CD4 T-cell count is one of the main measures used to decide whether to start someone with a positive HIV test on medication or not. But is CD4 really a measure of anything to do with immunity, or is it another one of those widely known but poorly understood parameters we find in Aids literature?
Aids itself is a matter of definition, and there are several diverging ones... There is no valid test to detect a virus, just as there is no consolidated theory of how that virus causes weakening of the immune system. It is said that HIV "kills CD4 T-cells", but no mechanism for this has been proposed. And finally, those "life saving" drugs given to those who "test positive" are making patients sick and are even killing them.
Cal Crilly has been following the biological debate around what causes Aids and what makes people sick or healthy in the face of trouble with their immune system. His latest foray is into the area of CD4 T-cells and what they mean for our health ... and he has a surprising new insight to share...
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Why the AIDS CD4 T-Cell Test is a Measure of Fat
Well I swap the odd message with a HIV+ lady in Europe when I get to a net cafe every couple of weeks as I don't know if anyone else does.
In her last couple of messages she said she "was worried about her CD4 count going down as the doctors would then harass her to take antiretrovirals" which in the past made her very sick.
She also said that while her CD4 went down she felt better and heather than ever?????
So I looked.
I have been an observer of the AIDS story for a good 13 years now, if I wander into a net cafe it's because I noticed something you need to know.
I may be wrong about these observations but if I don't mention them then no one else will say it....
So to me it looks like CD4 is mainly a marker for cholesterol and arterial plaque not the immune system.
CD4 and CD8 counts goes up with cholesterol, and nicotinamide will make cholesterol and CD4 go down because it's a fat metaboliser.
CD4 cells gather at the areas of arterial plaque and tell white blood cells to come and gobble up the cholesterol.
Well that's one thing they do along with cytokine signaling but the levels of cholesterol in your blood will affect your T-cells count and no one is being told this.
Or that CD4 T-cells are involved in arterial repair and remodeling and here are examples....
"These data indicate that following endothelial cell damage CD4+ T cell infiltration participates in pulmonary vascular remodeling. This suggests that a CD4+ T cell immune response may contribute to the pathogenesis of inflammatory vascular lesions seen in some forms of pulmonary hypertension."
Perivascular T Cell Infiltration Leads to Sustained Pulmonary Artery Remodeling After Endothelial Cell Damage.
"Conclusions: From these results, we demonstrated that PSGL-1-expressing CD4 T cells are enriched in the culprit coronary artery lesion of acute coronary syndrome, contributing to the acceleration of plaque instability..."
PSGL-1-Expressing CD4 T Cells are Enriched in Culprit Coronary Artery Lesion of Acute Coronary Syndrome
Or that the increase in CD4 cells with HAART treatment actually gives you heart disease.
"This study produced the surprising finding that people with higher CD4 counts were more likely to develop coronary artery disease."
"Increased vascular age is frequent among HIV-infected patients and appears to be associated with CD4+ cell count," the investigators concluded. "If these findings were to be confirmed in prospective trials, a positive response to ART with an increase in CD4+ cell count may become a marker of increased risk of atherosclerosis development."
HIV Positive Men Have More Atherosclerosis and Higher Vascular Age than Uninfected Men
Increased prevalence of arterial hypertension in patients with HIV infection on HAART.
So they found a diet with extra fat makes CD4 go up but the only vitamin that lowers cholesterol Niacin lowers CD4, go figure????
"Conclusions: Except for niacin, we found no consistent significative associations between micro-nutrient or fat intake and the rate of CD4 decline. The findings also suggest that a high dietary composition of vegetable fat and several specific fatty acids may be associated with a delay in the occurrence of AIDS."
Micronutrient and fat intake in relation to CD4 decline and occurrence of AIDS in a cohort of HIV-infected men
The Niacin only made the T-cells go down because it makes LDL cholesterol go down.
"Therapy with niacin (nicotinic acid) is unique in that it improves all lipoprotein abnormalities. It significantly reduces low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglyceride, and lipoprotein(a) levels, while increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels."
New perspectives on the use of niacin in the treatment of lipid disorders.
But Niacin or Nicotinamide also lowers HIV levels.....
Nicotinamide: An Oral Antimicrobial Agent with Activity against Both Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Human Immunodeficiency Virus
While here is a good example of cholesterol raising T-cells....
"While native LDL activated CD4 T-cells to only a small extent, mechanically stressed (vortexed) LDL potently activated CD8 T-cells."
Activation of T-lymphocytes by LDL-cholesterol.
And CD8 seems to be a good thing but these 'controllers' (the ones who show no symptoms of Aids) may just eat more fatty foods....
HIV controllers exhibit potent CD8 T cell capacity to suppress HIV infection ex vivo and peculiar cytotoxic T lymphocyte activation phenotype
Eat more fat this study says.
"CONCLUSIONS: Higher CD4 lymphocyte counts were associated with higher lipid levels"
Increased serum lipids are associated with higher CD4 lymphocyte count in HIV-infected women
Or just plain old white blood cells increase as well in HIV negative people who are fatter.
