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Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, December 17, 2013

Vitamins, Minerals Reduce AIDS Mortality
Ignoring Supplements Means Unnecessary Deaths

Commentary by Andrew W. Saul, Editor

(OMNS Dec 17, 2013) Twenty-six years ago, I worked with a client (woman, late 20s) who was HIV positive. She was a heavy drinker and drug user, a smoker, had a terrible diet, and a series of bad personal relationships. Her health was deteriorating. Desperate, she decreased her drug and alcohol use. She still smoked, ate a poor diet, and was under great stress. She took multivitamin/multimineral supplements irregularly. But she took a lot of vitamin C very regularly, for over two decades.

Twenty-six years later, doctors cannot detect HIV in her system. They now say that she never had it. She did. She probably still does. But they cannot find it. She has no symptoms.

Robert Cathcart, M.D., in California treated AIDS patients with up to 200,000 milligrams of vitamin C a day. He found that, with very large intakes of vitamin C, even advanced AIDS patients lived significantly longer and had far fewer symptoms. [1]

Dr. Cathcart published in 1984, some 30 years ago. This clinical finding is very important. So important that it is hard to believe that the entire Wikipedia entry for Dr. Cathcart was deleted. His work was arbitrarily judged "too unsubstantial to provide notability."

Perhaps even Wikipedia might find it difficult to ignore this research:

  • A 1993 study at Johns Hopkins demonstrated that larger-than-RDA multivitamin supplements slow AIDS, and even help halt it. The seven year long study of 281 HIV positive men showed that those taking vitamins had only about one half as many new AIDS outbreaks as those not taking supplements. [2]
  • In 2004, a Harvard study by Fawzi et al found that vitamins cut AIDS deaths by 27% and slow the progression to AIDS by 50%. The study authors said, "Multivitamins also resulted in significantly higher CD4+ and CD8+ cell counts and significantly lower viral loads. . . Multivitamin supplements delay the progression of HIV disease." [3]

Here you have something truly interesting: In 1984, 1993 and 2004, studies showed that HIV patients taking vitamins are 50% less likely to develop full-blown AIDS, and that vitamin-taking AIDS patients live considerably longer, with far fewer symptoms.

Have you heard anything about this on TV, or in a newspaper or magazine? Or a college course? Or from your healthcare provider?

And now, in 2013, a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association confirms it yet again. In HIV-infected adults, "supplementation with a single supplement containing multivitamins and selenium was safe and significantly reduced the risk of immune decline and morbidity." [4]

Yes, that was with a single multivitamin supplement with added selenium.

Harold D. Foster, PhD advocated the use of selenium and amino acids, plus antioxidants, for HIV/AIDS a decade ago. [5-7] But the new JAMA study does not appear to mention his work at all.

Yet the public has been told, for months and years and decades, that they do not need multivitamins or other dietary supplements, told that supplements do no good, told that supplements are harmful, and told that supplements even increase death rates.

In short, the public has been lied to. For decades. How many lives have been lost that could have been saved?

(Andrew W. Saul is author or coauthor of twelve books, including four with Dr. Abram Hoffer. He is a member of the board of the Japanese College of Intravenous Therapy and has been inducted into the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame.)

To Learn More:

A good introductory article by Dr. Foster: Interviews with him: Dr. Foster's book: What Really Causes AIDS. Trafford; 2006. ISBN-10: 1553691326 and ISBN-13: 978-1553691327. Download the pdf version for a donation at

Brighthope I and Fitzgerald P. The AIDS Fighters. (Out of print but available on the used book market. Note the date of publication.) Keats Pub, 1988. ISBN-10: 087983482X and ISBN-13: 978-0879834821.


1. Cathcart RF. Vitamin C in the treatment of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Medical Hypotheses, 14(4):423-433, Aug 1984.

2. Tang AM, Graham NM, Kirby AJ et al. Dietary micronutrient intake and risk of progression to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected homosexual men. Am J Epidemiol. 1993 Dec 1;138(11):937-51.

3. Fawzi WW, Msamanga GI, Spiegelman D et al. A randomized trial of multivitamin supplements and HIV disease progression and mortality. N Engl J Med. 2004 Jul 1;351(1):23-32.

4. Baum MK, Campa A, Lai S, et al. Effect of Micronutrient Supplementation on Disease Progression in Asymptomatic, Antiretroviral-Naive, HIV-Infected Adults in Botswana: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2013;310(20):2154-2163. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.280923.

5. Foster HD. Why HIV-1 has diffused so much more rapidly in Sub-Saharan Africa than in North America. Med Hypotheses, 2003 Apr;60(4):611-4.

6. Foster HD. How HIV-1 causes AIDS: implications for prevention and treatment. Med Hypotheses, 2004;62(4):549-53. Review.

7. Foster HD. A role for the antioxidant defense system in preventing the transmission of HIV. Med Hypotheses, 2007. 69(6), 1277-1280.

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Editorial Review Board:

Ian Brighthope, M.D. (Australia)
Ralph K. Campbell, M.D. (USA)
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (USA)
Damien Downing, M.D. (United Kingdom)
Dean Elledge, D.D.S., M.S. (USA)
Michael Ellis, M.D. (Australia)
Martin P. Gallagher, M.D., D.C. (USA)
Michael Gonzalez, D.Sc., Ph.D. (Puerto Rico)
William B. Grant, Ph.D. (USA)
Steve Hickey, Ph.D. (United Kingdom)
Michael Janson, M.D. (USA)
Robert E. Jenkins, D.C. (USA)
Bo H. Jonsson, M.D., Ph.D. (Sweden)
Peter H. Lauda, M.D. (Austria)
Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D. (USA)
Stuart Lindsey, Pharm.D. (USA)
Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D. (Puerto Rico)
Karin Munsterhjelm-Ahumada, M.D. (Finland)
Erik Paterson, M.D. (Canada)
W. Todd Penberthy, Ph.D. (USA)
Gert E. Schuitemaker, Ph.D. (Netherlands)
Robert G. Smith, Ph.D. (USA)
Jagan Nathan Vamanan, M.D. (India)
Atsuo Yanagisawa, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)

Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D. (USA), Editor and contact person. Email: This is a comments-only address; OMNS is unable to respond to individual reader emails. However, readers are encouraged to write in with their viewpoints. Reader comments become the property of OMNS and may or may not be used for publication.

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