HIV Worsened by Selenium Deficiency

Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are a concentrated source of selenium

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) can be manageable as long as it does not expand into AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). The challenge to HIV patients, then, is to keep the immune system boosted enough to delay or stop the development of AIDS

Selenium studied with HIV

Researchers from the University of Alabama’s School of Public Health have found that low levels of selenium relates to higher rates of HIV infections and a faster progression to AIDS. Those who had lower levels of serum selenium concentration had greater risk of dying from AIDS as well.

Other research has found that low selenium levels are associated with higher rates of asthma and cardiac failures.

The research analyzed a combination of laboratory experiments and human clinical trials. The laboratory tests showed that selenium boosts the liver’s ability to counteract toxins. The human clinical tests illustrated that selenium supplementation could significantly boost the immune system and reduce hospitalization.

Selenium deficiency has been linked with lower levels of the selenium-dependent liver enzyme, glutathione peroxidase. Glutathione peroxidase is a significant antioxidant and blood purifier produced in the liver. Low levels of glutathione peroxidase can result in various conditions, such as thyroid problems, lung issues, and greater susceptibility to infection.

A 2009 review of research on selenium for HIV patients was conducted by Missouri doctors. The research found that while evidence was light, there was reason to include selenium supplementation in HIV treatment.

Responsible enzyme

Glutathione peroxidase is the leading enzyme responsible for the breakdown and removal of lipid hydroperoxides. Lipid hydroperoxides are oxidized fats that damage cell membranes. As they do this, they create pores in the cell. The resulting damage eventually kills most cells. Lipid hydroperoxides are one of the most damaging molecules within the body. They are responsible for many deadly metabolic diseases, including heart disease, artery disease, Alzheimer’s disease and many others.

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One of the best sources of selenium is Brazil nuts. Other sources include corn, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, fennel seed, kelp, walnuts, brewer’s yeast, grapes, wheat germ, and other plant-based foods.

The recommended daily allowance for selenium is 55 micrograms. However, research on selenium deficiency has shown that 150-200 micrograms are necessary for a therapeutic effect. As is the case with most supplements, care should be given to prevent over-supplementing on selenium.

Spirulina has also shown to slow HIV progression. And curcumin also inhibits HIV according to other research.


Stone CA, Kawai K, Kupka R, Fawzi WW. Role of selenium in HIV infection. Nutr Rev. 2010 Nov;68(11):671-8

Pitney CL, Royal M, Klebert M. Selenium supplementation in HIV-infected patients: is there any potential clinical benefit? J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2009 Jul-Aug;20(4):326-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jana.2009.03.006.

Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies. “My journey into writing about alternative medicine began about 9:30 one evening after I finished with a patient at the clinic I practiced at over a decade ago. I had just spent the last two hours explaining how diet, sleep and other lifestyle choices create health problems and how changes in these, along with certain herbal medicines and other natural strategies can radically yet safely turn our health around. As I drove home that night, I realized this knowledge should be available to more people. So I began writing about health with a mission to reach those who desperately need this information. The strategies in my books and articles are backed by scientific evidence along with wisdom handed down through traditional medicines for thousands of years.”

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