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Gut Microbes. 2012 Sep-Oct;3(5):414-9. Epub 2012 Jul 24.

Micronutrient supplemented probiotic yogurt for HIV-infected adults taking HAART in London, Canada.

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Division of Food and Nutritional Sciences at The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.


The Human Immunodeficiency Virus has devastating effects worldwide. The burden is less pronounced, but still present in Canada where approximately 64,000 men and women are HIV positive. The virus and the life-saving antiretroviral therapies often contribute to diarrhea and other gastrointestinal disturbances. Certain probiotic organisms, such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1, have been shown to alleviate diarrhea as well as delay the decline of CD4 lymphocytes in some subjects. In addition, micronutrient formulae have been used extensively among HIV positive persons as a cost-effective method for improving quality of life and immune function. The objective of the present study was to combine probiotics and micronutrients into an affordable and highly palatable nutritional supplement and assess outcomes in 21 HIV-positive participants receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy in London, Ontario, Canada. The design was a randomized, double blind, three-period, cross-over controlled trial with three different formulations of supplemented yogurt; micronutrient and probiotic (A), micronutrient alone (B) and probiotic alone (C). The period of intake for each of the types was 30 days with a 14 day wash-out period between the intervention types. The mean increase in CD4 was greatest with B (41 cells/µL, SD 221). Supplement A showed a mean change of +19 cells/µL (SD 142) and supplement C a mean change of - 7 cells/µL (SD 154). All yogurt types caused an increase in subjective energy and ability to perform daily activity scores. According to the safety measures taken to assess the tolerance of the yogurt, there were no adverse events and the yogurt was well-tolerated. These preliminary findings suggest that micronutrient supplemented probiotic yogurt may support immune function among people living with HIV.

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