Specific nutrient abnormalities in asymptomatic HIV-1 infection

R. S. Beach, E. Mantero-Atienza, G. Shor-Posner, J. J. Javier, J. Szapocznik, R. Morgan, H. E. Sauberlich, P. E. Cornwell, C. Eisdorfer, M. K. Baum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

234 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether specific nutrient abnormalities occur in earlier stages of HIV-1 infection, thereby preceding the marked wasting and malnutrition that accompany later stages of the infection. Design: A longitudinal investigation to determine biological, psychological and social factors thought to influence the progression and outcome of HIV-1 infection. Nutritional status was assessed using biochemical measurement of nutrient levels, dietary history, anthropometry and clinical examination for the signs and symptoms of nutritional deficiency or excess. Setting: The study was performed on an outpatient basis at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Participants: One hundred homosexual men, aged between 20 and 55 years, who were asymptomatic other than persistent generalized lymphadenopathy (Centers for Disease Control stage III) and 42 age-matched homosexual men demonstrated to be free of HIV-1 infection at two 6-month intervals. Main outcome measures: Biochemical measurement of nutrient status, dietary history, anthropometry, clinical signs or symptoms of nutritional excess or deficiency were obtained for all participants. Results: Despite few differences in mean blood levels of specific nutrients, prevalence of specific nutrient abnormalities was widespread among HIV-1-infected subjects, compared with non-infected male homosexual controls. Overtly and marginally low blood levels of vitamins A (18%), E (27%), riboflavin (26%), B6 (53%), and B12 (23%), together with copper (74%) and zinc (50%) were documented in HIV-1-seropositive subjects. With the exception of riboflavin, zinc, and copper, a similar prevalence of abnormalities among HIV-1-seronegative controls was not observed. Conclusion: Specific nutrient abnormalities occur with relative frequency in asymptomatic HIV-1 infection and may contribute to the rate and form of HIV-1 disease progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)701-708
Number of pages8
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1992


  • Copper
  • HIV-1 infection
  • Nutrition
  • Riboflavin
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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