Malnutrition and tuberculosis are both problems of considerable magnitude in most of the underdeveloped regions of the world. These two problems tend to interact with each other. Tuberculosis mortality rates in different economic groups in a community tend to vary inversely with their economic levels. Similarly, nutritional status is significantly lower in patients with active tuberculosis compared with healthy controls. Malnutrition can lead to secondary immunodeficiency that increases the host's susceptibility to infection. In patients with tuberculosis, it leads to reduction in appetite, nutrient malabsorption, micronutrient malabsorption, and altered metabolism leading to wasting. Both, protein-energy malnutrition and micronutrients deficiencies increase the risk of tuberculosis. It has been found that malnourished tuberculosis patients have delayed recovery and higher mortality rates than well-nourished patients. Nutritional status of patients improves during tuberculosis chemotherapy. High prevalence of human immunodeficiency (HIV) infection in the underdeveloped countries further aggravates the problem of malnutrition and tuberculosis. Effect of malnutrition on childhood tuberculosis and tuberculin skin test are other important considerations. Nutritional supplementation may represent a novel approach for fast recovery in tuberculosis patients. In addition, raising nutritional status of population may prove to be an effective measure to control tuberculosis in underdeveloped areas of world.
Keywords: Antituberculosis chemotherapy; human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection; malnutrition; micronutrients; tuberculosis.