The annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), which provides a forum for recent HIV/AIDS research, included an interesting study on Vitamin D3 supplementation.
The investigation checked Vitamin D levels in a group of NYC people with HIV (deficiency in this key nutrient having been frequently documented in other recent research), then followed them as they supplemented with D3 and calcium citrate. Different doses were given to those with severe deficiency (2800 IU/day), substantial deficiency (1800 IU/day), and mild-moderate deficiency (800 IU/day). The investigators concluded that “many HIV patients can achieve optimal vitamin D status by using oral V[itamin] D3.”
Note that, while the very high daily doses of Vitamin D3 (2800 IU/day is 14 times the current recommended dose) were deemed “safe” in the conclusion of this study, certainly anyone starting such high dose supplementatiion should do so under medical supervision.
Overall, we believe the study gives encouragement to the idea that through inexpensive supplementation, many people with HIV could improve their Vitamin D3 status and thus potentially benefit their health over the long term. Health benefits of optimal Vitamin D3 status include: lower levels of inflammation and associated health problems; lower risk of developing osteopenia/osteoporosis (a special concern for people with HIV, according to several studies from the last few years).