Dr. Carolyn Chambers Clark, Award-Winning Author and Wellness Nurse Practitioner


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Do you have questions about what you can do to feel better if you have HIV or AIDS?


Here are the self-care actions to take for HIV & AIDS.


Foods and Supplements Containing Important Vitamins


* Vitamins C (l,000 mg/day) and E (800 mg/day) were found to reduce stress and to infectious organisms, according to a study published in AIDS. Foods high in vitamin C include green peppers, honeydew melon, cooked broccoli or brussels sprouts, cooked kale, cantaloupes, strawberries, papaya, cooked cauliflower, oranges, watercress, raspberries, parsley, raw cabbage, grapefruit, blackberries, lemons, onions, sprouts, spinach, and tomatoes. Foods high in vitamin E include wheat germ, peanuts, outer leaves of cabbage, leafy portions of broccoli and cauliflower, raw spinach, asparagus, whole grains (rice, wheat or oats), cold pressed wheat germ or safflower oil, cornmeal, eggs and sweet potatoes.


* Selenium is an essential trace element that is important in the optimum function of the immune system. It's best to get your vitamins and minerals from foods, but selenium is one nutrient you might have to get in a mineral pill since many of our soils have been depleted of the nutrient. According to a study reported in AIDS Research in the Human Retroviruses, selenium supplementation can suppress the human immunodeficiency virus type 1, while a study reported in Alternative Medicine Review found that selenium levels are highly significant in reducing death due to AIDS. A review of studies  in Nutrition Review suggested that taking additional selenium can increase the immune defense of HIV-infected patients.


*Vitamin B12 can also protect against HIV, according to a report in Alternative Medical Review. A study reported in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation concluded that even people with advanced AIDS can also benefit from high doses of NAC (N-acetylcysteine) and vitamin C.          

*Other nutrients that may be helpful are vitamin A, zinc and magnesium, according to a study reported in Alternative Medicine Review. Foods high in vitamin A include carrots, broccoli, kale, turnip greens, watercress, beets, dandelion greens, spinach, eggs, papaya, parsley, red peppers, pumpkin, yellow squash, apricots, cantaloupes. Some foods rich in zinc are pumpkin seeds, whole grains, oysters, herring, liver, eggs, nuts, and  wheat germ. Magnesium can be found in whole grain breads and cereals, fresh peas, brown rice, soy flour, wheat germ, nuts, Swiss chard, figs, green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits.

For HIV AIDS, clean your liver and give your immune system a boost


It's important to keep the liver and immune system as healthy as possible when it's being stressed by taking drugs or fighting off infection. To assist with liver and lymphatic cleansing, drink a combination of olive oil and lemon juice. Blend the following: l washed whole lemon (pulp, rind, seeds and all) with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin oil, 1 ½ cups of distilled water. Strain the blend through a wire strainer to remove the pulp, which is discarded. Divide the juice into four equal portions and consume one with each of the three daily meals and the last one before bedtime. This will stimulate lymphatic flow, increase the flow of bile from your liver and gallbladder, and helpdigest essential fatty acids in your intestine.


Drink Distilled Water and Use if for Cooking for HIV and AIDS


Recent tests have shown that cryptosporidium, a waterborne parasite, is commonly found in lakes, rivers, and some reservoirs across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because of this danger, Robert Morris, a cryptosporidium expert at the University of Wisconsin Medical School suggests that anyone with AIDS should definitely not drink tap water. Two federal agencies have also warned that drinking tap water could be fatal to Americans with weakened immune systems and that they should take precautions such as boiling water before consuming it, or better yet, drink distilled water.


Drink Your Vitamins and Minerals


If you have AIDS and have difficulty digesting your food or if you want your minerals and vitamins to get right into your bloodstream, "drink" your vitamins and minerals. Make a "green drink" daily: put a cup or two of a green lettuce (except iceberg) in a blender. Add a handful of parsley and another of fresh spinach or kale. Fill the blender with pineapple juice and blend until frothy. Drink it slowly, chewing each mouthful (to get the digestive juices in your mouth flowing.) Also make carrot juice 1-3 times a day. You can buy a juicer at your local health food store. Wash carrots and cut their ends off. Put a glass measuring cup (enough to hold 2 cups) under the spout. Put 5 to 6 or enough carrots in the top of the juicer to make at least 8 ounces. Add a handful of fresh spinach or parsley to the juicer and then another carrot or two. Juice. Drink slowly, chewing.

 Try Herbs for HIV and AIDS 

*Echinacea and ginseng have been shown to stimulate the immune system according to a report published in Immunopharmacology. Extracts of Echinacea purpurea and Panax ginseng were shown to enhance cellular immunity in both healthy individuals and patients with AIDS. (Do not use Siberian ginseng if you have low blood sugar, high blood pressure or a heart condition.) Some other natural products that can protect against AIDS, according to  Medical Research Review, are blue-green algae, glycyrrhizin (extracted from the licorice root Glycyrrhiza radix), and the spice, curcumin. You can find all of them at your health food store, but don't take licorice root more than 7 days in a row and avoid it if you have high blood pressure.


*Chinese herbs have also shown promise. A research study reported in Life Sciences found that each of 20 Chinese herbs showed varying ability to inhibit various aspects of the AIDS virus type. Another report in Virology concluded that Astragalus and other Chinese herbs dramatically decreased the infectiousness of HIV-1. (Do not use Astragalus if you have a fever.)


