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Treatment Corner

Spring 2005

Vitamin and Mineral Checklist

The following is a list of recommended vitamin and mineral supplements for persons living with HIV disease. Certain supplements can interact with HIV medications, so make sure to discuss your vitamin and mineral supplement plan with your doctor before beginning or making any changes to your current regimen.

Basic Multivitamin/Mineral Supplement

Everyone with HIV should be taking a basic multivitamin. Recommended dosage: one tablet, once or twice daily


You need extra B vitamins when your immune system is under extra stress from HIV. Recommended dosage: 25-50mg

Beta Carotene

It is called "provitamin A", it is converted into vitamin A in the gastrointestinal tract and is considered the non-toxic version of vitamin A. Beta Carotene is an antioxidant and is needed for fighting infections. Recommended dosage: 10,000- 20,000 IU's

Vitamin C

It is an antioxidant and can boost the immune system. Recommended dosage: 500-1000mg (if possible, take half in the morning and half at night)

Vitamin E

It works in harmony with vitamin C to strengthen and increase antioxidant effects of both vitamins. Recommended dosage: 400-800 IU's


It is an antioxidant and helps keep your gut healthy. Selenium deficiencies have been shown in studies to be an independent risk factor for survival. Recommended dosage: 200mcg


Some of the HIV medications may lead to bone mineral loss. Brittle bones will be an issue as people living with HIV get older. Take your calcium with vitamin C rich foods like orange juice to help increase absorption. Recommended dosage: 1000- 1500mg (if possible, take half in the AM and half in the PM)

NAC (N-acetyl cysteine)

NAC is an antioxidant that helps to increase glutathione levels in the body. Glutathione is also an antioxidant that is needed to keep the immune system functioning well. Low glutathione levels have been shown to be common in all groups of HIV+ individuals. Recommended dosage: 1000-2000mg


Low levels of magnesium can cause fatigue, dizziness, and depression. Recommended dosage: 300-400mg


Levels of zinc have shown to be low in about a third of people living with HIV. It is important for wound healing, prostate gland function, and a healthy immune system.

This fact sheet is produced by the Women Alive Treatment Education & Advocacy program in cooperation with the Office of AIDS Programs & Policy-Los Angeles County, Department of Health Services

To Phenotype? Or Genotype? That Is the Question ...

What Is Resistance Testing?

Resistance Testing refers to two new types of tests that are being used by a number of researchers and healthcare providers in the search for better ways to treat people infected with HIV/AIDS.

The first one called a Genotypic test, examines the HIV taken from a patient, looking for the presence of certain genetic mutations that are known to cause resistance to medications.

A Phenotypic test directly measures the actual sensitivity of a patient's HIV to certain drugs. To do this, phenotypic tests measure the amount of a particular medication needed to inhibit HIV in a test tube.

How Might These Tests Help Me?

It is the hope of doctors, and people living with HIV that using these tests will allow them to make better treatment decisions. For example, knowing what medications you might already be resistant to, could save both time, money, and possibly the heartache of taking a bunch medications that could be destined to fail from the start. This is especially important to someone whose combination therapy may have already failed, or someone who may have been infected with resistant virus.

What Are the Pros and Cons?

Unfortunately these tests are not without fault. They are being done on an experimental basis. They are quite expensive and the data can be hard to interpret.

How Can I Get More Info?

Drop by, or call one of the Women Alive Treatment Advocates. They will be happy to give you more detailed information.

For further information email or or call our office at 323.965.1564.

These fact sheets were produced by the Women Alive Treatment Education & Adherence program. Distribution of information is funded by the County of Los Angeles, Department of Health Services, Office of AIDS Programs and Policy, but such funding implies no endorsement of treatment or verification of the medical or scientific accuracy of the information.

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This article was provided by Women Alive. It is a part of the publication Women Alive Newsletter.