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hiv+ and vitamins

Dec 6, 2008

hi,i was diagnosed in jan18th 08 of having hiv-1,caught from my partner who took ill with TB.i am not on meds yet, but been taking a dily selenium tablet of 200micrograms, and recently started taking a multi vitamin.i was wondering the following :(1) will the selenium up my cd4 count and should i keep taking it also the multivitamin?.(2) i buy nutritional shakes with all the vitamins in , including gre tea and hoodia , i was told not to drink this anymore from another guy who is hiv+ is this true that i have to afford green tea and hoodia drinks?...thanks , stewart

Response from Dr. DeJesus

Hi Stewart:

The benefits of all those nutritional supplements at this point in your disease are extremely questionable. Trust me, if treating HIV at this point, even during early disease was as simple as to take nutritional supplements, we would have proven that by now beyond any doubt.

Having a balanced nutrition and perhaps adding some dietary supplements may help somewhat your overall nutritional status, thus your overall health. In reality, we all are able to gain most of the nutritional factors needed just with on regular diet. But I still recommended my patients (on HIV meds or not) to take an additional multivitamin daily.

Regarding the claims that many of those over-the-counter-products will "boost" your immune system, it is a far fetch. If you are not taking HIV medications, these nutritional supplements are not likely to harm you (other that the financial burden), but they mostly lack proven data collected under well-designed scientific studies, to support most of their claims and benefits, especially for a person who is otherwise healthy (even with recently acquired HIV infection).

For patients taking HIV medications we frequently recommend not taking some herbal supplements because they can potentially interfere with the absorption and activity of many HIV medications; which explains why your friend may have told you not to take them. Good luck!

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