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AIDS: Zinc Shown To Reduce AIDS Effects In Children

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HIV children benefit from zinc supplements: study

LONDON (Reuters) - Zinc supplements could be a simple and safe way to reduce illnesses such as diarrhea in children infected with HIV, researchers said on Friday.

Zinc is an essential mineral for development and a healthy immune system but there has been concern about the safety of supplements for HIV patients because the virus that causes AIDS also needs it to function and replicate.

But scientists from the United States and South Africa, who studied the effect of the supplements in 96 children, said they are safe for children with HIV, which weakens the immune system and make sufferers more vulnerable to infections and illnesses.

"Zinc supplementation could be a simple and cost-effective intervention to reduce morbidity and mortality in children with HIV infection," said Dr William Moss, of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland.

In a study reported in The Lancet medical journal, Moss and doctors from Grey's Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa said the supplements did not produce any adverse effects in the children.

Youngsters who took the supplements for 6 months had less diarrhea than children who had been given a placebo, or dummy pill.

Although the World Health Organization (WHO) has improved access to antiretroviral drugs in poor countries, Moss said the treatments are not available for many children.

"Consequently more than half of these children die before the age of 3 years, most commonly of respiratory tract infections and diarrheadisease," he said.

An estimated 40.3 million people, including about 2.3 million children under 15 years old, are living with HIV, according to the latest figures released by UNAIDS.

The UN agency leading the global battle against HIV/AIDS said about 570,000 children died from AIDS in 2005.

Moss and his colleagues said there are few interventions to reduce AIDS deaths in children.

"Programs to enhance zinc intake in deficient populations with a high prevalence of HIV infection can be implemented without concern for adverse effects on virus replication," Moss added.

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See also:

Zinc good for children with HIV
Zinc supplements are a safe and effective way to reduce illness in children with HIV, US researchers say. Evidence shows that they cut the chance of diarrhoea and pneumonia without any risk of worsening the HIV infection, according to a report in The Lancet.

Harvard Research in Tanzania Confirms: Multivitamin Slows AIDS Progression

AIDS trial in Botswana

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NP replies (email):

Sepp: Thank you for your excellent comments and insight. Yes, sort of inertia with technology, once it's coupled with the economic factors and profit motive, as you say. GMO seems to be the perfect example of this blind man's "progress". Here is a totally undesirable and unecessary product that is designed primarily to maximize profits by controlling seed stock as intellectual property (not to mention the tailored pesticides and herbicides to go with it). What we call a "bean counter" over here probably made the final decision whether to go ahead with the research. While we promote rediscovering traditional agriculture cultivars (heirloom) and even preserved seeds of ancient relatives (some still existing in the field) - and here "they" are trying to push the antithesis of it down everyone's throat.

It is so irrational and counterproductive, suggesting mere criminality perhaps/profiteering as you say at expense of people's very lives.

A comment received by email on 25-11-2005 and my reply:

hmm, zinc is is vaso-dialator, wonder how that fits into this picture if at all. MIneral depletion of soils is a major cuase of mal nutrition even when there is "plenty to eat". Once the old top soil is eroded away, even if you rebuild the soil later, chances are it will be mineral depleted compared to the old soil and you're going to have to introduce mineral ammendments (5 year study at my own farm). rock dust and powders left over from rock mining and gravel operations are excellent and pile up as nuiscance many times in these extractive industries. Usually it takes glacial scouring or volcanic eruptions to remineralize soil over natural gelogic time process. many alluvial plains common to deltaic areas where minerals wash down over time are farmed out , the crops now are often virtual hydroponic - chemical fertilizers and sand. The rivers are dammed and the silt no longer makes its way continuosly to replenish these areas . Aswan high dam impacts case point also 3 gorges china. Beach erosion from this is a major factor in the western US as the sand and nutritiuos silt does not find its way from river to ocean now and sand repleneshment is a major costly matter for the state at our famous beaches.

I think kids in Africa are like so many others - generally mineral defecient , obviously with many exceptions and different ratios.

We were able to identify good sources of mineral ammendments in Nyanza Kenya from old pyroclastic aggregate (near Holma Bay where there is an old volcanic range) to be crushed , an excellent ammendment both in fines and a highly degradable aggregate that usually integrates into farmed soils almost completely in two years or so (I've done the experiment at our own farm in CA., soon to be on the block). It is an extremely abundant material here in the highly volcanic region of the the western US cascade region and is used very effectively as nursery stock container ammendment by my favorite local commercial nursery .

difficult always, you worry about degrading one area to "save" another in agriculture and environment very much becuase we have permitted our soils to decline in part as a consequence of the Green Revolution. and it is near to impossible to rectify this without exploiting the necessary materials from somehwere else. Even if your going to abandon and lay fallow for awhile, you still need transport and excavation in all this.

You can't do it all with cover crops and even the usual basic mineral supplements are not enough in our opinion. The more complex rock powders are important we suspect and probably containing the necessary minerals like zinc and magnesium, which, as those in ag out there probably know, are not part of usual soil chemist recommendations and they are using the classic formulae for plant growth and not concerned with the complex trace elements required like magnesium, copper, zinc, iron (not too much ) on and on and I am sure some we don't know, whether alone or in combination with other minerals, that may be equally vital.

Therefore, the general reminerlization of soil common to reforestation and ag should gain much attention and doing it right and maintaining the land afterwards as part of good land management to hopefully permit normal processes for continual replenishment to take place. Like the ancient egyptians and Inca.

My wife did her PHD studies on Inca irrigation system and field systems and traditional tools for cleaning and maintianing the faboulous stone canals there. Part of the system was to dig out the silt accumulated in the canals periodically and spread it on the farmland. Then the conquistadors came. Enough said/.......

Mineral resources always a favorite subject of mine and the reason for so much misery too in my personal life.


Hi N,

you are right about the minerals in farming - they are a major problem. Some even say that farming itself is what started our health on a downtrend... Certainly the German inventor (I guess it was Justus von Liebig) of chemical farming didn't have it right when he restricted fertilization to just a few phosphate-based minerals. Farming is in a dead-end street with chemicals and GMOs.

I posted an article on this a year ago:

Agriculture: Chemicals GMO Failing - Try Organic, Sustainable

It could well be that many of our health problems are entirely due to our not getting proper minerals with our fruits and veggies.

But chemicals and pharmaceuticals (both petrochemical based, as is our energy policy) are going together so perfectly ... they won't change if they can help it. Right now there is the perfect synthesis: Chemical agriculture ---> mineral deficiencies ---> widespread illness ---> chemical drugs ---> huge profits ...

It becomes more and more clear that we have been sold down the drain by some economic juggernaut that cares little about anything but its own profitability.

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