Ms Aisha Gambo and Professor Nceba Gqaleni.

Study Reveals Benefits of Moringa Oleifera Leaf Supplementation for HIV Patients on Antiretroviral Therapy

PhD student in the Discipline of Public Health, Ms Aisha Gambo, and her supervisor Professor Nceba Gqaleni, have published a research article evaluating the effects of the Moringa oleifera leaf supplementation on the CD4 count, viral load and anthropometric of HIV positive adults on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Nigeria.

Published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PloS One, the article is titled: A double-blind, randomized controlled trial to examine the effect of Moringa oleifera leaf powder supplementation on the immune status and anthropometric parameters of adult HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy in a resource-limited setting.

The research results showed that people living with HIV in resource-limited settings are vulnerable to malnutrition and that the nutritional interventions put in place to improve food security and malnutrition, together with antiretroviral therapy, could improve treatment outcomes.

The study involved 200 HIV positive patients split into two equal groups – the Moringa Oleifera Group (MOG) was given the Moringa Oleifera leaf powder and the other – the control group (COG) – received placebo. The findings represented changes in weight, body mass index (BMI) and CD4 cell counts in a period of six months. Both groups HIV-1 viral load were measured at baseline at the end of the study.

Over the period of six months, the study revealed a significant difference in the CD4 count in the MOG. A further estimate of fixed effects showed that the CD4 count among the MOG was 10.33% greater than that of the COG over the study period whilst the anthropometric parameters (weight and body mass index) between the two groups were not significantly different over time.

The study recommends that the programmes in low resource settings should consider nutritional supplementation as part of a comprehensive approach to ensure optimal treatment outcomes in people living with HIV.

For further information contact Professor Nceba Gqaleni on phone: 060 564 7568, or: gqalenin@ukzn.ac.za.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini and Mandisa Shozi

Photographs: Supplied