HIV/AIDS Skepticism

Pointing to evidence that HIV is not the necessary and sufficient cause of AIDS

Posts Tagged ‘orthomolecular medicine’

SELENIUM: Mainstreamers again follow rethinkers as to dietary supplements

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/07/14

“Anecdotal” reports that “HIV-positive” people experience improved health from dietary supplements have long been pooh-poohed by the Pooh-Bahs of the HIV/AIDS Establishment. Periodically, however, mainstream journals publish “scientific” reports that “micronutrients” improve the health of “HIV-positive” people, see for instance WHAT’S IN A NAME? VITAMIN THERAPY BAD, MICRONUTRIENT THERAPY GOOD, 16 May 2008; David Rasnick, “The AIDS ribbon is a noose around the neck of Africa”, at, posted 9 May 2008.

This month, Dr. Barry Hurwitz of the University of Miami reported a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial of selenium supplements stretching over 9 months and enrolling 262 HIV-positive people [“Selenium for HIV”,, 1 July 2008]. Selenium controlled or even lowered viral load, there was a positive dose-response correlation, and selenium also led to higher CD4 counts. According to Hurwitz, “I liken the effect of selenium to a lion tamer in a zoo. . . . What it tends to do is make viruses more docile and they are less likely to replicate. The effect of selenium appears to be acting directly on the virus”.

In April, a 5-year study from Tanzania reported that “micronutrient supplements appeared to decrease the risk of early tuberculosis recurrences among HIV-positive patients”; and there was “significantly decreased… incidence of peripheral neuropathy, regardless of HIV status”. Details are in articles by CS Benn et al. and by E Villamor et al. in Journal of Infectious Diseases, vol. 197 [2008], 1487-9 and 1499-1505 respectively (available free online).

Neither of the latter articles, nor the media reports, mentioned the name of Harold D. Foster, who has been amassing and disseminating information about the benefits of selenium supplements for AIDS patients (among others). In numerous articles and a book, “What really causes AIDS” (download available at Foster’s website), Foster brings together a wealth of sources that report a significant correlation of availability of selenium with a better prognosis for AIDS patients as well as with a lower frequency of positive HIV tests. A recent concise summary is in “Nutrients used in AIDS cases offer hope”, Well Being Journal, May/June 2008, 14-19.

Like Linus Pauling and Matthias Rath, Foster is an enthusiast for his cause who may lapse into over-enthusiasm. His website offers several other books, he considers selenium to offer benefits also in treating schizophrenia, and he seems in general an advocate of the orthomolecular approach to medicine. He is therefore readily found guilty by association with unorthodox views; but his claims are fully documented, often from mainstream sources; and, as noted above, mainstream researchers who happen to look in similar directions as Foster come to similar conclusions, albeit they fail to credit him for being there before them.

Foster makes a number of sound arguments against current standard practices in treatment of AIDS patients, but he accepts the theory that HIV is the cause of AIDS. However, all his data are equally compatible with the view that selenium is a necessary trace element, that its deficiency makes people more vulnerable to a range of illnesses and infections, and that remedying the deficiency makes for generally better health and ability to fight off infections.

Foster’s work is well worth attending to because it is so determinedly EMPIRICAL. One can learn from the evidence he cites and the sources he references, whether or not one ultimately draws the same conclusions as he does. Those of us who know that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS can still recognize the value of providing malnourished people with dietary supplements, and we can accept comfortably that “AIDS” patients benefit from such treatment, possibly even more than people who are less ill to begin with.

Posted in Alternative AIDS treatments, clinical trials | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »


Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/05/16

Linus Pauling created an astonishing number of significant advances in the chemical sciences, including the theory of chemical bonding and the physicochemical basis of biological activity, and he was the first to discover the molecular basis of a disease, the misshapen structure of hemoglobin in sickle-cell anemia.

Pauling’s political activism against the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere made him something of a pariah in political circles, and his insistence on the dangers of the radioactive fallout produced in the tests was pooh-poohed by the expert white-coated gurus of the establishment. For a long time now, of course, his view on that has been the mainstream consensus, though I am not aware that there’s ever been a public acknowledgment that Pauling had been right and that the Government and its experts had been wrong.

For his chemical work, Pauling received a Nobel Prize. For his political activism, another Nobel Prize, for Peace. But when he began to stump for the desirability of large doses of vitamin C in particular, as well as the benefits of other supplements, he was labeled a crackpot who had lapsed into senility. Yet his argument for such “orthomolecular” practice was eminently reasonable: he pointed out that the “minimum daily requirements” established for vitamins and minerals were based only on clinical knowledge of the minimum amounts needed to avoid illness; it seems very likely that the optimum amounts for healthy functioning would be greater than those minimum amounts. As to vitamin C, he pointed out that our vegetarian primate cousins get far more of it from their diet than we do.

In dribs and drabs, here and there, consensus medicine has been catching up to Pauling; for instance, we are informed that senior citizens should take supplements of vitamin D, and ophthalmologists advise vitamin E, selenium, and zinc to stave off macular degeneration. At the same time, determined “crank busters” and representatives of consensus medicine continue to castigate anyone who recommends a mineral, vitamin, or other supplement that has not already been approved by the bureaucracies.

One result is that periodically a “breakthrough” is announced that comes as no news at all to people who know about these historical facts. For example, two recent articles report the discovery that for Africans seriously ill from TB, and sometimes even “HIV-positive”, “micronutrient supplements appeared to decrease the risk of early tuberculosis recurrences among HIV-positive patients”, and they “significantly decreased… incidence of peripheral neuropathy, regardless of HIV status.”

(Peripheral neuropathy is described as “a condition that can be caused by both HIV infection and key medication used to treat tuberculosis”. The second statement is correct, but the first is not; it is antiretroviral drugs, not “HIV infection”, that causes peripheral neuropathy. This is the same sleight-of-mouth as when there’s talk of “HIV-associated lipodystrophy”—the lipodystrophy comes from the drugs, chiefly the protease inhibitors. Lipodystrophy was not a widespread condition among AIDS victims or “HIV-positive” people before the advent of HAART.)

“Micronutrients”, then, offer benefits to Africans suffering from TB and also “HIV-positive”. Still, castigation and calumny are heaped upon Dr. Matthias Rath for his research on the role of nutrition in various illnesses, including HIV/AIDS, and his advocacy of a variety of supplements. Rath had worked with Linus Pauling and had been Director of Cardiovascular Research at the Linus Pauling Institute in Palo Alto (CA). Rath is now vilified just as Pauling was; and just as with Pauling, some of Rath’s insights are likely to be accepted belatedly by consensus medicine. And just as with Pauling, Rath is unlikely to be then given his due credit. From the Pooh-Bah point of view, the misunderstanding needs to be preserved, that the mainstream consensus in medicine and in science is always right.

Posted in Alternative AIDS treatments, experts, HIV skepticism | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

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