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Author Topic: What can I do to boost immune system BEFORE commencing ARVs when needed  (Read 19845 times)

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Offline spacebarsux

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I understand that it comes down, for the most part, to genetics, a healthy diet, moderate exercise and rest and of course good and bad luck.

However, is there anything that is medically proven to help boost the immune system or reduce viral load if one is not yet on HAART. Are there any supplements, herbs, foods, or anything other than HAART that can help build CD4s or reduce viral load before one is put on HAART in accordance with the guidlines.

If anyone could bring their own personal experiences that would be interesting.

Just to calrify, - this post is by no means a question on valid substitutes for HAART. HAART is essential when needed. Just to know whether there are any other remedies or anything that can assist BEFORE one actually goes on HAART.

Many thanks.
Infected-  2005 or early 2006; Diagnosed- Jan 28th, 2011; Feb '11- CD4 754 @34%, VL- 39K; July '11- CD4 907@26%,  VL-81K; Feb '12- CD4 713 @31%, VL- 41K, Nov '12- CD4- 827@31%

Offline Ann

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While there is plenty of anecdotal evidence about such-and-such boosting CD4s or lowering VL, there are no substances that have been proven to do this in clinical trials.

While there are a few things that have allegedly been proven to work by the companies that sell them, as far as I'm aware there are no such substances that have been proven to work by independent researchers conducting studies independent of the companies who sell these products.

As you yourself noted, it's mainly down to genetics. While a healthy diet, moderate exercise and and getting enough rest are good ideas for anyone, there are plenty of us who do not necessarily watch what we eat, do not get much exercise and have been known to burn the candle at both ends who manage to go without ARVs for many years, against all logic. I'm one such person - poz for 14 years and still med-free. I smoke, I drink, my diet could be a lot healthier, I don't exercise much and I often don't get enough sleep. Go figure.

It's mainly down to genetics. That's just the way it is.
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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline spacebarsux

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Thanks a lot Ann. That's what I thought. So do you think,claims by people who say that eating turmeric has anti-inflammataory effects; Green tea etc having beneficial effects-are completely baseless.  I also read somewhere that bananas help fight HIV.  I know I should stop stressing about this stuff but I also feel like there must be somethings that exist in nature that can help in some way
Infected-  2005 or early 2006; Diagnosed- Jan 28th, 2011; Feb '11- CD4 754 @34%, VL- 39K; July '11- CD4 907@26%,  VL-81K; Feb '12- CD4 713 @31%, VL- 41K, Nov '12- CD4- 827@31%

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
I think some of that stuff may be marginally beneficial. However, back before we had the much-improved meds that we have today, people were trying all these different things and none of them ultimately made any difference to disease progression. The people who were lucky enough to have the "right" genetic make-up survived and the people who were unlucky in the genetics department didn't.

It is my suspicion that people who claim anecdotal evidence would have had the same or very similar results if they hadn't spent tons of money on these supplementary concoctions, but there is really no way of knowing. But again, all you have to do is look at the early days of the pandemic when there were no effective drug regimens and the results back then speak for themselves.

And yes, please do stop stressing about this stuff. One thing that has been proven - prolonged stress is detrimental to your immune system whether you are hiv positive or hiv negative. Chillax, mate! 
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline spacebarsux

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Thanks Ann :)
Infected-  2005 or early 2006; Diagnosed- Jan 28th, 2011; Feb '11- CD4 754 @34%, VL- 39K; July '11- CD4 907@26%,  VL-81K; Feb '12- CD4 713 @31%, VL- 41K, Nov '12- CD4- 827@31%

