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Life Extension Magazine

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May 1996


Nutrients That Boost Immune Function

The Life Extension ABSTRACTS section of this issue of LIFE EXTENSION Magazine contains some of the key evidence that the proper daily intake of supplemental nutrients may protect you against the devastating effects of HIV infection, other diseases, and aging, while boosting your overall health and vigor.

Here are the most important nutrients for HIV positives:


 Much of the immune decline caused by the HIV virus involves the depletion of cellular glutathione levels resulting in massive free radical damage that causes cells throughout the body to be destroyed.

An effective way of boosting cellular glutathione levels is to take N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC), a compound that generates the large-scale production of glutathione within the body. NAC has also been shown to function via several different mechanisms to inhibit HIV replication and to protect immune cells against HIV destruction.

There is a controlled study now being conducted to assess the efficacy of NAC in slowing the progression of HIV infection. The results of this study may not be accurate, however, since many HIV patients in the placebo group may already be taking NAC because of widespread publicity about its potential benefits.

The suggested dose of NAC for those who are HIV positive is 600 mg. three times a day. Two to three grams of vitamin C should be taken with each 600 mg. dose of NAC.

Some studies show that NAC by itself does not always elevate glutathione levels. That's why it is so important to take other glutathione precursors in order to provide your body with the maximum amount of glutathione replenishing nutrients and hormones.


Another glutathione precursor is the trace mineral selenium. Selenium also counteracts potentially damaging free radicals and may inhibit certain chemicals that the HIV virus requires for reproduction.

The minimum dose of selenium is 300 meg. daily, but those who are HIV positive should consider taking 600-1000 meg. of selenium daily.

There are many inexpensive selenium supplements on the market, but most do not contain the high elemental amounts of selenium found in SUPER SELENIUM COMPLEX.

Each tablet of SUPER SELENIUM COMPLEX contains:

  • 100 mcg. of elemental selenium from Sodium Selenate
  • 50 mcg. of elemental selenium from Selenomethionine (yeast-free) 50 mcg. of elemental selenium from Selenodiglutathione
  • 30 IU of vitamin E
T hese three forms of selenium provide different health benefits within the body, which is why they're all included in the SUPER SELENIUM formula.


 A nutrient often overlooked by those who are HIV positive is the amino acid arginine. Arginine enhances immune function via several different mechanisms, including stimulation of growth hormone secretion and modulation of nitric oxide metabolism. Arginine, along with other amino acids, may also be effective in preventing wasting syndrome.

In the July 1992 issue of Medical Hypothesis, arginine was suggested as a novel therapeutic approach to HIV disease because it induces broad immune stimulation in vitro and in vivo.

The suggested dose for HIV positive individuals is 6-15 grams of arginine a day on an empty stomach, preferable at bedtime.

Cancer patients may not wish to take arginine because the amino acid boosts cellular protein synthesis, which, in theory, could cause cancer cells to divide faster.

Arginine is available as a powder, but the most convenient way of taking arginine is Life Extension's new ARGININE CAPLETS. Each caplet contains

1,200 mg. of arginine, which enables a person to consume high doses of the amino acid without having to swallow a large number of capsules.


 Another amino acid often overlooked by HIV positive individuals is L-carnitine .

L-carnitine has been shown to boost immune function via several different mechanisms, to protect the heart muscle against AZT induced toxicity, and to enhance essential fatty acid and glucose energy metabolism, to help prevent wasting syndrome.

High doses of L-Carnitine have enhanced immunologic and metabolic parameters in HIV positive individuals who have been shown to be deficient in L-Carnitine.

The suggested dose of L-Carnitine for HIV is 2,400 mg. a day, preferably taken in two divided doses on an empty stomach.


 A popular supplement used by HIV positive persons is Coenzyme-Q10 (Co-Q10). Many studies have shown that Co-Q10 boosts immune system function. In a pilot study in AIDS patients, Co-Q10 provided significant benefits to these patients. Co-Q10 has been shown to be deficient in HIV infected people.

Co-Q10 is expensive, but we suggest that HIV positive persons take at least 100 mg. a day. Doses of 200-400 mg. a day may be beneficial, if affordable.

For maximum absorption into the bloodstream, Co-Q10 should be taken with fat. Life Extension now has rice-bran oil capsules with Coenzyme-Q10 dissolved in the oil for best possible assimilation. Rice-bran oil contains a potent natural vitamin E derivative to protect against rancidity.