December 13, 2013
As we reach the finish of the New York Buyers’ Club fundraiser, we thought it was time to circulate the “Top Ten Reasons” to support NYBC–in case there are those of you out there who aren’t familiar with the unique contributions this nonprofit co-op and information exchange makes to the lives of people with HIV and/or Hepatitis C.
Learn more and make your donation at
TOP TEN REASONS TO SUPPORT THE NEW YORK BUYERS’ CLUB
1. ThiolNAC. NYBC is the only source for this formula combining two widely recommended and well-researched antioxidants, alpha lipoic acid and NAC (N-acetylcysteine). ThiolNAC is especially useful for people with HIV and those with liver disease. NYBC’s combination formula reduces both cost and pill count.
2. NYBC stocks a unique lineup of high quality, specially formulated multivitamins, including Added Protection and Ultra Preventive Beta from Douglas Labs, and the Super Immune Multivitamin and Opti-Energy Easy Swallow from SuperNutrition, Member pricing for these multis is very low—in fact, Douglas asked us to hide the Member price from the general public!
3. NYBC’s MAC Pack and Opti-MAC Pack provide a mix of antioxidants and micronutrients very similar to those in K-PAX®, but at half the price. (Included in many formularies, K-PAX®, is based on Dr. Jon Kaiser’s 2006 journal article that reported an increase in CD4 count for people with HIV taking the nutrient combination.)
4. NYBC stocks a wide selection of Traditional Chinese Medicine supplements, from suppliers like Health Concerns, Pacific Biologic, and Zhang. (NOTE: Zhang products are available only if you log into the NYBC website as a Member.)
5. PharmaNAC®. This effervescent, extremely stable form of NAC (N-acetylcysteine) supports respiratory and immune function. In particular, it holds promise for people with cystic fibrosis, according to recent clinical trials conducted at Stanford. NYBC has stocked an effervescent form of NAC since 2004, based on its well-supported usefulness for chronic conditions.
6. NYBC specializes in probiotics like Florastor® and Jarro-Dophilus EPS. Probiotics support gastrointestinal health, a foundation for general health. And, a recent review in the Journal of the American Medical Association found probiotics effective for preventing and treating antibiotic-related diarrhea, a common side effect.
7. NYBC monitors and presents to its Members the latest research on supplements to support cardiovascular health, including fish oil, CoQ10, plant sterols, and Vitamin D.
8. NYBC annual membership is a tremendous bargain at $5 (low-income, unemployed), $10 (middle-income), or $25 (higher income). Do you know of any other organization that offers annual memberships as low as $5, yet gives you such significant savings?
9. The NYBC Blog alphabetically indexes more than 400 informative posts, providing the latest research news about supplements in an easy-to-read online format.
10. Yes, you can talk to a live person at NYBC! Our Treatment Director, George Carter, has two decades of experience with supplement research, especially for people with HIV and/or liver disease. Reach him at our toll-free number 800-650-4983.
February 29, 2012
NYBC’s specially manufactured antioxidant supplement, ThiolNAC, is again in stock at the nonprofit co-op. Below is the product description for this combination supplement, which is available only through NYBC, and which provides a key part of NYBC’s MAC-Pack, our LOW COST alternative to K-PAX:
ThiolNAC (NYBC) Each bottle, 90 tablets, sustained release formula. Each tablet contains 500 mg of NAC and 134 mg of alpha lipoic acid. As part of the MAC Pack, three per day provide the equivalent dose as used in the original neuropathy study published in the journal AIDS: 1500 mg of NAC and 402 mg of alpha lipoic. This is an excellent formula for those suffering from liver inflammation. It is also extremely convenient for many PWHIVs who take both NAC and Lipoic Acid since this 2-in-1 combination eliminates some pills while providing the same, generally accepted dosages. Suggested use is 2-3 tablets daily with meal or as directed. Reduce dose if headaches occur.
Note: This version of NYBC’s ThiolNAC intentionally decreases the alpha lipoic acid amounts per tablet from our original formula’s 200mg/tab to the present formula’s 134mg/tab. This change brings us precisely in line with the dosage studied in Jon Kaiser’s study, and also responds to a concern raised by our colleague Lark Lands regarding higher dose alpha lipoic and hypothyroidism.
