This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. This information is not intended to cure or treat HIV. If you happen to have HIV you should contact your PCP who can direct you to the appropriate specialist/s. If you are already being treated by your doctor for HIV you may also benefit from the advice of a Naturopathic Physician or from a Clinical Nutritionist.
The ancient proverb states that “hope deferred makes the heart sick”. With this in mind, it is not our intention to create false hope for anyone who is suffering from illnesses such as HIV. Rather, our goal is to make any credible and/or potentially helpful information available to our readers if such information is helpful in providing nutritional support and/or helpful in improving the quality of life for the ill and suffering.
In his book “What Really Causes AIDS” Harold Foster talks about how the HIV virus has a gene that is virtually identical to the enzyme glutathione peroxidase. During the viral replication process the mineral selenium is depleted from the host. Foster notes that most of the soil in sub-Saharan Africa is low in the mineral selenium and suggests that those who are already low in this important mineral have a greater vulnerability to contracting viruses that encode glutathione peroxidase such as HIV.
An article in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and Human Retrovirology in 1997 was entitled “High risk of HIV related mortality is associated with selenium deficiency”, obviously suggesting that individuals and populations who are low in selenium are at a greater risk of dying from HIV. Foster also cites the fact that while unprotected promiscuous sexual activity is widespread in the nation of Senegal, HIV-1 is diffusing very slowly in that nation. Interestingly, nearly the entire population of Senegal is dependent upon the groundwater which happens to be very rich in calcium, magnesium and selenium. While such information does not suggest that selenium is a “silver bullet” it would seem to suggest that selenium plays an important role in immunity and in overall health.
While HIV-1 encodes the enzyme glutathione peroxidase and depletes the mineral selenium, this is not the only mineral that is depleted by the virus. The amino acids cysteine, glutamine and tryptophan are also part of the enzyme and are also depleted by the HIV-1 virus according to Foster’s research.
While the following provides the opinions of researchers as to what effective doses of the aforementioned nutrients might be, the content is provided for information purposes only and should not be used as a treatment protocol for individuals suffering from HIV.
Treatment of any illness requires the expertise of a physician or other qualified professional that is tailored for the needs of the individual. Treatment of any illness also requires monitoring of the patient for adverse reactions, allergies and potential toxicity. Therefore, since even the sharpest and brightest doctors refuse to be their own physicians, it would be prudent to say the least that a layperson be wise in following their example.
Foster cites the research of E. W. Taylor in his book who states that “a dose of 400 mcg of selenium seems reasonable for HIV infected individuals”.
Foster cites Brazil nuts, garlic, mushrooms and various seafoods as being high in selenium.
Foster cites the research of Braverman and Pfeiffer who recommend an initial dose of 500 mg of cysteine per day and state that doses any higher would require medical supervision as there is the possibility of cysteine toxicity. While vitamins B1 B6 C and E may be helpful with cysteine supplementation, cysteine may block the effects of insulin and would thus be contraindicated in cases of diabetes according to Foster’s book. This would reiterate the importance of consulting your doctor rather than designing your own treatment protocol.
Foster cites Brazil nuts, garlic, onions, cruciferous vegetables, poultry, wheat germ, yogurt and egg yolks as being high in cysteine.
While low doses of glutamine are sold in health food stores, higher doses of this amino acid require supervision by a physician. Much higher doses were cited in Foster’s book for the treatment of serious diarrhea caused by AIDS but only in cases of serious diarrhea and never for milder presentations of diarrhea such as stomach viruses. High doses of glutamine can result in serious health conditions including coma and death and it can not be overstated that any supplementation should be monitored by your doctor.
Foster cites Brazil nuts, pork, wheat germ and cottage cheese as being high in glutamine.
While tryptophan was banned from the market due to a contaminant, Foster shows how it can be safely and easily obtained in wheat germ (400 mg/cup), low fat cottage cheese (300 mg/cup), as well as with turkey and chicken (about 600 mg/pound).
Individuals with asthma and/or individuals who take serotonin uptake inhibitors or monoamine uptake unhibitors should not take tryptophan supplements and should be careful about tailoring a diet that is high in tryptophan
While Foster’s book is not intended to cure individuals who are suffering from HIV/AIDS, his book is interesting, informative and easy to read. Anyone who is interested in compiling information on the topic of HIV should not forget to include this book in their library.