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Sutherlandia - can it cause an increased VL

Jun 19, 2011

HI, Can taking a natural product like Sutherlandia to boost the immune system cause the VL to increase? (No other meds or ARV taken) I live in South Africa & have been HIV+ for 7 years VL has been naturally very low to undetectable, CD4 well over 1000 even up to 2000. But a period of stress saw the results change to CD4 670 & VL 3300. Prescribed vitamin D3 2000iu per day & mulitvitamin for 4 months. Last test showed CD4 1450 but VL 13000. Was told that this could be a blip but to increase vitamin D3 to 4000iu per day. Asked if I should take something like Sutherlandia and was told that because I was not ARV, this could be adding fuel to the fire and cause the VL to increase. Had I been on ARV's then it would benefit me to take it - do you agree with this? Surely the same could be said for anything that increases the immune system? Thanks for your help. South Africa

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Although there has been some research performed on what sutherlandia actually does in the body, and there is anecdotal data about viral load decreases and CD4 count increases, I am not aware of good controlled trials to look at the effects of sutherlandia on viral load or CD4 count. We also know that there can be interactions between some HIV meds and sutherlandia because they both are metabolized in the liver the same way, and could affect HIV medication levels in the blood. So, it is possible that there could be benefit combining the two, but close monitoring of your numbers would be important.

western blot results
Viral Load increase, TCell Drop, CD4 Percentage increase

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