February 28, 2012
K-PAX®, the popular multi-supplement pack, was developed following Dr. Jon Kaiser’s 2006 study that found an increase in CD4 count among HIV+ individuals using a mix of a potent multivitamin and antioxidants.* Eventually, Medicaid or ADAP formularies of many states included K-PAX®– a validation by the healthcare system welcomed by those of us who have long maintained that supplements can help to address chronic illness. Unfortunately, many people do not have access to these programs and for them, cost can be an issue. Even worse, some states, such as New York, are cutting budgets and eliminating items like K-PAX® from their formularies.
That’s why NYBC continues to offer the MAC Pack (for Multivitamin Antioxidant Combination), a low-cost alternative to the “Double-Strength” K-PAX® formula, based on products already available through our nonprofit co-op. (Unlike K-PAX®, the parts of the MAC Pack are delivered in their original bottles, so “some assembly is required”–one reason we also stock small ziplock baggies, which are great for travel, too!)
Note that the NYBC MAC Pack is based on the formula that was originally studied and published in the journal AIDS, while the current version of K-PAX®, on the other hand, has considerably less of certain micronutrients, such as vitamins B6 and B12. Nevertheless, the NYBC MAC Pack still costs HALF THE PRICE of the retail “Double Strength” K-PAX® formula. (That’s $62/month for the MAC Pack, versus $139/month for K-PAX® Double Strength.)
Subsequently, NYBC added to its MAC Pack offering by introducing the Opti-MAC Pack. This version of the MAC-Pack relies on SuperNutrition’s OptiPack (iron free), which has higher amounts of B vitamins than Added Protection, and so represents a further economy in number of bottles (no P5P or B12 needed!) and in cost (about $56/month).
For more information on NYBC’s MAC Pack or Opti-MAC Pack, or to place an order, visit us at www.newyorkbuyersclub.org, or call us at 1-800-650-4983. A comparison chart of the exact ingredients is available on our website. All the components of the MAC-Pack or Opti-MAC Pack can be ordered individually as well.
* Micronutrient Supplementation Increases CD4 Count in HIV-infected Individuals on Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy: A Prospective, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Kaiser JK, et al. JAIDS 2006;42: 523-528.
August 17, 2011
We were glad to see a recent Q&A on the “Ask the Experts” forum of thebody.com, which is one of the leading online sources of information for people with HIV. The question concerned NYBC’s MAC-Pack, our low-cost, close equivalent to K-PAX, a multivitamin/antioxidant combination which has been shown in research to raise CD4 counts, and which is available thru some — but not all–formularies in some — but not all — states.
For more information, see NYBC’s entry
Here’s the exchange:
Jul 5, 2011
are you familiar with the co. NYBC and their MACPAC-combination multivitamin & antioxidant program sells for 65 dollars and they compare to KPAC for 1/2 the cost..don’t want to throw money away on useless vitamins or vitamins that are sub-par or not tested
ANSWER: Response from Mr. Vergel
Supplement quality is always an important issue. One available resource is http://www.consumerlab.com although they are a for-profit company. It would be preferable if there were a government agency that routinely tested supplements and published the results!
It will always be a bit of a crapshoot, but the good news is the majority of supplements tested by them either pass and those that do fail often do for relatively minor reasons (though some do spectacularly).
According to Jared Becker and George Carter from the New York Buyers Club, the brands used in NYBC’s MAC Pack come from companies as reputable as K-PAX and with longer histories. NYBC has assessed Jarrow, Douglas Labs and Montiff, the providers used to make the Mac Pack. A few years ago, NYBC sent Montiff’s acetylcarnitine for testing and it came back fine. NYBC also uses consumerlab’s reports to verify quality of our big suppliers like Jarrow and Douglas.
Entry posted at: http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/Nutrition/Q216051.html?ic=700101
December 15, 2010
The Opti MAC Pack is NYBC’s simplest and least expensive alternative to the K-PAX multivitamin/antioxidant combination, which was the subject of Dr Jon Kaiser’s groundbreaking study showing the value of these supplements for people with HIV.
