As a former HIV nutrition practitioner who keeps current on AIDS nutrition, I agree, in principle, with some but not all of the recommended treatments in "Build a Strong Defense" (February 1997). The article raises several questions:
1. Why was nutrient-dense food left out of the recommended treatment under the first goal to reverse nutrient deficiencies before obvious disease occurs? Micronutrients will only work optimally if they have sufficient macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates and protein) with which to work.
2. How can PWAs best interpret these recommendations removed from the research context? Some recommendations may be very effective, others might be mildly effective or ineffective, and still others might be detrimental.
3. How can we best communicate information about HIV-related antioxidant deficiencies when scientists disagree about the effectiveness of supplementation? Some researchers maintain that apoptosis (cell suicide) may actually be hastened by antioxidant supplementation.
The piece reminded me of something I heard at a nutrition conference a few years ago: PWAs need to treat their bodies like gardens--tending them and adding a little of this and that. A beautiful metaphor that I agree with in principle, but gardens can shrivel up when overwatered and overfertilized.
Div. of Nutritional Sciences
Ithaca, New York
There is absolutely nothing "Zen-like" about Mark O'Donnell's AIDS Zen. The popularity of the feature notwithstanding, I figure the average person with AIDS is already subjected to a surfeit of bitterness and sarcasm. O'Donnell's December contribution ("The Dating Game," December 1996/January 1997) is a trite, cynical piece written under Prozac withdrawal. And he gets paid for this?
--Jan L. Albright
Oxon Hill, Maryland