This section covers some of the other supplements used by people with HIV. In some cases, the benefits of these supplements have been described in small human studies, animal studies and case reports. The therapeutic doses are not really known for HIV disease and recommendations given here are based on doses used for other conditions or in studies.These and other supplements can be quite expensive and should not be seen as a replacement for a healthy diet and lifestyle. Before starting any new supplement, get information from a knowledgeable healthcare professional. And be sure to discuss it with your doctor. Also, it is best to start only one new supplement at time, so you can be more aware of any side effects.
Alpha lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant made by the body that is used to regenerate glutathione (the major antioxidant in cells) as well as the activated form of vitamins C and E. It also plays an important role in energy production in the mitochondria. Lipoic acid is used to treat diabetic neuropathy (a nerve condition associated with diabetes) and liver disorders, and it may also have a role in slowing the hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis). The dose recommended for diabetic neuropathy is 100 mg 3 times per day; the dosage for HIV is unknown.
L-glutamine is an amino acid that is used to provide fuel for intestinal cells, muscle cells and immune cells. It plays an important role in immunity because it helps to maintain the intestinal barrier and is a preferred fuel for various cells of the immune system. Glutamine levels decline during periods of physiological stress like opportunistic infection,surgery, burn and cancer. It may have a therapeutic role in treating intestinal disease and wasting, and some people with HIV have found it to be a good treatment for chronic diarrhea. The dose for treating diarrhea is 10 to 30 grams per day; the maintenance dose is 5 grams per day. It is best absorbed if dissolved in water and taken on an empty stomach.
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