HIV/AIDS is one of the most misunderstood diseases in the industrialized world. The conventional view is that it is a dangerous disease that has killed millions by infecting and killing the part of the immune system called CD4 cells. In the beginning, AIDS was feared because there was no known effective treatment.
Currently, the high cost of AIDS treatment is rooted in the fundamental misconception that the condition must be treated by killing the virus. But, a proper approach could be to restore the immune function by addressing the nutrient deficiencies. A properly functioning immune system is more than adequate for you to defend yourself against HIV. This will both eliminate AIDS symptoms and keep the virus under control. Additionally, this method is much more cost-effective, less problematic, and requires little medical supervision.
HIV, AIDS, And The Immune System
Here, we’ll try to paint an entirely different picture of the diseases. HIV and AIDS are two related but different conditions.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV is an infection from a virus that is only minimally infectious, kills very few cells, and would be a totally innocuous virus were it not for one characteristic – it competes for several of the same nutrients that our body uses to keep the immune system functioning well. It harms us not because it infects us but because it steals important nutrients, leaving the immune system increasingly weak.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
AIDS is a collection of diseases and conditions resulting from several nutrient deficiencies. That these nutrient deficiencies are frequently the result of HIV is merely coincidental, as other causes can also trigger the same conditions.
HIV As An Infectious Agent
As an infectious agent, HIV is a dud. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) states that the risk of acquiring HBV from an occupational needle stick injury when the source is hepatitis B ranges from 2% to 40%. However, the risk of acquiring HIV from a hollow needle with blood from a known HIV source is between 0.2% and 0.5%.1 The difference between these rates is a factor that lies between 10 and 80.
The virus certainly infects and destroys such immune cells but not at levels that seem particularly significant. Even in the worst possible circumstances, losing 1% of the existing cells will not make a significant difference in the immune function. There is also an extremely low level of detectable virus in AIDS patients. Moreover, the tiny amount of virus produced by these few cells is neutralized by the same antiviral antibodies that are detected by the “AIDS test.”
Progression Of An HIV Infection
Another factor that brings into question how directly damaging HIV infections are is the observed time frames for the progression of the disease. A typical viral sequence is like this:
- Exposure and infection
- Latency of a few days to a week
- Onset of symptoms
- Response of the immune system of a couple of days to a couple of weeks
- Reduced symptoms if the immune system is successful
- Fatality over the next month or two if the immune system is unsuccessful
In HIV infections, the latency can be for years, even after the onset of symptoms. Pharmaceutical intervention can prolong the disease. Therefore, it is fair to say that the progression of HIV is distinctly different from the progression of most other viruses.
The most important observation is that people don’t die from HIV infections. They always die from other conditions and opportunistic infections that occur in a weakened body deprived of a properly functioning immune system. If HIV was such a virulent destroyer of human cells, the viral infection would not require the assistance of other infectious agents to kill the patient.
Common Side Effects Of HIV/AIDS Drugs
Some side effects from HIV medicines appear months or even years after starting a medicine and can continue for a long time. Examples of long-term side effects include:
- Kidney problems, including kidney failure
- Liver damage
- Heart disease
- Diabetes or insulin resistance
- Increased fat levels in the blood
- Changes in how the body uses and stores fat
- Weakened bones
- Nervous system/psychiatric effects, including insomnia, dizziness, depression, and suicidal thoughts2
The Role Of Glutathione Peroxidase
HIV creates an enzyme, which is an analog to glutathione peroxidase. Glutathione peroxidase is an enzyme that our bodies produce, and it is very important for our immune function. When HIV produces this molecule, it will use the very same nutrient building blocks that the body uses to create a similar molecule.3. The nutrients are as follows:
Because our own bodies and HIV use the same nutrients for their survival, there arises a competition for nutrients.
Explaining AIDS With Nutrient Deficiencies
The following common AIDS symptoms can be directly explained by these nutrient deficiencies:
- Muscle wasting: glutamine and tryptophan
- Diarrhea: glutamine and tryptophan
- Depression: selenium
- Heart problems and heart attacks: selenium and glutamine
- Kaposi’s sarcoma: selenium and cysteine
- Psychosis and dementia: tryptophan
- Immune weakness: glutamine, tryptophan, selenium, and cysteine
Effects Of Nutrient Deficiencies
1. L-Tryptophan Deficiency
L-tryptophan and niacin are metabolized back and forth, so their deficiency symptoms are often shared. The most notable of the tryptophan/niacin symptoms are the 4 D’s associated with pellagra – dermatitis, dementia, diarrhea, and death.4
2. L-Glutamine Deficiency
L-glutamine deficiency primarily concerns the integrity of the intestinal lining and primarily of the small intestine. Because most of the L-glutamine is used to maintain the intestinal walls, the absorption of nutrients is compromised and undigested food particles and toxins pass into the bloodstream more easily.5 L-glutamine is also used in tissue generation, so a deficiency can easily result in muscle wasting. It is often used as a post-operative supplement to decrease the healing time.6
3. L-Cysteine Deficiency
L-cysteine is essential for the production of both L-glutathione and T cells. A T cell is a type of lymphocyte (a sub-type of white blood cell) that plays a key role in cell-mediated immunity. Hence, this deficiency has the strongest negative effects of any of the amino acids on the immune function.7
4. Selenium Deficiency
Selenium deficiency is commonly associated with depression, immune system problems, and with viral infections, cancer, and heart disease in particular.8
Treating AIDS With A Nutritional Approach
HIV is a viral infection and AIDS is a collection of nutritional deficiencies. The symptoms of AIDS that are killing people are not direct symptoms of an HIV infection. They are just predictable nutrient deficiencies that result from an HIV infection. Therefore, it is logical to proceed by supplementing the 4 nutrients that an HIV infection depletes. An adequate dosage can be as follows:
- L-tryptophan: 2 grams/day
- L-glutamine: 2 grams/day
- N-acetyl-cysteine: 2 grams/day
- Selenium: 800 mcg/day (reduce dosage if the cuticles under fingernails become inflamed)
This supplementation will counteract all of the nutrient deficiencies outlined earlier. Since one of the major symptoms of a deficiency is a poorly functioning immune system, when the immune system gets back to normal, the HIV viral count will correspondingly reduce.
