Multivitamin Supplementation May Help Reduce AIDS Mortality
AIDS is caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and
affects more than 800,000 Americans of all ages. Almost 500,000 people in
the United States have died from AIDS and related complications or
infections. The incidence of HIV and AIDS has slowly decreased over the
past decade in the United States; however, AIDS continues to be a problem
in developing countries and is responsible for the death of millions of
people worldwide. The lack of access to expensive prescription medications
for AIDS in some countries increases the need for an inexpensive, effective
treatment to reduce mortality.
In the new study, 293 HIV-infected adults and 188 adults with AIDS between
the ages of 18 and 63 years were assigned to receive a daily high-potency
MVM or placebo for 48 weeks. The MVM contained nutrient amounts
significantly higher than the RDA for healthy individuals, because
HIV-infected people are believed to have higher-than-normal nutritional
requirements. Participants were examined every 12 weeks and had CD4 (a type
of white blood cell that regulates the immune system and is affected by
HIV) counts measured every 24 weeks. Mortality rate was determined at the
conclusion of the study.
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The death rate was significantly lower in the group receiving the MVM (3%)
than in those taking the placebo (6%). The lower mortality rate was only
observed in those whose HIV infection had progressed to become full-blown
AIDS (defined as a CD4 count of less than 200 million per liter). There was
no significant difference in mortality rates between the MVM and placebo
groups among those with higher CD4 counts. MVM use did not cause an
increase in CD4 cell counts, suggesting that the benefits of MVM therapy
are due to some other effect on the immune system or to an improvement in
The results of the new study are encouraging for the millions of people who
suffer from AIDS and its related illnesses. Death from AIDS is most often
due to secondary infections, such as pneumonia, which develop in the face
of a compromised immune system. Taking a daily MVM may improve the immune
system and ward off some of these secondary infections. People taking
anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) should consult their physician before
taking a MVM, since some of the components of the MVM may interfere with
some prescription medications.
Healthnotes Newswire (December 4, 2003)-People with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) may live longer by taking a daily multivitamin and multimineral (MVM) supplement, according to a new study in AIDS (2003;17:2461-9). The study's findings suggest the enhanced survival with MVM supplementation may be restricted to those with AIDS and may not necessarily apply to all HIV-positive individuals.
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