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Any validity to these claims?
Dec 13, 1999

Dear Dr. Cohen: Is there any validity to the nutritional supplements that supposedly replace glutathione in the cells there- fore enhancing the immune response naturally? There is a particular product that is covered by ADAP that I've read supposed clinical data on and I'm wondering whether glutathione replacement is important? If this product which is a milk protein isolate does do what it says it does I will certainly keep taking it, best to hit hiv from all angles.Thank you for your kind response.

Response from Dr. Cohen

Well, it is hard to know for sure.

There is some work done on some of these products. And a few of them even have a decent randomized study to show some improvements in some aspect of health - like cell mass, or even CD4 counts. Glutathione does appear important in cell health and recovery from damage and it makes sense that a supplement with it could help. We know that many who don't add these supplements can do OK - and it is unclear who "needs" to take these, or how much healthier you would be by continuing on them. But if your approach is to do all you can, this approach seems reasonable, and supported by some research.

You don't mention which product you are taking, so it is difficult to comment on the specifics. But we can say for sure that they are likely to be safe - as long as you aren't noticing any problems. (Some can acquire intolerance to milk as we age causing gas, bloating and diarrhea... since you didn't mention it this likely hasn't been your experience.)

I assume you are in New York - which has traditionally had the more generous HDAP program in the US - other states are still trying to decide if they should cover all available antivirals...

Hope that helps. CC

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