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:

Nutrivir

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Top search terms bringing visitors to this blog

Dear NYBC Blog Reader,

Thought you might be interested to see some of the most popular search terms that brought people to the New York Buyers’ Club Blog in the past year:

1. “Saccharomyces boulardii C difficile”
2. “glutamine ulcerative colitis”
3. “cholesterol lowering supplements”
4. “B vitamins depression”
5. “HIV Vitamin D”
6. “vitamins for neuropathy”
7. “Tylenol antidote”

And here, in very brief form, is the information these searchers found on the NYBC Blog:

Saccharomyces boulardii, which NYBC stocks in the form of Florastor, appears in a recent study to be the best probiotic for the stubborn gastrointestinal infection C. difficile.

Glutamine has shown effectiveness in reducing symptoms of ulcerative colitis and other gastrointestinal conditions in a number of research studies.

Plant sterols, fish oil, niacin, pantethine have been studied for cholesterol control.

B vitamins strongly affect mood and memory, and addressing a B vitamin deficiency can improve depressive symptoms.

Vitamin D deficiency is widely prevalent among people with HIV, and supplementing with 1000IU/day of D3 plus 1000mg/day of calcium may be a good way to support bone health for people taking HIV meds. Other research has noted the link between Vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and susceptibility to cold and flus.

Acetylcarnitine, alpha lipoic acid and evening primrose oil are among the supplements studied for diabetic or HIV-related neuropathy (pain, tingling in feet, hands).

NAC (N-acetylcysteine) is used as the antidote to acetaminophen overdose. Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol and is added to many other over-the-counter drugs, so overdose leading to liver damage or liver failure has become common in the US.

NAC for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the NIH is funding a study at Upstate Medical University (Syracuse, NY) on the use of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) for Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This study was motivated by some promising related research in Europe, where NAC is much more widely used and investigated than in the US. Here’s an excerpt from the study description:

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic inflammatory disease which often has debilitating and potentially life-threatening consequences. The cause of SLE is unknown and current therapies lack specificity and carry significant side effects. Existing data in the literature provide evidence that a natural antioxidant, glutathione, is depleted in T cells of patients with SLE which may be a key factor underlying abnormal activation and predisposition of T lymphocytes to pro-inflammatory cell death via necrosis. Administration of N-acetylcysteine (NAC), that serves as a precursor of GSH, improves the clinical outcome of murine lupus, and limits the toxicity of pro-oxidant/immunosuppressant medications commonly used in patients with SLE. NAC is widely available in health food stores and large doses (up to 8 g/day) can be safely administered to humans. In a one-year study of patients with inflammatory lung disease treated with prednisone and azathioprine, addition of NAC (1.8g/day) diminished disease severity and reduced drug toxicity in comparison to placebo. Moreover, oral NAC has been found to improve muscle fatigue which is reported to be the most disabling symptom in 53% of patients with SLE. Thus, establishing a dose ranging between 1.8-7.2 g/day that is well-tolerated and capable of raising intracellular GSH in lupus patients and determining its immunological and therapeutic impact in SLE appear to be well justified.

The project is reported on the NCCAM website: Abstracts of 2008 Funded Projects.

For more on NAC, see the NYBC entry for PharmaNAC. This form of NAC is manufactured to the quality standards of the European Pharmacopoeia, and provides a good way to get the dosages under study in this research on SLE.

What’s in Your Medicine Cabinet for Cold and Flu Season?

What’s in Your Medicine Cabinet for Cold and Flu Season?

As the cold and flu season approaches, don’t forget the supplements! Here are some good choices for preventing colds and flus, or for lessening symptoms:

Vitamin D. According to some recent thinking, the “cold and flu season” may actually be the “Vitamin D deficiency season.” As the days grow shorter, people get less sunshine, leading to a decline in the body’s levels of this vitamin, which is essential to good health in many more ways than we used to think. Supplementing with Vitamin D during the winter may therefore be one of the most effective ways to prevent colds and flu. Many researchers who’ve studied Vitamin D now recommend at least 1000 IU/day, but those with a known deficiency may be advised to supplement at even higher levels. Our #1 recommendation for cold and flu season! See NYBC’s D-3 2500IU or D3 1000IU or D3 400IU.

