Vitamins and exercise may help HIV-related metabolic disorders
June 19 2004 12:00 AM ET
Exercise and the use of vitamin supplements, particularly vitamin E, may be useful in treating lipodystrophy in HIV-positive people taking antiretroviral medications, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, AIDS Alert reports. The scientists are conducting a large-scale study to build on data from smaller studies showing that regular exercise and vitamin usage can lower blood-based triglyceride levels in HIV patients and reduce other cardiac risk factors. Previous research has shown that HIV patients who exercise the most have the lowest levels of triglycerides and the lowest incidence of insulin resistance, a warning sign for the development of diabetes. Weight lifting in particular was shown to have a positive effect in building muscle mass, which uses up more of the glucose in the blood stream and minimizes the chances of developing insulin resistance. Vitamin E supplementation was shown to lower blood pressure, which is linked with cardiovascular disease, a common complication in HIV-positive people experiencing lipodystrophy. The researchers will study the specific effects of weight lifting, aerobic exercise, and vitamin supplementation on lipodystrophy symptoms in HIV-positive adults.