This study was conducted to compare micronutrient values in human immunodeficiency (HIV)-infected women to seronegative healthy controls to determine whether HIV-infected women have decreased or deficient values of specific vitamins and minerals. We evaluated serum from 26 HIV seropositive women and 16 seronegative controls for concentrations of vitamins A, B6, B12, C, E, and folate; the minerals zinc and selenium; and concentrations of the carotenoids β carotene, α carotene, lutein, β cryptoxanthin, lycopene, and γ tocopherol. Comparisons were made between groups stratified by CD4 count and HIV status. Mean serum levels were significantly lower for vitamin C, selenium, P carotene, a carotene, lutein, P cryptoxanthin, and lycopene in HIV seropositive patients with CD4 counts under 400 cells/mm3 compared with seronegative controls. Concentrations of vitamins A, B6, E, zinc, β carotene, α carotene, lutein, lycopene, and β cryptoxanthin were below the normal range in 10% or more of all HIV seropositive patients in this study. Decreased micronutrient concentrations, particularly of the antioxidants vitamin C, selenium, β carotene, and other carotenoids are common in HIV-infected women and occur more frequently in patients with decreased CD4 counts. The clinical implications of this finding require further evaluation.
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