Treatment News : High-Dose Vitamins Don’t Fight HIV and Can Raise Liver Levels

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November 28, 2012

High-Dose Vitamins Don’t Fight HIV and Can Raise Liver Levels

A large study has found that high doses of multivitamin supplements fail to combat HIV and may raise liver levels in those also taking antiretrovirals (ARVs), aidsmap reports.  Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health published the results of their randomized, double-blind, controlled trial in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

The Harvard team recruited 3,418 HIV-positive people in seven clinics in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, who were beginning ARV treatment between November 2006 and November 2008. Participants took daily oral supplements of either the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B complex, vitamin C and vitamin E, or between two and 21 times the dose of B vitamins, twice the dose of vitamin C and six times that of vitamin E.   

The study was halted early, in March 2009, because patients taking the high vitamin doses experienced elevated alanine transaminase (ALT) levels—which is an indication of liver damage. At that time, 3,418 people were still enrolled in the study for a median 15 months. High-dose vitamins had no effect on CD4 count, viral load, body mass index, mortality, or the risk of the blood disorders anemia and neutropenia.  However, 38 percent of participants in the high-dose arm experienced ALT levels that were elevated five times or greater than the upper limits of normal. Only 2 percent of those in the standard-dose arm experienced such elevations. 
The researchers noted that previous studies have shown that high doses of vitamins are safe for HIV-positive people, but because of “potential negative interactions among nutrients and antiretrovirals” the study authors advised those on ARVs to only take the standard dose of multivitamins.

To read the aidsmap report, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.

Search: HIV, vitamins, high-dose, Harvard School of Public Health, antiretrovirals, Journal of the American Medical Association, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, vitamin B complex, vitamin E, vitamin C, alanine transaminase, ALT, CD4 count, anemia, neutropenia, body mass index, viral load.

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  comments 1 - 4 (of 4 total)    

Phoebe, Providence, 2014-08-04 05:22:41
what a dumb thing to do... giving oral vitamins to think it will cure AIDS... for a real clinical study on AIDS it should be administered in a IV and a high dose.

sunfunmancanfan, , 2014-05-17 06:17:43
If the participants consumed vitamins from a non-pharmaceutical company, how do we know what the efficacy level is? Some vit. companies have been cited for having too much of a specific vitamin (or very little) in it. Also, the purity of the vitamin plays a role. Certain fillers can be toxic on the liver/kidneys.

sunfunmancanfan, , 2014-05-17 06:11:34
Were the vitamin consuming participants on the same, or different ARV's? Was the study broken-down into categories pertaining to the class of ARV's; e.g. nucleosides, non-nucleosides, In the 38% of participants with elevated ALT levels, were they tested for a possible genetic mutation,(if there is such a thing) which would make them susceptible to raised ALT levels, esp. with vitamin B complex. Did they conduct a study with those consuming lower levels of B-1 supps./multi-vits?

Sunfunmancanfan, , 2014-05-17 06:01:04
I am always curious about the efficiency of medical studies. How do we know for certain that some/most/all of the vitamin B consumers properly adhered to the protocol. Also, could they have consumed more of the vitamin B supplements (also eating foods high in vitamin B; particularly, vitamin B-1? Did any of the participants (38%) take other vitamins, herbs,body-building supps, etc., which may have increased ALT levels? Did they consume Rx type vitamin B, or mass-marketed,

comments 1 - 4 (of 4 total)    

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