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Author Topic: Should I take supplements to counter HIV and ARV side effects?  (Read 1803 times)

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Offline dallas nk

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Been researching a lot online and there's contradictory research regarding the use of micronutrients and vitamins in Hiv patients. I've been taking a variety for the last few months I just want to know if I'm doing something that is worth my time, SIL improve my health and cd4 and help with side effects?
09/2016-diagnosed
10/2016- cd4 41 VL 35000
11/2016- cd4 29 VL?
12/2016-started treatment (Triumeq) this late because found out didn't qualify for research study
1/24/2017- cd4 233 cd%15 VL<40
4/27/2017 cd4 206 cd%18 VL <40
07/24/2017 cd4 227 cd%20.6 VL <40
10/24/2017 cd 173 VL 70

Offline leatherman

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Re: Should I take supplements to counter HIV and ARV side effects?
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2017, 08:07:56 pm »
unless you're low on something, or don't eat properly, vitamins mainly just give you expensive pee.

Vitamins don't help with side effects.

Your immune system (cd4s) is based on your genetics. the only thing you can really do to improve cd4s is to stay adherent to your ARVs to keep HIV in check from damaging your cd4s
leatherman (aka mIkIE)

There's no rain, there's no storm, though the blue sky makes you wonder
Don't you fear what will come will come
And right now we're in the sun
Sure enough, seasons change
But don't let today get lost 'cause today the sun's on us
Today the sun's on us
- Sophie Ellis-Bextor

chart from 1992-2017
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Offline mecch

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Re: Should I take supplements to counter HIV and ARV side effects?
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2017, 06:12:46 pm »
Its good to see you got undetectable. It will just be about time for the CD4 to go up.  Would you be specific what you mean by side effects? What "HIV" side effects? What treatment side effects?  Thanks.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline dallas nk

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Re: Should I take supplements to counter HIV and ARV side effects?
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2017, 08:26:48 pm »
Its good to see you got undetectable. It will just be about time for the CD4 to go up.  Would you be specific what you mean by side effects? What "HIV" side effects? What treatment side effects?  Thanks.

Side effects like fatigue, memory loss, loss of overall nutrients (due to virus), high cholesterol levels (my cholesterol was high with last lab test and I've NEVER had high cholesterol), anxiety and depression (which I now suffer from consistently) etc.
09/2016-diagnosed
10/2016- cd4 41 VL 35000
11/2016- cd4 29 VL?
12/2016-started treatment (Triumeq) this late because found out didn't qualify for research study
1/24/2017- cd4 233 cd%15 VL<40
4/27/2017 cd4 206 cd%18 VL <40
07/24/2017 cd4 227 cd%20.6 VL <40
10/24/2017 cd 173 VL 70

Offline mecch

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Re: Should I take supplements to counter HIV and ARV side effects?
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2017, 12:30:40 am »
Well I read back over your posts to learn about more of your situation.  Listen, you've had a really rough go of it as far as HIV infection and probably going undiagnosed all those years.

What people are going to say here on the Forum is first respond to your statement about using supplements to counter HIV - cause as you have seen, that's not science. Only the HIV drugs are treating the HIV.

Also, you said ARV side effects - but you realise, you might not be having ANY "ARV side effects" - you might very well be having effects of a long-term HIV infection, as well as the emotional and social adjustments to this diagnosis.

Cholesterol would be something to ask your doctor how to treat or not treat.  As well as, of course, paying attention to diet, and seeing if you can get exercise routine going.

Fatigue, depression and anxiety could be normal reactions from the shock - and the adjustments you have to make going forward.

Depression and anxiety can be treated with exercise and with psychotropes - from the doctor - antidepressants.  Not really with "supplements".

Loss of overall nutrients?  Says who?  Based on what?

Are you having any digestive problems? 

Memory loss could be result of depression.  Depression could very well be situational - not the HIV virus itself "causing" depression somehow in your brain. Your HIV replication has been knocked out.  Take your medication and that story is over, thank god.   All the rest from now on is about your body slowing repairing itself.

