Dietary supplements are commonly used in an effort to boost the immune system. Foods or substances derived from foods (garlic, Chinese bitter melon, and turmeric) are used, as well as non food dietary supplements such as shark cartilage or blue-green algae (spirulina). Vitamins, minerals, and amino acids are also used in an attempt to boost the immune system.
Supplements can be beneficial as just that: supplements to a well balanced healing foods diet. Supplements are not a substitute for the vitamins in food. If you'd like to start taking supplements, consult with an HIV nutrition specialist to help you develop a supplement regimen that meets your needs. In general:
• Use supplements consistently for 6-8 weeks in order to see results.
• Never take supplements on an empty stomach: they will be absorbed more effectively if you take them with food.
• Tell your primary care provider about the supplements that you are taking.