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Nutrition. 1994 Jan-Feb;10(1):16-20.

Inadequate dietary intake and altered nutrition status in early HIV-1 infection.

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Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami School of Medicine, Florida 33101.


Recent studies indicate that multiple nutritional abnormalities occur relatively early in the course of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) infection. Decreased plasma levels of vitamins B6, B12, A, and E and zinc have been correlated with dietary intake and associated with significant alterations in immune response and cognitive function. To determine the level of intake consistent with normal plasma nutrient levels, we examined nutrition status in relation to food consumption and nutrient supplementation in HIV-1-seropositive (HIV+) and -seronegative (HIV-) homosexual men. The mean level of total intake (diet plus supplements) for all nutrients was significantly higher in HIV+ men. To achieve normal plasma nutrient values, the HIV+ men appeared to require intake in multiples of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamins A, E, B6, and B12 and zinc. For the HIV+ men, a relatively high proportion of biochemical deficiency was associated with consumption of vitamin B6 and zinc at the RDA level. Because little evidence of deficiency was observed with elevated intake in both groups, an effective program of nutritional supplementation may be beneficial in maintaining adequate plasma nutrient levels.

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