Alternatives to NYBC

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 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  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:

Mark Kuebel, LAc

Alex Brameier, LAc

Jackie Haught, LAc

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 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.

NYBC: Store Closing Announcement

We are sad to announce that NYBC will be closing our members’ purchasing cooperative by the end of July. The world of internet commerce has changed drastically since we began NYBC in the spring of 2004 in the wake of the closure of DAAIR (Direct AIDS Alternative Information Resources).

The good news is that over the last 11 years, many new online sources of low-cost nutritional supplements have become available. While this has created significant market competition for NYBC’s co-op, it means as good or better prices are available. We will be preparing a list of resources for our members to consider for their ongoing and future needs.

As a result of our decision to close the co-op, we will not be replenishing our current inventory. Please see our website–what is online is what we have left–and it is going fast! So please place all orders by July 31, after which time our online shopping cart will no longer be functional.

There is other good news: NYBC is not going away!  While there is a vast amount of information about nutritional supplements on the internet, much of it can be of dubious quality. We plan to continue our mission to continue providing unbiased, evidence-based information on ways people living with chronic diseases such as HIV and hepatitis can continue to survive and thrive using supplements.

We are proud of the work we have been able to accomplish since our founding. And we are especially grateful and honored to have come to know so many of you: our members, patrons, well-wishers, and funders. Your journeys with us have touched us all deeply, and we look forward to continuing our relationships into the future.

With our deepest thanks and appreciation for your membership and support,
The Staff and Board of
The New York Buyers’ Club


HIV-Associated Neurolocognitive Disorders (HAND), as well as peripheral neuropathy, affects a significant number of people with HIV. It may manifest mildly or progress to more serious conditions. These include peripheral nerve pain (neuropathy), coordination problems, cognitive and memory trouble to dementia—and this sometimes in spite of antiretroviral therapy.

Research is uncovering how this disease manifests—and some ideas about how to intervene. These data underscore aspects of HIV disease that contribute significantly to the progression of the disease, resulting in damage to the neurological system manifesting as cognitive defects and/or peripheral neuropathies. Part of what happens with HIV is that the body’s response is excessive, causing increased oxidative stress.

HIV proteins like tat can damage cells by inhibiting a regulator gene of redox reactions and detoxification known as nrf2. Normally, when this gene is induced (activated) in response to increased amounts of free radicals, it in turn activates other genes like SOD and catalase, the body’s system of transforming potentially damaging free radicals into water or other innocuous substances. This helps protect healthy cells–and often neurons, not infected by HIV directly, are damaged by the release of excessive amounts of free radicals.

Maintaining an appropriate redox balance is key, as these free radicals are also part of the bodies immune defenses that help to kill infected cells. One problem in HIV is that many cells that die, most CD4 T-lymphocytes and neurons, for example, aren’t infected. But they die due in part to oxidative stress

So what to do? There are data on ways to manage neuropathy, including using 3 grams per day of acetylcarnitine or the judicious use of Cannabis sativa. A drug derived from Tripterygium wilfordii called Celastrol has shown some early promise. In addition, the Men Who Have Sex with Men supplement can help! Woops, wrong acronym. MSM here represents methylsulfonylmethane, often used in formulae to help join function or on its own. Unfortunately, these are only animal studies so we don’t have information on how or if it will help in offsetting HIV-related cognitive disorder.

Could we ever get a clinical trial?



Am J Transl Res. 2015 Feb 15;7(2):328-38. eCollection 2015.

MSM ameliorates HIV-1 Tat induced neuronal oxidative stress via rebalance of the glutathione cycle.


