Scientists from the Miami University in Florida investigated effects of selenium supplements on HIV patients. Selenium is a non-metal and very toxic in larger amounts but in trace amounts it aids in enzyme production and cell functioning.

The randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial showed that regular daily intake of selenium supplements slows the progression of HIV.

The study included 262 both male and female HIV infected patients who were randomly given either 200 micrograms of selenium supplements or a placebo every day. The patients were then monitored for another 9 months for level of selenium, HIV viral load (showing to which extent the virus had replicated), and CD4 T-cell count (indicating the health of their immune systems).

Out of 262, 174 participants went through the whole trial. The study results showed that the patients who took selenium regularly, had lower HIV viral load but an increase in the CD4 T-Cell count. On the other hand, those taking placebo had an increase in their HIV viral load and a decrease in their CD4 T-cell count.

When the researchers took other significant factors into account like demographic, ethnic, socio-economic, and health factors, the results were still the same. They have concluded that regular daily intake of selenium supplements suppresses HIV progression and improves CD4 count.

They suggest that selenium could be used as a simple, inexpensive, and safe adjunct therapy in HIV spectrum disease.