I mean supplements are pricey and they may not be a scientific way to address your concerns here, concerns that I perceive to be about anxiety and not necessarily medically diagnosed?

Sounds like you need some attention to your mental health, more than throwing money at "supplements".  Is that possible?  I'm thinking a group, a therapist, or some kind of gentle body work.

Are you at all into mindfulness?

“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline dallas nk

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Re: Should I take supplements to counter HIV and ARV side effects?
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2017, 10:37:21 am »
Mindfulness? I'm not really sure what that involves? Is is mental Heath? I'm planning on connecting with a therapist as soon as I can but they're expensive as well. I've been trying to exercise frequently as well, been hard to get my diet under wraps though. My schedule is hectic with work and family etc so I definitely need to do better. Yes these supplements are kicking my financial butt!!

 I guess I've been doing a lot of research online looking at studies about hiv and supplements and even on some hiv sites like the body, I base, hiv Canada, etc and saw where certain supplements help the arvs improve our immune system, protect against wasting and muscle loss, etc.  What baffles me and my doctor is how low my cd was when diagnosed. I know that I was infected somewhere between 3 and 2 years prior to my diagnosis (and I know who infected me etc.) My ID said from his experience it usually takes people 7-10 years without diagnosis or meds for their levels to be that low. I don't know if my genetics possibly attributed to the fast duplication of the virus and fast reduction in my cd count? I'm still lost and baffled at why the disease progressed so fast in my system,
09/2016-diagnosed
10/2016- cd4 41 VL 35000
11/2016- cd4 29 VL?
12/2016-started treatment (Triumeq) this late because found out didn't qualify for research study
1/24/2017- cd4 233 cd%15 VL<40
4/27/2017 cd4 206 cd%18 VL <40
07/24/2017 cd4 227 cd%20.6 VL <40
10/24/2017 cd 173 VL 70

Online JimDublin

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Re: Should I take supplements to counter HIV and ARV side effects?
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2017, 11:54:14 am »
On average it might takes years but saying that someone might by nature have lower cd4 levels, even if you measure the HIV negative population the variance is high.

It also does not measure the full strength of your immune system or the total damage done by the HIV infection during the untreated stages.

You have a number of threads running with different issues and you are looking for answers here, but to be honest you first place should be your GP and treat any underlying issues before you jump to any conclusions let alone self diagnosis and treatments.

Wishing you well, but stop overthinking things

To answer the question in this thread, if you are going to take any suppliments talk to your doctor and let them know, interactions are possible and what if fine and dandy for one person might not be for the next person.

Jim
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 12:01:07 pm by JimDublin »
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Offline mecch

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Re: Should I take supplements to counter HIV and ARV side effects?
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2017, 01:24:55 pm »
Mindfulness is a kind of meditation that comes out of 60s and 70s Buddhist practices and is very developed today - especially for dealing with stress and generally the overload we experience in these times of non-stop distractions.

There are a lot of self-help type books and audio books out there, and there is what is called "guided meditations" that you listen to.  Its free - check your public library for example.  Or cheap - check it out at a local book shop.

A respected author is Jon Kabat-Zin for example this: Full Catastrophe Living (Revised Edition): Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness.

Your doctor in my opinion has misled you are you have misheard the message. There is no rule really about untreated HIV progression.  My experience didn't follow the general rule. I never followed the bell curve of high viral load then fall.

Anyway all this knowledge about progression comes from old data and from when people were not treated upon diagnosis. And from when there was no treatment.

Now the guideline is treat at diagnosis. If I am not mistaken, I also seem to remember reading a few years ago that current HIV infections don't follow the old "general pattern" anyway - that was from the 80s and 90s experience - and that it might be the strains nowadays could progress faster.  THE POINT IS MOOT.  The point is to treat.  You have been treated.  You cannot figure out your genetics. They the cards you were dealt, as was not catching the HIV infection.  I don't really like that your doctor is telling you these things as "usually its 10 years."  It has nothing to do with you.