Cold Away. This Health Concerns blend of Chinese herbs is designed to “clear external heat and alleviate symptoms of the common cold.” A key component of this formula is the herb Andrographis, which has been studied in several US trials in the last decade, and was found to significantly decrease cold symptoms and the duration of a cold. See NYBC’s Cold Away.

Vitamin C. Many good studies have shown a decrease in cold symptom duration, but no benefit for prevention. According to a guide to natural products published by the American Pharmacists’ Association in 2006, taking between 1 and 3 grams of Vitamin C per day may decrease cold symptoms (sore throat, fatigue, runny nose) by 1 – 1 ½ days. See NYBC’s C1000 – Ascorbic Acid with Olea Fruit Extract, or C -Buffered Vitamin C (easier on the stomach), or Super C Powder.

NAC (PharmaNAC). N-acetylcysteine (NAC) supports respiratory and immune system function. It has been studied extensively for chronic bronchitis. NAC is also the antidote for acetaminophen poisoning, now the leading cause of liver disease in the USA. (Acetaminophen’s best-known tradename is Tylenol, but it’s also found in many other meds, and so it’s become all too easy to overdose. We like PharmaNAC for its quality packaging, wildberry flavor & fizz! See NYBC’s PharmaNAC.

Botanicals. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Astragalus is used for chronic respiratory infections, for colds and flu (both prevention and treatment) and for stress and fatigue. (This herb is a favorite of integrative medicine specialist Dr. Andrew Weil.) An elderberry extract and American ginseng are two other botanicals that have been studied for cold and flu symptoms in recent North American research, with some promising results. The popular Echinacea, however, has generally disappointed in cold prevention studies.

28 billion doses of acetaminophen per year sold in the US; liver damage caused by acetaminophen leads to 400 deaths and 42,000 hospitalizations/year; why not recommend NAC (N-acetylcysteine) as antidote?

We read with interest in the New York Times on July 1 that the FDA had convened a panel to advise on how to deal with the medical problems arising from the extraordinary popularity of acetaminophen (most commonly recognized tradename: Tylenol) in the US.

Since acetaminophen is often part of a combination medication, the potential for people to accidentally overdose on it is ever present. Overdoses of acetaminophen now represent the leading cause of liver damage in the US. In hopes of reducing some of these accidents, the FDA advisory panel voted to recommend lowering the highest allowable dose of acetaminophen in over-the-counter pills like Tylenol; the panel also voted to recommend a ban on some narcotics that typically are paired with acetaminophen.

Our thought, as in the past on this blog: why not encourage drug manufacturers to pair acetaminophen with NAC (N-acetylcysteine), a known antidote to acetaminophen poisoning, widely used for that purpose in Europe? Certainly we recommend to NYBC members that if they must used acetaminophen, they also take NAC for protection as well.

Multivitamin Antioxidant Combination (MAC-Pack): a K-Pax alternative available in no-iron formula for those with liver impairment

In 2007, NYBC began offering an alternative to the K-Pax multivitamin-antioxidant supplement, which was added to some ADAP and Medicaid formularies following publication in 2006 of Dr. Jon Kaiser’s study that found CD4 increases in people with HIV taking a micronutrient combination supplement. A first reason for the NYBC alternative, called the MAC-Pack, was price: for those without access to ADAP or Medicaid programs, the double strength K-Pax cost of about $140/month was rather high, and NYBC as a nonprofit co-op was able to present a close equivalent for only $62/month.

But another rationale for introducing the MAC-Pack was its flexibility. In fact, because MAC-Pack uses the AMNI/Douglas multivitamins Added Protection as its core, it can be configured as a formula with or without iron. Having the option of an iron-free MAC-Pack is important especially to people with elevated liver enzymes, liver impairment, or hepatitis co-infection. Taking iron supplements is generally not recommended for this group, since processing the iron puts an extra strain on liver function.

Also note that the MAC-Pack provides somewhat more acetylcarnitine than the K-Pax, which may not be a bad idea, especially if you believe, as we do, that acetylcarnitine is probably a key element in the multivitamin-antioxidant combination. (Two tabs/day is sufficient if you’re just interested in matching the K-Pax formula, but three/day may be better especially for those dealing with neuropathy.)

For more information, see the NYBC entry:

MAC-Pack

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.)