The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Effects of vitamin A on vaccination in children

    Vaccination cartoonVitamin A supplementation at birth has been associated with decreased mortality in areas endemic for vitamin A deficiency. But studies suggest that taking vitamin A supplements might influence the immune response to vaccines.

    Researchers from the UK and Denmark reanalyzed data on the effect of vitamin A supplementation on mortality in children given a tuberculosis (Bacille Calmette-Guérin [BCG] vaccine) or measles vaccine.

    First, the details.

    • 11,722 children from Ghana were randomly assigned to receive vitamin A or placebo every 4 months for 2 years.
    • Vaccination status was assessed at enrollment and after 1 and 2 years by reviewing the children’s health cards.
    • Lack of a health card was presumed to mean that the child had not been vaccinated.

    And, the results.

    • Taking vitamin A supplements had a beneficial effect only in children with no record of vaccination at enrollment.
    • Taking vitamin A had a negative effect in measles-vaccinated girls who were missing one or more doses of DTP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine) at enrollment.

    The bottom line?
    The effect of VAS differs by vaccination status. The authors observed, “This is potentially problematic because vitamin A supplementation is provided at vaccination contacts.”

    In an earlier study, the Danish researchers reported that vitamin A supplementation did not appear to affect the long-term response to BCG vaccination. However, it temporarily altered the delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (PPD) in boys 2 months of age, suggesting sex differences in the immunologic response to vitamin A given with BCG.”

    There’s lots of research going on in this field.

    • Researchers in India reported, “Routine vitamin A supplementation and measles vaccination reduce the chances of complications amongst cases of measles.”
    • In another study from Denmark it was reported, “Vitamin A supplementation is more beneficial when given with measles vaccine and potentially harmful when given with DTP.”

    10/11/09 23:29 JR

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