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Most popular nutritional products in HIV
Nov 12, 2011

Nelson What are the most popular vitamin/nutrition products marketed in HIV? If you have costs, that would be great. Gracias mi amigo

Response from Mr. Vergel

These are the ones that have some research behind them in HIV:

Omega 3 fish oils- They lower triglycerides and may have other benefits like anti-inflammatory properties. 2000-3000 mg per day. It will probably run $30 per month depending on the brand.

Vitamin D- Most of us have deficiencies on this vitamin. It can help strengthen bones along with calcium. It may have other immune benefits but they have not been proven in HIV. 2000-4000 IU per day is usually OK to reach normal blood levels. Costs around 6 dollars a month.

Calcium- Along with Vitamin D, it helps strengthen bones. It can also help decrease diarrhea induced by Norvir. 1000 mg per day is usually OK. Costs around $5 per month. Many formulations have both calcium and vitamin D together.

A multivitamin with 200 micrograms of selenium- Pre-HAART studies showed that a multivitamin a day could decrease mortality in African women who were not on HIV medications. We do not know if the same benefit exists in those taking meds. Selenium deficiencies have been found in HIV. Selenium is an important precursor to our body's own antioxidant (glutathione). Make sure the multivitamin has at least 100% of most B vitamins. Costs anywhere from 10- 30 dollars a month.

Other supplements with limited data from small pilot studies:

L-Carnitine- May reduce triglycerides and increase energy. L-Acetyl-Carnitine (another form of Carnitine) has been shown to protect nerve cells against damaging effects of nucleosides. 1000-2000 per day. Expensive at $30-40 per month.

Zinc- You can get this as part of a multivitamin. It has been shown to decrease diarrhea in kids with HIV. It has also been shown in non HIV studies to decrease the severity of colds. Do not exceed 50 mg per day. Cost $10 per month

Coenzyme Q-10- Non HIV studies show protective effect of heart muscle. Some patients on lipid lowering agents may have low Coenzyme Q-10. Although not completely proven, supplementation with this antioxidant may decrease the chances of getting muscle myopathy (weakness) and rhabdomyolysis that can be caused by lipid lowering agents. A small HIV study found increases in energy and weight. 100-300 mg per day. $25- $50 per month.

These tables summarize studies done with vitamins and nutrients in HIV. As you can tell, there is some contradictory data: Vitamin and Mineral Use in HIV- Summary of Studies

So far, we have not seen any concerning interactions with these supplements with HIV medications. But specific interactions studies have not been performed, and probably never will. I caution people who take any supplements not to take them with their HIV medications (wait at least 4 hours after you take your meds to take supplements).

I hope this limited information helps you.

Nelson Vergel



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