The anti-infective powers of Vitamin A have been known ever since the vitamin was discovered.
Today Vitamin A is being used to help boost immunity in some cases—and some very exciting research suggests more uses in the future. Here's the current rundown:
Treating measles and respiratory infections. Extra Vitamin A has been shown to help children get over the measles faster and with fewer complications. It also seems to help babies with respiratory infections. Talk to your doctor before you give Vitamin A supplements to babies or children.
Treating viral infections. If you're low on Vitamin A you're more susceptible to illness, especially viral infections. If you're sick with a virus, extra Vitamin A in the form of beta carotene could help you fight it off.
Preventing complications from cancer treatment. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy really lower your immunity. Very large doses of Vitamin A can help raise it again, but the amounts needed are too toxic to be used for long. In animal tests, large doses of beta carotene boost the immune system without the toxic danger. It's still too soon to tell if this will work in humans.
Boosting immune cells. Large doses of beta carotene may help increase the number of infection-fighting cells in your immune system. This could be very beneficial for AIDS patients and anyone whose immune system is depressed. Research continues on the benefits of Vitamin A and beta carotene for your immune system. We believe that the future will bring solid evidence that these nutrients can help not only immunity but many other health problems as well.