Resource Logo
Being Alive

NUTRITION: How Much Of Which And How Much Is Enough?


Being Alive 1993 Jul 5: 21

People usually want to know how much of which supplement to take. So far, I've not given absolute directives, and I don't intend to start now. But when knowledge of appropriate ranges is provided, you can be assured of safety. Curiously, the symptoms of vitamin overdose are strikingly similar to those of deficiency. For example, night blindness will result from too much vitamin A just as it will from too little of the vitamin. In other words, self-prescribing doses should not be done at home get professional advice.

So, what's recommended in HIV/AIDS is general overall supplementation with higher-than-RDA levels for vitamins and minerals with special emphasis on antioxidant nutrients.

Realistically, what you'll find in stores are multi-vitamins, multi-minerals, and many single nutrients, or what I call "promotional" supplements (these carry words like "immune booster," "increases energy," and so forth).

To simplify that pill jungle, first separate the vitamins from the minerals. There just isn't enough room in a single pill to hold everything that's necessary. Your multiple vitamin should provide no more than 200% of the RDA for vitamins A and D, and no more than 100 mg of the B-complex vitamins. Multivitamins usually contain antioxidant nutrients (vitamins C & E), but not at impressive levels. They also may contain harmless non-vitamins like PABA, inositol, choline, lecithin, DNA, RNA, and others.

Minerals are less well-known, but just as important as vitamins. Unlike vitamins, however, taking an excess of one mineral may bring on undesirable results, like relative deficiencies of other minerals. Also, "normal" balance is altered in HIV, so RDA proportions can be used only as a rough guideline. 


Information in this article was accurate in July 5, 1993. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.