HIV-1 Tat protein is a key neuropathological element in HIV associated neurogcognitive disorders (HAND); a type of cognitive syndrome thought to be at least partially mediated by increased levels of brain reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide (NO). Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a sulfur-containing compound known to reduce oxidative stress. This study was conducted to determine whether administration of MSM attenuates HIV-1 Tat induced oxidative stress in mouse neuronal cells. MSM treatment significantly decreased neuronal cell NO and ROS secretion. Further, MSM significantly reversed HIV-1 Tat mediated reductions in reduced glutathione (GSH) as well as HIV-1 Tat mediated increases in oxidized glutathione (GSSG). In addition, Tat reduced nuclear translocation of nuclear factor-erythroid 2 p45-related factor 2 (Nrf2), a key nuclear promoter of antioxidant activity, while MSM increased its translocation to the nucleus in the presence of Tat. These results suggest that HIV-1 Tat reduces the resiliency of neuron cells to oxidative stress which can be reversed by MSM. Given the clinical safety of MSM, future preclinical in vivo studies will be required to further confirm these results in effort to validate MSM as a neuroprotectant in patients at risk of, or who are already diagnosed with, HAND.


Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2014 Oct 1;280(1):42-52. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2014.07.010. Epub 2014 Jul 23.

Celastrol ameliorates HIV-1 Tat-induced inflammatory responses via NF-kappaB and AP-1 inhibition and heme oxygenase-1 induction in astrocytes.


HIV-1 Tat causes extensive neuroinflammation that may progress to AIDS-related encephalitis and dementia. Celastrol possesses various biological activities such as anti-oxidant, anti-tumor, and anti-inflammatory activities. In this study, we investigated the modulatory effects of celastrol on HIV-1 Tat-induced inflammatory responses and the molecular mechanisms underlying its action in astrocytes. Pre-treatment of CRT-MG human astroglioma cells with celastrol significantly inhibited HIV-1 Tat-induced expression of ICAM-1/VCAM-1 and subsequent monocyte adhesiveness in CRT-MG cells. In addition, celastrol suppressed HIV-1 Tat-induced expression of pro-inflammatory chemokines, such as CXCL10, IL-8, and MCP-1. Celastrol decreased HIV-1 Tat-induced activation of JNK MAPK, AP-1, and NF-κB. Furthermore, celastrol induced mRNA and protein expression of HO-1 as well as Nrf2 activation. Blockage of HO-1 expression using siRNA reversed the inhibitory effect of celastrol on HIV-1 Tat-induced inflammatory responses. These results suggest that celastrol has regulatory effects on HIV-1 Tat-induced inflammatory responses by blocking the JNK MAPK-AP-1/NF-κB signaling pathways and inducing HO-1 expression in astrocytes.

Micronutrient Article Error

One of the figures in our micronutrient article is wrong–and in fact, it is perhaps the most important one of the paper. The correct figure is attached below and is the one that we originally submitted. The error doesn’t change our findings–these figures have the effect of showing what we found in a graphic. The wrong one tells the story that we found nothing important! The correct one shows how robust our findings actually are.

We are in the process of correcting the error with PLoSOne and will be preparing a more formal response. In the process of re-sizing the figure for editing purposes this past February, an earlier figure was used. This version appears to show no effect from the intervention.

Some might presume that this means we merely cherry-picked the data to find a palatable solution. That would be incorrect as the initial analysis was faulty. Further, the frequentist analysis underscores by comparison our findings of a robust effect.

Our team had, in setting up the analysis, initially used a VERY flat prior probability. This had the effect of squashing the data and distorting such that it no longer reflected the original findings of the studies we were analysing. The reason we can be sure this is the case is that the result did not resemble the original data. I.e., the original data was in fact, for example, Fawzi 0.56 (0.32, 0.98). You can see that clearly in the frequentist analysis (supplementary figure 1).

Upon adjusting to a more accurate scale factor, the result was a strong effect for the impact of a simple multi on the rate of HIV disease progression.

S1 Fig. Forest plot of rate of HIV disease progression, frequentist analysis.

A frequentist analysis yielded a similar 40% reduction in the rate of progression to clinical disease stages (RR 0.60, 95% CI 0.46, 0.78; p = 0.00008) for subjects on MNS, when including supplement arms that included a MNS alone or MNS plus either zinc or selenium.


This underscores also the importance of scrutinizing closely the way data are handled and analyzed. As I have learned over the years in doing this work, a preferred answer may indeed be produced. But in this case, the answer reflects the actual data of the original studies.

