Micronutrients contribute to proper neurological function. The neurological function consists of the brain, spinal cord and the nerves. Micronutrients are found in vegetables and fruits of different kinds.
Doctor Ishimwe Claude of Butare Central University Hospital, a specialist in Internal Medicine (internal organs) says that it is important to feed on meals containing various micronutrients that are important for our body function.
He says that only the Human Immune Virus is paralleled by certain stages of starvation in its association with multiple nutrient deficiencies. Other diseases of pathological origin are not associated with such malnutrition.
Micronutrient deficiencies may result in a number of neurologically related symptoms such as mental confusion caused by lack of enough vitamin B1, B3, and folic acid, anorexia caused by lack of B1 and biotin, irritability caused by deficiency in pantothenic acid and magnesium, numbness and tingling of hands and feet caused by deficiency in pantothenic acid, depression due to lack of folic acid, degeneration of peripheral nerves due to lack of B12, general mental derangement caused by only deficiency in magnesium.
The doctor explains that these micronutrients are water - soluble. It has been noted that in extreme cases of deficiency of some water-soluble vitamins, development of symptoms may occur within days or weeks.
A recent scientific research on the contribution of micronutrients in human body function shows that deficiency in vitamin B12 alone can lead to impaired bone marrow function, loss of appetite, loss of weight, burning of the tongue, and neurological disorders.
Also loss of appetite and burning of the tongue could also be considered as neurologically related manifestations. Deficiency of vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin, has also been associated with neurological problems.
However, symptoms caused by this deficiency may take years to appear. While several neurological problems in HIV have been attributed to nutritional deficiencies, vitamin B12 has received more attention.
In some patients, an association between dementia, peripheral neuropathy, myopathy, myelopathy and back pain with abnormal B12 metabolism has been found. It is therefore important to take an appreciable amount of vitamin B12.
Dr Ishimwe notes that chlorine is a conditionally essential nutrient whose synthesis in the body requires the amino acid methionine and vitamin B12 both of which tend to be deficient with HIV infection.
It is part of an important neurotransmitter, and required for certain brain function. It is believed to be especially important for learning and memory.
It is also important to note that better nutrition provides potential immunity in the fight against HIV related encephalitis disease. Vitamin C is one of important nutrient for HIV patients because it improves their immunity.
In some cases it has been suggested however that very high doses of vitamin C are some times used as a supportive therapy.
It is important to understand that because of the loss of appetite, people with HIV have low levels of some essential vitamins and nutrients such as Vitamin A, B and E.
Deficiency of vitamin A in HIV/Aids patients leads to lower CD4 counts and doctors are always advised to give good doses of the vitamin A as a supplement to the patient’s body function.
Lower levels of vitamin B complex and B12 are also linked to lower CD4 counts and neurological problems. Vitamin E may reduce the side effects of anti-retroviral drugs such as AZT while improving the drug’s effectiveness.
Selenium is also needed for immune system to function, and its higher levels in the body may boost CD4 count levels.
Zinc is also important to the immune system and helps prevent some opportunistic infections.
Iron is always deficient with HIV patients and there is need to keep proper levels of this micronutrient.