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Does Vitamin A, B12, Zinc, and Yogurt help increase T-Cell count?
Jul 25, 2000

Dear Dr. Hellerstein:

I have read and heard that Vitamin A, B12, Zinc, and Yogurt helps increase T-Cell count, is this true? If true, what daily food diet schedule is safe and best to follow? Sincerely Appreciative, Jose R. Tarzana Treatment Center's HIV Services Department

Response from Dr. Hellerstein

I wish it were true! But I have yet to see any good evidence that these dietary treatments do help the T cell count.These factors in the diet all have benefits in other ways, especially for someone who may be eating poorly or losing weight. But improvement in T cell counts or function is not one of their effects.

Yoghurt is terrific for providing calcium, protein and calories in an adult (who usually will lack the enzyme to digest milk sugar in other form). Vitamin A is in yellow and orange vegetables or vitamin supplements and maintains the body's surfaces functioning properly, among other things. Zinc deficiency causes a host of problems but is unusual on an American diet. B12 deficiency would also be unusual except in rare individuals with a defect in absorption (pernicious anemia). The main thing is to keep up your general intake,a nd these specific deficiencies are unlikely to emerge.

Marc Hellerstein, M.D., Ph.D.


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