Author(s): Coodley GO, Codley MK, Nelson HD, Loveless MO
OBJECTIVE: We measured micronutrient values in patients with the HIV wasting syndrome and in other HIV-seropositive patients to determine whether specific micronutrient deficiencies were associated with the wasting syndrome.
METHODS: Serum from 47 HIV-seropositive patients was evaluated for concentrations of vitamin A, B6, B12, C, D, E, folate, the mineral zinc, carotene and glutathione. Comparisons were made between groups stratified by CD4 cell count and wasting/non-wasting status.
RESULTS: Mean serum levels were significantly lower for vitamin A (P = 0.04), folate (P = 0.04) and carotene (P = 0.06) in patients with the HIV wasting syndrome than in non-wasting patients with comparable CD4 cell counts. Values of vitamins A, B6, C, D, carotene and glutathione were below the normal range in over 10% of HIV-seropositive patients in this study.
CONCLUSION: Decreased micronutrient concentrations are common in HIV-infected patients and occur more frequently in patients with the wasting syndrome. Clinicians may wish to evaluate HIV-seropositive patients with wasting for individual micronutrient deficiencies, although they should note that particular deficiencies may be only part of the larger picture of malabsorption and undernutrition.