Micronutrients for Living Well with HIV –Part 3 of 3

Published 26, Aug, 2010

Point number one, refined sugar is by and large the worst additive for the immune cells. Refined sugar is immunosuppressive. No mincing words about it

Point number one, refined sugar is by and large the worst additive for the immune cells. Refined sugar is immunosuppressive.  No mincing words about it.

To boost your immune system, it is important to try to stay on diet ideally free of foods with refined sugars such as corn syrup and fructose, hydrogenated oils, trans fats, unnecessary additives and preservatives.   Your glutathione level is fastest depleted by toxins, sugar and chemicals ingested into the body.   Glutathione’s deficiency has been linked to many “age related diseases such as muscle weakness and fatigue, mitochondrial dysfunction, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, cancer, inflammatory illness” (Dr. Mercola).  HIV infection accelerates the aging process and also linked to the inflammatory process in the body due to HIV replication, immune activation, cell death, etc.

The beauty of glutathione is that it works on an intracellular level. It helps protect the mitochrondria (the energy factory) in the cell.  Many of the side effects of HIV medication are due to mitochrondial toxicity.  Glutathione helps boosts the activity of other antioxidants such as vitamin C, E, alpha lipoic acid and CoQ10 and the fruits and vegetables consumed.  As a side note, Coenzyme Q10 is found in the heart muscle.  However, anti-cholesterol drugs or statin drugs deplete Coenzyme Q10 in body, you might want to consider supplements.


Nutrients for Health:  Many antioxidants like beta-carotene, selenium and vitamins A, C and E are present in healthy living foods.  First and foremost, it must be real food.  Real food is defined as wholesome food that is minimally processed, does not have tons of sugar, dubious chemicals you cannot pronounce and foods that actually rot (not full of chemicals and preservatives that it last a lifetime in a landfill).   Avoid, reduce and/or eliminate pop/soda (full of sugar) and processed meats (full of nitrates) gradually from your grocery list.   If this sounds overwhelming to you- take baby steps to your goal.

Omega 3 is excellent to maintain cardiovascular and mental health and has anti-inflammatory effects. Curcumin from tumeric also has anti-inflammatory effects and is believe to be useful in minimizing dementia.  Omega 3 supplements have been found to have equally beneficially effects as Prozac for depression

An ideal healthy diet is high in complex carbohydrates vs. simple carbohydrates.  Complex carbohydrates are whole grains (bread) & whole grain cereals (not whole wheat), vegetables and fruits. The cereal must have 3 to 5 grams of fibre and preferably not more than 8 grams of sugar.  Simple carbohydrates are sugars, fresh or dried fruits, honey, jam or syrups.  Add fats such as good fats from nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil (omega 9) and fish(omega 3 from deep sea cold water fish such as mackerel, sardines, salmon, anchovies). 


Nuts and seeds are high in various essential fatty acids. Do not eat salted and toasted nuts and seeds if you want seek therapeutic benefits. Toasted nuts may taste better, but the heat has destroyed most of the healthy essential fats.  Add soluble fibre and insoluble fibre to your diet.  Avoid buying anything that contains more than five ingredients should be frequently obeyed.

Nutrition is needed by cells, tissues, organs to metabolize and absorb food, anti-HIV drugs and support various processes in the body.  You need the following foods to sustain health within. They are:

l  Amino acids: L-cysteine and L-methionine (sources: eggs, fish, steak)

l  Antioxidants: GSH (glutathione) high rate of oxidation on a cellular level ( food sources see below)

l  Mitochondria protectors: B complex, vitamin C, E, Alpha lipoic acid, NAC

l  Body can make own antioxidants using selenium, manganese, zinc which  works with cysteine in NAC (Brazil nuts are high in selenium)

Shopping for supplements:  Buy it when on sale or in bulk.  A bottle of any supplement has 60 to 90 pills or capsules.  It can be taken every other day if you want more value for your money.

Other foods high in glutathione are whey protein (ion exchange formulation and cold –pressed), and these fruits and vegetables have highest glutathione per serving: spinach, potatoes, asparagus, avocado, squash, okra, cauliflower, broccoli, walnuts, garlic and tomatoes.  The yellow spice turmeric contains curcumin which may be useful to increase glutathione levels.

Some easy ways to boost the intake of antioxidant for overall health are as follows.  Summer is an excellent time to consume as many berries as possible for their high antioxidant content.  It is also advisable to consider freezing blueberries, black berries, raspberries and strawberries.  Exercise helps increase glutathione levels naturally.

Do not taker B-12 close to bed time unless you are planning an exciting evening.  However take calcium/magnesium closer to bedtime, as it is relaxes the muscles.

Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC). ORAC is a scoring system of foods based on antioxidant capacity of foods. The top 10 fruits and vegetables on the ORAC list –from highest to lowest are  as follows. Prunes followed by raisins, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, pomegranates, raspberries, plums, oranges.  Vegetables; kale, spinach (raw), brussels sprout, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, red bell pepper, onion, corn and eggplant.   These may not be your favorite picks but it is what nature blessed the foods with.   A simple rule – shop for a grocery list of fresh foods that look colorful and you can be eating lots of high ORAC foods.

To good health and make conscious decisions when eating foods and buying foods. Treat your body kindly by putting real foods into your body. You will reap the benefits of your diet.


NAC Info Sheet, http://www.thebody.com/content/art4754.html

Dr. Mercola, Ori Hofmekler .This ONE Antioxidant Keeps All Other Antioxidants Performing at Peak Levels.  www.mercola.com