Natural Remedies for Immunity
How Selenium Fights Infections
Deficiencies of selenium and other nutrients are common among patients with HIV infections or AIDS.
Selenium seems to stem infections in a number of ways.
Supplements of selenium directly boost immunity, even in healthy individuals. Selenium supplements were found to significantly enhance the body's production of white blood cells and specialized infection- and cancer-fighting T cells. Conversely, selenium deficiency diminishes the activity of white blood cells and decreases T-cell numbers. (14)
HIV infection and AIDS create exceptional demands for selenium leading to a serious deficit of this nutrient. This interferes with the body's production of glutathione peroxidase. HIV -infected people are routinely found to be deficient in this powerful antioxidant.
The depletion of glutathione peroxidase weakens the body's defenses against free radicals. Laboratory experiments have shown that glutathione peroxidase inhibits the replication of HIV. (15,16) In short, free radicals excite the virus, whereas antioxidant nutrients calm it.
Selenium or any other antioxidant supplement cannot actually cure an HIV infection. However, selenium supplements can slow the virus and improve the well-being of infected patients. (15) When fifteen HIV-infected men were given 200 micrograms of selenium daily for a year, they have gained weight, the skin conditions related to the infection improved and some even had an increase in protective T4 cells. (16)
Next Topic: Natural Sources for Selenium
Richard P. Huemer, MD., "The Natural Health Guide to Beating the Supergerms," Pocket Books, New York, 1997.
Sappey, C., et al., "Stimulation of Glutathione Peroxidase Activity Decreases HIV Type I Activation after Oxidative Stress," AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, 1994; 10:1451-1461.
Schrauzer, G. N., and Sacher, J., "Selenium in the Maintenance and Therapy of HIV-Infected Patients," Chemico-Biological Interactions, June 1994; 91:199-205.