Friday, January 29, 2010

Nutrients for AIDS Patients


There is no cure for AIDS; however, several nutrients, food-related materials, and ENZYME preparations boost the immune system and may offer protection against the risk of CANCER and infection in some individuals with AIDS. Trace Nutrients ZINC deficiency is common in patients with AIDS and may indicate trace mineral malnutrition or malabsorption. Zinc plays an important role in maintaining the immune system. Zinc inhibits an enzyme needed for HIV production.
SELENIUM deficiency may be part of the malnutrition seen in AIDS patients. It is a COFACTOR for enzymes that serve as ANTIOXIDANTS. Selenium helps protect against liver and colon cancer in experimental animals, and clinical studies of the effects of selenium supplementation on cancer prevention are being carried out. Other vitamins and minerals, such as VITAMIN A, FOLIC ACID, VITAMIN B12, and POTASSIUM, may be deficient in some AIDS patients.
Enzymes Megadoses of a variety of enzymes, including SUPEROXIDE DISMUTASE, are being used as antioxidants. There is no clear evidence that their use diminishes or prevents symptoms.
Antioxidants Evidence suggests that HIV infected patients have lower levels of antioxidants, ncluding VITAMIN C, CAROTENOIDS, COENZYME Q, LUTATHIONE, and selenium. Such oxidative stress can promote HIV replication and decrease immunity. Antioxidant nutrients may lower the risk of cancer in the general population, and the same may be true for HIV-infected patients. BETACAROTENE and carotenoids may lower the risk of many cancers, including those of the lung, bladder, stomach, esophagus, and prostate. Beta-carotene can increase the numbers of T-helper cells. Significantly, the standard American diet is deficient in beta-carotene. Vitamin C boosts immunity, helps protect against viral and bacterial infections, and may decrease the risk of stomach, esophageal, and cervical cancer. It increases blood antibody levels and supports the function of the THYMUS GLAND and lymphocytes. Furthermore, vitamin C supports healthy connective tissue and assists in wound healing. FLAVONOIDS are associated with vitamin C in plants and enhance vitamin C therapy. Many flavonoids function as antioxidants and several types may stimulate the immune system. GLUTATHIONE supports the immune system and functions as a major antioxidant. N-acetylcysteine, a derivative of the sulfur amino acid CYSTEINE, can enhance glutathione levels.
Egg Lipids Mixtures of LECITHIN and other fatty materials from eggs have been used with some positive results in small clinical studies. Although there is a lack of strong evidence of its effectiveness, these mixtures are still being used. They are apparently nontoxic, though long-term effects are unknown.
Herbs Several herbs, such as GOLDENSEAL (Hydrastis canadensis), have been shown to enhance several aspects of immune function. The most active component of goldenseal is berberine, a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent effective in treating the severe DIARRHEA that is typically seen in AIDS patients. Herbal treatment based on Chinese medicine is also being studied. Certain formulations inhibit viruses and boost the immune system. Some research suggests garlic may enhance immunity and help combat opportunistic organisms associated with AIDS, including Candida albicans, cryptococcus, herpes virus, and mycobacteria.