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By Dr. James Howenstine, MD.
December 27, 2008

All infections[1] temporarily lower the amount of selenium and iron found in the blood. In a patient infected with the HIV virus this normally temporary depression of selenium becomes a major problem because the HIV virus is parasitic[2] and immediately begins to consume selenium, cysteine, glutamine, and tryptophane as it replicates. Severe deficiencies of these 4 nutrients result, and these deficiencies are responsible for many of the symptoms of HIV infection (collapse of the immune system with multiple unresponsive infections, muscle wasting, dermatitis, diarrhea, neuritis, and dementia). Deficiency of selenium is a more accurate predictor of mortality [3] [4] in HIV infection than is the traditional CD4 T cell count because it is the lack of selenium that leads to falling CD 4 counts. A fall in selenium reduces the CD4 T cells because selenium is a key nutrient for lymphocyte production.

The nation of Senegal, which has soil containing unusually large amounts of selenium, has only a 1.77% HIV incidence. The promiscuous sexual practices in Senegal and Zimbabwe are identical. However, Zimbabwe has low levels of selenium in the soil and there is a 26 % incidence of HIV infection.

The most effective therapy for HIV may turn out to be simply to restore selenium, cysteine, glutathione, and tryptophan. Such restoration relieves the symptoms of immuno-suppression, muscle wasting, dermatitis, diarrhea, and dementia. Repletion of selenium improves immune function with recovery from infection. Taking cysteine improves glutathione levels, which improves T and B lymphocyte function. Glutamine supplementation restores muscle mass and stops the diarrhea. Lack of tryptophane and its synthesized niacin and serotonin causes diarrhea, dementia, dermatitis, and meuritis (pellagra). Raising the serotonin level inhibits the multiplication of HIV in T4 lymphocytes.

The vital selenium containing enzyme glutathione peroxidase GP protects the body from lipid peroxidation which produces destruction of the cell membranes in the body. T cells also die when lacking GP. The deficit of selenium decreases GP and leads to the immune system collapse seen in HIV. Restoration of selenium reverses this whole process. When cysteine, tryptophane, glutamine and selenium levels are repleted the patient becomes well and can function normally. The HIV virus is encoded for the four nutrients that build glutathione peroxidase. To replicate HIV must compete with the host for the 4 nutrients which compose glutathione peroxidase(selenium, glutamine, cysteine, tryptophan).

Clinical Research Using Nutrients To Treat HIV Infection

What happens to patients that receive high doses of selenium, cysteine, truptophane, and glutamine? There is dramatic improvement.[5]

A hospice in South Africa supplied selenomethionine and beef liver to 6 patients. Five of six patients greatly improved. A small study in a Kenya clinic gave selenium and dessicated beef liver to weak patients who were passing into AIDS. They soon recovered their energy and health.

In Zambia a larger study was performed in a child care adoption agency. Fifteen orphans and guardians who were HIV positive or had AIDS experienced dramatic improvement with a selenium-amino acid nutrient mixture. This improvement became apparent in the second and third week of therapy. Some bedridden patients began to walk. In Mengo Hospital in Kampala 40 HIV/AIDS patients were treated.77 % had better health in one month. Seven of these patients had either tuberculosis or syphilis which would have slowed recovery. One patient who had been bedridden for four years walked to the hospital from his home to receive the nutrients.

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A South African study was done on 9 extremely ill patients. They were treated with capsules containing foods and nutrients designed to boost the level of glutathione peroxidase. All 9 quickly recovered without antiretroviral drugs. Most returned to work.

A double blinded study of 310 HIV positive patients was performed at Mengo Hospital. Most patients in both groups had increase in glutathione peroxidase levels by a factor of 2.5. CD 4 lymphocyte counts improved as did body weight and quality of life.

High doses of selenium can be hazardous. The maximum dosage used was 600 mcg daily and this was lowered to 400 mcg daily when improvement was evident. This nutritional approach does not cure any HIV patients. As soon as the nutritional support is terminated the patients will gradually become ill again. This nutritional approach to AIDS is saving lives and allowing patients to become normally functioning persons.

Use of vitamin D to cure tuberculosis has the potential to save governments from the expense of tuberculosis therapy and allow patients to get well without drug side effects. The results are far superior to drug therapy of tuberculosis. This nutritional approach to HIV patients will permit African governments to care for their HIV patients in an effective manner they can afford so that these citizens will again become productive members of society.

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The cancer fighting immune healing substance Lifeone can easily heal HIV infections but its expense probably makes it impractical in Africa. It is doubtful if widespread efforts to restore the missing nutrients to HIV patients will be accomplished because of hidden political agendas.

An enormous fund of valuable information about HIV is available from Professor Harold D. Foster’s book[6] What Really Causes AIDS? This book can be downloaded free from Professor Foster’s website

© 2008 Dr. James Howenstine - All Rights Reserved


1. Sammalkorpi, K. et al 1988 Serum selenium in acute infections Infection 16(4), 222-224
2. Foster, Harold D. What Really Causes AIDS pg 68 2002 Trafford Publishing Suite 6E , 2333 Government St. Victoria, B.C. V8T 4P4 , Canada
3. Baum, MK et al High risk of HIV related mortality ia associated with selenium deficiency. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and Human Retrovirology 15(5), 370-374 1997
4, Campa, A. et al Mortality risk in selenium deficient HIV –positive children. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and human retrovirology 15(5), 370-374 1997
5, Foster H.D. Ph.D. Nutrients Used in AIDS Cases Offer Hope Well Being Journal Vpl 17 No. 3 May/June 2008 pg 17
6, Contact Dr. Foster at Univ. of Victoria, Geopraphy Dept. P.O.Box 3050, Victoria, BC Canada V8W 3P5 [email protected] 1-250-721-7331

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Dr. James A. Howenstine is a board certified specialist in internal medicine. The Second Edition of his book A Physicians Guide To Natural Health Products That Work is available.

Dr. Howenstine can be reached by writing Dr. James Howenstine C/O Remarsa USA SB 37, P.O. Box 25292, Miami, Fl. 33102-5292.

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The cancer fighting immune healing substance Lifeone can easily heal HIV infections but its expense probably makes it impractical in Africa.