PJ Online | Articles | Multivitamins for HIV, fruit powder for osteoarthritis and kava for cheerfulness
The Pharmaceutical Journal
Multivitamins for HIV, fruit powder for osteoarthritis and kava for cheerfulness
Research published in the December issue of Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies is highlighted by Helen Bond
To evaluate the effect of multivitamins on disease progression of HIV a study of 1,078 pregnant women infected with HIV has been carried out in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It was found that women who took the multivitamin preparation were less likely to progress to the advanced stages of HIV disease, and maintained more favourable T-cell counts and viral loads. In addition, they experienced less oral and gastrointestinal HIV-related disease, less fatigue, had fewer rashes and acute upper respiratory tract infections. The study also found that vitamin A, alone or in combination with the multivitamin preparation, either provided no benefit or was associated with negative outcomes. The researchers concluded that the supplements delay the progression of HIV disease and provide an effective, low-cost means of delaying the initiation of anti-retroviral therapy in HIV-infected women.
FACT praises the study, which is based on previous observational studies that have implied a positive effect of multivitamins on HIV disease progression, and notes that it was well-designed, showing that vitamin supplementation could have a measurable impact in an area where anti-retroviral therapy is practically unavailable. FACT notes that the nutritional status of the women in the study is unknown, and that a better food supply could potentially produce the same results. However, although it would be of benefit to confirm the results of this trial with a larger sample size, the outcome of the study makes it hard to justify withholding multivitamins before further investigation is carried out.
Fruit powder for osteoarthritis
Hyben Vital, a proprietary capsule of the fruit powder of Rosa canina, has been studied for its effect on osteoarthritis. Ninety-seven patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the hip, knee, neck, shoulder or hand either received capsules containing the powder for three months followed by placebo for three months, or vice versa. Pain, stiffness and wellbeing were found to improve, and consumption of rescue medication was lower, during the taking of the fruit powder capsules for the group receiving the placebo first, but there was no difference found if patients received the powder first. At the end of the study, severity of joint pain was higher in the group receiving placebo first. The author concluded that R canina is effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis, and that the differences in the responses of the two groups may have been caused by a carryover effect of the powder.
Kava for cheerfulness
Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire have investigated kava for properties of mood enhancement and improved cognitive performance. Twenty healthy volunteers were given a single dose of kava extract or an indistinguishable placebo in capsules. The volunteers were measured for cheerfulness, seriousness and bad mood as traits and states, tested before and after treatment. Cognitive performance testing was carried out on computers: visual attention and recognition tasks were administered before and 60 minutes after treatment.
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 20013545
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