Positive effects of selenium in patients with HIV

Selenium is a simple, inexpensive, and safe adjunct therapy in HIV spectrum disease.

That’s the conclusion from a study from the University of Miami.

Here’s the study.

  • 262 men and women with HIV were studied.
  • Random assignment to selenium 200 mcg daily or placebo.
  • Blood levels of selenium, HIV viral load, and CD4 T-cell count (an indication of the health of the immune system) were monitored for 9 months.

And the results

  • 174 patients completed the 9-month program.
  • People who took selenium experienced a reduced HIV viral load, and an increase in their CD4 T-Cell count.
  • The placebo group had an increase in HIV viral load and a decrease in their CD4 T-cell count.
  • When selenium blood levels fell below 2.6 mcg per liter, patients experienced an increased HIV viral load and decreased CD4 T-cell count.

The findings were still significant after adjusting for demographic, ethnic, socio-economic, and health factors such as past drug use, time since HIV diagnosis, adherence to antiretroviral medication, and infection with hepatitis C.

Caution. It’s important to take the correct dose of selenium. The upper tolerance level in humans is about 400 mcg a day. Too much causes stomach problems, loss of hair and nails, liver and brain damage, and can be fatal.

1/25/07 00:14 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.