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Multivitamins May Slow Progression of HIV

While drugs slowing the progression of the HIV virus have progressed in the past ten years, world health organizations and governments have not yet come to agreement on when patients should start taking them. A recent study found that a multivitamin with selenium might be another option for people in the early stages of the disease who cannot yet start antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Participants in the study included 878 people living in Botswana with early stage HIV and a CD4 count of at least 350/ul who were not yet taking ART. They were instructed to take either a multivitamin that included B vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin E; selenium alone; the multivitamin with selenium; or a placebo over the course of 24 months.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the multivitamin plus selenium group were at a lower risk of hitting a CD4 cell count of 250/ul or less than the participants in the placebo group.

A CD4 count of 250/ul is the mark at which ART treatment commences in Botswana.

The researchers believe that these effects are due to the multivitamins contributing to better immunity in individuals with early stage HIV.

Researchers from Florida International University conducted the study. It was published on November 27, 2013, in JAMA.

Previous studies have shown that multivitamins may aid in weight loss, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and boost general physical health. Other studies have also shown that the cells of people who routinely take multivitamins have a younger biological age.

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