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Protein Requirements on Trizivir
Jan 22, 2002

Can you recommend a minimum and/or ideal protein intake for someone HIV+ and on Trizivir (was on Ziagen/Combivir prior to Trizivir release) for two years now - viral under 50 and Tcells are up to 1,100 (been climbing from 500 when started treatment) with 43 CD4/8 ratio

Response from Ms. Fields-Gardner

Protein requirements are based more on your ability to maintain your body's protein stores than on this type of medication. How well your kidneys and liver are functioning is an important part of evaluating your protein needs and tolerance.

If your kidneys and liver are functioning at adequate levels, we turn then to maintenance of protein stores with HIV infection. HIV infection is a chronic inflammatory disease which typically indicates a need for a slightly higher level of protein than without an infection or other disease. While it is not exact, you can start with about 1/2 gram of protein for every pound of body weight (if you are around a good weight). This will increase if you have more muscle stores to support (you can find out by having a body composition evaluation done) and may increase even more if you have another infection or a very high viral load to contend with.

So, if you are a man who weighs around 180 pounds, your baseline for protein needs with uncomplicated HIV infection may be around 90-100 grams of protein.

You get protein primarily in the dairy and meat/meat substitute food groups. The "average" diet in the U.S. is generally already a "high-protein" diet (which means there is less additional to do in that case). Beware of too much protein which challenges your kidneys a bit much. The goal is to get what you need to support your body's protein levels and body function.

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