Acetylcarnitine Gets Credit

Don’t let the icky generic packaging fool you! All NYBC products and vendors are carefully vetted and hand-picked. The manufacturer here, Montiff, produces our “house brand,” N-Acetyl-L-Carnitine (90 capsules; 500 mg ea acetyl-L-carnitine), as well as our proprietary ThiolNAC (which we unfortunately just ran out of stock of).


Longtime NYBC Favorite for Neuropathy Gets Its Due

A 2013 review by neurology experts found confirmation of the benefits of acetylcarnitine (also called N-acetyl-L-carnitine) supplementation for diabetes-related neuropathy (=nerve pain and damage), for HIV and antiretroviral therapy-related neuropathies, for neuropathy caused as a side effect of chemotherapy, and for neuropathy caused by compression (like sciatica). According to the review, acetylcarnitine “represents a consistent therapeutic option for peripheral neuropathies.”

Furthermore, recent research on acetylcarnitine has provided new insights into how the supplement works to diminish the pain of neuropathy and promote the regrowth of damaged nerve tissue.  That’s why the authors of the review conclude that the recently expanded knowledge about acetylcarnitine’s mechanism of action can open up “new pathways in the study of peripheral nerve disease management.”

We’re glad to see confirmation of earlier findings about the value of this supplement for conditions like the peripheral neuropathy experienced by people with HIV—NYBC has been recommending it for that purpose for many years.

We hope that this review will lead to even wider recognition in the medical community of the value of acetylcarnitine as a therapy for neuropathy.  It’s time this supplement got its due!


Want to know more about amazing acetylcarnitine?
This blog has 26 related articles about acetylcarnitine!

The MAC-Pack: a unique multivitamin – antioxidant package for people with HIV

The New York Buyers’ Club continues to stock its multivitamin-antioxidant combination package, the MAC-Pack. At half the price of K-PAX, the MAC-Pack provides a similar package of multivitamin supplementation (with emphasis on the crucial B vitamins), together with acetylcarnitine (especially important, we believe, if you are dealing with neuropathy) and the antioxidant combo, alpha lipoic acid plus NAC (N-acetylcysteine).

A 2006 research study found an increase in CD4 count among HIV+ individuals using this type of multivitamin-antioxidant combination. Dr Jon Kaiser, the study’s author, subsequently developed K-PAX, which has been included on various Medicaid and ADAP formularies, but is often just too expensive for those who must buy it out of pocket.

For more details, see the NYBC entry:


Neuropathy pain and HIV: supplement recommendations

You may have read reports in late February 2012 about the FDA’s skeptic ism about a patch called Qutenza, which had been tested for relief of neuropathy pain in people with HIV. Following a meeting to review the evidence, an FDA panel concluded that Qutenza, whose active ingredient is a synthetic form of capsaicin (the compound that makes chili peppers hot) was not effective for HIV-related neuropathy pain.

The FDA’s finding on Qutenza reminds us again that neuropathy (generally, pain or tingling in the extremities) continues to be one of the most troublesome effects of HIV/AIDS and/or its treatment—and one of the most difficult to manage. According to a survey report in 2010, for example, more than one third of those on combination antiretroviral therapy for HIV do experience neuropathy, leading to lower quality of life and often disability. So, it may be worthwhile to repeat some of NYBC’s recommendations on this topic:

Peripheral neuropathy: “nukes” (nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors) such mas ddI (Videx), and d4T (stavudine/ Zerit) – and Indinavir, T20, and even 3TC (Epivir)may all cause this feeling of pins and needles or numbness to toes and fingers. It can travel up the legs and become debilitating. HIV, diabetes, alcohol abuse, and vitamin deficiencies can all be causes of peripheral neuropathy. Supplements that are “good for your nerves” and that have the most robust data include acetylcarnitine (1-3 grams/ day, quite well studied for peripheral neuropathy) and alpha lipoic acid (200-600 mg/day). Other agents that can help are Vitamin B12, biotin, lecithin, magnesium, borage oil, evening primrose oil, choline and inositol.

See the NYBC website for more details about these supplements:

NYBC’s MAC-Pack on the “Ask The Experts” forum,

We were glad to see a recent Q&A on the “Ask the Experts” forum of, 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:

QUESTION: macpac
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 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.

Nelson Vergel

Entry posted at:

Supplements for the Brain (and Nerves)

“For Your Peace of Mind…”

Recent research on supplements for memory, cognition and other neurological functions
You may remember (we hope you remember!) the Scarecrow’s petition to the Wizard of Oz for a brain. Be advised–we at NYBC do not stock new brains, so don’t come to us with that request.

