AIDS is a serious disease characterized by the body’s inability to defend itself. The onset may be sudden or gradual. Most deaths among people with AIDS are not caused by the AIDS virus itself, but by other opportunistic infections and diseases that overtake the body due to the crippled immune system. With a compromised immune system, the body is almost defenceless against many opportunistic diseases. Usually the person dies of an overwhelming amount of infection and/or cancer. The most common death is due to pneumonia and Kaposi’s sarcoma (a connective tissue cancer). Some of the other associated infections are cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), Herpes simplex virus (HSV), tuberculosis (TB) or Candida. The majority of scientific thinkers feel AIDS is caused by Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but there are many authorities who dispute this.
At the first stages of HIV infection, most people are unaware they are carriers. It has been shown HIV can be transmitted by sexual contact, through intravenous drug use, blood transfusions and during pregnancy, to the fetus. Condoms and spermicides are considered 90% effective against the transmission of the HIV virus. It is estimated that about 20-38% of HIV-positive people develop full-fledged AIDS within five years.
There is no known cure for AIDS. The most important approach is to keep the immune system constantly alert and reduce as many factors as possible that can suppress the immune system. Many HIV-positive people are living satisfying, healthy lives by following a few simple rules for strengthening the immune system. A person who has a lifestyle contributing to risk factors or a person who is HIV-positive has to be more careful than the average person to obtain good nutrition. The diet should be simple with as few refined foods as possible. Sugar, dairy, flour, preservatives and other additives seem to be particularly bad. Poor digestion and malabsorption can also be contributing factors to a weakened immune system, especially poor assimilation of minerals like zinc.
It is very common for a person with AIDS to also have a Candida infection. The Candida diet is a good diet to follow for this group of people. Stress is a big factor. Many types of stress can contribute to increased probability of forming AIDS. Social disapproval, loss of a loved one due to AIDS, loneliness, guilt and isolation have all been shown to contribute to loss of self-esteem. These emotional factors seem to weaken the immune system, contributing to the speed at which a person can succumb to AIDS and even death. Positive emotions can be the single strongest contributing factor to increasing the immune function. There have been studies showing a person can increase immune function by simply watching a funny video to promote relaxation and reduce the effects of stress on the body.
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Other things that should be considered are: stopping smoking, getting adequate sleep, having some creative outlets, and getting fresh air and clean food. The diet should have adequate Beta-carotene, B vitamins, zinc, iron, and essential amino acids. On the other hand, excessive amounts of cholesterol, Vitamin E (more than 600 IU/day), zinc (more than 100 mg daily), and too many polyunsaturated fatty acids can weaken the immune system. It appears that a healthy lifestyle and optimal nutrition can extend a person’s life and help in the quality of life for many HIV-positive and AIDS patients.
Single Herbs: Reishi, Cat’s Claw, Astragalus, Echinacea, Goldenseal, other mushrooms (Chaga, enoke, Shiitake, Maitake, Coriolus), Pau d’arco, Licorice, Lomatia, Osha, Garlic. (There is some controversy over the use of Echinacea, although we’ve had good clinical success using Echinacea to support the immune system among HIV-positive patients for more than 10 years).
Nutritional Supplements: Beta-carotene (50,000 IU, twice daily), B complex, Vitamin C (minimum 5 grams daily), Egg lipids (AL-721), Krill / Black Currant Oil (2,000 – twice daily), Phosphatidylserine with Gingko Biloba, Pro-Biotic Acidophilus, Bioflavonoids, Zinc (up to 60 mg daily), Copper (3 mg daily).