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:



Lipoic Acid improves Glutathione in HIV+ People

A study by Jariwalla, et al., published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2008 Nov 2;14(2):139-146) reported on the effects of using 300 mg alpha lipoic acid, three times a day (900 mg) among 33 HIV+ men and women. These individuals had viral loads greater than 10,000 copies, despite being on antiretroviral therapy (ARV). The patients were randomized to receive either alpha lipoic acid or placebo over 6 months.

The main results included not only an increase in glutathione levels over baseline that was statistically significant, and a considerably enchanced ability of white blood cells (lymphocytes) to respond to antigens. In addition, as glutathione levels were increased, the ability of cells bearing CD3 molecules to respond to antigens was also enhanced.

While the intervention did not impact CD4 counts or viral load, these improvements in overall immunity in this very vulnerable population were encouraging. Improving the functional reactivity of lymphocytes to T-cell mitogens helps to strengthen immune responses to other potentially lethal pathogens. While a small study, this is encouraging news and further studies are needed in this and in populations of HIV+ individuals at other stages of infection and responsiveness to ARV therapy.

For background information on alpha lipoic acid, see the NYBC entry:

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Chromium and biotin supplementation may help control diabetes

We were interested to see a report from last month on a study of chromium plus biotin to help in managing diabetes.
The study, conducted by Yale University researchers, found that daily supplementation with these two items improved glucose tolerance by 15 per cent, compared to placebo. The investigation focused on the glycemic control and blood lipids of 36 overweight or obese people with type 2 diabetes. Reporting the results in the journal Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics, lead author Gregory Singer concluded that supplementing with chromium and biotin on a daily basis improved blood sugar control and cholesterol metabolism in diabetes patients on an antidiabetic treatment regimen, and could be considered as an adjunct to conventional oral diabetes therapy.

We also note that biotin and lipoic acid have recently been investigated for their potential in helping manage diabetes. See the NYBC entry on biotin for further details.