New study in Journal of the American Medical Association shows that a multivitamin + selenium slows progression of HIV

The Journal of the American Medical Association has published a new study showing that a multivitamin and selenium combination supplement significantly reduced immune decline and morbidity in people with HIV who were treatment naïve (=not on antiretroviral/ARV therapy). This was a two year study with individuals who had CD4 counts above the recommended threshold for beginning ARV treatment. Over the two-year period, the combination of a daily multivitamin plus the mineral selenium cut by about half the risk of reaching the point where ARV therapy would be recommended (CD4 count of 200-250).

This study shows the importance of daily multivitamin + selenium supplementation for HIV+ people who are recently infected and/or have relatively high CD4 counts. It also provides further confirmation of the value of multivitamin, multimineral supplement strategies like the one included in the NYBC MAC-Pack.

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Opti-MAC Pack

The Opti MAC Pack is NYBC’s simplest and least expensive alternative to the K-PAX multivitamin/antioxidant combination, which was the subject of Dr Jon Kaiser’s groundbreaking study showing the value of these supplements for people with HIV.

Instead of the Added Protection multivitamin, it uses SuperNutrition’s Opti-Pack, which includes about 1000 mcg of B12 and 250 mg of B6 as pyridoxine, thus providing a good replacement for the extra pills offered in NYBC’s regular MAC (Multivitamin Antioxidant Combination) Pack. As we’ve said before, though the regular MAC Pack and the Opti-MAC Pack are not precise, 100% matches of the K-PAX, they do, we feel, provide a close equivalent, and at a much lower cost (less than half the price!) Note that some may wish to add more Vitamin C to the regimen, but note also that NYBC’s Opti-MAC Pack and regular MAC Pack both have the advantage of providing more acetylcarnitine than K-PAX–not a bad idea, in our estimation, especially if you’re experiencing neuropathy. And the NYBC combination products are available iron-free, which is a good idea for those dealing with liver disease or impairment as well as HIV.

Read more about the general ideas behind the MAC Pack and Opti-MAC Pack at

http://nybcsecure.org/index.php?cPath=55

K-PAX Canadian Trial

K-PAX, the comprehensive multivitamin/antioxidant formula for immune support, is now the subject of a randomized clinical trial in Canada. The sponsors of the Canadian trial are the Canadian HIV Trials Network and the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN). This is a high-quality scientific study, that is, it’s a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial–the same kind of investigation required by the FDA before approval of drugs.

The Canadian K-PAX trial is enrolling antiviral-naive HIV-infected patients, and seeks to test whether K-PAX can provide useful support for the CD4 counts of HIV(+) individuals who have not yet begun taking anti-retroviral medications. (Patients starting the study will have CD4 counts between 350 – 800.) Half the group will be randomly chosen to receive K-PAX, while the other half will receive a low-dosage type multivitamin like those sold over the counter in drugstores.

We welcome this follow-up study on the K-PAX formula. The first study, which led to wide release of the K-PAX formula, was published in 2006 and did show a significant increase in CD4 counts among those taking it, whereas other participants had no increase or even some decline. We should also mention that our predecessor organization, DAAIR, was suggesting multivitamin/antioxidant protocols for people with HIV/AIDS back in the 1990s, even before anti-retroviral therapy became generally available.

In 2006, meanwhile, NYBC developed a close equivalent of the K-PAX formula using components from its product list. This allowed the purchasing co-op to offer its MAC-Pack (Multivitamin-Antioxidant-Combination Pack) for approximately half the price of the K-PAX, a useful alternative especially for those living in localities where K-PAX was not covered by ADAP or other insurance. See www.newyorkbuyersclub.org for more details.

Easy Swallow Opti-Energy multivitamins from Super Nutrition

NYBC is now stocking SuperNutrition’s “easy swallow” multivitamin, which, like their Optipak, comes as a month’s supply of individually wrapped doses. Very convenient, and the small-format pills do make them easier to swallow. Read the complete list of ingredients on the product description page of the NYBC website:

A MULTI: Opti-Energy Easy Swallow (iron free) (90 packets/4 pills per packet)

Supplement recommendations from Fred Walters / Houston Buyers’ Club

It was great to see an extended interview with our friend and colleague Fred Walters of the Houston Buyers Club in a recent posting on the website thebody.com.

