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Infectious Diseases

Micronutrient profiles in HIV-1-infected heterosexual adults.

Skurnick JH; Bogden JD; Baker H; Kemp FW; Sheffet A; Quattrone G; Louria DB
J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Hum Retrovirol 1996 May 1;12(1):75-83

There is compelling evidence that micronutrients can profoundly affect immunity. We surveyed vitamin supplement use and circulating concentrations of 22 nutrients and glutathione in 64 HIV-1 seropositive men and women and 33 seronegative controls participating in a study of heterosexual HIV-1 transmission. We assayed antioxidants (vitamins A, C, and E; total carotenes), vitamins B6 and B12, folate, thiamin, niacin, biotin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, free and total choline and carnitine, biopterin, inositol, copper, zinc, selenium, and magnesium. HIV-infected patients had lower mean circulating concentrations of magnesium (p < 0.0001), total carotenes (p = 0.009), total choline (p = 0.002), and glutathione (p = 0.045), and higher concentrations of niacin (p < 0.0001) than controls. Fifty-nine percent of HIV+ patients had low concentrations of magnesium, compared with 9% of controls (p < 0.0001). These abnormal concentrations were unrelated to stage of disease. Participants who took vitamin supplements had consistently fewer low concentrations of antioxidants, across HIV infection status and disease stage strata (p = 0.0006). Nevertheless, 29% of the HIV+ patients taking supplemental vitamins had subnormal levels of one or more antioxidants. The frequent occurrence of abnormal micronutrient nutriture, as found in these HIV+ subjects, may contribute to disease pathogenesis. The low magnesium concentrations may be particularly relevant to HIV-related symptoms of fatigue, lethargy, and impaired mentation.

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