George M. Carter

Fig. 2 Bayesian Analysis

Multi Slows Disease Progression

A meta-analysis has been published that reviewed the clinical studies that looked at the use of a multivitamin in people with HIV. There was enough data of people not yet on antiretrovirals and we showed a significant effect on how fast AIDS develops after HIV infection (the progression rate).

CONCLUSIONS: MNS significantly and substantially slows disease progression in HIV+ adults not on ARV, and possibly reduces mortality. Micronutrient supplements are effective in reducing progression with a posterior probability of 97.9%. Considering MNS low cost and lack of adverse effects, MNS should be standard of care for HIV+ adults not yet on ARV.

There was also evidence that it could reduce the risk of dying (mortality). There weren’t enough studies to assess the effect of a multi among those on ARV, though these studies are also discussed.

The first author of the study was NYBC’s George Carter, who was working as part of an NIH grant with colleagues at Mount Sinai in New York.


NYBC’s HIV+Aging Series Continues, Now Online!

Jackie Haught offered personal insights into healing from her 30 years as an acupuncture practitioner.

In recognition of World AIDS Day 2014, New York Buyers’ Club hosted another installment in our ongoing free public seminar series, HIV+AGING. Held Tuesday December 2nd at City University of New York’s Graduate Center in Manhattan, the workshop was a great success and – like any good show – left folks craving more.

This thirst can now be slaked online – on NYBC’s new YouTube page, now featuring excerpts from the December 2 event – with more to come in the future!



HIV+AGING: What Can Complementary & Alternative Medicine Do for You? featured three outstanding and personable speakers presenting valuable information and insights gleaned from their years of experience in the field of health and HIV.

Panelists included: Dr. Vani Gandhi, Director of Integrative Medicine at Spencer Cox Center for Health at Mount Sinai’s St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals; Jackie Haught, Founder of Blue Lotus Acupuncture Center in NYC and an acupuncture practitioner for more than 30 years; and NYBC’s own Treatment Director, George Carter, also President of Foundation for Integrative AIDS Research.

Presentations were followed by a hearty and heartfelt Q&A session: attendees not only posed pertinent questions to the panelists, but also opened up with one another about their own personal “CAM” experiences, both positive and frustrating.

We are already planning the next event and welcome collaborators!

Tune in to New York Buyers Club’s new YouTube channel for excerpts from our latest HIV+AGING event and more.

New @ NYBC – February 2015

supplement-header-2014These New Products and More
Available Through NYBC’s Newly-Redesigned Website & Co-Op Store

mega-pc-35-lecithin-1200mgMega PC-35 Lecithin – (Jarrow Formulas, 120 x 1200 mg; $9.75) Each softgel contains 1200 mg lecithin with choline 57 mg (from 35% PC lecithin) and 420 mg of phosphatidylcholine derived from soy. Phosphatidylcholine is a compound containing different types of fatty acids, glycerin, phosphorus and choline (a nitrogen-containing base). This may be an excellent product for people with hepatitis B or C, according to one well-designed study using 3 grams per day. Other benefits may be for mood enhancement for those with neurological disorders, to enhance cardiovascular health (in the context of a better diet), and possibly preventing or treating gallstones.

betaine-plus-pepsin-100-capsFor digestive health, NYBC is now carrying Twinlab’Betaine HCL Caps (100 caps $9.50). Each capsule contains betaine (as betaine hydrochloride) – 648 mg plus pepsin, 130 mg.

The addition of pepsin is thought to significantly improve the ability of the betaine to help the stomach lower the pH, that is, make the stomach more acid. That first amount of hydrochloric acid that your food hits arriving in the stomach is a crucial part of digestion. Betaine is typically used for people with a condition of low stomach acidity known as hypochlorhydria. This may actually be the problem even though one has reflux. It is a fairly common finding, for example, among people living with HIV, among a range of other conditions. Supplementing with betaine can help to improve digestion IF this is the case. Getting properly diagnosed before trying this is critically important. A 2013 study among healthy adults who had chemically-induced reduction in gastric acid (e.g., through proton-pump inhibitors) saw a reduction in stomach pH when given betaine supplements.