Wasting, muscle loss??  Did you have any of that? Because now that you are treated, that is NOT on the table. You are reading old stuff that does not apply to you in 2017.

In my opinion, please stop using your resources on supplements. There are no supplements that "help" HIV meds work better. Huh?  The meds are pretty perfect at this time. They work.  They mostly don't cause side effects.

A lot of people have gone through the steps you are doing now that are a bit futile, don't feel like its a personal criticism. You had a scare and you are fishing about for reassurance but really, trust us here at forums - its all about the HIV meds and time. And in that time, working back to feeling like a normal person and having a normal life.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 01:28:22 pm by mecch »
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline dallas nk

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Re: Should I take supplements to counter HIV and ARV side effects?
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2017, 06:00:46 pm »
Thank you! :) You're right I think I've been just searching for reassurance and overthinking the entire situation . I will check out the mindfulness resources you listed and give that at try as well and continue to take my meds faithfully and be patient.
09/2016-diagnosed
10/2016- cd4 41 VL 35000
11/2016- cd4 29 VL?
12/2016-started treatment (Triumeq) this late because found out didn't qualify for research study
1/24/2017- cd4 233 cd%15 VL<40
4/27/2017 cd4 206 cd%18 VL <40
07/24/2017 cd4 227 cd%20.6 VL <40
10/24/2017 cd 173 VL 70

Offline CaveyUK

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Re: Should I take supplements to counter HIV and ARV side effects?
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2017, 02:57:19 pm »
I agree with others that supplements are likely unnecessary, and many of the things you are experiencing come from other things, not the ARVs.

When you read on the internet there will be lots of stuff from years ago when the side effects of meds could be fairly extreme and people were searching for solutions. They mostly don't apply to modern meds, which are well tolerated in the main.

That said, I do think there are possibly some things that help (generally, not specifically HIV) and certainly there is a placebo affect that can kick in with the feeling that you are 'doing something'. I experience it myself from time to time and whilst I know it is likely doing nothing, I feel better from taking something.

For example, whilst I was taking Co-Trimoxazole (Bactrim) I had some bowel issues, which I tried to counter with probiotics and fibre supplements. On the rare occasion I feel a cold coming on, I feel that taking some VitC supplements is at least an action I can take although it's probably useless. When doing any kind of weight training, I always have a protein drink afterwards as I am convinced it reduces muscle fatigue a day or so later. I have little in the way of scientific basis for any of that, but it feels better.

How much you spend and what supplements you take are entirely up to you. What I will say, and this is very important, is that you need to make sure anything you do take does not interfere with your HIV meds, and you take them at the appropriate intervals. There are ways of checking this online, but asking your doc is the best approach.

And as said before, if you have any problems generally then do discuss them with your doc/GP as there are a myriad of things that can happen to the human body which are nothing to do with HIV and require very specific treatment.

Everything else pales into insignificance when weighted against the effectiveness of your HIV meds. They are king, and nothing should be taken that weakens them.
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You can read more about HIV prevention here:
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You can read more about PEP and PrEP here:
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Offline Kangaroo

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Re: Should I take supplements to counter HIV and ARV side effects?
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2018, 05:12:55 pm »
I know that some ARV can't be taken with these vitamins if they have sodium.

Better to check it with your doctor and read ARV instructions
Looking at the sea again.
Tides they rise and fall and then they rise again.

29/03/2017: Confirmed POZ(VL: N/A CD4: 303)
26/04/2017: Blood sample for VL and CD4
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Offline bocker3

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Re: Should I take supplements to counter HIV and ARV side effects?
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2018, 01:03:00 pm »
SODIUM???

What ARV's can't be taken with sodium??  I have not heard of this before -- given that sodium is added to pretty much every packaged or canned food, I'd say that I probably would have heard if there was a drug that couldn't be taken with sodium.
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