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J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2013;59(6):496-502.

Vitamin A and beta-carotene concentrations in adults with HIV/AIDS on highly active antiretroviral therapy.

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Department of Nutrition, Public Health School, University of São Paulo.


Micronutrient deficiency is a common condition in HIV-infected individuals and may occur in all stages of the disease. The objective of this cross-sectional study was to compare the concentrations of vitamin A and beta-carotene, micronutrients related to immunity and oxidative stress, in 182 adults with HIV/AIDS, under different highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) regimens. Patients were divided into 3 groups according to their HAART regimen: combination of nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) and non-NRTIs; combination of NRTIs, protease inhibitors, and ritonavir; combination of NRTIs and other classes. Multiple linear regression analysis determined the effect of the treatment regimen, time of use, and compliance with the regimen, on vitamin A and beta-carotene concentrations, controlling for the following variables: gender, age, educational level, smoking, physical activity, body mass index, time of infection with HIV, presence of comorbidities, CD4(+) T lymphocyte count, total cholesterol and fractions, and triglyceride levels. There was no significant difference in vitamin A or beta-carotene concentrations in patients under the different HAART regimens. However, approximately 4% of the patients had deficient/low concentrations of vitamin A (<0.70 μmol/L), and 98% showed concentrations of beta-carotene <1.0 μmol/L. In conclusion, HIV/AIDS patients in this region will not benefit from vitamin A supplementation, independently of the HAART regimen utilized, but beta-carotene may be of importance, considering its antioxidant effect.

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