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Antiviral Nutrition article review and commentary:

Selenium 200mg/d in early HIV infection reduces TB burden

Review by Dr Alex Vasquez, 19 July 2017

  • Doctors do not learn about these concepts in medical school and training: Well-known is the fact that medical training excludes clinical nutrition (except for a pathology-based survey of nutritional deficiencies) and that doctors do not learn an overall strategy for treating viral infections; their only interventions are sanitation and vaccines for prevention, antiviral drugs and "supportive care" for treatment, thereby excluding many of the safest and most effective antiviral treatments. 

  • The "antiviral strategy" concept: “The main concept of my antiviral protocol* is that doctors and patients need to understand the four major components of acute and chronic viral infections, and then address each of those components to achieve greater control over virus-induced illness. The sad and ongoing situation is that we as medical doctors receive essentially no training in nutrition, while—via post-graduate study—within the disciplines of Clinical Nutrition and Functional Medicine** we appreciate many well-studied and highly-effective antiviral treatments and strategies. When doctors are not aware of options, then the only preventive and therapeutic options they know about are vaccines and antiviral drugs, many of which (in both categories) are inefficacious, hazardous, and unduly expensive. Even for those who continue to embrace antiviral drugs and vaccines, they can still use my antiviral protocol* alongside to increase efficacy and reduce adverse effects.” Dr Alex Vasquez, author of 120 professional books, articles, and letters, including the book Antiviral Strategies and Immune Nutrition, which was also published as a digital ebook Antiviral Nutrition via the free Kindle platform for phone, iPad, computer, also included within Inflammation Mastery 4th Edition and Textbook of Clinical Nutrition and Functional Medicine, Volume 1

  • New article review: Campa A, Baum MK, Bussmann H, Martinez SS, Farahani M, van Widenfelt E, Moyo S, Makhema J, Essex M, Marlink R. The effect of micronutrient supplementation on active TB incidence early in HIV infection in Botswana. Nutrition and Dietary Supplements 2017 July  Volume 2017:9 Pages 37-45 DOI

  • Main findings/results: Selenium 200 mcg/d in early HIV infection greatly reduced the burden of tuberculosis; no adverse effects. The fact that the study was conducted in Africa is irrelevant with regard to the high prevalence of nutritional deficiency because such nutritional deficiencies are seen in all countries, especially among persons with chronic infections. 

  • Context within previous research: Nutritional deficiencies are common everywhere and are more common in patients with new/acute/chronic infections. Nutritional deficiencies are exacerbated by infections, which increase metabolic demand for nutrients; nutritional deficiency exacerbates infection via enhanced viral replication and reduced immune effectiveness. As I have reviewed previously (Antiviral Strategies and Immune Nutrition, Antiviral NutritionInflammation Mastery 4th EditionTextbook of Clinical Nutrition and Functional Medicine, Volume 1), many previous studies have reported benefit from nutritional supplementation, and selenium is particularly effective against viral infections; the main mechanisms are 1) reduction of viral replication, and 2) reduction of viral mutagenesis. 

  • Clinical practice implications: As I have reviewed and detailed previously, selenium 200 mcg/d is a safe and effective treatment for various viral infections including therefore the prevention of their complications. With regard to my overall antiviral protocol and its 4 main areas of focus (as outlined in 2014, PDF), we can include selenium in all 4 categories: 1) antiviral, 2) antireplication, 3) immune support, and 4) systemic protection and recovery. 

  • Hyperlink: PDF available here

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