The key immune function indicator in HIV positive individuals is the CD4 cell count. This helps assess the strength of a patient’s immune system as well as disease progression. The lower the CD4 cell count goes, the weaker the immune system gets. It is a known thing that as HIV progresses, the CD4 cell count goes down to the point where a patient becomes immuno-compromised, resulting in AIDS – Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. At this point, the patient becomes prone to life-threatening opportunistic infections.
However, there are many things that can be done to prevent this from happening. HIV is not a death sentence as it can be managed and kept under control. In this article, I have provided evidence-based solutions for maintaining and improving CD4 cell counts with herbs and foods. I have also written another article on Treating HIV Naturally that you may find useful
What Do CD4 Cells Do?
In a nutshell, CD4 cells are known as T Helper Cells. They alert the immune system of the presence of antigens and triggers the release of other immune cells such as CD8 cells which are known as “killer cells” as well as B-cells and several mechanisms associated with fighting off infections. When there are too few CD4 cells, the immune system is not able to target infections and defend the body.
What are normal CD4 Cell Counts?
Normal CD4 cell counts are between 500-1500 cells/mm^2. Typically, the CD4 cell count in an HIV+ person needs to be measured yearly as long as it stays above 300 cells/mm^3. It is important to make sure that your CD4 cell count remains high, therefore, one must take measures to ensure this. Once the count falls below 200, the condition becomes what is known as AIDS. At this point, the patient is immunocompromised.
Now that I’ve given you the less appealing information, let’s move on to solutions. After all, I am here to help.
CD4 Cell Boosters
There has been extensive research into possible HIV treatments. However, many of these immune-boosting options are seldom mentioned by mainstream medical practitioners. Most of the time, it is because they do not know about it due to the fact that it is not covered in their training and at other times it is due to disbelieved based on lack of knowledge. So let’s talk about how to increase CD4 cell counts naturally. Keep in mind that each of these options has been tested in clinical research and found to be both effective and safe as long as they are used with the proper guidance of a healthcare practitioner trained to use them.
When looking for herbs to increase CD4 cell count, Neem should be at the top of the list. Neem is an Ayurvedic herb known for its strong immune-boosting properties. It is traditionally used for treating a wide range of skin conditions, ulcers, diabetes, infections, and tumors. Neem has been used in various clinical trials for several conditions including HIV. Neem has demonstrated its ability to treat HIV by significantly increasing CD4 cell counts in patients with HIV (see study). Neem is not a supplement, it is an Ayurvedic medicine. It is only given the classification of a supplement due to the lack of regulation in certain countries. Neem must be used under the supervision of an Ayurvedic doctor.
Pineapples are known to treat inflammatory conditions, assist in protein digestion, and relieve coughs. They contain a group of proteolytic enzymes known as “Bromelain”. This enzyme has demonstrated highly effective anti-inflammatory effects. Interestingly, in the case of HIV, the consumption of fresh pineapple juice twice a day has proven to substantially increase CD4 cell counts in HIV positive patients (see study). This may be due to the various medicinal compounds found in pineapples such as bromelain, Vitamin C, flavonoids, and phenolic acids. This is a simple, clinically-tested remedy that one can start immediately. Keep in mind that if you have issues with ulcers, GERD, or inflammatory bowel disease in an acute phase, you must be cautious with pineapples. Make sure that you consume fresh pineapple juice, not store-bought packaged juice.
Over the years, Spirulina has gathered a lot of attention for various health conditions. Unfortunately, some people have severely exaggerated the uses of it. However, this is not to say that Spirulina is not a truly remarkable medicinal tool. In fact, clinical studies are showing that Spirulina in fact does have many uses in a wide range of health conditions including diabetes, allergies, oral cancer, fatty liver disease, and hepatitis C. In the case of HIV, Spirulina supplementation has been found to significantly increase CD4 cell counts while reducing viral loads in HIV-positive patients after 6 months (see study). It is believed that the health benefits of Spirulina come from the fact that it is nutritionally dense.
Prevent CD4 Cell Count Decline
While it is certainly important to boost CD4 cell counts, it also important to prevent the decline of CD4 cell counts too. Selenium is a mineral with potent antioxidant and antiviral properties. A deficiency in selenium is associated with disease progression in HIV positive patients. It also appears to protect against certain viral infections. In a clinical trial, selenium supplementation has been able to substantially reduce the rate of CD4 cell decline in HIV positive patients (see study). A person’s Selenium needs can be met by consuming either 5-6 brazil nuts, a serving of tuna, or a serving of salmon. It can be supplemented but that’s not necessary if you get it from your diet.
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(Always use medicinal herbs under the supervision of a doctor)
by Dr. Nishal R.
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