*St. John's Wort has also shown promise for AIDS, according to studies reported in Life Science, the Journal of Pharmaceutical Pharmacology and Phytomedicine. All those studies conclude St. John's Wort is safe and effective.


*Aloe vera juice also contains ingredients that can boost a weakened AIDS immune system according to a report in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. Never try make your own aloe vera juice because you might get the laxative portion right next to the leaf that is removed before making the juice. Only use the commercially-prepared aloe juice available in half-gallon and gallon jugs in your health food store. It contains the healing portion of aloe.


Note: if you choose to investigate herbs, be sure you don't mix them with prescribed medications without consulting with a health care practitioner who is an expert in herbs and who knows about herb-drug interactions.


Use Castor Oil Packs to Assist in Healing


People with AIDS may need to prevent liver overload. Large amounts of toxic AIDS medications can tax the liver. Conditions that tax or compromise the immune system may benefit from castor oil packs. Your skin is a living organ that absorbs external substances, so make sure that any oil that is used on your body is cold -pressed and of the highest quality. It is not exactly known how castor oil packs work but they may affect the lymphatic system that filters toxins out of your body.


Check with your local health food store for cold-pressed castor oil. Warm the oil and dip a clean piece of natural cotton or flannel in it. Place the castor oil packs on sores and leave them there for an hour, then dispose of the packs.


Learn Stress Management Procedures


For every severe stress a patient with AIDS reported in a six-month period, the risk of early disease progression doubled. This study took place at the University of Florida's College of Medicine and the UF Brain Institute, and it provides evidence that stress is very important to the development and severity of HIV-AIDS. A study reported in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology concluded that l0-week group cognitive-behavioral stress management program for HIV positive gay men decreased their anxiety and depression about their symptoms, and enhanced some immunological measures.


So reducing your stress level could be an important action to take if you have AIDS or at risk for developing it.


You can also purchase relaxation/guided imagery self-help tapes at many bookstores, or make an appointment with a psychologist or nurse practitioner skilled in stress management procedures.


Exercise to Increase Healthy Muscle


Wasting, or loss of muscle mass, and abnormal distribution of body fat occurs with AIDS. A report in Tufts Nutrition described an 8-week intensive progressive resistance training program for people with AIDS. The 24 people who completed the study had significant increases in strength, increased their lean body mass, and reduced fat. Those participants suffering from wasting were also able to gain weight, mostly in lean body mass. If body wasting is a problem for you, consider finding a similar program or hire a personal trainer to help you develop an intensive resistance training program.


Take Special Actions if You're Pregnant


There are plenty of reasons to make sure your unborn infant is properly nourished. Now, there's another one. A long-term study reported in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Human Retrovirology found that infants born to women with vitamin A deficiency consistently have lower weight and height for their ages. Taking large doses of vitamin A is not a good idea because it is oil soluble and the vitamin will stay in the body and could do harm. The best approach is to eat foods rich in vitamin A including carrots, broccoli, kale, turnip greens, watercress, beets, dandelion greens, spinach, eggs, papaya, parsley, red peppers, fish, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, yellow squash, apricots, cantaloupes, and organ meats (liver, sweetbreads, etc.).   


A study published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition found that when HIV-infected pregnant women took  vitamin A and beta-carotene, their newborn infants had an improved digestive system. Another study published in the American Journal of Public Health concluded that vitamin A supplements for children of HIV-infected women kept the babies alive and reduced their diarrhea.


Enjoy Massage and Enhance Your Immune System


One study by Dr. Tiffany Field showed the massage helped HIV-exposed infants to gain weight and stay calm. Another study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience found that massage therapy helped HIV adolescents improve their immune function.    

 Use Distance Healing 

A study reported in the Western Journal of Medicine found that AIDS patients paired with distance healers acquired significantly fewer new AIDS-related illnesses, had lower illness severity, required significantly few doctor visits, fewer hospitalizations, and fewer days of hospitalization. They also had a significantly improved mood compared to a group of controls who did not receive distance healing. Whether the distance healing helped or the thought someone was trying to help affected the findings, it is not known. Bandura's efficacy theory also explains the results: it's not what you can do, but what you think you can do that counts.


Try Self-Hypnosis to Boost AIDS Immunity


Self-hypnosis was shown to significantly influence immunity in HIV-Aids.


Use Affirmations to Affect Progression of AIDS & HIV


A study reported in the International Journal of Psychophysiology found affirmations could help. If you have AIDS, you might want to find a psychologist or psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner with hypnosis skills.

 Optimism and positive thinking have been shown to affect disease progression. Being chronically hostile, depressed, and apathetic can lead to disease. Friedman has found that hardy people have self-healing personalities that make them resilient and healthy.


Affirmations use positive thinking and optimism, so consider using one or more of the following affirmations. Be sure to write or speak them at least 20 times a day to replace the negative thoughts that may be holding back your self-healing personality:


      *  I am powerful and capable

      *  I am loved

      *  I love and appreciate myself


For more information about HIV AIDS, consult the source of this article:



Copyright 2006, 2016 Carolyn Chambers Clark

Probiotics also strengthen the immune system and could be helpful. For an article on this topic, click on

Think positive and you'll be positive!

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