Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic in the world.1 Nigeria is a long way off meeting the global target of enrolling 90% of people diagnosed with HIV on antiretroviral treatment (ART). Just 33% of all people living with HIV were receiving treatment in 2017. The relevance of this statistic is that there is still a wide gap in the understanding of the dangers of HIV. Also, there is a lack of understanding in the steps to delay its progression to AIDS.
HIV attacks a particular sort of resistant framework cell within the body. It’s known as the CD4 helper cell or T cell. When HIV annihilates this cell, it gets to be harder for the body to battle off other diseases. When HIV is left untreated, a minor infection such as a cold, can be much more extreme.
Nutrition is a valuable tool for individuals with HIV
Whether you have been tested, appear to have signs of illness or are in a challenging state of HIV, knowing what to eat can assist your body to provide a more supportive immune system. Micronutrient deficiencies, which have been monitored with progressive HIV illness, have been related to higher levels of HIV mortality. Losing body weight when consuming more food is moreover an indicator of HIV and related morbidity and mortality.
Vitamins and minerals regulate your body's processes. People who are HIV-positive need extra vitamins and minerals to help repair and heal damaged cells. Eat food high in these vitamins and minerals, which can help boost your immune system:
Vitamin A and beta-carotene: dark green, yellow, orange, or red vegetables and fruit; liver; whole eggs; milk
B vitamins: meat, fish, chicken, grains, nuts, white beans, avocados, broccoli, and green leafy vegetables
Vitamin C: citrus fruits
Vitamin E: green leafy vegetables, peanuts, and vegetable oils
Selenium: whole grains, nuts, poultry, fish, eggs, and peanut butter
Zinc: meat, poultry, fish, beans, peanuts, and milk and other dairy products
However, it is very difficult to get all the nutrients you need from your food, which is why your healthcare provider may recommend a multivitamin/mineral tablet to supplement. An antioxidant-rich food supplement is vital for immunocompromised individuals such as patients living with HIV/AIDS. This is because they are under constant oxidative stress from various infections and they can also suffer loss of appetite, weight loss, difficulty breathing, mouth and oesophageal ulcers among other immune deficiency symptoms. Hence, the need for such individuals to get a fortified multivitamin.
An independent clinical study administered a vitamin supplement containing various essential vitamins and minerals to a total of 481 HIV-infected men living in and around Bangkok took part in the trial and were given either the supplement Immunace, marketed by Vitabiotics in the UK, or a placebo. The results after 48 weeks duration showed that there was reduced mortality due to improved immunity with Immunace.3 There was 48% reduction in mortality (death) rate. This clinical trial is the World’s first controlled trial showing a significant clinical benefit from micronutrient supplementation in HIV-positive individuals and Immunace is the first ever micronutrient formula clinically tested on HIV+ adults with low CD4 cell counts.
Immunace is formulated to help maintain resistance to infection and optimal cell defense, helping maintain long-term immune defense at the cellular level. It is available as a food supplement at retail pharmacies all over Nigeria. Some of the key antioxidants in Immunace are listed below:
Vitamin E potent antioxidant that helps to counteract oxidative stress in the body and may be associated with a lower risk of progression to AIDS.
Selenium supplementation helps to suppress the progression of HIV-1 viral burden and provides indirect improvement of CD4 count.
Betacarotene Beta-carotene levels have been found to be low in HIV-positive people, supplementing with it may be beneficial to achieving a strong immune system and improved quality of life.
Zinc very important for PLWHA because it helps the system to fight off viruses and bacteria
Vitamin D many people with HIV have low Vitamin D levels and hence supplementation is necessary to avoid having osteoporosis (weak and brittle bones) as the patient grows older.
Numerous micronutrient supplementation may upgrade the survival of HIV-infected people with low immune cell counts. In Nigeria, where accessing antiretroviral (HAART) remains poor, this could have high impact on population health. Immunace manufactured by Vitabiotics in the UK is the only commercially available multivitamin for HIV that shows possible improved health outcomes. It is also free of side effects and affordable.
Immunace is marketed and distributed in Nigeria by Pinnacle Health Pharma. For enquiries contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
NACA (2017) ‘National Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS: 2017 -2021’ [pdf]
UNAIDS (2017) ‘Data Book’ [pdf]
A randomized trial of the impact of multiple micronutrient supplementation on mortality amongst HIV infected individuals living in Bangkok. Jiamton et al., AIDS 2003, 17:2461-2469