Vitamins Slow Advance of HIV

A simple multivitamin pill may slow the advance of HIV, say U.S. doctors. If so, patients in developing countries will be able to delay switching to more expensive drugs. In a study of pregnant Tanzanian women with HIV, those who swallowed a daily dose of vitamins B, C and E for up to five years were around 50 percent less likely to progress to full-blown AIDS than those in a comparison group. Doctors have suspected for some time that patients who are undernourished or lacking particular nutrients may fare worse when infected with HIV. Interestingly, the supplements in the study contained about six times the U.S. recommended daily allowance of the vitamins. Supplements are likely to have the biggest impact on HIV in the developing world, where poor nutrition is widespread. It is too early to say whether they will also benefit patients in the developed world, who are less likely to suffer from malnutrition. It seems, though, that if multivitamins are having this much of an effect, nutrients from whole foods would also be extremely worthwhile. If you're interested in this topic, you should read my past blog entry about a man who defied AIDS with nutrition.

The New England Journal of Medicine (Free Full-Text Article) July 1, 2004;351:23-32

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