Instead of the Added Protection multivitamin, it uses SuperNutrition’s Opti-Pack, which includes about 1000 mcg of B12 and 250 mg of B6 as pyridoxine, thus providing a good replacement for the extra pills offered in NYBC’s regular MAC (Multivitamin Antioxidant Combination) Pack. As we’ve said before, though the regular MAC Pack and the Opti-MAC Pack are not precise, 100% matches of the K-PAX, they do, we feel, provide a close equivalent, and at a much lower cost (less than half the price!) Note that some may wish to add more Vitamin C to the regimen, but note also that NYBC’s Opti-MAC Pack and regular MAC Pack both have the advantage of providing more acetylcarnitine than K-PAX–not a bad idea, in our estimation, especially if you’re experiencing neuropathy. And the NYBC combination products are available iron-free, which is a good idea for those dealing with liver disease or impairment as well as HIV.
Read more about the general ideas behind the MAC Pack and Opti-MAC Pack at
April 6, 2010
K-PAX, the comprehensive multivitamin/antioxidant formula for immune support, is now the subject of a randomized clinical trial in Canada. The sponsors of the Canadian trial are the Canadian HIV Trials Network and the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN). This is a high-quality scientific study, that is, it’s a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial–the same kind of investigation required by the FDA before approval of drugs.
The Canadian K-PAX trial is enrolling antiviral-naive HIV-infected patients, and seeks to test whether K-PAX can provide useful support for the CD4 counts of HIV(+) individuals who have not yet begun taking anti-retroviral medications. (Patients starting the study will have CD4 counts between 350 – 800.) Half the group will be randomly chosen to receive K-PAX, while the other half will receive a low-dosage type multivitamin like those sold over the counter in drugstores.
We welcome this follow-up study on the K-PAX formula. The first study, which led to wide release of the K-PAX formula, was published in 2006 and did show a significant increase in CD4 counts among those taking it, whereas other participants had no increase or even some decline. We should also mention that our predecessor organization, DAAIR, was suggesting multivitamin/antioxidant protocols for people with HIV/AIDS back in the 1990s, even before anti-retroviral therapy became generally available.
In 2006, meanwhile, NYBC developed a close equivalent of the K-PAX formula using components from its product list. This allowed the purchasing co-op to offer its MAC-Pack (Multivitamin-Antioxidant-Combination Pack) for approximately half the price of the K-PAX, a useful alternative especially for those living in localities where K-PAX was not covered by ADAP or other insurance. See www.newyorkbuyersclub.org for more details.
November 10, 2008
The New York Buyers’ Club continues to offer its MAC Pack, or Multivitamin-Antioxidant Combination pack, which is a close equivalent to the double-strength K-PAX but at about half the cost. (K-Pax is usually listed at $139; NYBC’s MAC Pack sells for $62.)
K-PAX, a multi-supplement pack, was developed following a study by Dr. Jon Kaiser that found an increase in CD4 count among HIV+ individuals using this mix of a potent multivitamin and antioxidants.
At this point, the Medicaid or ADAP formularies of many states include the K-PAX formula. Unfortunately, some people may not have access to these programs and for them cost can be an issue. That is why NYBC designed the alternative MAC-Pack, which is based on products and prices currently available through its nonprofit purchasing coop.
The MAC-Pack includes:
Acetylcarnitine: 3/day, one month supply = $15.50 (one bottle; 500mg/90)
ThiolNAC (NAC + alpha lipoic acid): 3/day, one month supply = $14.00 (one bottle; 500mg/200mg/90)
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxal-5-phosphate/P5P): 3/day, one month supply = $10.00 (one bottle; 50mg/100)
Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin): 2/day, one month supply = $3.75 (one bottle; 1000mg/100)
All of these components of the MAC-Pack are also available as individual items; click on links for more information.
1) The NYBC package actually has MORE acetylcarnitine than the double-strength K-PAX. Not a bad idea, especially if you believe, as we do, that acetylcarnitine is probably one of the key elements in the multivitamin-antioxidant combination. (Two a day is probably sufficient if you are just interested in matching the K-PAX formula, but three or more can help if you are dealing with neuropathy.)
2) The multivitamins available through NYBC have somewhat different formulas than the K-PAX (see product labels available on the NYBC website for details). Taking an extra vitamin C tab along with the regular multi would make up for one significant difference. And some might wish to take a bit more calcium and vitamin D3 than Added Protection offers, as bone loss remains a concern among people with HIV.
3) K-PAX only comes with iron; for those with liver issues, this is probably NOT a good idea. With the multivitamin Added Protection, you can choose whether to take iron or not. (Please specify when ordering.)
October 29, 2008
The Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE) has reported on a small but significant study suggesting that exposure to the anti-HIV drug ddI (didanosine, Videx or Videx EC) may be the cause of otherwise unexplained liver damage in a small percentage of people taking it.
