Sunday

Zinc helps develop white blood cells

By BOPA

[Botswana]

A medical doctor has advised people to add zinc in their diet because it helps in development of white blood cells.

Dr Geoffrey Tirelo, a clinician and director of Thebe Healthcare told BOPA that adding Zinc to diet of HIV-positive children would help to protect them from catching illnesses such as flu and diarrhoea, a major cause of death in poor communities.

He agreed with reports from South African scientists that zinc supplements were safe, simple and cost effective.

He said zinc, as a mineral, was essential in conjunction with other mineral in keeping one healthy, especially in controlling diarrhoea and pneumonia.

It also helps the development and the boost of the white blood cells and it is advisable for everyone to include it on his or her diet regardless of your HIV status, he said.

H e said everything had its disadvantages and too much of zinc could be toxic, so it was advisable to use it well. Zinc is found in all vegetables, milk and cereals.

He said people should differentiate between an immune booster and ARV treatment, saying that a lot of people confuse the two. An immune booster boost the immune system of a human and does not fight the viral load while the ARV treatment lower the number of viruses in the human body, thus increasing the CD4 count.

Dr Tirelo said nowadays Thebe Healthcare was getting fewer cases of children born with HIV, saying that mothers were aware of the PMTCT programme and many of them, if positive, enroll into the programme.

He said the government was trying by all means to fight HIV/AIDS Batswana could change their behaviour the problem could be overcome.

He advised Batswana to eat fresh local vegetables but not over-cooked aas well as a balanced diet.

Dr Tirelo encouraged Batswana to get in touch with their doctors and dieticians so that they could guide them in what to eat.

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