Micronutrients for people with HIV: a low-cost equivalent to K-Pax

K-PAX®, the popular multi-supplement pack, was developed following Dr. Jon Kaiser’s micronutrient study that found an increase in CD4 count among HIV+ individuals using a mix of a potent multivitamin and antioxidants.* At this point, the Medicaid or ADAP formularies of many states include 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. (The retail price of the “Double-Strength” K-PAX® formula is about $130/month, quite a sum for those on a budget who face extra healthcare costs.)

That’s why NYBC designed MAC Pack (for Multivitamin Antioxidant Combination), an 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–great for travel, too!) While NYBC’s MAC Pack is not a precise, 100% match of the K-PAX® formula, it provides a similarly comprehensive vitamin, mineral and antioxidant regimen—and at a much lower cost (about $62/month).

A few small differences between NYBC’s MAC Pack and K-PAX® should be noted:

1) Acetyl L-Carnitine: The MAC Pack actually contains more acetylcarnitine than the double-strength K-PAX®—not a bad idea, especially if you believe, as we do, that acetylcarnitine may be one of the key elements in the multivitamin-antioxidant combination. (Two a day is sufficient if you want to match the K-PAX® formula, but three or more can help if you’re dealing with neuropathy.)

2) Vitamins: The multivitamins contained in the MAC Pack have somewhat different formulas than those in K-PAX®. Taking an extra Vitamin C tab along with the regular multi would make up for one difference. And some might wish to take a bit more calcium and vitamin D3, since bone health remains a concern for people with HIV, and there is also growing recognition of the need for higher doses of D3.

3) Iron: K-PAX® only comes with iron, but for those with liver trouble, this might NOT be a good idea. With the multivitamin Added Protection, you can choose whether to take iron or not (it is available both with iron and without). Also: Ultra Preventive Beta, another Douglas Labs multi, offers a variety of food-based nutrients in addition to a standard multivitamin formula, for $3 more per month.

Note: In 2009, NYBC added to its MAC Pack offerings 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 or Ultra Preventive Beta, and so represents a further economy in number of bottles and in cost (about $56/month). Even with these savings, it’s still a close equivalent of the K-PAX®!

For more information on NYBC’s MAC Pack or Opti-MAC Pack, or to place an order, please visit www.newyorkbuyersclub.org, or call 1-800-650-4983. (You can also order the components of the MAC-Pack or Opti-MAC Pack individually.)

* Micronutrient Supplementation Increases CD4 Count in HIV-infected Individuals on Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy: A Prospective, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Kaiser JK, Campa AM, Ondercin JP, et al. JAIDS 2006;42[5]: 523-528.


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