Nutrivir – No Sugar Added

Nutrivir, which NYBC has stocked since the start, is an excellent and tasty combination of nutrients in a base of vanilla-flavored whey protein concentrate. In addition to vitamins and minerals, Nutrivir contains n-acetylcysteine (NAC) and carnitine. It was formulated especially to combat wasting syndrome, which can occur in those undergoing cancer treatments, or in people with HIV/AIDS. (Wasting syndrome is defined as unintended and progressive weight loss, accompanied by weakness, fevers and nutritional deficiencies due to malabsorption.)

Here’s a bit more from the supplier of Nutrivir:

Increasing evidence suggests that abnormal metabolism of cysteine and glutathione plays a decisive role in loss of muscle and immune dysfunction associated with [wasting syndrome]. At this time, the most promising supplement for these patients is a cysteine derivative known as N-acetyl cysteine (NAC). NutriVir [supplies]… quantities of NAC and other antioxidants that have been shown in clinical trials to be effective in combating wasting, malabsorption and diarrhea associated with cancer and AIDS.

Read more details at the NYBC entry:



Can carnitine reduce diabetes risk and improve body shape?

We were interested to read about a recent study on carnitine, diabetes risk and body shape in people with HIV, as reported on the CATIE (Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange) website:

Some studies have found less-than-normal levels of carnitine in the blood of HIV positive people. Other studies have found that regular supplementation with carnitine can help to reduce abnormal levels of triglycerides, a fatty substance in the blood. Most of the studies focused on a formulation of carnitine called L-carnitine.

Long-term studies of a different formulation of carnitine—acetyl-L-carnitine—suggest that this substance can help damaged nerves recover from the toxicity of certain anti-HIV drugs such as d4T (Zerit, stavudine) and ddI (Videx EC, didanosine).

Now researchers in Milan, Italy, have conducted a small study with HIV positive volunteers and carnitine, to assess its effects on body composition and other related metabolic parameters. The results from this study suggest the possibility of a decreased risk for diabetes. Furthermore, the research team claims that carnitine supplements increased the fat content in the legs of volunteers. We urge readers to exercise caution when interpreting the results of this small study and we provide critical details later in this CATIE News bulletin.

Read more information on the study at:!OpenDocument

Read more background information at the NYBC entries:




Nutrients for Liver Toxicity: Practical Guide from the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE)

CATIE provides an information sheet on liver toxicity as part of its “Practical Guide to Managing HIV Drug Side-Effects.” This info sheet suggests ways of coping with liver impairment, which is frequent in people with HIV, and may result from a variety of factors, including medication side-effects, hepatitis co-infection, repeated use of antibiotics, alcohol or drug use, or a nutrient-poor, chemically-rich diet.

Here’s an excerpt on some supplementation strategies to counteract liver impairment:

In addition to removing, as much as possible, anything that might be stressing the liver, it is very important to add the therapeutic agents that can help the liver to detoxify, repair and protect itself. There are a number of potentially useful agents, listed below:

Nutrients to Maintain Glutathione

Glutathione (GSH) is the most important intracellular antioxidant and is crucially important for protecting the liver against toxicity when it goes about its task of breaking down drugs and other toxins. Taking the following nutrients may help to maintain or increase levels of glutathione:

–vitamin C (2–6 grams per day, in divided doses)
–N-acetyl-cysteine, or NAC (500 mg, 3 times per day; always take with food because taking it on an empty stomach can cause gastrointestinal tract irritation)
–L-glutamine (5 grams per day, increased up to 30–40 grams in those who also have diarrhea or wasting). Note that anyone with seriously compromised liver or kidney function should not take glutamine without a doctor’s approval since it is an amino acid that must be processed by those organs.
–alpha-lipoic acid, or thioctic acid (300-500 mg, twice daily; take on an empty stomach with fluids). Alpha-lipoic acid is a naturally occurring fatty acid that acts as a cellular coenzyme. It is very important to the liver cell metabolic pathways and can be rapidly depleted when the liver is under stress. It appears to help boost repair when there has been either virally induced or drug-induced liver damage. Note that alpha-lipoic acid disappears from the bloodstream very rapidly, so products made in an extended-release form will last longer and work better.

For anyone with liver dysfunction or disease, the above nutrients may be very important as part of a total treatment approach.

For people with fatty livers, another important nutrient is the amino acid carnitine. Researchers say that it may help prevent mitochondrial toxicity, thus helping the body to handle fat better. Early studies of its use for non-HAART-related elevated triglycerides in PHAs did, indeed, show successful lowering of the blood fat levels. Research in animals has shown its successful use in reversal of fatty livers. The usual dosage is two capsules (500 mg each) twice daily. The alternative is Carnitor, the basic form of carnitine, available by prescription only. It is usually prescribed in doses of 3,000 mg daily (three 330-mg capsules, 3 times daily). Too-high doses can cause diarrhea, so watch for this. Doses of plain carnitine need to be higher because the acetyl-L-carnitine releases four times as much free carnitine into the bloodstream, using equivalent doses.

