In a double-blind study of 262 HIV patients divided between patients receiving the supplements and placebos, the patients who received 200 micrograms of high-selenium yeast each day fought the disease much better. When each patient was given a comprehensive medical exam at the end of the study 9 months later, the ones who took selenium daily had a lower amount of the HIV virus in their bloodstream and better immune cell counts compared to those who hadn't.
"It's no surprise that selenium is finally getting the credit it deserves as a potent antiviral mineral," said Mike Adams, author of "The Seven Laws of Nutrition."
"In fact, combined with other natural antiviral medicines, HIV can be completely controlled without medications at all," Adams said. "The people of the world have been completely hoodwinked by the pharmaceutical companies into thinking there are no natural treatments for HIV, but in fact there are dozens."
The reason selenium may help people with HIV live longer is its antioxidant properies: it may help reverse damage that the disease does to the immune system. However, that does not make it a substitute for the antiretroviral therapy medications used to fight HIV, the researchers concluded.
The increased intake of selenium, while observed in other studies as having a positive effect in lowering mortality rates for people with lung, prostate and colorectal cancer, also may increase the risk of skin cancer, some studies have found. The verdict among scientists is not complete whether selenium is useful for cancer prevention.
With these initial findings, doctors have urged that more research be done to find out whether selenium is an effective tool in slowing down the effects of HIV.
HIV is the precursor to AIDS, a terminal disease.