The nutritional formula given to patients includes vitamin C, alpha-lipoic acid, and a collection of minerals intended to counteract the effects of diarrhea and loss of electrolytes.
Note: If diarrhea stops and body weight increases, the dosage of L-glutamine may be cut to 1 gram or even 500 mg per day. The danger is that L-glutamine may be converted to glutamate. Glutamate is an essential neurotransmitter, but when it is present in the brain in excessive quantities, it can turn into an “excitotoxin.” This commonly results in headaches, but when high levels are maintained over longer periods of time, especially with magnesium deficiency, brain damage can occur.9
Treating An Infection
There are two ways of approaching an infection when you know what it needs:
- Reduce the levels of what the infection needs and hope that it dies before you do. This is what your body does with iron when you get a bacterial infection.10 In this case, the human body makes most of the iron unavailable. This places stress on the person and the bacteria, but the bacteria do not tolerate this as well as the human body. Thus, this has become an effective strategy for bacterial infections, especially those bacteria that spread fast and cause much tissue damage quickly.
- Make sure that there are enough necessary nutrients for both you and the infection and hope that your immune system can keep the infection under control. This places stress on your immune system but has a higher possibility of working well against a microbe that is not a strong infectious agent and doesn’t damage tissue quickly.
Because HIV is a weak infectious agent, ensuring sufficient supplies of the critical nutrients that both the virus and our own bodies need might be a winning approach.
What To Do After Stabilization
Once patients become stabilized, their world seems to be normal, they can work, and they can play a role in their communities. The only problem is that they still have the HIV infection and can still infect others. But remember, HIV is a fragile virus that is not strongly infectious.
HIV is a virus that is not very infectious and doesn’t do much damage to tissues. It has attained a reputation for being deadly but only because it competes for nutrients that are required for our immune functions. If the levels of the main nutrients are allowed to drop below normal levels and AIDS drugs are not used or not available, then the patient is likely to go into a downward spiral that ends in death from an opportunistic infection.
If AIDS drugs are used because the nutritional treatment is not understood, then the patient will be subject to a wide variety of side effects and compromises on quality of life. On the other hand, those who understand the nutritional treatment of AIDS sidestep a multitude of drug-related side effects. The effects of a nutritional approach are beneficial and typically include improved overall health. Additionally, it doesn’t cause a huge strain on your personal budget.
|↑1||Needle stick injuries in the community. National Center for Biotechnology Information.|
|↑2||HIV Medicines and Side Effects. AIDSinfo, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.|
|↑3||Foster, Harold D. PhD. What Really Causes AIDS. Trafford Publishing. 2002 page 55.|
|↑4||Hegyi, Juraj, Robert A. Schwartz, and Vladimir Hegyi. “Pellagra: dermatitis, dementia, and diarrhea.” International journal of dermatology 43, no. 1 (2004): 1-5.|
|↑5||Shabert, J. K., and D. W. Wilmore. “Glutamine deficiency as a cause of human immunodeficiency virus wasting.” Medical hypotheses 46, no. 3 (1996): 252-256.|
|↑6||Wilmore, Douglas W. “The effect of glutamine supplementation in patients following elective surgery and accidental injury.” The Journal of nutrition 131, no. 9 (2001): 2543S-2549S.|
|↑7||Levring, Trine B., Martin Kongsbak, Anna KO Rode, Anders Woetmann, Niels Ødum, Charlotte Menné Bonefeld, and Carsten Geisler. “Human CD4+ T cells require exogenous cystine for glutathione and DNA synthesis.” Oncotarget 6, no. 26 (2015): 21853.|
|↑8||Selenium. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑9||Blaylock, Russel MD. Excitotoxins, The Taste that Kills. Health Press, Santa Fe, NM 1997. Page 209.|
|↑10||Parrow, Nermi L., Robert E. Fleming, and Michael F. Minnick. “Sequestration and scavenging of iron in infection.” Infection and immunity 81, no. 10 (2013): 3503-3514.|