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Important vitamins and minerals for people living with HIV/AIDS




Vitamin A

Makes white blood cells - essential for vision, healthy skin and mucosa, teeth and bone development. Protects against infection associated with accelerated HIV progression, increased adult mortality, increased mother to child transmission, higher infant mortality and child growth failure

All yellow and orange fruit and vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables, alfalfa, liver, oily fish, dairy products and egg yolks

Thiamine Vitamin B1

Important for energy metabolism, supports appetite and nervous, system functions

Whole-grain cereals, beans, meat and poultry and fish

Riboflavin Vitamin B2

Important for energy metabolism, supports normal vision, health and integrity of skin

Milk, yoghurt, meat, green leaves and whole-grain cereals

Niacin Vitamin B3

Essential for energy metabolism, supports health and integrity of skin, nervous and digestive systems

Milk, fish, eggs, meat, poultry, peanuts, whole-grain cereals

Vitamin B6

Facilitates metabolism and absorption of fats and proteins, helps to make red blood cells

Sweet potatoes, white beans, maize, avocados, cabbage, whole-grain cereals, seeds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, eggs, leafy green vegetables, alfalfa, bananas, legumes, meat and fish


Required for building new cells, especially red blood cells and gastrointestinal cells

Liver, red meat, green leafy vegetables, fish, oysters, legumes, groundnuts, oilseeds, whole-grain cereals, egg yolks and avocados

Vitamin B12

Important for new cell development and maintenance of the nerve cells

Red meat, fish, poultry, seafood, sardines, cheese, eggs, milk, whole-grain cereals and seaweed

Vitamin C

Helps the body to use calcium and other nutrients to build bones and blood vessel walls. Increasess non-haem iron absorption. Increases resistance to infection and acts as an antioxidant. Important for protein metabolism

Citrus fruits (such as baobab, guava, oranges and lemons), cabbage, green leaves, tomatoes, sweet peppers, potatoes, yams and cooking plantains. Vitamin C is lost when food is cut up, reheated or left standing after cooking

Vitamin E

Protects cell structures and facilitates resistance to disease

Leafy vegetables, vegetable oils, peanuts, egg yolks, dark green vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole-grain cereals


Builds strong teeth and bones Aids heart and muscle functions, blood clotting and pressure and immune defences.

Milk, green leaves, shrimps, dried fish (with bones), nuts, beans and peas


Ensures the development and proper functioning of the brain and the nervous system

Fish, seafood, milk and salt with iodine


Transports oxygen to the blood, eliminates old red blood cells and builds new cells

Red meat, poultry, liver, fish, seafood, eggs, peanuts, beans, some cereals, green leafy vegetables, seeds, whole- grain cereals, dried fruit and alfalfa


Strengthens the muscles and is important for proper functioning of the nervous system. Involved in bone development and teeth maintenance

Cereals, dark green vegetables, seafood, nuts and legumes


Prevents impairment of the heart muscle

Seafood, liver, meat, carrots, onions, milk, garlic, alfalfa, mushrooms and whole-grain cereals


Reinforces the immune system, facilitates digestion and transports vitamin A

Meat, chicken, fish, cereals, leafy green vegetables, seafood, oysters, nuts, pumpkin seeds, milk, liver, whole-grain cereals, egg yolks, garlic and legumes

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