Offline metekrop

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I think you may need to avoid of being stressed.  Stress will reduce your CD.  I have herpes.  This herpes virus most of the time outburst as and when I am stressed out. If not it is suppressed and do not come out.  So in addition to the many things your are doing, diet and exercise you might need to lead a non-stressful and peaceful life.
Diag on Dec 8, 2000, CD 440 VL 44K, No Meds
Dec/08 - Feb/09 CD< 50 & VL >500k hosp'z.
St. Atripla - July/09 CD 179, VL 197k
Oct/09 CD 300 VL UD Chol 267
Mar/10 CD 468 UD, Ch 220
Aug/10 CD 460 UD, Ch 195
Dec/10 CD 492 UD, Ch 172
Mar/11 CD 636 UD, Ch 201
Aug/11 CD 530 UD, Ch 98
Jan/12 cd 616 UD, ch 189
Jul/12 CD 640 UD, Ch ?
Dec/12 CD 669 Ud, Ch 125
May/7 CD711 Ud, Ch?
Nov/ 22 663 UD, Ch,
April 17 CD 797,
Oct, 14 CD 810 UD

Offline Matt39

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there are no substances that have been proven to do this in clinical trials.

The BITE trial (clinical, randomized double blind) did prove their are natural substances (Prebiotic fibre) that can not only halt CD4 decline in asymptomatic treatment naive people but actually enhance CD4 levels.
http://www.natap.org/2011/CROI/croi_78.htm

How each person reacts to diet is complex and unique, but leading a fairly unhealthy life style, poor sleeping habits and addiction to tobacco and yet still not progessing to ARVs means nothing.
There are people who die in their 80s having smoked all their lives. It doesn't prove anything, and certainly not that smoking is fine.

Offline Hellraiser

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The BITE trial (clinical, randomized double blind) did prove their are natural substances (Prebiotic fibre) that can not only halt CD4 decline in asymptomatic treatment naive people but actually enhance CD4 levels.
http://www.natap.org/2011/CROI/croi_78.htm

How each person reacts to diet is complex and unique, but leading a fairly unhealthy life style, poor sleeping habits and addiction to tobacco and yet still not progessing to ARVs means nothing.
There are people who die in their 80s having smoked all their lives. It doesn't prove anything, and certainly not that smoking is fine.

No it doesn't.  It says that there is less gut-wide CD4 cell activation.  It mentions nothing about CD4 decline.

Offline Matt39

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No it doesn't.  It says that there is less gut-wide CD4 cell activation.  It mentions nothing about CD4 decline.

Please read it again - you have made a simple mistake, that I suppose anyone can, by just missing this most important sentence:

Quote
Previously, the nutritional concept NR100157 containing prebiotic oligosaccharides was shown to reduce CD4+ T cell decline in HIV-1-infected adults, in the double-blind placebo controlled BITE trial, after 52 weeks intervention.

In fact, the BITE trial not only showed that the supplement arrested CD4 decline in those taking it (as opposed to those on the placebo), but that in some of those taking the supplement it was even better because they had elevated CD4 cell counts. It had no safety concerns and confirmed previous clinical studies that showed immune benefit from prebiotic and probiotic supplements.

The whole purpose of the BITE trial, and others like it, is to show how treatment naive HIV+ patients can obtain immune system benefit in order to delay commencing HAART.

http://www.hivandhepatitis.com/2009icr/icaac/docs/092209_d.html

A more detailed discussion of the beneficial roles of both pro and prebiotics in HIV+ treatment naive patients is discussed here, again with very specific reference to the BITE trial:
http://informahealthcare.com/doi/full/10.3109/08830185.2010.505310
« Last Edit: May 25, 2011, 12:05:26 AM by Matt39 »

Offline spacebarsux

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This is a link on NR100157 from the aidsmeds website.

http://www.aidsmeds.com/articles/NR100157_dietary_probiotic_1667_17313.shtml

Assuming that this product in beneficial (even if marginally), is it available in the market anywhere? Why has't it been promoted?
Infected-  2005 or early 2006; Diagnosed- Jan 28th, 2011; Feb '11- CD4 754 @34%, VL- 39K; July '11- CD4 907@26%,  VL-81K; Feb '12- CD4 713 @31%, VL- 41K, Nov '12- CD4- 827@31%

Offline Matt39

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This is a link on NR100157 from the aidsmeds website.

http://www.aidsmeds.com/articles/NR100157_dietary_probiotic_1667_17313.shtml

Assuming that this product in beneficial (even if marginally), is it available in the market anywhere? Why has't it been promoted?

