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Vitamins & Supplement List is at the bottom of this page:

Info on T-Cells


Good nutrition means getting enough macronutrients and micronutrients.
Macronutrients contain calories (energy): proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
They help you maintain your body weight. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals.
They keep your cells working properly, but will not prevent weight loss. 

Good nutrition can be a problem for many people with HIV.
When your body fights any infection, it uses more energy and you need to eat more than normal.
But when you feel sick, you eat less than normal.
Some medications can upset your stomach, and some opportunistic infections can affect the mouth or throat.
This makes it difficult to eat. Also, some medications and infections cause diarrhea.
If you have diarrhea, your body actually uses less of what you eat. 

When you lose weight, you might be losing fat, or you might be losing lean body weight like muscle.
If you lose too much lean weight, your body chemistry changes.
This condition is called wasting syndrome or cachexia. Wasting can kill you.
If you lose more than 5% of your body weight, it could be a sign of wasting. Discuss it with your doctor. 

First, eat more. Extra muscle weight will help you fight HIV.

This is very important. Many people want to lose weight, but for people with HIV, it can be dangerous.
Make sure you eat plenty of protein and starches, with moderate amounts of fat.
Protein helps build and maintain your muscles. Meats, fish, beans, nuts, and seeds are good sources. 

Carbohydrates give you energy. Complex carbohydrates come from grains, cereals, vegetables, and fruits.
They are a "time release" energy source and are a good source of fiber and nutrients.
Simple carbohydrates, or sugars give you quick energy.
You can get sugars in fresh or dried fruit, honey, jam, or syrups.
Fat gives you extra energy. You need some - but not too much. 

The "monounsaturated" fats in nuts, seeds, canola and olive oils, and fish are considered "good" fats. 

The "saturated" fats in butter and animal products are "bad" fats. 

A moderate exercise program will help your body turn your food into muscle.
Take it easy, and work exercise into your daily activities. 

Drinking enough liquids is very important when you have HIV.
Extra water can reduce the side effects of medications.
It can help you avoid a dry mouth and constipation.
Remember that drinking tea, coffee, colas, chocolate, or alcohol can actually make you lose body liquid. 

It's very important to protect yourself against infections that can be carried by food or water.

Be sure to wash your hands before preparing food, and keep all of your kitchen tools and work areas clean.
Wash all fruits and vegetables carefully.
Don't eat raw or undercooked eggs or meat, and clean up juices from raw meat quickly.
Keep leftovers refrigerated and eat them within three days.
Check the expiration date on foods.
Don't buy them or eat them if they're outdated. 

Some germs are spread through tap water.
If your public water supply isn't totally pure, drink bottled water. 

Some people find it difficult to go shopping and prepare meals all the time.

Supplements can help you maintain your body weight and get the vitamins and minerals you need.
Don't use a product designed to help you lose weight, even if it says it contains everything needed for good nutrition!
Your health care provider can help you choose a supplement that's right for you. 

Good nutrition is very important for people with HIV.

When you are HIV-positive, you will need to increase the amount of food you eat and maintain your lean body weight.
Be sure to eat a balanced diet, including plenty of protein and whole grain foods, with some sugar and fat.
An exercise program will help build and maintain muscle.
Drink plenty of liquids to help your body deal with any medications you are taking.
Practice food safety. Keep your kitchen clean, wash foods, and be careful about food preparation and storage.
If your tap water isn't pure, drink bottled water.
If you feel you need to use nutritional supplements, be sure to get some expert advice from your health care provider. 

Vitamins and minerals are sometimes called micronutrients.

Our bodies need them, in small amounts, to support the chemical reactions our cells need to live.
Different nutrients affect digestion, the nervous system, thinking, and other body processes. 

Micronutrients can be found in many foods.
Healthy people might be able to get enough vitamins and minerals from their food.
People with HIV or another illness need more micronutrients to help repair and heal cells.
Also, many medications can create shortages of different nutrients. 

Some molecules in the body are in a form called oxidized.

These molecules are also called free radicals.
They react very easily with other molecules, and can damage cells.
High levels of free radicals seem to cause a lot of the damage associated with aging.
Free radicals are produced as part of normal body chemistry.
Antioxidants are molecules that can stop free radicals from reacting with other molecules.
This limits the damage they do. Several nutrients are antioxidants.
Antioxidants are important for people with HIV, because HIV infection leads to higher levels of free radicals.
Also, free radicals can increase the activity of HIV.
Higher levels of antioxidants can slow down the virus and help repair some of the damage it does. 

You might think that all you have to do to get enough vitamins and minerals is to

take a "one-a-day" multivitamin pill. Unfortunately, it's not that easy.
The amounts of micronutrients in many of these pills are based on
the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) set by the US government.
The problem with the RDAs is that they are not the amounts of micronutrients
that are needed by people with HIV. Instead, they are the minimum amounts
needed to prevent shortages in healthy people.
HIV disease and many AIDS medications can use up some nutrients.
One study of people with HIV showed that they needed between 6 and 25 times
the RDA of some nutrients! Still, a high potency multivitamin is a good
way to get basic micronutrients. 

It is not uncommon that after taking vitamins for an extended period of time
that you could take a short break for 6 or 7 days without undoing the benefits
from using the vitamins. Keep in mind that I am speaking of those who take
several different types of supplements and vitamins on top of a multivitamin each
day for over a three month time period you could stop for a week or so with the
extra vitamins and supplements but continue taking your multivitamin.  This can help
in some people to increase the levels that their bodies will accept when they start back
again with their regiment.

Remember everyone is not the same, so these are all just quidelines, you must listen to
your own body and do what is best for you.

There has not been a lot of research on specific nutrients and HIV disease.

Also, many nutrients interact with each other.
Most nutritionists believe in designing an overall program of supplements. 

People with HIV may benefit from taking supplements of the following vitamins and minerals:
B Vitamins: Vitamin B-1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin),
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin), and Folate (Folic Acid).
Antioxidants, including beta-carotene (the body breaks down beta-carotene to make Vitamin A),
selenium, Vitamin E (Tocopherol), and Vitamin C.
Magnesium and Zinc 

In addition to vitamins and minerals, some nutritionists suggest that

people with HIV take supplements of other nutrients:
Acidophilus, a bacterium that grows naturally in the intestines, helps with digestion.
Alpha-lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant that may help with neuropathy and mental problems.
Coenzyme Q10 may help with immune function.
Essential fatty acids found in evening primrose oil or flaxseed oil can help with dry skin and scalp.
N-Acetyl-Cysteine, an antioxidant, can help maintain body levels of glutathione.
Glutathione is one of the body's main antioxidants. 

Most vitamins and nutrients appear to be safe as supplements,

even at levels higher than the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs).
However, some can cause problems at higher doses, including Vitamin A,
Vitamin D, copper, iron, niacin, selenium, and zinc.
A basic program of vitamin and mineral supplementation should be safe.
This would include the following, all taken according to directions on the bottle:
A multiple vitamin/mineral (without extra iron),
An antioxidant supplement with several different ingredients, and
A trace element supplement. There are seven essential trace elements:
chromium, copper, cobalt, iodine, iron, selenium, and zinc.
Some multivitamins also include trace elements.
Any other program of supplements should be based on discussion
with a doctor or nutritionist. 

Remember that higher price may not mean better quality. 

Here is a list of some vitamins/supplements and what they can do for you
Click on the buttons below to go to the correct file.