Vitamin A & Measles
Just two doses of Vitamin A can help save the life of a child, according to research on Measles. Measles continues to infect children around the world. While a vaccine is the best way to prevent it, Vitamin A may help treat it.
Professionally Reviewed by Charles Li, MD


Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays important roles all around your body. You may know that it helps you see at night. But, did you know that it also can function as life-saving medication for some?
Key Facts
Vitamin A
Key Facts
Key Facts
  • Type
    Fat soluble
  • Source
  • Other Names
    Retinol, retinyl ester
Key Sources


Sweet Potatoes


Vitamin A

Vitamin A plays a key role in our black and white and night vision.


Vitamin A helps your immune system fight off disease.

Cell Growth

Vitamin A helps your cells grow and develop properly, particularly in young children.


Measles is a potentially deadly disease that is known for being extremely infectious. In the data below, researchers show that one child with measles can infect 18 other kids, while ebola might only spread to 1-2 others.

Measles vs Ebola: Infectiousness. Measles has the capability to spread much faster than other diseases. Ebola, which gets ample media attention, does not spread easily. A patient with Ebola is expected to spread it to around 1 or 1.5 other people in their community. A patient with measles can spread it to 18 other people in their community if the community is unvaccinated.

Study 1

Vitamin A & Measles

2 Doses to save lives

A systematic review found that just 2 doses of Vitamin A can dramatically reduce the risk of death from measles in kids under age 2. It also significantly reduced the risk of death from pneumonia. This suggests that Vitamin A has significant therapeutic benefits when used correctly. It's also a very cheap way to save the lives of children around the world.

Vitamin A & Measles

A meta-analysis found that two doses of Vitamin A can significantly reduce Measles deaths. They found a nearly 80% reduction in risk of death with two doses of Vitamin A and a significant reduction in Pneumonia deaths as well.

Data Source

"No overall significant reduction in mortality with vitamin A therapy for children with measles was found. However two doses reduced overall and pneumonia‐specific mortality in children aged less than two years."

Source: Vitamin A for treating measles in children

Bottom Line

Vitamin A Benefits

Vitamin A is good for more than just eyesight. It's an important and cost-effective medicine for kids around the world if used properly.

More Info

Recognizing Measles
Measles is one of the most difficult diseases to diagnose.

It starts with symptoms that can look a lot like a cold or a viral infection.

It can then form little white dots inside the mouth, called Koplik spots.

The measles rash can then form after a few days.

It then spreads across the body before resolving.