Nutrients Boost Natural Anti-Retroviral Enzyme In HIV-Infected Patients

See John Cartmell's comments following article.

Orthomolecular Medicine News Service
Oct. 25, 2007

A double-blind, randomized clinical trial has shown that HIV-positive patients given supplemental nutrients can stop their decline into AIDS. Edith Namulemia, James Sparling and Harold Fosterís findings were just published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. (1) The study, conducted at Mengo Hospital, Kampala, Uganda, was designed to test the impacts of two nutrient mixtures on the bodyís ability to produce glutathione peroxidase and to monitor any effects of such changes on levels of CD4 T lymphocytes, body weight and quality of life.

310 patients were randomly divided into two groups, both receiving nutritional supplements for a year, one group receiving an additional seven nutrients. In both groups, serum glutathione peroxidase levels increased by 250 percent. This enzyme normally declines as HIV/AIDS progresses. CD4 cell counts, indicative of an improving immune system, also rose in both treatment groups. In addition, quality of life, as measured using the Karnofsky scale also increased over the year. Patientsí gains in glutathione peroxidase, CD4 cell counts, weight and quality of life were all highly statistically significant. Both males and females benefited to the same degree from the two nutrient combinations.

These results are consistent with those of smaller open nutritional supplement trials which have been conducted elsewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa. [2] It seems clear that inadequate nutrition plays an extremely important role in the progression into AIDS of HIV-infected patients. These results also are consistent with Fosterís model [3-4] of the development of AIDS which suggests that deficiencies of glutathione peroxidase play a key role in the process, which can be reversed with nutritional supplementation.

The full text of the paper may be read online at


[1] Namulemia, Edith; Sparling, James; Foster, Harold D. Nutritional supplements can delay the progression of AIDS in HIV-infected patients: results from a double-blinded, clinical trial at Mengo Hospital, Kampala, Uganda. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine 2007; 22(3), 129-136.

[2] Bradfield M, Foster HD: The successful orthomolecular treatment of AIDS: accumulating evidence from Africa. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine 2006; 21(4):193-196.

[3] Foster, Harold D. What really causes AIDS. Trafford Publishing: Victoria, BC 2002. Full text at 

[4] Foster, HD. How HIV-1 causes AIDS: Implications for prevention and treatment. Medical Hypotheses, 2004; 62(4):549-553.

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John Cartmell comments:

Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant found within every cell. It plays a role in nutrient metabolism, regulation of gene expression, protein synthesis, cell growth, and immune response. It is also used by the liver to help break down toxins.

Several scientific papers have found a correlation between glutathione levels and anti-viral activity. When viral loads increase, glutathione decreases. Supplementing with L-Glutamine, Alpha Lipoic Acid (an antioxidant nutrient) and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) (a form of the amino acid, cysteine) may help increase cellular production of glutathione. (Glutathione given in supplement form may not be able to enter the cell.)

Glutathione is a cofactor for glutathione peroxidase, an antioxidant enzyme containing the trace mineral, selenium, bound  to the amino acid, cysteine. It is especially important for protecting cellular membranes from oxidation damage.

Researchers like Harold Foster in the study above have long believed the major symptoms of AIDS are related to nutrient deficiencies of selenium, and amino acids cysteine, glutamine and tryptophan. In this study, HIV patients receiving no other medications, saw their low levels of glutathione peroxidase increased and CD4 cell counts, body weight, and general quality of life improved by taking nutritional supplements with or without these specific nutrients,.

The study findings suggest that supplementing with a general multi-vitamin/mineral can improve low levels of glutathione peroxidase and other symptoms in HIV patients taking no other medications..

Nutritional needs can change during disease, and compensating for these changes with nutritional supplements can often improve at least some symptoms. This is why proper nutrition is so important to maintain  health, prevent disease, and support health during disease.

John W. Cartmell, MS

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