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Do I need supplements?

for Veterans and the Public

Do I need supplements?

Our bodies need vitamins and minerals, in small amounts, to keep our cells working properly. They are essential to our staying healthy. People with HIV need extra vitamins and minerals to help repair and heal cells that have been damaged.

Even though vitamins and minerals are present in many foods, your health care provider may recommend a vitamin and mineral supplement (a pill or other form of concentrated vitamins and minerals). While vitamin and mineral supplements can be useful, they can't replace eating a healthy diet.

If you are taking a supplement, here are some things to remember:

  • Always take vitamin pills on a full stomach. Take them regularly.
  • Some vitamins and minerals, if taken in high doses, can be harmful. Talk with your VA health care provider before taking high doses of any supplement.
  • Some minerals (like calcium, magnesium, and iron) may interfere with certain HIV medicines -- talk with your health care provider about whether or when to take these minerals.

On the following page is a table of some vitamins and minerals that affect the immune system.