This is the second installment in our series "What Supplements I Take and Why." This article looks at the supplement regimen taken by Nelson Vergel. Nelson, a native of Venezuela and 17-year survivor of HIV, is a leading treatment advocate for HIV-related wasting, lipodystrophy, and wellness in HIV disease. He created the non-profit organization Program for Wellness Restoration (PoWeR) to help persons living with HIV disease rebuild their lives and health. Nelson and co-author Michael Mooney published the book Built to Survive!: A Comprehensive Guide to the Medical Use of Anabolic Steroids, Nutrition, and Exercise for HIV+ Men and Women
. Popular lecturers, Nelson and Michael have collectively given over 300 lectures around the United States, including annual community treatment forums in Atlanta co-sponsored by AIDS Survival Project and AIDS Treatment Initiatives.
This series of personal supplement regimens is not intended to endorse any particular supplements or advise readers what supplements to take. The goal is to create a mosaic of perspectives that will raise provocative questions about complementary therapies and further entice readers to think critically about supplements and the role they play in our health and wellness.
Nelson Vergel's Daily Nutrients
These are the vitamins, minerals, and special nutrients Nelson takes and the reasons he takes them.
- B-Complex: includes 100mg of each B vitamin -- possibly reduces mitochondrial toxicity and lipodystrophy, and for overall health, energy metabolism cardiovascular health and brain function. One tablet twice per day.
- SuperNutrition Super Blend complete daily multi-vitamin, multi-mineral, antioxidant formula: for overall health and to improve insulin sensitivity. Two tablets twice per day.
- Carnitine: to reduce the potential for mitochondrial toxicity and lipodystrophy, to improve insulin sensitivity, and improve fat/triglyceride metabolism. 1,000mg twice per day.
- Coenzyme Q10: to reduce the potential for mitochondrial toxicity and lipodystrophy, improve insulin sensitivity, and as an antioxidant. 200mg twice per day. CoQ10 also increases energy at this high dose. People usually report that the dose has to be above 200mg per day to increase the feeling of energy.
- Zinc/Copper: for appetite, and sexual function. 50/5mg per day. (Be sure to take antioxidants like alpha lipoic acid, if you take copper, which can increase free radicals.)
- Silymarin: for liver health and to improve insulin sensitivity. 160mg three times per day.
- Alpha Lipoic: to reduce the potential for mitochondrial toxicity and lipodystrophy, and to improve insulin sensitivity. 200mg twice per day.
- Calcium/Magnesium: to improve overall health and to improve insulin sensitivity. 1000/400mg total per day, split into two doses.
- Digestive enzymes with each meal -- for digestion and to reduce bloating.
- Experimenting with SAMe for energy and mood.
- Chromium: to support insulin sensitivity. 400mcg total per day spread out throughout the day, part from the Super Blend and part added.
- Selenium: anti-viral protection, improves glutathione. 400mcg per day total.
Nelson Vergel is co-author of Built to Survive!, Michael Mooney, comments that Nelson does not appear to have symptoms of lipodystrophy. He says, "I wonder if this is because he has been taking high doses of nutrients for a long time. While he has taken N-acetyl-l-cysteine in the past, in an effort to reduce his total pill burden he has decreased his supplements to what is listed. Notice that he has taken the three nutrients we think have the most potential to reduce lipodystrophy: carnitine, CoQ-10, and B-vitamins for a long time."