Ask the Pharmacist
In this section, readers can submit any questions, comments or concerns they have about their current medications, find out about new or alternative medications, or obtain answers to questions regarding HIV/AIDS, allergies, diabetes, drug interactions, heart health, men’s health, nutrition, pain management, weight control, women’s health and all other health and medication questions.
You can also mail your questions to:
Attn: Sonal Murthy
132 Alden Rd. Fairhaven, MA 02719
Questions From Our Patients
What is the importance of Protein in our daily diet? How do we incorporate it and
are there supplements we can take?
**Clarification** The person asking this question was asking in regard to the dietary needs of a person with HIV/AIDS, though basic concepts of this response can apply to anyone.
A: A Balanced Diet is the Key to Maintaining Healthy Life Styles
For HIV positive people, fighting a virus can be very challenging when trying to maintain the daily needs of the body’s high energy demand. The dietary food and energy demands are greatly increased due to how the body utilizes, absorbs, and metabolizes all the nutrients. HIV positive individuals undergo changes such as poor absorption of nutrients in the intestines, where the proteins and other important nutrients are leaked out, causing increase in demand. The compromised liver can make it very difficult to maintain energy demand because of how the liver stores, utilizes and metabolizes these nutrients. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), many studies show that, "low energy intake combined with increased energy demands due to HIV infection and related infections, as the major driving forces behind HIV-related weight loss and wasting."
What is the importance of Protein in our daily diet?
Proteins are the building blocks of muscles, organs and many other elements that make up the immune system. When one consumes a protein deficient diet, the body uses protein from the muscles in order to produce energy. This may lead to the weakening of the body’s immune system, which is already compromised.
How do we incorporate it and are there supplements we can take?
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.4-0.5 g per pound (0.8-1.0g/kg) of body weight for healthy adults. WHO recommends that HIV positive people may require 20-30% more protein to maintain or build lean body mass. Keep in mind that some HIV medications are already hard on your kidneys and by going beyond the recommendation of protein intake, it can make your kidneys work overtime, which is not a good idea.
Foods that are high in protein are:
- Lean meat, poultry without skin, and fish (3-4 ounce portion sizes)
- Other protein sources are eggs, low fat dairy products, legumes (dried beans and peas), nuts and seeds. Vegetable and grain products such as wheat bread, pasta, barley and rice contain minimal amounts of protein.
- Supplements like protein rich shakes and protein powder are available at general health food stores.
- Balancing a protein diet is very important. By eating four servings of carbohydrates such as fruits or vegetables, high-fiber breads and cereals each day can help maintain healthy life styles.
Sonal Murthy, B.S., Pharm.D.
Q: I'm getting some Trimix solution
and realized that refrigeration is required. How will I know if the solution is
A: This is an excellent question.
Yes, you are absolutely right, Trimix solution requires refrigeration. Normally this medication is clear if it is stored as directed. If you noticed that it is starting to look bit cloudy, see any particulate matter (particles floating inside), or discoloration of the solution then the solution is no longer good for administration.
Sonal Murthy, B.S., Pharm.D.