Note that in addition to the individual supplements mentioned above, NYBC also stocks its combination of N-acetyl-cysteine and alpha-lipoic acid, ThiolNAC.

Nutritional Management of Lipodystrophy: A Simple Fact Sheet from ATDN

The people at the AIDS Treatment Data Network (ATDN) have developed a series of “Simple Fact Sheets” about treatment and management of HIV. Their fact sheet on “Nutritional Management of Lipodystrophy,” written by an HIV nutritionist at Cabrini Medical Center in New York, covers diet (the right mix of carbohydrates, protein, fruits and vegetables, the right kinds of fats), exercise, and supplements, beginning with a good multivitamin, preferably one that includes a good set of antioxidants. There’s also a description of some supplements that may be useful in reducing lipodystrophy: L-carnitine, NAC, chromium, alpha lipoic acid, B-complex vitamins (niacin may be key among the B vitamins, but the recommendation is to always supplement using a B-complex, since the different B vitamins support one another’s action), and omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil and/or flaxseed).

 To read the entire fact sheet, go to

Acetyl-l-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid in combination show an anti-aging effect in animal models

The Oregon State University/Linus Pauling Institute website is highlighting a number of recent studies, especially from 2005-2006, which have examined the potential of acetyl-l-carnitine or L-carnitine, together with alpha lipoic acid, to counter the effects of aging in laboratory rats. Like the Linus Pauling Institute reviewer, we are looking forward to human clinical trials in the next few years to further define useful dosages and health benefits.

NOTE: a great deal of previous research on acetylcarnitine, L-carnitine, and alpha lipoic acid is reviewed on the NYBC website.

…two studies found that supplementing aged rats with either ALCAR [acetyl-l-carnitine] or alpha-lipoic acid, a mitochondrial cofactor and antioxidant, improved mitochondrial energy metabolism, decreased oxidative stress, and improved memory. Interestingly, co-supplementation of ALCAR and alpha-lipoic acid resulted in even greater improvements than either compound administered alone. Likewise, several studies have reported that supplementing rats with both L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid blunts the age-related increases in reactive oxygen species (ROS), lipid peroxidation, protein carbonylation, and DNA strand breaks in a variety of tissues (heart, skeletal muscle, brain). Improvements in mitochondrial enzyme and respiratory chain activities were also observed. While these findings are very exciting, it is important to realize that these studies used relatively high doses (100 to 300 mg/kg body weight/day) of the compounds and only for a short time (one month). It is not yet known whether taking relatively high doses of these two naturally occurring substances will benefit rats in the long-term or will have similar effects in humans. Clinical trials in humans are planned, but it will be several years before the results are available.

Practical Guide to Nutrition for People Living With HIV – a new publication from the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE)

Our friends at the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE) have released a noteworthy new publication, freely available online:

A Practical Guide to Nutrition for People Living With HIV

CATIE has a long-standing interest in nutritional supplements and HIV, and maintains on its website a collection of info sheets on a variety of relevant topics, from individual supplements to managing and preventing side effects of HAART with supplements.

This newly-issued guide brings together a wealth of accumulated knowledge in a very readable format, so overall we recommend it highly.

In the section on Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements, the new guide gives an overview of the following topics:

–micronutrient deficiencies and HIV

–antioxidants and HIV

–key vitamins and minerals for people with HIV (B vitamins, vitamins C, D, E, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Selenium)

–other supplements used by people with HIV (alpha lipoic acid, carnitine and acetyl-l-carnitine, NAC, glutamine, probiotics, and CoQ10)

Very useful is the chart summarizing recommendations and dosing for these supplements, especially in light of more recent findings, which, for example, lead to the recommendation of a higher daily dose for Vitamin D (1000 IU), and more caution in the use of some items (such as Vitamin E and Zinc).

In addition to these pages on nutritional supplements for HIV, we also recommend the guide’s sections on “Managing the Effects of HIV and Meds on the Body,” “Managing Symptoms and Side Effects,” and “Hepatitis C Co-infection.”

Oh, and by the way: “Appendix D: Web Resources” gives a listing for the NYBC website:

New York Buyers Club (for information on nutrition, herbal and homeopathic supplements)

L-carnitine and HIV

Here’s a brief extract on “L-Carnitine and HIV,” as presented by, the website of NAM*, the UK-based HIV/AIDS information exchange.

L-carnitine suppresses the production of tumour necrosis factor, which is responsible for wasting in HIV-positive people. Patients taking L-carnitine have reported reduced fatigue and greater energy.
A six-month study of carnitine supplementation also significantly reduced the frequency of CD4 and CD8 T-cell death and produced higher CD4 cell counts. There is substantial evidence from an Italian research group that L-carnitine inhibits HIV-related cell death by targeting the immune system rather than the virus itself.

* From the website: NAM is an award-winning, community-based organisation, which works from the UK. We deliver reliable and accurate HIV information across the world to HIV-positive people and to the professionals who treat, support and care for them. NAM is a UK registered charity number 1011220.

NAM’s publications are evidence-based and reviewed by two international medical panels and one of HIV-positive people, which ensure accuracy, balance, relevance, and accessibility.