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Suplements before treatment

Sep 15, 2012

Hello, I would like to know your opinion regarding the following 'suplements' to take them daily and the results of them preventing the progress of the HIV. I refer only taking them before antiretroviral treatment, never in combination with antiretrovirals and never substituting them.

- glycyrrhizin (Liquorice root) - N-Acetil Cysteine (NAC) - Selenium - Zink - Mutivitamins - Pro and Pre biotics - Omega 3,6 y 9 - Coenzyme Q10 - Folic Acid - Bovine Colostrum - Spiruline

Do you think that they could delay the progress of the infection? I read some 'suplements' which stimulate the immune system could create the oposite effect accelerating the HIV infection (i.e.: echinacea) Thanks

Response from Mr. Vergel

Not a single supplement has been proven to slow down HIV disease. Studies using a multivitamin have been performed in the past in people not taking any HIV medications, though.

Several studies have been performed using vitamin/mineral supplements to assess their effect on immune status and survival in the post-HAART era.

A once daily multivitamin and placebo were provided to 481 HIV positive men and women in Thailand. There were 50% fewer deaths in the micronutrient group compared to placebo in one year ( Jiampton, et al. AIDS 2003)

A daily multivitamin was provided to 1078 pregnant Tanzanian women. Six years later, the multivitamin group had a significantly higher CD4 cell count and lower viral load. There were significantly fewer symptoms, less disease progression, and slower progression in the multivitamin group (Fawzi, et al.NEJM 2004)

These are studies that have found the following benefits:

Micronutrients can enhance the survival of HIV positive patients (AIDS, 2003)

Micronutrients can delay the progression of the disease in patients not yet taking HAART (NEJM 2005)

Here is a good review paper on micronutrients and HIV:Possible benefits of micronutrient supplementation in the treatment and management of HIV infection and AIDS

But having said that, I doubt that a multivitamin or any supplement per se can really slow down HIV infection. If my viral load was over 1000-5000 copies/ml, I would seriously consider starting HIV medications at any CD4 cell level if I was diagnosed today as HIV+. Knowing what I know now about how this virus populates reservoirs (compartments) in the body as time passes diminishes and counters any potential fears I may have about side effects. And this is even more evident if one is lucky enough to have access to newer HIV medications that show a lot better side effect profiles.


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