Supplements: Which ones, How much and How Long?

Question

Dear Dr. Vergel, I have followed your section avidly since I was diagnosed a few months ago with a VL of 1,600,000 and a low CD4, as well as an OI (PCP). I am currently on Truvada/Prezista/norvir (about 18 weeks into treatment) and my last CD4 count was 350 at 7 weeks of treatment (coming from 88 upon diagnosis before starting HAART). I had a ferritin level of 850 with low serum levels of several nutrients ( iron, Vit B6). After reading everywhere and discussing with my HIV doc the benefit of including some supplementary nutrients to help me back to health, I have included de following:

  • A complete multivitamin that contains also essential minerals such as Selenium (200 mcg),
  • a Vitamin B complex (my B6 was undetectable and I suffered from severe hair loss) -Vitamin C: 1 gm twice a day -CoQ10 ( I take 200 mg every other day) -Alfa lipoic Acid: 150 mg twice a day -Acetyl L-Carnitin: 500 mg twice a day -L-Glutamine: 1 gm twice a day

Occasionally i drink some licorice tea and add some spirullin tablets, since I read that it also may help lower my viremia a bit faster.

My questions are basically two:

  1. Are these supplements all I need and how long am I expected to carry on taking them?( is there room for supplements' holidays when things get better?)
  2. What about dosages? When it comes to HAART all dosages are clear cut, but regarding supplements everything falls into a grey zone.

I am eager to read your response and will continue to read all your interesting posts. Keep up the good work.

John

PS: Any thoughts regarding Chaga mushroom?

Answer

I summarize my review of supplements in this article:

Making Sense of Supplements

I would not take licorice, mushrooms, spirulina, or any others not studied in HIV.

There is some encouraging data on survival in people infected with HIV but not taking HIV medications. We have no data on the survival or immune response effect of supplements in people taking HIV medications.

Nelson