Alternative Resources to NYBC
In the vacuum created for our members by the closing of the store, we wanted to make available a list of some alternative resources.
Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids
Some of our featured vendors include Jarrow, Super Nutrition, Montiff, TwinLabs, Douglas Labs and Source Naturals. Of these, the best quality consistently has been from Super Nutrition, Jarrow and Montiff. The others have either not been tested or occasionally come up with minor problems according to our own testing (very limited), and Consumerlab upon whom we have relied for assuring identity, potency and purity.
Perhaps rather unfortunately in some respects, you can find most Jarrow products now online through Amazon.com. Often the prices are as good as what NYBC offered and in a few cases, better (which is largely why we are closing the store.)
Over the years, Michael Mooney’s family, through Super Nutrition, has been providing excellent information about and high quality products and formulas that are some of my favorite multis. They use excellent and bioavailable forms of vitamins and minerals. Lately, I’m using their one-a-day multi, Simply One for Men over 50.
Montiff, Inc., headed by Don Tyson who did early work in assessing blood levels of amino acids among people living with HIV, has products online. This site will allow you to review their list of products. If you call their toll-free number and indicate that you were an NYBC member, they will offer a substantial discount (1-877-820-4883). They have been our source for N-acetylcysteine (NAC), alpha lipoic acid, glutamine (in bulk as well), and acetyl-carnitine. Montiff also was the company we used to contract manufacture NYBC’s ThiolNAC combo of NAC and alpha lipoic acid, now no longer available.
For those using our Mac Pack version of Jon Kaiser’s K-PAX, get the original! It’s a good blend and many states have it available through Medicaid or ADAP, sometimes as an “enteral” product (the powder), while others also have the tablets available.
Douglas Labs unfortunately is only available on the net at their VERY high internet fixed prices. You’ll have to find a practitioner who has them available and maybe get a better price. Otherwise, much of what they make is available from other vendors at lower cost.
Our other vendors, like TwinLab and Nature’s Way, are also general available online at sites like amazon.com. One good aggregate one-stop shop for most vendors is Swanson, that some swear has some of the best prices on the internet. For those in New York shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, Westerly is a good option. VitaminShoppe often has good sales and sometimes 2-for-1 sales; their own brand products seem to be fairly good quality as well. And if you are interested in joining Park Slope Food Coop, they also have an extensive supplements section (including Bach Flower Remedies and homeopathic remedies) at their usual steep discount (though not as good as NYBC was for many items.)
Of course, don’t forget about getting some supplements covered by health insurance, where possible. For that, you need a doctor’s prescription, and for our members in New York, we can highly recommend Vani Gandhi, M.D. at the Spencer Cox clinic on the Upper West Side.
Herbs and Botanicals
For our friends in New York City, we wish to point you to practitioners of Chinese medicine who have long been friends of NYBC and helped us in very material ways. Each has also access to some of the Chinese herbal formulas so many have found helpful over the years. These include:
One member noted trying to obtain Natura-mune through a website called Health Designs, but had some difficulty. So he called Pacific Biologic—this may be a good way to get the best possible price:
Health Concerns also has a long history of working with the HIV community. Some of their formulas were developed by Misha Cohen, LAc, in San Francisco. You can contact them through their website but again, probably better to get via a practitioner—and this assures you get a formula tailored for YOUR personal symptoms and situation.
Many practitioners have these brands, and other great ones like Seven Forests, available. As noted above, it makes a great deal of sense to see a good practitioner, particularly one knowledgeable about HIV or hepatitis, to get a formula designed specifically for your needs. With Chinese, Ayurvedic and other traditional systems of medicine, this formula can change as your body is brought back into a better balance.
As we mentioned, NYBC relied on consumerlab.com to provide information on their testing results. You should also look closely at capsules and tablets to see if there is any sign of mold, or if it smells or looks funny. This and piercing a gel cap of fish or other oil to smell for rancidity are at-home tests you can perform.
You can also check out the Food & Drug Administration, though we should advocate for them to do far more testing than they already do. Also, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health can provide information.
However, both of these sites have rather significant limitations and a degree of caution that is unhelpful for those of us who have had to fly by the seat of our pants. At the end of the day, remember that you are your own n-of-1: try to understand what you expect any supplement to do, and see if you can follow that by assessing blood work changes, symptoms and effects.
As NYBC moves forward into its new mission as an educational resource, we will endeavor to keep abreast of best practices, practitioners and resources.