en bias into the findings," Margolis said.
Most important, the relevant benefit -- increased CD4 cell count -- attributed to selenium is rather small, he said. "Further, the CD4 cell count of the study group has already been sufficiently reconstituted by antiviral [drug] therapy to prevent most clinical problems. While it is possible that selenium supplementation reduces the frequency of failure of antiviral therapy, much better evidence would be needed to prove this," he said.
It would be interesting to show that selenium slowed the progression of HIV disease in patients with high CD4 counts -- a group that currently might not be offered antiviral therapy, Margolis said. "Strategies to safely delay antiviral therapy would be welcomed by many patients and providers," he said.
But too much selenium can also harm patients, Margolis added. In fact, in very large doses, supplementation can be fatal.
"The tolerable upper level is said to be 400 micrograms a day for adults, and the average U.S. diet contains about 100 micrograms a day," Margolis said. "There is also some evidence that selenium may blunt the protective effect of statins in slowing cardiovascular disease, so patients on therapy for lipid disorders might wish to avoid selenium supplementation until there is better evidence that it is beneficial," he said.
Source: Bio-Bio Technology
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