Selenium Slows HIV

Reported June 23, 2008

MIAMI, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Every year, 40,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with HIV. More than one million Americans are currently living with the disease. Research dollars continue to go towards uncovering new therapies, but it doesn’t always take a million dollar drug to have a major impact. Now, one low-cost supplement is changing lives.

Found in turkey, beef and green veggies, selenium is a potent antioxidant.

“Selenium helps to boost the immune system,” Barry Hurwitz, Ph.D., a clinical scientist at the University of Miami Medical School in Miami, Fla., told Ivanhoe.

In a recent study, Dr. Hurwitz studied selenium’s effect in patients with HIV.

“I liken the effect of selenium to a lion tamer in a zoo,” Dr. Hurwitz said. “What it tends to do is make viruses more docile.”

His study showed viral load increased among HIV patients on a placebo, but didn’t in those taking selenium.

“The effect of selenium appears to be acting directly on the virus, rather than some generalized immune benefit,” Dr. Hurwitz said.

Eddie Orozco was in the study. He’s been HIV-positive for 21 years.

“I’ve had pretty much, about, all the treatments that are available,” Orozco told Ivanhoe. Even with all those different drugs, he never had undetectable levels of HIV … until he took selenium.

“It was pretty astonishing to see the results,” Orozco said.

His viral load has dropped from 20,000 to 49 — considered undetectable. There were no side effects from the daily 200 microgram dose.

“I think it could be an excellent adjunct — not a replacement for anti-HIV medications, but an excellent adjunct to therapy,” Dr. Hurwitz said.

“I think it’s done a wonderful thing for me,” Orozco said.

Another benefit — since taking selenium, Orozco hasn’t been sick once. The dose used in the study is only half of the safe maximum daily allowance. It’s the same dose used in many cancer studies that have also looked at selenium’s power. You can buy selenium in any drug store. Dr. Hurwitz says just make sure it’s organic and labeled “selenium grown in yeast.” He also says you don’t want to get your daily dose in a regular multi-vitamin.


Omar Montejo

University of Miami

(305) 243-5654

[email protected]

To read Ivanhoe’s full-length interview with Dr. Hurwitz, click here.

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