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supplements may lower HIV viral load

supplements may lower HIV viral load

A daily dose of selenium may lower the viral load for people with HIV, according to the current issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

In the study researchers gave 262 patients with HIV 200 micrograms of high-selenium yeast or placebo for nine months. The two groups started the study with similar selenium levels, but after treatment the average change in blood selenium level was greater for the supplement group. That boost in selenium levels resulted in less copies of the virus in patients' blood and an increased CD4 count, which helps stave off infection and illness. No adverse events were reported for either group.

Study author Barry E. Hurwitz, Ph.D., from the University of Miami and his colleagues aren't sure exactly how selenium targets HIV. One theory is that selenium's antioxidant properties may combat the oxidative damage done to immune cells (oxygen levels are higher in people with HIV). "Our results support the use of selenium as a simple, inexpensive, and safe adjunct therapy [to HIV treatment]," the authors write.

Selenium deficiencies have been observed in patients with HIV spectrum disease, and evidence suggests that selenium supplements can improve immune functioning. (The Advocate)

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