Uridine-5-monophosphate, 60 capsules for $22.20 from Jarrow. Each capsule contains 250 mg Uridine-5’-monophosphate disodium salt. Uridine is one of the nucleotides that is used by the RNA molecule. It is found in abundance incorporated in the phospholipid membranes of neural (especially brain) tissue. Data are limited but suggestive of benefits for memory and liver function. This is not dissimilar to an intervention utilized to help minimize mitochondrial toxicity associated with some antiretroviral drugs. One study suggested this could reduce damage to AZT or d4t (stavudine or Zerit)-related mitochondria, however, markers of inflammation were worsened. So this one should probably be used in the context of an anti-inflammatory protocol such as including carnitine, NAC, alpha lipoic, curcumin, omega-3 fatty acids and the like, which are a good idea anyway to keep TNF, IL-6 and hsCRP in check.

Astaxanthinastaxanthin-12-mg-30 12 mg – 30 softgels $16.25 from Jarrow Formulas. Astaxanthin is one of the many varieties of carotenoids (beta-carotene being one of the longest known and best characterized). Studies are somewhat mixed on the benefits of this agent to offset oxidative stress induced by exercise, with some benefit seen among soccer players and none for cyclists. One study using a mix of carotenoids showed an enhancement of visual acuity. Other small studies suggest benefits for increasing HDL, skin tone, and reflux frequency.

Garlic & Allicin  Sadly, NYBC no longer carries Dr. Zhang’s popular Allicin supplement,garlicell and arlipure however we have found these two excellent substitutes that indicate the amount of allicin and other components on the label. GarliPure from Natrol (120 “odor controlled” caps for $17). Each capsule contains 750 mcg of allicin along with 7.5 mg gamma glutamyl-cysteine, 5 mg allicin, 4 mg sulfur and 800 mcg of thiosulfinates, and GarliCell.
Source Naturals’ GarliCell features “no after-odor.” Each $14 bottle has 90 tablets; each tablet contains 6 mg (6000 mcg) of allicin along with 4.2 mg sulfur and 6 mg of thiosulfinates. Allicin is thought to possess the greatest activity of garlic’s various components. Early studies showed some pretty robust effects on cryptosporidiosis. Aside from anti-infective activity, there may be some benefit for maintaining a healthy blood lipid profile.

New Strengths + Sizes…

NYBC is now carrying a few new strengths and sizes of customer favorites. Our ever-popular “house brand” of CoQ10, Jarrow’s CoQ10 Q-Absorb, now is available in a very economical 120 x 100 mg softgel size for only $29. For those seeking a higher dose, we now also have CoQ10 400 mg (60 softgels) from Protocol for Life at $44.50.

curcumin-phytosome-jarrow-500-mg-60cNYBC has also picked up Jarrow Formulas‘ new Curcumin Phytosome (each cap 500 mg curcumin phytosome-phosphatidylcholine complex with 18-22% curcuminoids), a formulation that may further improve the absorption of curcumin. In the Ayurvedic tradition, recipes often include honey or black pepper, today known to enhance the body’s ability to absorb this increasingly important and well-researched anti-inflammatory agent.

Also new at NYBC…

calcium-blend-iron-free-easy-swallow-180A very moderately priced B100 (B Complex) from Twinlab for $11.75 that contains  100 mg of eachof the B-vitamins (and 100 mcg of B12). Each bottle, 100 capsules… Borage (Jarrow Formulas; 120 sg for $16.25) Provides one gram of polyunsaturated fatty acids from the Borago officinalis plant, including 240 mg of gamma linolenic acid (GLA/omega-3) and other fatty acids. This is a good source of GLA, especially in combination with flaxseed oil … New variation on SuperNutrition‘s Calcium Blend, an iron-free, easy-swallow formulation, same price ($14.25) and strength – just smaller (and more!) tablets.