You need to read it more thoroughly, that supplement was specially made for clinical trials. You also need to read it carefully because then you will know the benefit was very significantly greater than 'marginal' - look at the average CD4 loss to those on the placebo (ie the 'controls') as opposed to those on the supplement, and you would want to get your hands on that supplement any way you could! ;)

However, if you go direct to that study and just search for a whole host of others relating to 'HIV and the Gut' you will be able to read more widely.

Prebiotic fibre (just google it for simple basic information) has been shown to have the most clinically evaluated beneficial effect.
Just including about 12-15 grams of Prebiotic fibre in the diet daily (for a HIV+ person that amount is therapeautic, whereas 6g per day for a neg healthy person will maintain an already healthy gut) will have a beneficial effect. It is available in natural forms (Chicory Root, Jerusalem Artichoke, Garlic, Onion and a whole host of others) and it can be found in evaluated reputable fibre form to add to soups, cereals, and a whole host of day to day dishes.

My HIV Consultant was part of the BITE trial in recruiting subjects, and along with other UK-based and US-based HIV specialists he is deeply disappointed that the trial has not been massively expanded because, despite HIV research being awash with money, virtually all of it goes only on drugs and non-clinical treatment issues.
The potenial for immediate supplementation with prebiotics for everyone the moment they are diagnosed could be literally enormous, life-saving, drug toxicity avoiding and save $billions in delayed drug treatment alone.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2011, 09:34:56 AM by Matt39 »

Offline jmitchell

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I believe one of the only things, besides meds, which have been shown (and the results were published in the medical Journal of AIDS) to boost immune system function and increase CD4 counts are K-PAX Immune support Formulas. They are like rocket fuel vitamins which were designed specifically for people with HIV. I think the study was done with people who were currently on HIV meds. But since NY ADAP covers the the cost of KPAX vitamins, I got a prescription and I love them- I have so much energy back it's crazy!! My cd4 count has risen from 443 to 680.  Since my cd4 count has gotten over 500, and becuase my viral load is low, my Dr is no longer suggesting that I start meds right away. Thank you ADAP!!!
Also, recently I started to take some probiotics and now my whole digestive system seems to be so much happier. I was having some bloating issues which my nutritionist said was due to an unhealthy gut. " They say that 3/4 of your immune system lives in your intestines and that the live bacteria in your gut is what finally breaks down your foods so that you can absorb nutrients. Anyway, I'm just happy that my digestion seems to be fixed. I can't wait to see if my cd4 count increases from this change.
And lastly, I totally agree what most other people have said about a high stress level being terribly draining on our immune system. Being in fear and worrying all the time is one of the most damaging things we can do to ourself! Let go, let God, is my new motto. Not that I'm hugely religious, it's just a helpful reminder for me to keep some spirituality in my life!

Offline sharkdiver

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I believe one of the only things, besides meds, which have been shown (and the results were published in the medical Journal of AIDS) to boost immune system function and increase CD4 counts are K-PAX Immune support Formulas. They are like rocket fuel vitamins which were designed specifically for people with HIV. I think the study was done with people who were currently on HIV meds. But since NY ADAP covers the the cost of KPAX vitamins, I got a prescription and I love them- I have so much energy back it's crazy!! My cd4 count has risen from 443 to 680.  Since my cd4 count has gotten over 500, and becuase my viral load is low, my Dr is no longer suggesting that I start meds right away. Thank you ADAP!!!
Also, recently I started to take some probiotics and now my whole digestive system seems to be so much happier. I was having some bloating issues which my nutritionist said was due to an unhealthy gut. " They say that 3/4 of your immune system lives in your intestines and that the live bacteria in your gut is what finally breaks down your foods so that you can absorb nutrients. Anyway, I'm just happy that my digestion seems to be fixed. I can't wait to see if my cd4 count increases from this change.
And lastly, I totally agree what most other people have said about a high stress level being terribly draining on our immune system. Being in fear and worrying all the time is one of the most damaging things we can do to ourself! Let go, let God, is my new motto. Not that I'm hugely religious, it's just a helpful reminder for me to keep some spirituality in my life!


