Friday, January 29, 2010

Nutrients for AIDS Patients

There is no cure for AIDS; however, several nutrients, food-related materials, and ENZYME preparations boost the immune system and may offer protection against the risk of CANCER and infection in some individuals with AIDS. Trace Nutrients ZINC deficiency is common in patients with AIDS and may indicate trace mineral malnutrition or malabsorption. Zinc plays an important role in maintaining the immune system. Zinc inhibits an enzyme needed for HIV production.
SELENIUM deficiency may be part of the malnutrition seen in AIDS patients. It is a COFACTOR for enzymes that serve as ANTIOXIDANTS. Selenium helps protect against liver and colon cancer in experimental animals, and clinical studies of the effects of selenium supplementation on cancer prevention are being carried out. Other vitamins and minerals, such as VITAMIN A, FOLIC ACID, VITAMIN B12, and POTASSIUM, may be deficient in some AIDS patients.
Enzymes Megadoses of a variety of enzymes, including SUPEROXIDE DISMUTASE, are being used as antioxidants. There is no clear evidence that their use diminishes or prevents symptoms.
Antioxidants Evidence suggests that HIV infected patients have lower levels of antioxidants, ncluding VITAMIN C, CAROTENOIDS, COENZYME Q, LUTATHIONE, and selenium. Such oxidative stress can promote HIV replication and decrease immunity. Antioxidant nutrients may lower the risk of cancer in the general population, and the same may be true for HIV-infected patients. BETACAROTENE and carotenoids may lower the risk of many cancers, including those of the lung, bladder, stomach, esophagus, and prostate. Beta-carotene can increase the numbers of T-helper cells. Significantly, the standard American diet is deficient in beta-carotene. Vitamin C boosts immunity, helps protect against viral and bacterial infections, and may decrease the risk of stomach, esophageal, and cervical cancer. It increases blood antibody levels and supports the function of the THYMUS GLAND and lymphocytes. Furthermore, vitamin C supports healthy connective tissue and assists in wound healing. FLAVONOIDS are associated with vitamin C in plants and enhance vitamin C therapy. Many flavonoids function as antioxidants and several types may stimulate the immune system. GLUTATHIONE supports the immune system and functions as a major antioxidant. N-acetylcysteine, a derivative of the sulfur amino acid CYSTEINE, can enhance glutathione levels.
Egg Lipids Mixtures of LECITHIN and other fatty materials from eggs have been used with some positive results in small clinical studies. Although there is a lack of strong evidence of its effectiveness, these mixtures are still being used. They are apparently nontoxic, though long-term effects are unknown.
Herbs Several herbs, such as GOLDENSEAL (Hydrastis canadensis), have been shown to enhance several aspects of immune function. The most active component of goldenseal is berberine, a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent effective in treating the severe DIARRHEA that is typically seen in AIDS patients. Herbal treatment based on Chinese medicine is also being studied. Certain formulations inhibit viruses and boost the immune system. Some research suggests garlic may enhance immunity and help combat opportunistic organisms associated with AIDS, including Candida albicans, cryptococcus, herpes virus, and mycobacteria.

Antioxidants for Seniors

Several nutrients seem to protect the body throughout life against damage by free radicals, highly reactive forms of oxygen that can attack cells. Trace minerals like copper, SELENIUM, and zinc, as well as vitamins C and E plus BETACAROTENE, function as antioxidants. Together with vitamin A they also keep the immune system balanced. The immune system protects the body against bacterial and viral diseases and defends against cancer.
Other ingredients in foods, especially fruits and vegetables, act as ANTIOXIDANTS. They strengthen the body’s defenses and protect against cancer. These include FLAVONOIDS, PHYTOESTROGENS (ISOFLAVONES), and ISOTHIOCYANATES. Many more remain to be identified. From hundreds of studies, it is clear that diets that provide ample fruits, legumes, and vegetables protect against many of the degenerative diseases that commonly occur with aging. As an example, middle-aged men and women who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables are significantly less likely to experience cardiovascular disease and strokes.
More research is required to determine the optimal intake of anti-aging nutrients. Foods with antiaging nutrients include orange vegetables (CARROTS, SQUASH) and dark green leafy vegetable (CHARD, KALE, SPINACH) for vitamin A and betacarotene.
Fresh fruit like ORANGES, frozen citrus juices, and BROCCOLI provide vitamin C. VEGETABLE
OIL, WHEAT germ, and nuts supply vitamin E, while whole GRAINS, SEAFOOD, CABBAGE, ONIONS, and GARLIC provide selenium

Vitamins for Seniors

Research suggests there may be increased vitamin needs in elderly people; however, no definite proof that vitamin supplements increase the life span has been offered. Many elderly Americans obtain less than 50 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of VITAMIN antihypertensive drugs interfere with absorption of this vitamin. Folic acid and vitamin B12 are less well absorbed in elderly persons, and the RDAs should be higher. Inadequate diet and decreased uptake of fat-soluble vitamins probably account for the increased need for VITAMIN A and VITAMIN E with aging, and extra vitamin E may boost immunity, thus helping elderly persons resist disease. Vitamin E has also shown promise in slowing decline in mental functioning in the elderly. One study showed that people who took high amounts of vitamin E had a 70 percent reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. In another study researchers followed more than 2,800 people over the age of 65 for three years. Those participants who had the highest amount of vitamin E consumption showed the slowest decline in mental alertness. Vitamin D requirements may increase during aging because the skin gradually loses its ability to manufacture the vitamin. Patients with hip fractures may be deficient in vitamin D. Another problematic nutrient for elderly people is VITAMIN C, a versatile antioxidant. Consumption may be low with diets relying on processed, overcooked foods and lacking adequate fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C may protect against cataracts and atherosclerosis.
The RDA for RIBOFLAVIN is believed to be too low for elderly people. Geriatric outpatients can exhibit low-THIAMIN levels and evidence suggests that RDA of this critical nutrient is greater for older people than for middle-aged individuals.