However, we do follow the sometimes startling new research on supplements, brain function and related neurological issues. In this department, there’s special cause for concern for people with HIV. According to a Canadian study released in 2010, in a group of 1615 people receiving treatment for HIV during the decade 1998-2008, one fourth had neurological problems, including memory loss, cognitive impairment and peripheral neuropathy. Of course being worried about brain function–and neurological function in general–is not unique to people with HIV. As people age, they are more likely to experience memory loss or forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s. And the nerve condition called peripheral neuropathy (pain, tingling in the feet and hands) is found not just in people with HIV, but also among the growing population with Type 2 diabetes.

Now, on to what we see as some of the most valuable recent findings about supplements and brain or neurological function:

B vitamins can be considered a foundation because they are needed in so many processes essential to the brain’s operation, from energy supply and healthy blood flow, to the formation of neurotransmitters (=chemical messengers of neurologic information from one cell to another). Furthermore, there is evidence that several groups of people, including those over 60 and those with HIV, have a greater risk for Vitamin B deficiencies. So supplementing with a B complex vitamin is a sensible start to cognitive health. More specifically, there is good research linking deficiency of vitamins B12 and B6 to mood disorders like depression—and depression earlier in life is associated with higher risk of dementia in later life. Last, there is also some evidence that B vitamins may reduce stroke risk in older people.

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) support cognitive health in a variety of ways. In 2008, UCLA researchers reported on a lab study showing that the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, together with exercise, improved cognitive function. This caught our attention, because there is wide agreement that regular exercise strongly supports brain function as we age, and here the suggestion is that omega-3 fatty acids multiply that known benefit. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids/fish oil has also been linked to lower risk of depression—another plus. And still more: recent research found that omega-3 fatty acids block the development of retinopathy, a chief cause of blindness as we age. (The retina of the eye is actually part of the brain–it is full of nerve cells essential for vision.) All in all, the neurological benefits of omega-3 fatty acids seem both wide-ranging and quite convincing, so it’s high on our recommended list.

The amino acid acetylcarnitine has shown benefit for brain function in a number of studies with humans. In the last decade, acetylcarnitine has also been investigated for peripheral neuropathy in people with HIV. (Some recommend using it with evening primrose oil and Vitamin C.) A 2008 study found that acetylcarnitine influences a chemical process in the brain that triggers Alzheimer’s, so researchers are continuing to puzzle out how this supplement produces its neurological benefits.

Antioxidants. There’s much suggestive research about how antioxidants counter destructive oxidative processes in the brain, thus blocking memory loss and cognitive decline. For example, a 2003 report found that the antioxidant combination alpha lipoic acid and NAC reversed memory loss in aged laboratory mice. And there’s also been a lot of attention to the combination acetylcarnitine and alpha lipoic acid for memory impairment. Furthermore, other antioxidants such as curcumin are under study for their potential to fight the processes that lead to declining brain function.

Acetylcholine. The first neurotransmitter to be identified, acetylcholine is closely associated with memory, with lower levels linked to memory loss. NYBC currently stocks two combination supplements that support acetylcholine levels in the brain, while also providing other nutrients for neurological function: Neuro Optimizer (Jarrow), which includes acetylcholine enhancers, acetylcarnitine, and alpha lipoic acid; and Think Clearly (SuperNutrition), which includes B vitamins, as well as acetylcholine enhancers and a botanical traditionally used for cognitive support, ginkgo biloba.

Resveratrol. In the past decade, there has been intense scientific interest in this compound, most famously found in red wine. While some research ventures have hoped to find in resveratrol a life-extending supplement (a capacity demonstrated in animal studies), others have focused on its therapeutic value for conditions like diabetes or cognitive decline. For example, Cornell researchers reported in 2009 that resveratrol reduced the kind of plaque formation in animal brains that causes Alzheimer’s. And a year later another lab investigation, this one at Johns Hopkins, found that a moderate dose of the compound protected animal brains from stroke damage.

Ginkgo biloba, a botanical derived from Earth’s most ancient tree species, has been widely used for cognitive function. In the late 1990s, two reviews of dozens of ginkgo studies concluded that it could improve symptoms of dementia. However, a long-term trial of ginkgo published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2008 found that the supplement did not prevent development of dementia in a group of more than 3000 older people who had normal cognitive function at the start of the research. One possible conclusion: ginkgo may help symptoms of cognitive decline, but doesn’t address underlying causes.

NYBC’s RECOMMENDATIONS: A B complex supplement (like Jarrow’s B-right) and fish oil (like Jarrow’s Max DHA) are foundations for maintaining cognitive health, especially important for people with HIV or people over 60. There is some evidence for acetylcarnitine, alpha lipoic and acetylcholine supplementation for memory impairment and possibly for cognitive decline. Acetylcarnitine and other supplements can be used to address peripheral neuropathy. And stay tuned for emerging research on preserving brain function with compounds like resveratrol, NAC and curcumin.


NYBC has issued a new info sheet on ACETYLCARNITINE, a key item in our catalog.

Below is some background on this supplement, as well as some of the important evidence supporting its use.