Researchers analysed health information, collected from three clinics, of HIV positive patients with unexplained and unexpected liver disease. All patients underwent extensive medical tests to try to find the cause of their problem(s). In total, the teams found 13 patients (2 females and 11 males) who had the following features in common:
- all had higher-than-normal levels of liver enzymes
- there were no obvious causes of liver problems
- no hepatitis-causing viruses were detected
- none of the participants were alcoholics
- swollen blood vessels in the throat and abdomen
- bleeding in the throat or abdomen
- water retention in the abdomen
- unintentional weight loss
- black stools
- exposure to ddI for at least two years
Researchers decided that all 13 patients should discontinue ddI and replace it with another suitable anti-HIV drug. Once this was done, liver enzyme levels fell and symptoms began to resolve.
Quite interesting was the researcher’s speculation about the cause of this liver damage:
[...] ddI may have decreased levels of a protective compound called GSH (glutathione) in cells. GSH is used to make enzymes that help detoxify harmful chemicals. Low levels of GSH may result in liver cells being susceptible to ddI-related toxicity.
The CATIE report goes on to discuss GSH deficiency in people with HIV, and the possibility that this deficiency may be in some cases intensified by ddI. As further noted in the report, the supplement NAC has been used to raise GSH levels. Perhaps NAC has a role to play in preventing the kind of liver damage discussed here? The CATIE reporter leaves the question open-ended:
Experiments with HIV positive people suggest that supplements of the amino acid cysteine (which is converted into GSH inside cells) can raise GSH levels in the blood. A formulation of cysteine called NAC (N-acetyl-cysteine) is used to help detoxify the liver in cases of overdose with the pain medication acetaminophen (Tylenol). To our knowledge, no clinical trials of NAC have been done in ddI users to assess its impact on GSH and liver health.
For NYBC’s view on NAC supplementation, see these entries:
PharmaNAC (an effervescent form of NAC, easy to take; made available in North America after some early research on the benefits of NAC supplementation for people with HIV in the 1990s)
ThiolNAC (NAC + alpha lipoic acid–another supplement recommended for liver support)
Note that NAC is also a key component in NYBC’s low-cost alternative to the K-Pax multivitamin/antioxidant combination pack:
March 11, 2008
Can supplements reduce cancer risk? – Price and pill count drop for NYBC’s low-cost K-pax alternative, the MAC Pack – A healthy response to a recent and sobering New York Times article, “AIDS Patients Face Downside of Living Longer”
These and other stories can be found in the latest issue of the New York Buyers’ Club newsletter, THE SUPPLEMENT, now available online at
On this page, you can also browse through SUPPLEMENT issues from the past three years, which contain stories on topics ranging from the latest thinking on supplements and cholesterol control, to US practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine and their formulas for liver health.
You can also visit www.newyorkbuyersclub.org for NYBC’s full set of information resources.
February 22, 2008
ThiolNAC, a combination of the two antioxidants NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine) and Alpha Lipoic Acid, is again available as a combination supplement from the New York Buyers’ Club. The manufacturer of this supplement is Montiff, which also produced NYBC’s previous version of ThiolNAC.
ThiolNAC (NYBC): NAC 500mg, Lipoic 200mg [90 tablets/bottle].
NAC (N-acetyl-cysteine) is recommended for its antioxidant properties and because studies have suggested it may improve immune function. Often used in Europe to treat chronic bronchitis and chronic sinusitis. Also recommended if you are taking acetaminophen (Tylenol). Alpha Lipoic Acid is widely recognized as a potent antioxidant and liver protective agent. Research suggests it has the capacity to protect many organs and tissues from damaging inflammation due its antioxidant power. Long used to treat neuropathy in diabetics.
Note: ThiolNAC can be used to replace the separate NAC and Lipoic components of NYBC’s MAC (Multivitamin Antioxidant Combo) Pack, the purchasing co-op’s low-cost alternative to K-Pax.
November 27, 2007
NYBC has been working with this company for some time. The NYBC product that we had was from them, via the contract manufacturing of “mass quantities” through DAAIR. We had that material tested at an independent lab and it came through fine.
This link provides some additional information on the product, which is included as part of the Mac Pack. Don’t forget that if you are suffering from neuropathy, the data from Youle’s study suggest a higher dose may be necessary.