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Vitamins and Supplements for HIV

Vitamins and Supplements

Vitamins and Supplements for HIV

Why is proper nutrition a significant factor for the overall health and well-being of a person with HIV? Diagnosed or not, the body requires a daily supply of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. You can get them from the food you eat, sunlight, and even dietary medications. But are people with HIV allowed to take vitamins and supplements while on HIV treatment?


According to research, everyone can take vitamins and supplements to boost their immunity, and people with HIV are no exemption. There’s also evidence of some supplements being very beneficial to people diagnosed with the infection. However, taking too many of these supplements can also be harmful.


Here are things to consider about vitamins and supplements:


Usage of vitamins

The most common form of treatment for HIV is the use of antiretroviral therapy. According to research, its major side effect is the deficiency of vitamin D.


Vitamin D is an essential element for bone health. Without it, the body’s skeletal function can be compromised. It also supports immunity, which is a necessary action for the body to fight against infections like HIV.


Vitamin D is easily acquired from fatty fish, dairy products, eggs, and sunlight. With regard to its supplement forms, their functionalities remain questionable. Although some research provides the positive impact of vitamin D supplements in adults and kids, the same cannot be justified for people with HIV.


Aside from vitamin D, there are other dietary supplements that can assist people with HIV in their therapy. These are as follows:


  • Vitamin C – helps the body fight foreign invaders or infections
  • B-complex vitamins – assist in boosting the immune system and the nervous system
  • Omega-3 fatty acids – available in the form of fish oil dietary supplements and help decrease inflammation
  • Probiotic dietary supplements – support and improve gastrointestinal health
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) – supports the production of healthy hormones in the body


Other supplements that people with HIV can take:


  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Milk thistle
  • Valerian
  • Ginkgo biloba



What supplements to avoid?

Supplements can still interact or interfere with HIV medications. This explains why it is necessary to talk with your healthcare professional first before trying any supplement. What are some examples of these supplements?


First, we have vitamin C. Although vitamin C is already considered essential for people with HIV, high doses of this vitamin can be toxic. It is the same thing with iron, which can flare up bacterial activity within the body. Such occurrences can also lead to HIV complications.


Other forms of supplements to avoid are the following:


  • John’s Worst (an herbal supplement)
  • Fat-soluble vitamins
  • Megavitamin therapy


Are antiretrovirals enough to manage HIV?

Yes. Antiretroviral drugs remain the most efficient form of treatment for HIV. If you think that you still need vitamins and minerals to stay healthy amidst the condition, you can get them from food sources. Although some supplements are beneficial, taking the necessary nutrients from natural resources is the best approach.

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