It would be helpful if you provided a link to this study, especially if you are quoting language or summarizing from the KPAX site.

A multi-vitamin may be helpful, a better diet may be helpful and maybe even the awareness of having to take better care of oneself may be helpful. Certainly if there was some magic bullet, many of us would have cd4's skyrocketing by now. 

Btw welcome to the forum. Why don't you start an intro thread in Living With HIV forum and tell us about yourself.

Shark

Offline Matt39

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This study - which used the KPAX formula - shows CD4 elevation:
http://journals.lww.com/jaids/Fulltext/2006/08150/Micronutrient_Supplementation_Increases_CD4_Count.1.aspx

At the present time the Canadian Clinical Trials Network is conducting a clinical trial of K-
PAX (CTN 238: The MAINTAIN study, http://www.hivnet.ubc.ca/clinical-studies/canadian-hiv-trials-database/ctn-238, accessed May 29, 2011.) Results for that trial are not yet available.

In addition, the recent work linked to earlier already clearly indicates that paying particular attention to intestinal health is useful in boosting CD4 counts and decreasing systemic immune activation.

Here is another study that showed probiotic yoghurt supplementation increased CD4 counts in treatment naive patients:
http://journals.lww.com/jcge/Abstract/2010/10000/Probiotic_Yogurt_Consumption_is_Associated_With_an.4.aspx
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 03:40:57 PM by Matt39 »

Offline Assurbanipal

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This study - which used the KPAX formula - shows CD4 elevation:
http://journals.lww.com/jaids/Fulltext/2006/08150/Micronutrient_Supplementation_Increases_CD4_Count.1.aspx


Note, the above study was of people already on HAART who had mitochondrial toxicity (taking a combo that included Zerit or DDI, which would no longer be prescribed because of this issue).

The OP asked for studies of people not yet on meds.  There were two of these studies cited in the above paper, although both of populations that arguably had some risk of malnourishment anyway.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15229304
A study of pregnant Tanzanian women not yet on HAART

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14600517
A study from Thailand of what appears to be a resource poor environment



It's hard to make a firm case from either of these that a multivitamin is important for people who eat a good diet already. 



(That said, I've been taking a multivitamin since the 60's -- and I didn't stop when I got AIDS)



You know spacebar, many people use a POZ diagnosis as an opportunity to reevaluate what they are doing to stay healthy -- from exercise to diet to food preparation and hygeine (hand washing, etc..)  Taking a multivitamin fits in well with that general approach.

Be well
Assurabanipal

5/06 VL 1M+, CD4 22, 5% , pneumonia, thrush -- O2 support 2 months, 6/06 +Kaletra/Truvada
9/06 VL 3959 CD4 297 13.5% 12/06 VL <400 CD4 350 15.2% +Pravachol
2007 VL<400, 70, 50 CD4 408-729 16.0% -19.7%
2008 VL UD CD4 468 - 538 16.7% - 24.6% Osteoporosis 11/08 doubled Pravachol, +Calcium/D
02/09 VL 100 CD4 616 23.7% 03/09 VL 130 5/09 VL 100 CD4 540 28.4% +Actonel (osteoporosis) 7/09 VL 130
8/09  new regimen Isentress/Epzicom 9/09 VL UD CD4 621 32.7% 11/09 VL UD CD4 607 26.4% swap Isentress for Prezista/Norvir 12/09 (liver and muscle issues) VL 50
2010 VL UD CD4 573-680 26.1% - 30.9% 12/10 VL 20
2011 VL UD-20 CD4 568-673 24.7%-30.6%
2012 VL UD swap Prezista/Norvir for Reyataz drop statin CD4 768-828 26.7%-30.7%

Offline bocker3

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The potenial for immediate supplementation with prebiotics for everyone the moment they are diagnosed could be literally enormous, life-saving, drug toxicity avoiding and save $billions in delayed drug treatment alone.

