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Micronutrients reduce AIDS risk

In a new study, broad-spectrum multivitamin-minerals increased the type of white blood cell (CD4) that is critical to combating acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Doctors recruited 40 patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)—the condition that precedes AIDS—who were taking highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART). In the 12-week double-blind trial, patients took a placebo or a supplement twice per day that contained vitamins A, B, C, D and E; acetyl-l-carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, chromium, copper, N-acetyl cysteine, selenium and zinc.

Researchers collected data every four weeks and found that at 12 weeks, the number of CD4 cells had grown by an average of 65—a 24 percent increase—in those who had taken the supplement compared to a decrease of six cells—a two percent decline—among those who had taken the placebo.

“Micronutrient supplements can improve CD4 cell strength and count in HIV-infected patients.”

Researchers noted that as HIV progresses, CD4 cells weaken and die, and that the health and number of CD4 cells is the primary way doctors determine what therapies to use and if HIV is progressing toward AIDS. Doctors concluded that micronutrient supplements can significantly improve CD4 cell strength and count in HIV-infected patients taking HAART, without side effects, and may be an effective complementary therapy. 

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