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Supplements and recent studies our Dr.s are recommending
Aug 15, 2012

According to the following post I have some very real concerns about supplements. A recent study stated a LARGE part of the HIV+ community are vitamin-D deficient. Would you please shed light on the appropriate supplements recommended for HIV+/AIDS patients? I know there are a LOT of HERBAL supplements which have a great amount of NEGATIVE effects on a variety of medications. Thank you for your time, assistance, and guidance with this issue. Here is the response I am referring to, purely for reference purposes:

Response from Dr. Young

Hello E. and thanks for posting.

Readers of my posts will know that I'm not a big fan of supplements (in general); there's little real evidence of effectiveness and little safety data on drug-drug interactions. Moreover (and because of this), I find them an over-promoted, unsubstantiated waste of hard earned money.

That said, I'm not aware of any significant drug interactions between your supplements and HIV meds. You could take them together if you choose.

As for the alcohol, it's ok to have an occasional drink so long as this doesn't interfere with your adherence to your HIV medications.

I share your goals of wanting to maintaing good health; I think that focus on supplements should be replaced with focus on a good balanced diet, getting routine exercise and perhaps above all else avoiding tobacco consumption.

Be well, BY

Response from Dr. Young

Hi and thanks for posting.

Here's what I generally recommend about supplements. First off, try the best you can to eat a balanced, nutritious diet (this is the best "supplement" and it the least expensive and has few side effects). If one does this, the need for other nutritional supplementation is less.

There are exceptions to this, and you're right that many people (including positives) don't have adequate vitamin D in their diet. One might ask about your vitamin D level, and if low, you might need additional D to get the vitamin tank filled up. Similarly, many adults don't eat enough calcium- so it's important to get dietary calcium (though one needs to be more careful about not overdoing this, since there can be risk of things like kidney stones-- more isn't better).

Some individuals are iron deficient (it's one of the causes of anemia), and for those people, iron supplementation makes sense (but probably not others).

Outside of that, the rest of the supplement literature, IMHO, is lacking in validated scientific studies.

Be well, BY



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