Fred talks about his conservative Catholic background, his early vocation that took him to seminary, and his subsequent adventures as he began and nurtured the Texas-based nutritional supplements purchasing co-op for people with HIV, the Houston Buyers Club. HBC has been a beacon for so many when it comes to information about, and access to, supplements. And treatment activists that we admire a great deal, including Nelson Vergel and Lark Lands, have found a welcome forum at HBC over the years–we’re all better informed as a result.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview, in which Fred describes what he considers to be the most significant nutritional supplements for people with HIV:

I would say number one, a potent multivitamin. The top mistake people make with multivitamins is they are hypnotized by the words “one-a-day.” And there is no such thing as a potent one-a-day multivitamin for people with HIV. If you’re going to do a multivitamin you have to do several, several times a day. My favorites are Superblend by Super Nutrition and the K-Pax [KaiserPax] by Jon Kaiser [M.D., an HIV specialist in San Francisco]. Those are my two favorites. The second thing I would do is NAC, and that is a supplement that helps to increase gluthathione levels. It’s very good for the liver. The third one is fish oils, even if you don’t have high cholesterol or high triglycerides. Fish oils are real important for skin and other things in the body. They help reduce inflammation. That’s probably my biggest thing, the inflammation part. The other would be if you’re taking a high potency multivitamin you should add the selenium […]

If people are taking HIV drugs they have to take Coenzyme Q10, because what happens is that the drugs go into the body, as they’re winding their way through the cave with their guns drawn waiting to shoot at the HIV viral cells, by the time they walk up to a dead body they say, “Oh no, that wasn’t an HIV viral cell. That was a mitochondria.” And so Q10 helps to protect the mitochondria, and if you don’t protect the mitochondria in the body then you start opening yourself up to all kinds of organ and liver issues.

“Oh, how could I forget this one. […] Actually it’s getting a lot of press locally because Baylor University is studying this, but … green tea capsules. We are seeing more and more people who are doing two grams a day of green tea capsules and their T-cells are going up between 40 and 100%. Dr. Christina L. Nance is studying that at Baylor and we see that here, and today I was watching a local television show and of all days for you to call, there was a show on about food as medicine and they talked a lot about HIV, and one of the things they talked about was green tea liquid. They mentioned that it was being studied locally for HIV. So we’re not the only one on the soapbox about this. We’ve seen amazing results with that.

Read the full interview with Fred Walters at

http://www.thebody.com/content/art48991.html?mtrk=10922635

NOTE: As far as multivitamins go, NYBC has followed its predecessor DAAIR in stocking Douglas Labs multis, which are highly bioavailable (= can be easily absorbed and used by the body):

Added Protection Without Iron (a no-iron formula is recommended especially if you have elevated liver enzymes or hepatitis)

Added Protection With Iron

Ultra Preventive Beta This is a version of Added Protection that replaces the Vitamin A with beta carotene and a good mix of carotenoids–a good idea for people with any kind of liver trouble.

(NYBC also stocks the SuperNutrition multivitamins.)

Last, we have to say that a major concern for NYBC members has been the cost of supplements. That’s why in 2007 the buyers’ club began offering its MAC-Pack, which is a close equivalent of the K-PAX, but at about half price. The MAC-Pack uses the Douglas Labs Added Protection multis as its base, then adds NAC, lipoic acid, B vitamins and a substantial amount of acetylcarnitine to round out the package:

MAC-Pack (See other entries on this blog for more details.)

A daily multivitamin in powder form

NYBC is now stocking Jarrow’s “Multi Easy Powder,” a multivitamin in powder form, which is especially welcome for those who don’t like to swallow tablets, or who have trouble with swallowing.

Note that Multi Easy Powder is Iron-Free and supplies most of its Beta Carotene from a natural source (relevant info for those who are concerned about liver function).

A complete product description is found on the NYBC website at:

Multi Easy Powder.

Super Blend from Super Nutrition

Super Blend is a comprehensive multivitamin enriched with organic green foods and herbs. NYBC members choose this multivitamin for its very wide spectrum of high-potency anti-aging nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phyto-antioxidants–a combination that can simplify supplement-taking by fulfilling multiple needs in one formula.

Some highlights of Super Blend:

100 mg alpha-Lipoic acid; 30 mg CoQ10; 75 mg N-Acetyl Cysteine; 100 mg Quercetin;18 phyto-antioxidants, including Grape Seed & Skin extracts, Lutein, Lycopene, Ginkgo Biloba, Green Tea extract; the prime antioxidants Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Beta-Carotene; a potent B-complex formula; bone health support – 1,000 mg Calcium, 600 mg Magnesium, 1,000 IU Vitamin D and 1,500 mg Vitamin C; for cardio support – 1,000 mcg Folic Acid, 1,000 mcg Vitamin B12, 200 mg Vitamin B6 and 800 IU Vitamin E. Suggested use is 8 tablets per day.

Note: NYBC stocks Super Blend – No Iron. In keeping with its non-profit mission, the NYBC co-op price is the lowest we’ve seen for this formula–$43.