A daily dose of multivitamins and minerals in the early stages of HIV infection can delay progression of the disease that causes AIDS by as much as 54 percent in people who are not receiving antiretroviral drugs, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association and led by a Florida International University professor of dietetics and nutrition.
Researchers from FIU and Harvard University followed 878 HIV-infected patients in Botswana and tracked the progression of their disease for two years, finding that patients who received daily supplements of vitamins B, C and E plus selenium had a lower risk of depleting the number of immune response cells in their bodies.
The supplements also reduced the risk of other measures of disease progression, including AIDS symptoms and AIDS-related deaths, of which there were four in the study group.
Vitamins B, C and E are essential for maintaining a responsive immune system, and selenium may also play an important role in preventing HIV replication, said Marianna K. Baum, the FIU researcher and lead investigator in the study. Read more.