What a piece of work you are.  So amazingly transparent.    ::)  ::)
Atripla - Started 12/05
Reyataz/Norvir - Added 6/06
Labs - Pre-Meds
Sep05 T=350/25% VL98,559
Nov05 288/18%  47,564
Current Labs
May2013 691/31% <20

Offline butpoz

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Hi every one,

This is interesting for me and I want to share my experience.
I get diagnosed since Dec 2010, not on meds yet due to treatment standard in my country. Below are my lab works together with what I use:

7th Dec 2010: CD4 = 441 - 21% , no VL done, 69KG
- use: "Lentin plus", multiple vitamin, start honey & fresh ginseng with green tea every morning some time later, fresh garlic not so oftent.
- feel: stress, worry.
- live style: more excercise, give up smoking, change from wishkey to wine or beer every day.

2nd Mar 2011: CD4 = 358 - 18%, no VL done, 72KG
- use: "Lentin plus", multiple vitamin, honey & fresh ginseng with green tea every morning, fresh garlic or garlic oil not so oftent, omega-3 not so oftent, use a local herb that said to turn grayhair back to black everyday, dry red ginseng every day.
- feel: less stress, less worry.
- live style: more excercise, continue  wine or beer every day.
- VL done on 29th Mar: 20,000.

30th May 2011: CD4 = 380 - 20.5% , VL done but no result yet, 72.5KG


I am not sure why my number get slightly better during last 2 months. Could be less stress, or my body get adjusted, or normal fluctuation or even because of summer but I remember reading somewhere that red ginseng is good for poz guys and that is the main thing that I add to my diet last 2months.

What do you guys think?

butpoz.

Offline Ann

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butpoz, those are just normal fluctuations and are not in the least bit clinically significant.

Welcome to the forums, btw. :)
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline butpoz

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Yep. Not so supprise to hear that but I will continue with red ginseng until next lab as a little experimental and for the fatigue problem.

Might drop the "lentin plus" supplemental and try some coconut oil as well, just curious to know what happen.

Thanks,
butpoz
 

Offline sharkdiver

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drop the supplements and save for a nice vacation

Online buginme2

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The only supplements that I have read to have any benefit was green tea and that was in an amount that was much greater than normal supplementation and its significance wasnt that great from what I remember.  I agree with shark, save your money.  Anyone who tells you vitamins or supplements are going to help you is probably trying to sell you them. 

I take the Atripla vitamin and its done wonders for my cd4 counts

Offline butpoz

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I have no objection about your advice .. But just curious and it is not much to save anyway :-)

Thanks.

Offline Nate

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I know there is no scientific evidence behind it...however, my doc has told me take a multivitamin supplement daily.

So I do.

My numbers are EXCELLENT...so I wonder sometimes if my numbers are also attributed to the advice of my doctors to take a multivitamin daily  ???
I take Candy from Strangers ;-p

Offline jdavid

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I take 20,000 IU of Vitamin D.  It was the recommendation of my doctor.  I am NOT on meds.....CD4=1040  VL=640.
Diagnosed :  10/01/2010
10/4/2010:  CD4=960,   VL=10,791
1/12/2011:  CD4=1030, VL=3,897
4/15/2011:  CD4=906,   VL=22,760

Offline elf

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selenium, zinc, melatonin+calcium

Offline Matt39

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selenium, zinc, melatonin+calcium

It depends whether someone is already deficient (or NOT!) and it is actually very *dangerous* to take certain vitamin supplements will-nilly without establishing a deficiency *first*, and that is particularly true of selenium. Overdosing on Selenium is *dangerous*, especially any amount above the daily recommended supplement of around 70mcg/day, and you can get that easily from literally just 3-4 walnuts which is a *safe* method.
http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/selenium/

 


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