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23 Apr 2006

Probiotics and HIV and AIDS
Is it beneficial or can it be harmful to supplement probiotics in an individual with HIV & AIDS
Answer 1,073 views
Probiotics expert
Probiotics expert

01 Jan 0001

There have been some human studies to show that giving probiotics to HIV positive people is safe.
There are no studies that provide safety information on probiotics having been given to patients in the end stages of AIDS. There is no logical reason for probiotics to have any significant affect on the levels of currently available anti-retroviral drugs for people on treatment.

There are animal studies that show that certain probiotic organisms are effective against cryptosporidium parvum, one of the organisms that causes chronic diarrhoea in HIV positive people with advanced disease. Anecdotal reports suggest that probiotics have been effective in about half the cases of chronic diarrhoea associated with HIV (not only C. parvum). Certain probiotics are also effective against a number of other harmful bacteria that live in the gut. Probiotics will help to keep a balance between the "good" and "bad" bacteria that normally live in the gut and particularly during and after a course of antibiotics.

There are human studies with Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC55730 in healthy people which show:
1. recruitment and activation of CD4 cells in the gut lining,
2. anti-inflammatory action in the gut lining, and
3. the promotion of health in the workplace, measured by decreased absenteeism due to gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses.

These beneficial effects probably occur in HIV infected people as well but there are no current outcomes that have been measured in HIV patients as yet.

At the moment, probiotics probably fit into the category promoted in SA as "immune boosters" which incorporate many "natural", "herbal", and plant derived products as well. There is much anecdotal evidence for improving the immune status through boosting the CD4 count and lowering the viral load, but scientific data still needs to be gathered to show prolonged health and delay to anti-retroviral therapy.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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