Tuberculosis is still a general public health problem in many developing countries such as India. As tuberculosis is common in developing countries, where poverty and malnutrition are also rampant, tuberculosis takes a huge toll on health of the nation as a whole and affects individual health in particular. Tuberculosis patients are generally malnourished and malnutrition is one of the cause of reduced body immune status (malnutrition can not supply adequate proteins and proteins are vital in maintaining immune status of an individual). Due to the possibility of malnutrition in tuberculosis patients it is important to provide proper nutrition to them with adequate protein in the diet. Tuberculosis diet should be a balanced one with provision of all essential nutrients.
The following dietary modifications are recommended in tuberculosis:
The requirement of energy (calorie) is increased in tuberculosis. This increased energy requirement is to minimize weight loss and for speedy recovery from tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis generally has fever of long duration and in fever of long duration there is considerable loss of tissues and to compensate tissue loss the protein intake should be higher in tuberculosis. Serum albumin is also reduced in tuberculosis.
The carbohydrate content of diet of tuberculosis patient should be enough to meet increased energy demands, which generally comes from carbohydrates.
The fat content should be moderate in tuberculosis, because too much fat can frequently cause stomach upset and diarrhea.
The diet of tuberculosis patient should have adequate amount of vitamins. Because some anti tubercular antibiotics use vitamins for their metabolism, especially vitamin B6, so vitamin content should be adequate in diet, especially vitamin B6.
The mineral content of tuberculosis diet should be high, especially calcium content. Liberal amount of calcium is required for proper and faster healing and recovery of tuberculosis. For enough calcium, milk and milk products should be taken in liberal quantities. There may also be anemia in tuberculosis patients due to malnutrition and iron should be supplied adequately in diet or supplemented artificially.