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Selenium Supplements May Slow Progression of HIV: Report

, viral load continued to increase, and CD4 counts continued to decline, Hurwitz said.

Improvements linked to selenium supplementation were seen whether patients were taking HIV antiretroviral drugs or not, Hurwitz said. "The impact of selenium was seen over and above anti-HIV medications," he said.

The trial continued for another nine months beyond the results in the current study. Data from the last nine months of the trial showed continued suppression of HIV among those patients taking selenium, Hurwitz said.

There is a tremendous challenge in the treatment of HIV patients using conventional medications to achieve and maintain suppression of the disease, Hurwitz noted. "Taking one capsule of selenium a day is a simple and inexpensive and safe therapy that can be used, not as a replacement for HIV drugs, but as an adjunct therapy," he said.

Hurwitz believes that taking selenium can be particularly effective in HIV patients who don't adhere closely to their medications regimens. "Selenium could be a very important advance in adjunct therapy," he said.

Selenium has many unique qualities, he added. "It has many beneficial aspects that affect our health," Hurwitz said. "There have been findings that it may be beneficial to our immune system, and it is a highly potent antioxidant."

"Selenium is available, and it's ready to be implemented right now," Hurwitz added. "It's a simple, inexpensive adjunct therapy, and I think it's ready to have an impact right now."

One expert said the study did have some drawbacks, however.

"Most of the study subjects are African-American men, most are on antiretroviral therapy, and most have low or undetectable viral loads," noted Dr. David Margolis, a professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology and epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Also, "many of the study subjects are lost to follow-up, potentially introducing unforese
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