Meds, Mind, Body & Benefits > Nutrition & HIV

advice for a newly diagnosed person on nutrition &supplements

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hi all

having just  got a confirmed diagnosis and now being nearly 2 months post infection (still awaiting first cd4 and viral load levels) i have been trying to boost my nutrition and looked into 'natural remedies'

i came across a list of many things on this site :


I am not trying to take the quack cure road but want to make sure that my nutrition puts me in the best position to naturally fight off the disease, until i choose/need to go on meds.

My diet mainly consists of lots of chicken, i try to eat fish fairly regularly too like salmon, pasta, oatmeal with half-fat milk every morning, olive oil, plenty of water, juices , plenty of fruit and a fair amount of vegs especially spinach.  to a large extent, this diet is not much different to my one prior infection.

i have made some new changes though-  i have decided to quit alcohol entirely, i eat 4-5 brazil nuts a day for selenium, i now regularly drink green tea each day, and have just bought acai. i also have been on siberian ginseng for about a week at a dose of 2 x 500 mg capsules taken at each of my 3 meals. it is described as an adoptogen- allowing your system to adopt more effectively to a new infection. i dont know it is doing anything, but i want to give it a go. has anyone had any sucess with it? ( i do know that long term use is not recommended due to sid eeffects like increased blood pressure).

i will consult my doctor but am keen to try all the supplements described on that site above. licorice, tumeric and liopic acid look interesting to me ( the latter is said to protect your brain's cognitive functions- an important concern for us all) .

do you think the quantity of selenium i am getting from the brazil nuts is sufficent not to warrant taking a supplement? ( i do not want to overdose) . also i have not chosen to take a general vitamin and supplement because i feel that my diet is probably covering things for me. but any thoughts to the contrary would be appreciated.

thanks to everyone on this site. i'm still trying to understand this situation but i know for sure that my diet is something that i can have charge over.


Hi Mark,

You certainly did a good choice by focusing on a  diet based on healthy foods. But don't overdo it, go easy with supplements and avoid stress. Being continuously anxious about your nutritional balance becomes stressing after a while and this is not good for your immune system. A good diet, like the one you already have, will provide you all the nutriments you need.  Keep your meals diversified rather than focussing only on foods that contain a specific nutriment. For example: 3 or 4 Brazil nuts a day  is 5 times the quantity of selenium required, and this does not include the selenium you got from other sources.

Concerning natural remedies, use them cautiously as those are more than often profitable to vendors than to users. And finally a glass of red wine a day(French wine of course  ;) is one of the best remedy I know.

Good luck with your coming first lab test, keep us informed of the results.


Being just two months post infection, you may want to do some research on substances that can suppress your immune system.  You may want to read up on articles that suggest that a highly activated immune system early on in the infection is not a good thing and contributes to rapid CD4 loss.  Sorry, I'm too lazy to look up these articles for you, but a simple google search will yield many hits.  Also sites like,,,,, and this site all have a plethora of published HIV studies.

As far as supplements, look at where Vergel publishes his supplement regimen.  I take a huge quantity of supplements and they don't seem to interact with my meds because I've been undetectable for 3.5 years on meds.  You might also want to look into anti-inflammatories, like ibuprofen. 

On the other hand though, if you don't have the $$$ to spare, it's questionable how much benefit you really get from taking all this stuff.  As it's been said, you may be just making expensive pee.  I have the $$$ and it seems to be doing no harm (I don't overload on the doses), so I figure I have only possible benefits to gain... maybe a naive assumption, but that's what I believe.

Mark: Since we agree there is such a thing as the "quack" route... :o Remember you need to metabolize all the protein, vitamins, fats, carbs, and minerals you consume (from food and supplements). You asked if anyone disagrees  >:( about not taking a multivitamin, I DO! you actually use the conservative argument of the older medical community that "if you eat right you won't need to take vitamins."  But you're coming from the opposite end of the spectrum.  ;)

Vitamins and minerals work in concert. Why not give your body a chance to grab what it needs now? Maybe Omega-3 oils are stored and used gradually, but certainly Vitamin C is not. A multivitamin, including an inferior one, allows your body a chance to grab whatever it's short on that day or week. The rest is peed out. Multivitamins are the most important "supplement" you could take---the quotes refer to the fact that we all consume vitamins daily in food.

None of this is a substitute for hard exercise (hard for you), which is an important component affecting your overall metabolism. Folks sometimes like taking things so they don't have to make any effort beyond reaching for the charge card. A good ride on a bike daily would probably do us all a world of good (making it home in one piece stimulates the brain). Good Luck! -megasept (definitely not "newly-diagnosed")  8)

PS If your new anti-alcohol regimen includes no more (French) red wines you will break Jacque's heart!  :(

hi there, and thanks for the responses , they got me thinking ! (i'm the same poster btw- just going by this name now)

i have now decided to take a number of separate nutrients that HIVers tend to lack, as well as continuing with my healthy diet . i've been influenced by the lesson pages on here and also what i have read at The study done at Berkely that you can find on these pages was particularly interesting.

i'm not a science buff, but it just seems naturally intuitive to me that if you are at war 24/7 with this virus, and nutrients are essential ammunition in that war, then you surely would require more than the RDA - ie the minimum requirement for a HIV negative person that is not under this same burdon. 

i'm a young guy (20) and want to prolong the time that i dont need to go on meds  as much as possible (cos  all other things being equal, once started i would be on them for a long time in light of my young age).  i hope that this strategy will make a contribution to this aim.

Personally, i think a lot more research should be put into this area of the benefits nutrients provide in this fight. And furthermore, if and when the conservative medical community become satisfied with the benefits of supplementation i think governments should help subsidise it. A uni of miami study found that nutrient deficency, depending on particular nutrient, ranged in HIVers from 6-25 times the RDA. If these findings become more established by continued studies then to achieve this nutrient level via supplements would be very expensive to the consumer...But... for a government to subsidise these nutrients- well that could be cheap. By cheap i am considering that that if these nutrients a)prolong time before one needs to go on much more expensive HIV antivirals and b) protect health in general,  for instance regarding cancer , then a health system , could over the long term experience a net reduction in costs regarding HIV infected individuals. By the way i am thinking of the free health service model of the UK when making these points.

be well, my friends, be STRONGER  than the virus


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