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Any new studies on supplements at the Vienna International AIDS Conf?
Aug 16, 2010

Nelson, I am curious if anything new was published at the conference on nutrition and supplements. Thanks

Response from Mr. Vergel

I am glad you asked that question. There were a few posters and oral presentations on the use of supplements in HIV at the Vienna International AIDS Conference.

Here are several:

Supplementation included B-complex, Vitamins C and E, and Selenium:

Vitamin D



In a placebo controlled study, the investigators examined the effect of zinc supplementation on the prevention of immune failure in 40 HIV-positive adults on HIV meds. Immune failure was defined as a CD4 cell count below 200 cells/mm3.

Over the 18 months, 4 patients in the placebo group (21%) experienced immune failure, compared with none in the zinc group (0%; P = .043). Dr. Baum and her coauthors conclude that zinc supplementation is safe and might prevent immunologic failure in HIV-positive patients on stable ART.

In one study, low vitamin D levels in the blood were associated with higher increase in transmission of HIV from those patients with Vit D deficiency. Other two studies were conflicting about the role of HIV medications in lowering Vitamin D blood levels.

In another study, conducted on a different but similar population, Dr Baum and her colleagues randomized 13 patients to supplementation with multiple antioxidants, including vitamins C, E, and B complex, selenium, N-acetyl cysteine, and alpha-lipoic acid, as well as zinc, and compared outcomes with those in 12 patients given a placebo for 8 weeks.

Over that time period, patients receiving the antioxidants had increased CD4% (non statistically significant due to small sample size and the short 2 month period) and activity of complex IV, an enzyme involved in mitochondria function suggesting decreased mitochondrial damage.

The results were promising in Botswana, where 875 HIV-positive people participated in a randomized clinical trial comparing supplementation with vitamins C, E, and B complex plus selenium with multivitamins alone, selenium alone, and placebo.

These patients had CD4 cell counts greater than 350 cells/mm3 and were not receiving HIV medication at the time. Over 24 months, the patients were followed for events related to disease progression, which were defined as a CD4 count below 250 cells/mm3, the development of an AIDS-defining condition, or death.

Disease progression was slower among people receiving any type of nutritional supplementation than among people not receiving nutritional supplements . Too bad these supplements may be expensive for people in Africa!


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