What is the optimum diet for asymptomatic HIV-infected people (AHIV)? : a public health approach
Van Graan, Averalda Eldorine
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OBJECTIVE: The main aim of this thesis was to investigate the role of nutrition during "early" HIV-infection in African women. METHODS: Data reported in this investigation formed part of two cross-sectional studies, the THUSA and Mangaung studies. The Mangaung study investigated women and, therefore, the sub-sample of the THUSA study was chosen accordingly. The data of the two studies were kept and analysed separately. The investigation consisted of 1040 women from the THUSA study, aged between 15 and 90 years of which 120 (11.5%) were HIV infected. The Mangaung study comprised of 488 women aged between 25 and 44 years of which 248 (51%) women were infected. Demographic data, anthropometric measurements, health outcome variables and habitual nutrient intakes by a quantified food frequency questionnaire were used. The SPSS statistical package (version 14.0; SPSS Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 2005) was used to analyse data. Descriptive statistics were done expressing variables as means, medians, standard deviations (SD), standard errors (SE) and confidence intervals (CI). An analysis of variance (ANOVA) was done to test for significance between the HIV-infected and non-infected groups in both studies. Partial correlations were done in the infected and non-infected groups to determine associations between dietary / nutrient intake, anthropometry and the biological health variables. In the THUSA study we controlled for age, education level, degree of urbanization and alcohol intake and in the Mangaung study for age, education level and alcohol intake. Nutrient intakes of both infected and non-infected women above and below median values as well as in the first and fourth quartile of total cholesterol (TC) and albumin distribution were compared to assess the role of nutrients in the observed decreases in TC and albumin of HIV-infected women. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: The dietary intakes of the HIV-infected women in both the studies did not differ significantly from the non-infected women. Total serum cholesterol, albumin, fibrinogen and blood pressure were significantly lower in the HIV-infected women in both the THUSA and Mangaung studies. The non-infected THUSA women with lower serum cholesterol levels (than the median) had significantly lower intakes of percentage energy from fat (25.2 versus 26.4%, p ≤0.027), percentage energy from total protein (11.6 versus 12.1%, p≤0.000), animal protein (25.6 versus 27.7g, p≤0.005), and significantly higher intakes of plant protein (32.2 versus 29.4g, p≤0.002) and fibre (16.9 versus 15.89 p≤0.029). There were no significant differences observed in the nutrient intakes in the infected women with serum cholesterol levels above and below the median. In the Mangaung study no significant nutrient intake differences were observed in both of the HIV-infected and non-infected women with lower and higher than the median TC levels. In the THUSA study, higher intakes of fat (percentage energy) were close to significant (27.3 versus 24.5%, p≤0.053) in the infected women with higher (than the median) albumin levels. In the non-infected group with higher albumin levels, significant differences were observed in percentage energy from fat (26.6 versus 24.9%; p≤0.001) protein (12.2 versus 11.6%; p≤0.001) and carbohydrate (62.8 versus 65.2%; p≤0.000). Higher intakes of saturated fat (SATFAT) (17.7 versus 16.1g, p≤0.008), monounsaturated fats (MUFAT) (19.3 versus 17.4g, p≤0.004) as well as higher intakes of animal protein (28.5 versus 24.4g, p≤0.000) were observed in the group with higher than the median levels of serum albumin. In the Mangaung study the HIV-infected women (with higher than the median serum albumin levels), had significantly higher intakes of energy (13 275 versus 11 622 kJ, p≤0.022), polyunsaturated fatty acids (32.3 versus 17.3g, p≤0.036), dietary cholesterol (412.9 versus 344.5mg, p≤0.043) and plant protein (42.3 versus 35.3g, p≤0.008). No differences were observed in the non-infected women. The further analyses, comparing the dietary intakes in both studies of infected and non-infected women with TC and albumin levels in the first and fourth quartiles, showed that in the THUSA study, non-infected women with lower TC levels had significantly lower intakes of protein (% of total energy), total fat (% of total energy) and vitamin B12 and significantly higher intakes of total energy (TE), plant protein, total carbohydrate, % TE from carbohydrate, dietary fibre, added sugar and thiamine. In the infected women saturated fatty acids (SATFAT), calcium and the fat ratio (polyunsaturated/saturated ratio) differed significantly between women with TC levels in the first and the fourth quartile. A significant higher intake of riboflavin was seen in the non-infected women from Mangaung with TC levels in the fourth quartile, while significant higher intakes of energy, total protein, animal protein, total fat, SATFAT, MUFAT, total carbohydrate, phosphorus, chromium and iodine was seen in the infected women with TC levels in the fourth quartile. These results suggest that a more "westernized" diet with higher intakes of energy, and animal derived foods (SATFAT and calcium) could have protected against the detrimental decreases in TC observed in HIV infection. Significant differences were observed in the intakes in the non-infected THUSA women who had serum albumin in the first and fourth quartiles. lntakes in percentage energy from protein and fat, animal protein, total fat, SATFAT, MUFAT, calcium, zinc, vitamin C and fat ratio, were significantly lower in the women with albumin levels in the first quartile. Significantly higher carbohydrate intakes were observed in the women who had serum albumin levels in the first quartile. In the Mangaung study, significant differences were seen in the intakes between infected women who had serum albumin levels in the first and fourth quartiles. lntakes of total energy, protein, fat, MUFAT, SATFAT, carbohydrate, magnesium, zinc, chromium, biotin, pantothenic acid and iodine were significantly lower in the infected women with serum albumin levels in the first quartile. In the non-infected women significantly lower intakes of calcium were observed in the group who had serum albumin levels in the first quartile compared to those who had serum albumin levels in the fourth quartile. These results also suggest that a more "westernized” diet was associated with higher albumin levels in HIV-infected women. CONCLUSION: It is well known that nutrition has an integral part to play in the care of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Maintaining proper nutrition, weight and immune function is thought to delay disease progression, prolong the asymptomatic phase and improve survival. These analyses suggest that the "prudent" diet generally regarded as an optimal diet for prevention of non-communicable diseases, may not be the optimal diet for PLWHA. The overall analyses therefore suggest that a more "westernized" diet, higher in fat and protein could be more beneficial to asymptomatic HIV-infected women compared to that of a more "prudent" diet. As these studies were not primarily designed to investigate HIV and nutrition, the role of a higher energy, fat and animal protein intake ("western" diet) in asymptomatic HIV warrants urgent investigation.
- Health Sciences