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Should People With HIV Consider Telomere-Boosting Supplements? (Editor's Pick)

Jul 7, 2015

I am 47 years old. I have been + for the past 10 years and currently taking complera for the past 4 years. I have been introduced a product that support the telomeres. This products has basically vitamins and herb blends. Do you think this product can affect positively or negatively to an individual with HIV.

Supplement Facts Serving Size: 2 Softgels Servings per Container: 60 Amount per % Daily Serving Value Vitamin A (beta carotene) 3333 IU 66% Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 13 mg 21% Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol) 5 IU 16% Vitamin B12 12 mcg 200% (cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin) Proprietary Blend 1280 mg Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) seed extract, flax (Linum usitatissimum) seed oil, phosphatidylcholine, turmeric (Curcuma longa) root extract, green tea (Camellia sinensis) leaf extract, giant knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) root extract, horny goat weed (Epimedium sagittatum) herb top extract, pomegranate (Punica granatum) fruit extract, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) root extract, grape (Vitis vinifera) seed extract, boswellia (Boswellia serrata) gum resin extract, blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) fruit extract, N-acetyl-L-cysteine, bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) fruit extract, R-alpha lipoic acid, L-glutathione, Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) root extract, bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) whole plant extract, raspberry (Rubus idaeus) fruit extract, canola lecithin, harada (Terminalia chebula) fruit extract, quercetin dihydrate, velvet bean (Mucuna pruriens) seed extract, maca (Lepidium meyenii) root extract, goldthread (Coptis chinensis) root extract, shilajit extract, acacia-thorn mimosa (Acacia nilotica) bark extract, black tea (Camellia sinensis) leaf extract, white tea (C. sinensis) leaf extract, proprietary carotenoid blend (lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin, alpha carotene)

Response from Mr. Vergel

When people get older, and their cells have reproduced for many generations, the tips of their mitochondrial DNA snippet of the DNA called telomeres become shorter and more ragged, much like the worn caps at the ends of used shoelaces. When telomeres degrade like this, the cells don't function or reproduce well. This can cause the body to destroy those cells. It can also lead those cells to become cancerous.

To further illuminate what is happening with telomeres in HIV-positive people, Tammy Rickabaugh, PhD, and Beth Jamieson, PhD, from UCLA, and their colleagues looked at the effect of telomere length on people's ability to produce and preserve naive CD4 cells that had not previously encountered any pathogens and thus act as a reserve against future infections and cancers.

Telomere length in HIV + patients

The team found that in the two groups of younger people, the HIV-positive group had much shorter telomeres than the HIV-negative group. In fact, the HIV-positive participants' telomeres were as short as that typically found in people who are 20 to 30 years older.

In the older participants, Rickabaugh and her colleagues found that shorter telomeres were associated with low numbers of the type of immune cells needed to mount and sustain an adequate response to HIV and other diseases. The authors suggest this could explain why people who become infected at an older age have a quicker progression to AIDS, in the absence of treatment, and also why they tend to have poorer recovery of CD4 cells after starting ARV therapy.

What's more, when Rickabaugh's team looked at the group responding well to ARV therapy, they found that telomeres were shorter within just a few years of infection and that while naive cells did recover somewhat after starting treatment, they did not do so completely and remained impaired.

A mediterranean diet, exercise, and vitamins have been shown to improve telomere length in non-HIV studies. HIV medications have also been shown to increase telomere length since they decrease the attack of HIV on the immune system that may shorten telomere length.

Diet, Meditation, Exercise Can Improve Telomere Length

Increases in T Cell Telomere Length in HIV Infection after Antiretroviral Combination Therapy

I do not know how much you are paying for that supplement which makes such claims. A basic multivitamin, exercise, balanced diet with lots of vegetables and stress reduction can improve telomere length.

In health,

Nelson Vergel

loosing weight
Honestly how much longer can I expect to live?

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