Algae -- a poor man's HAART?

Med Hypotheses. 2004;62(4):507-10. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2003.10.005.


Drawing inferences from epidemiologic studies of HIV/AIDS and in vivo and in vitro HIV inhibition by algae, we propose algal consumption as one unifying characteristic of countries with anomalously low rates. HIV/AIDS incidence and prevalence in Eastern Asia ( approximately 1/10000 adults in Japan and Korea), compared to Africa ( approximately 1/10 adults), strongly suggest that differences in IV drug use and sexual behavior are insufficient to explain the 1000-fold variation. Even in Africa, AIDS/HIV rates vary. Chad has consistently reported low rates of HIV/AIDS (2-4/100). Possibly not coincidentally, most people in Japan and Korea eat seaweed daily and the Kanemba, one of the major tribal groups in Chad, eat a blue green alga (Spirulina) daily. Average daily algae consumption in Asia and Africa ranges between 1 and 2 tablespoons (3-13 g). Regular consumption of dietary algae might help prevent HIV infection and suppress viral load among those infected.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / prevention & control
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Chad / epidemiology
  • Eukaryota / metabolism*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Korea / epidemiology
  • Poverty*
  • Prevalence
  • Sargassum / metabolism
  • Spirulina
  • Undaria / metabolism
  • Viral Load / statistics & numerical data


  • Bacterial Proteins