Vitamin Supplements to Help HIV Patients

Taking vitamin supplements is part of a daily routine for many. However, when it comes to the immune system and HIV, they may also play a crucial role. Scientists have conducted long-term studies that show a marked improvement in the immune response of those with early signs of the virus.

There are certain nutrients imperative to the functioning of a healthy immune system. When that immune system is compromised such as by disease, those vitamins become even more vital. Research has indicated that a deficiency in the micronutrients that aid the immune system can be harmful. A deficiency in several nutrients could normally be found in patients who had yet to experience HIV symptoms, with the most significant deficiencies being those of selenium and vitamins B, E and C.

A study in Botswana followed over 800 HIV patients over the period of a couple years. The participants were divided into three main groups: A placebo group, one group that received all the nutrients in supplement form as mentioned above and finally one group on just a few select vitamins. All patients received this care prior to the start of antiretroviral therapy.

The results yielded showed the supplements to be beneficial. For one, blood tests remained at respectable levels; another benefit was the slowing down of the progression of the disease process. With a fortified immune system, symptoms manifested at a slower rate than without the supplements. Even though the study was conducted on patients in the very early stages of HIV, there was still a lower morbidity rate among those taking the vitamins and selenium. With this being an early treatment option that is both accessible and affordable, researchers are hopeful: This is one type of therapy that can be implemented quickly and which reduces the financial burden of treatment, especially in some poorer regions.