Or–click on the image above for the full-sized INFO SHEET.

Acetylcarnitine is a form of carnitine, an amino acid found in nearly all cells of the body. Carnitine plays an essential role in the mitochondria, the energy factories within cells. The acetyl component of acetylcarnitine provides for the formation of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, key to memory function in the brain. Acetylcarnitine is often regarded as the preferred form for carnitine supplementation because it is better absorbed from the small intestine than L-carnitine and more efficiently crosses the blood-brain barrier.

Significant research on acetylcarnitine:

• Acetylcarnitine may have a triglyceride-lowering effect for some people, as well as helping to elevate HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels. It may have cardioprotective activity in addition to beneficially affecting cardiac function. It may also have antioxidant and neuroprotective properties.
• There has been a great deal of attention to carnitine because it may help counter the mitochondrial toxicity experienced in HIV infection and all the successive problems which that may cause, including neuropathy, myopathy, bone marrow suppression (and resulting decreases in red and white blood cells and platelets), pancreatitis, fatty liver, lactic acidosis, and fat loss (lipoatrophy).
• Acetylcarnitine has also been studied for its capacity to enhance memory and other cognitive function.

Please visit the NYBC product entries for more information:

Acetylcarnitine – Biosint

Acetylcarnitine – Montiff

Acetylcarnitine for cardiovascular health

Acetylcarnitine (or acetyl-l-carnitine) has been studied in recent years for its neuroprotective effects. It is the subject, for example, of some good research on peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage leading to tingling, pain in the hands and feet) in people with HIV.

But we were interested to read about a 2009 report on acetylcarnitine used in a pilot study of people with elevated cardiovascular disease risk. The investigation, which involved 24 weeks of oral acetylcarnitine therapy (1 gram daily), found significant improvement in high blood pressure and glucose control among the study subjects. Since these improvements point to a decrease in cardiovascular disease risk, the investigators suggest that further research be done to see whether long-term acetylcarnitine supplementation can be a good cardioprotective strategy.

Here’s the abstract of the article:

Ameliorating Hypertension and Insulin Resistance in Subjects at Increased Cardiovascular Risk
Effects of Acetyl-L-Carnitine Therapy
Piero Ruggenenti; Dario Cattaneo; Giacomina Loriga; Franca Ledda; Nicola Motterlini; Giulia Gherardi; Silvia Orisio; Giuseppe Remuzzi

From the Unit of Nephrology (P.R., G.R.), Azienda Ospedaliera Ospedali Riuniti, Bergamo, Italy; Clinical Research Center for Rare Diseases “Aldo and Cele Daccò” (P.R., D.C., G.L., F.L., N.M., G.G., S.O., G.R.), Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, Bergamo, Italy; Institute of Special Medical Pathology (G.L., F.L.), Università degli Studi, Sassari, Italy.

Correspondence to Giuseppe Remuzzi, Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, Via Gavazzeni 11, 24125 Bergamo, Italy. E-mail

Insulin resistance, a key component of the metabolic syndrome, is a risk factor for diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. Acetyl-L-carnitine infusion acutely ameliorated insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetics with insulin resistance. In this sequential off-on-off pilot study, we prospectively evaluated the effects of 24-week oral acetyl-L-carnitine (1 g twice daily) therapy on the glucose disposal rate (GDR), assessed by hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamps, and components of the metabolic syndrome in nondiabetic subjects at increased cardiovascular risk a priori segregated into 2 groups with GDR 7.9 (n=16) or >7.9 (n=16) mg/kg per minute, respectively. Baseline GDR and systolic blood pressure were negatively correlated (n=32; P=0.001; r=–0.545), and patients with GDR 7.9 mg/kg per minute had higher systolic/diastolic blood pressure than those with higher GDR. Acetyl-L-carnitine increased GDR from 4.89±1.47 to 6.72±3.12 mg/kg per minute (P=0.003, Bonferroni-adjusted) and improved glucose tolerance in patients with GDR 7.9 mg/kg per minute, whereas it had no effects in those with higher GDRs. Changes in GDR were significantly different between groups (P=0.017, ANCOVA). Systolic blood pressure decreased from 144.0±13.6 to 135.1±8.4 mm Hg and from 130.8±12.4 to 123.8±10.8 mm Hg in the lower and higher GDR groups, respectively (P<0.05 for both; P<0.001 overall) and progressively recovered toward baseline over 8 weeks posttreatment. Total and high molecular weight adiponectin levels followed specular trends. Diastolic blood pressure significantly decreased only in those with higher GDRs. Treatment was well tolerated in all of the patients. Acetyl-L-carnitine safely ameliorated arterial hypertension, insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, and hypoadiponectinemia in subjects at increased cardiovascular risk. Whether these effects may translate into long-term cardioprotection is worth investigating.

See the NYBC entry on acetylcarnitine for further information:

and acetylcarnitine/Biosint (Italian source):