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Vitamins Containing Protease
Jan 22, 2002

Hello, As a part of an overall effort to combat debilitating fatigue, I am taking a twice daily multi vitamin. I bought the best I could find at GNC & was careful to avoid more then 15mg of zinc as I have heard too much zinc is not good. I noticed that these vitamins contain 2mg of "Protease". I wonder since I am taking a "Protease Inhibitor" is this a problem? Maybe the two have nothing to do with each other, but it seems logical that one would not want to take something that one is trying to "inhibit". Thank you so much for your effort on this forum. I know it means a great deal to your readers! KL

Response from Ms. Fields-Gardner

You have written an important thought: what effect does protease have on protease inhibitors? The protease in your supplement is not strictly a vitamin or mineral. In fact, proteases, amylases, and lipases are sometimes recommended to deal with malabsorption of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats respectively. One small study took a look at the effect of such a supplement of pancreatic enzymes (Ultrase) on the protease inhibitor nelfinavir (Viracept) to see if there were any untoward effects on the PI. The researchers announced that the enzymes had no effect on the level of the anti-HIV drug.

While this research doesn't provide us with 100% assurance that there is nothing that happens between proteases and inhibitors in all situations, it was at least explored with benign results. The levels of enzymes in the medication researched was at a prescription level, so it is unlikely that a vitamin supplement will contain such a high level of protease enzymes.

The answer then: it is unlikely that the proteases contained in your vitamin supplement will affect protease inhibitor drug levels. Thank you for the question!

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