Research: HURWITZ and co-authors,

Listed in Issue 144

Abstract

HURWITZ and co-authors, Behavioral Medicine Research Center, University of Miami, c/o VA Medical Center, FL 33125, USA, bhurwitz@miami.edu, have investigated the suppression of HIV with selenium supplements.

Background

Despite findings that selenium supplementation may improve immune functioning, definitive evidence of its impact on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease severity is lacking. The aim of this study was to fill this gap.

Methodology

High selenium yeast supplementation was evaluated in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Intention-to-treat analyses assessed the effect on HIV-1 viral load and CD4 count after 9 months of treatment.

Results

Of the 450 HIV-seropositive men and women who underwent screening, 262 initiated treatment and 174 completed the 9-month follow-up assessment. Mean adherence to study treatment was good (73.0% ) with no related adverse events. The mean change in serum selenium concentration increased significantly in the selenium-treated group and not the placebo-treated group (32.2 vs 0.5 microg/L increase; p<.001), and greater levels predicted decreased HIV-1 viral load (p<.02), which predicted increased CD4 count (p<.04). Findings remained significant after correcting for age, sex, ethnicity, income, education, current and past cocaine and other drug use, HIV symptom classification, antiretroviral medication regimen and adherence, time since HIV diagnosis, and hepatitis C co-infection.

Conclusion

Daily selenium supplementation can suppress the progression of HIV-1 viral burden and provide indirect improvement of CD4 count. The results support the use of selenium as a simple, inexpensive, and safe adjunct therapy in HIV spectrum disease.

References

Hurwitz BE et al. Suppression of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 viral load with selenium supplementation: a randomized controlled trial. Archives of Internal Medicine 167 (2): 148-154, Jan 22, 2007.

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