Our Medical Center Nutrition and Diet Specialist Özlem GÖKMEN explained the correct nutrition methods in the fight against AIDS.


Due to December 1, World AIDS Day, our Medical Center Nutrition and Diet Specialist Özlem Gökmen answered those who were curious about the measures to be taken to prevent the disease.

AIDS, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, is an infectious disease that is observed to accompany the disease by the emergence of opportunistic infections when the immune system becomes ineffective. It first appeared in the 1980s and continues to spread increasingly all over the world. AIDS disease is a disease that occurs as a result of HIV, ie human immunodeficiency virus. HIV infection can be transmitted by all kinds of unprotected sexual contact, the use of intravenous substances with common injectors and the administration of infected blood and blood products, or by breastfeeding from mother to baby during pregnancy, during birth or after birth. Due to the variety of transmission routes, HIV infection can be seen in all age groups.

The virus affects the immune system negatively with the reduced lymphocytes by destroying the lymphocytes, called the virus C4, which protect the body against microbes. With the weakening of the body’s immune system, the body becomes unable to cope with other disease factors that it can easily fight before being affected by the virus.

More than half of HIV-infected patients die due to simple infections as a result of their immune systems becoming ineffective. Nutrition in virus-infected individuals; It plays an important role in alleviating the symptoms that occur with decreased immunity, preventing nutrient-drug interactions and increasing the quality of life. In particular, nutrition plays a very important role in the positive effects of antiretroviral drug therapy, and it helps to take precautions against possible negativities that may develop due to the serum micronutrient before treatment.

Nutritional recommendations vary according to the nutritional status of the patient, body mass index, the extent of the disease progression and the accompanying diseases. Generally speaking; In order to maintain its current weight in HIV-infected adults and children, an increase of 10% is required in the energy requirement. In children, if loss of body weight is observed, energy intake is increased by 50-100%. In the process of combating HIV, catabolic, ie destructive activities in the body increase, and protein intake must be increased by 10% in order to prevent increases. In the presence of conditions such as cirrhosis, renal failure, pancreatitis, special arrangements should be made by considering the age, sex and disease course of the patient. Fat change in infected individuals varies from person to person. In patients with high serum triglyceride levels, omega-3 intake (spinach, purslane, walnut, flaxseed, salmon, etc.) should be increased.

Vitamin and mineral intake becomes important in infected individuals and it is observed that if taken low, it accelerates the progression of the disease, the risk of contamination and death. Especially the consumption of foods with high antioxidant content causes a tendency to decrease in the progression of the disease. Often, vitamin A, D, E and B12 deficiencies, B-carotene, selenium, zinc and iron deficiencies are observed. It is known that when the intake of vitamins B12 and C is increased, the number of protective lymphocytes increases and slows the course of the disease. Also; Nutrient-drug interactions gain importance in this process, attention should be paid to the hunger or full consumption of the drugs, and should not be taken with grapefruit juice and St. John’s Wort, which may cause side effects. In the table below, you can see which foods contain vitamins and minerals.

IRON Meat and meat products, legumes, green leafy vegetables …
Vitamin A

Green and yellow leafy vegetables, carrots, pumpkin, apricots, spinach, meats…
ZINC Whole grain flours, nuts, milk and dairy products… Vitamin C Citrus fruits, rosehips, green leafy vegetables.
CALCIUM Milk and milk products, tahini, sesame… Vitamin B12 Red meats, mushrooms, sardines…
MAGNESIUM Cereals, vegetables, apricots, dried fruits … Folate Spinach, cabbage, liver, dried fruits …
SELENIUM Egg, cheese, meat and meat products, cereals… Vitamin D Fish oil, cod liver, sun…
IODINE Seafood, table salt… Vitamin E Vegetable oils, dried nuts…

Eat a sufficient and balanced diet to maintain our constant body weight.
Consume plenty of vegetables, fruits and grains in our meals.
Do not consume foods containing saturated fat (offal, lard, tallow, cream, etc.).
Do not consume salt and foods containing salt.
Do not consume refined sugar and foods containing sugar.
Make sure to increase your fluid intake, do not neglect to drink at least 2-2.5 liters of water a day.
Foods high in calcium (milk, cheese, yoghurt, soy milk, etc.) and Fe (dark green leafy vegetables, fish, eggs, legumes, etc.)

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