"Mean values of waist circumference, total adipose tissue and subcutaneous adipose tissue were significantly higher in the group with the higher WBC count."
White blood cell count and abdominal fat distribution in female obese adolescents.
"The researchers found that, after controlling for age, men who were most physically fit had the lowest levels of groups of white blood cells. Combining the groups of white blood cells created a measure of total white blood cell count, which is used as a marker for inflammatory activity. High total white blood cell counts have also been associated with illness and death from coronary heart disease. High levels of white blood cells were associated with higher levels of body fat as measured by body-mass index"
Effects Of Fatness And Fitness On White Blood Cell Counts
So this study may be a clue and the trick may be to eat lots of Omega 6 fatty acids but take all the protective things for the heart.
"Recipients fed the (n-6) PUFA rich diet had ∼25% greater in vivo expansion of CD4+ T cells than lard- and fish oil-fed recipient mice"
"In summary, we are the first to demonstrate that dietary PUFAs affect antigen-driven expansion of naïve CD4+ T cells in vivo. Surprisingly, (n-3) PUFA consumption did not reduce CD4+ T-cell expansion."
Dietary Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Modulate In Vivo, Antigen-Driven CD4+ T-Cell Proliferation in Mice
This is where to find these fats.... (:
Foods With High Omega-6
Essential Fatty Acids
Omega-6 fatty acids
It gets weirder as Omega 6 oils seems to have antiretroviral properties.....
"Mice receiving the omega 3 diet died significantly sooner than those receiving the omega 6 diet."
Prolongation of survival in retrovirally induced T cell lymphoma by dietary omega 6 fatty acid.
Long-chain n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in breast milk decrease the risk of HIV transmission through breastfeeding.
Breast milk has heaps of Omega-6 plus our own anti-retrovirals anyway called abzymes which are needed to slow down the retroviral activity post pregnancy.
Peculiarities of abzymes from sera and milk of healthy donors and patients with autoimmune and viral diseases
But HIV appears where cholesterol is so you still need to have the nutrients to break down cholesterol and prevent heart disease as well as HIV (whatever that is)....
"Cellular cholesterol is essential for HIV replication and may control HIV spread. HIV, in turn, appears to control cholesterol metabolism."
Association between HIV replication and cholesterol in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in HIV-infected patients interrupting HAART
Vitamin C is needed for proper collagen production and the immune system white blood cells.
But it is also involved in cholesterol metabolism so if you take too much Vitamin C you'll lower cholesterol and therefore T-cells.
Just like Niacin so if you take too much Vitamin C without eating enough fat then T-cells may lower.
"Ascorbic acid administered orally at a dose of 2 gm per day for 15 days to hypercholesterolemic cardiac patients significantly reduced serum total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein cholesterol, and significantly increased high density lipoprotein cholesterol."
Effect of ascorbic acid on serum cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic cardiac patients
But Glutathione is definitely good....
"a significant rise in CD4+ lymphocyte count, a reduction in HIV RNA plasma level of 0.8 log, an enhanced lymphocyte proliferation and an increased level of intracellular glutathione in CD4+ lymphocytes were found."
Virological and immunological effects of antioxidant treatment in patients with HIV infection
Intracellular glutathione levels in T cell subsets decrease in HIV-infected individuals.
I think of possible problems too if you take Lysine to control Herpes as Lysine is the building block for your arteries so if you take a lot your arteries and skin will be heathy but you may also have less cholesterol.
Anyway you can all decide for yourselves from this data whether CD4 is really the marker for your immune system or just shows how much fat is in our blood.
Remember all the fat deposits that occur with AIDS drugs and lipodystrophy will leave more cholesterol floating around too.
Here's a comment from Natalia after I raised this subject, sums it up doesn't it?
"I read a study about drug abusers, when they go off their drugs, their CD4 go low - why is that if body is cleansing and getting healthier without drugs?
I know about one guy - very heavy drug abuser - he has no place on his skin where ...to inject his drugs! 10 years with heroin. He is poz for 10 years and has CD4 about 700-900 all the time. AIDS doctors never prescribed him any ARV because his CD4 is high.
Another my poz friend was a professional sportsman athlete, very healthy, not even alcohol, no smoking, training all the time. 7 years ago he got HIV+ and his CD4 were very low right away - AIDS doctor prescribed him ARV right away. He had very bad side effects, but he never felt any symptoms of "AIDS" before that with his low CD4."
Once upon a time a doctor would check your White and Red Blood Cells and then give you a dose of antibiotics if your White Blood Cells were low or a pint of Guinness if your Red Blood Cells were. Now with modern medicine we have a syndrome I would call TDS.
Toxic Diagnosis Syndrome where a doctor finds someone with nothing has everything....
And then poisons them with everything when they need nothing.
That's AIDS for you.
Some earlier articles of Cal can be found here:
Oh yes ... if you see comments closed on this article, it isn't because I don't want you to be able to say somehting, it's because spammers have found a way to neutralize the anti-spam barrier and are sending a barrage of spam comments...