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A Cautionary Tale on 'Healthy' Living

A Cautionary Tale on 'Healthy' Living


An HIV-positive man who told his doctor he was going to choose a 'healthy diet' to counteract HIV-related symptoms, rather than begin a regimen of antiretroviral therapy, eventually developed hepatitis because of an overdose of dietary supplements, according to a report published in the September edition of the International Journal of STD and AIDS. The 33-year-old patient, who had a CD4 count of 380, was taking a total of 13 dietary supplements--with doses three to 67 times the recommended daily allowance--near the time of his hepatitis diagnosis. After going off the supplements, the man's liver function returned to normal. This was after he experienced fatigue and rashes from HIV but refused antiretroviral therapy from his doctors, saying he would rely on good nutrition to shake off symptoms. As many as half of all HIV patients take dietary supplements and use alternative medicines, often without the knowledge of their physicians, according to researchers. Many patients make the assumption that vitamins, dietary supplements, and alternative and complementary treatments are very safe and involve few risks of side effects or interactions with their prescription medications. But as investigators from London's Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, the largest HIV treatment center in Europe, noted in their report, 'There are dangers associated with excessive intake of dietary supplements, and interactions with conventional medications are largely unknown.' London health investigators who followed this specific case warned that 'in the presence of a normal diet, [dietary supplements] are of debatable benefit.' And without dietary analysis patients may accidentally overdose.'

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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Neal Broverman