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Vitamin supplements benefit HIV carriers

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HIV carriers should carefully take care of their nutritional needs. 

A new study in the Feb 2010 issue of Journal of Tropical Pediatrics suggests high vitamin A levels in infants born to HIV positive mothers were associated with lower risk of death.

For the study, Chatterjee A and colleagues from Harvard School of Public Health measured concentrations of vitamin A and B-12 in children aged 6 weeks, who were born to HIV infected women and followed the children until they were 2 years old.

The researchers found those who had the highest quartile of vitamin A were 49 percent less likely to die by 24 months after birth than those who has the lowest quartile.

Vitamin D, which has already been associated with diabetes and heart disease, is another nutrient that HIV patients may pay attention to.

One study of 256 european patients with HIV published in the Sep 2010 issue of AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses suggests using certain antiretrovirial drugs may cause vitamin D deficiency.

Fox J. and colleagues from Guys and St. Thomas NHS Trust in London found HIV carriers using efavirenz or zidovudine were at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency nad switching from these drugs to darunavir/ritonavir during the trial improved patients' vitamin D status.

Vitamin D is known to be involved in producing antibacterial peptides that are protective against viruses and viral diseases.  This nutrient can be more important in HIV carriers.

The authors suggested in their report that "routine screening of HIV-positive patients for vitamin D should be considered." 

Jimmy Downs