displaces gamma-tocopherol in the body.

I still think mixed tocopherols are best, but derived from wheat germ or sunflower as then alpha tocopherol is the dominant isomer. I suspect the push for gamma tocopherol is somewhat driven by the soy industry since the mixed tocopherols from soy are waste product if that industry and are subsidized, so generate a lot more profit than wheat and sunflower derived products. Not saying gamma tocopherol is bad, just saying that I am not convinced by the talk that it is the one providing most of the benefit seen from vitamin E. The estrogen antagonism studies also used alpha tocopherol.
Vitamin E Is An Estrogen Receptor Antagonist
 

Tarmander

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I wonder if rubbing vitamin E on the chest by the thymus has a more pronounced effect on its regeneration? Not sure how you would even measure that though.
 

haidut

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I wonder if rubbing vitamin E on the chest by the thymus has a more pronounced effect on its regeneration? Not sure how you would even measure that though.

I think it could, but I would apply not to the chest but to the bottom of the neck just before the sternum starts. On top of the chest it probably won't be able to get past the bone and to the thymus so it would be like applying on any other body area. But if 400 IU oral alpha tocopherol can block most of estrogen's effects then even oral route should work rather well.
 

Tarmander

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I think it could, but I would apply not to the chest but to the bottom of the neck just before the sternum starts. On top of the chest it probably won't be able to get past the bone and to the thymus so it would be like applying on any other body area. But if 400 IU oral alpha tocopherol can block most of estrogen's effects then even oral route should work rather well.
Interesting, thank you.
 
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