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Dietary Tips for Tuberculosis Patients

Malnutrition is well known among adults with tuberculosis. Protein deficiency may have a particular detrimental effect on the ability of the body to fight tuberculosis. Multiple micronutrient deficiencies are also common during tuberculosis. Before antibiotics were used to treat tuberculosis, cod liver oil was a mainstay. Studies suggest that the Vitamin A found in cod liver oil may have helped treat the disease by boosting the immune systems response to the bacteria.


It is important to consume a balanced diet to provide your body with the nutrients that you need to fight tuberculosis. It particularly is important to avoid consuming any alcohol during the entire course of your treatment as this could result in treatment complications and side effects.

Weight gain generally improves during appropriate tuberculosis treatment and appropriate nutritional supplementation. However, persons who complete treatment are at risk of losing weight that was gained.


Recommendations For a Balanced Diet

Some tips for a balanced diet are listed below. For assistance, please consult a registered dietician for a diet tailored to your needs.

Dietary Fat



While not directly addressing the issue of protein, The Dietary Guidelines For Americans say, "While protein is an important macronutrient in the diet, most Americans are already currently consuming enough and do not need to increase their intake. As such, protein consumption, while important for nutrient adequacy, is not a focus of this document." However, they do recommend you to choose foods that contain lean protein, stating:

Sodium and Potassium

For more information:

Go to the Tuberculosis health topic, where you can:

This article is a NetWellness exclusive.

Last Reviewed: Feb 27, 2008

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Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University

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Case Western Reserve University