Gimme a D!

BY HIV Plus Editors

December 01 2009 1:00 AM ET

Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients: It helps your organs function properly, strengthens your bones, and even boosts your immune system. But an alarming new study shows that far too many HIVers are suffering from vitamin D deficiency, and some particular groups are especially prone to very low levels.

An analysis of more than 1,000 HIVers in London has shown that 91% had suboptimal vitamin D levels, 74% were considered to be vitamin D deficient, and 35% were deemed severely deficient. A breakdown of the data, which was presented at the 2009 International AIDS Society conference, showed that blacks were more likely to have low vitamin D levels, as were users of Sustiva and HIVers who smoked. A smaller U.S. study of HIV-positive men also presented at the conference showed nearly the same results: 87% had insufficient vitamin D levels, 53% were vitamin-deficient, and 11% were severely deficient.

"Our findings suggest that periodic screening of vitamin D, and supplementation as needed, should be considered in the routine care of [HIVers]," the U.S. researchers recommend.

Tags: Features

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