About Don Goldberg

Donald Goldberg, R.Ph.


Don received his pharmacy training on the east coast but moved to California right after graduation to accept a position as Director of Quality Control for Ingram Pharmaceutical Company. He received his Pharmacist license in California, but remained in the industrial setting, moving from Quality Control to manufacturing, product development and marketing with companies such as Boericke & Runyon, Shaklee and Vitamix, where he specialized in formulation and marketing of glandular supplements and dispersable powdered protein products.
He returned to the East coast, accepting the position of Vice President of Faraday Labs (Nutri-Dyn, Sivad). After several years, he joined Lewis-Gitomer Labs, where he was more directly involved with marketing directly to physicians. It was at this time that he published his first newsletter and began what has turned out to be a lasting relationship with Arnold Gitomer. Before rejoining Arnie at Willners, however, Don spent two years as Technical Director for Arkopharma, helping them introduce their line of French phytopharmaceutical products to the American market. He published a newsletter for physicians, called Phytofacts, and lectured on herbal medicine throughout the United States and Canada. After this, he started his own company, Nutriceutics, distributing professional nutritional, herbal and homeopathic products directly to health practitioners.
In addition to Phytofacts, Don also published the Nutriceutics News and was the contributing editor, nutrition, for The Chiropractic Journal. His articles have been published in several professional journals, and he was the assistant Sysop on Compuserve’s Natural Medicine Forum.
In September 1992, Don joined forces again with Arnie Gitomer, buying Willner Chemists.
Arnie and Don have changed Willner Chemists in many ways. The main store moved from 3rd and Lexington to 100 Park Ave. A second store was opened downtown, at 253 Broadway. A third store, a franchise, was opened in Atlanta, GA. Regular Product Reference Catalogs, and Sale Fliers have been published and mailed to a wide audience. A radio show, The Willner Window, was started and is now broadcast on WOR (710 AM) in New York, and WGKA (920 AM) in Atlanta, every Sunday, from 2 to 4 pm. Their book, The Best Supplements For Your Health, was published in 2002 to high praise and wide distribution. The Willner Chemists web site, www.willner.com is not only a source of extensive information and reference material, including mp3 recording of previous radio shows, excepts, reference articles, etc, but also an easy way to order products, check sale prices, and communicate with the Willner staff.


Don is married and the father of two sons, Joshua and Jordan. His primary hobby is motorcycling, and he loves to travel around the country on his BMW K1300GT. His wife, Helen, also works at Willner Chemists, maintaining the computer mail list database.

3 Responses to About Don Goldberg

  1. Frank Arcieri says:

    So, you are saying that the Sublingual B12 does not work as a sublingual because the molocules are too large to be absorbed through the barrier. Does the nasal spray version work ?

    • Don Goldberg says:

      This comment about nasal spray vitamin B12 is a valid one. I am going to comment in more detail in the next Willner Window Catalog/Newsletter (Autumn 2013), but will post part of the answer here as well:

      First, let’s look at why this discussion persists. Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin, “playing a role in DNA synthesis, red blood cell formation, homocysteine metabolism, and synthesis of S-adenosylmethionine. It is involved in the functioning of the nervous system and immune system.” The problem is that due to its unique absorption mechanism, correcting deficiencies is not always easy.

      Before I explain why this is so, let’s look at a slightly more technical explanation by Dr. Alan Gaby (Nutritional Medicine. Alan R. Gaby, M.D., 01/2011.) :

      “Vitamin B12 in food is usually bound to protein. It is released from the protein by the combined action of gastric hydrochloric acid and pepsin, and then binds to intrinsic factor, which is secreted by the stomach. The vitamin B12-intrinsic factor complex is absorbed into the bloodstream in the ileum. Crystalline vitamin B12 used in nutritional supplements does not require the action of hydrochloric acid and pepsin in order to be available for binding to intrinsic factor. Some 50–75% of vitamin B12 bound to intrinsic factor is absorbed, but intrinsic factor becomes saturated at vitamin B12 doses greater than about 2 µg. Larger doses of vitamin B12 can be absorbed by passive diffusion, a process that is independent of intrinsic factor. While fractional vitamin B12 absorption by this mechanism is only about 1–2%, oral administration of high doses of vitamin B12 (such as 1,000 µg/day) can compensate for the loss of intrinsic factor (as in pernicious anemia). Pernicious anemia is a condition in which vitamin B12 malabsorption occurs secondary to autoimmune destruction of the gastric parietal cells (the cells that produce intrinsic factor.) . . . Hypochlorhydric individuals have an impaired capacity to absorb protein-bound vitamin B12 from food, but they absorb crystalline vitamin B12 normally. People with hypochlorhydria are therefore at risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency unless they take a vitamin B12 supplement.”

      Note that Dr. Gaby points out that large doses of vitamin B12, taken orally, can be absorbed by “passive diffusion.” In other words, enough B12 can be absorbed (about 1 to 2 percent) even in the absence of intrinsic factor, from oral dosage.

      Let’s look at that from a practical standpoint. Supplements are available that provide 1,000 mcg and 5,000 mcg per dose. The form of vitamin B12 used in these supplements is methyl cobalamin, which is one of the coenzyme forms of vitamin B12. If 2% of the methyl cobalamin is absorbed, by passive diffusion, that will deliver 20 micrograms of B12 from the 1,000 mcg product, and 100 mcg of B12 from the 5,000 mcg products. At the time I am writing this, the 1,000 mcg product (Jarrow Formulas, Willner Code 34453, 100 Lozenges at $8.37) would cost you a little over eight cents per dose. The 5,000 mcg product (Jarrow Formulas, Willner Code 34918, 60 Lozenges at $20.97) would cost about thirty-five cents a dose.

      That’s pretty inexpensive, isn’t it? And that’s why, when we say you get the same benefit from a “large” oral dose of vitamin B12, it is important to recognize that a “large” oral dose of vitamin B12 is very small when it comes to cost. Compare this to the cost of an intramuscular injection or of a prescription nasal spray.

      OK, so what about “nasal sprays” as an alternative to oral forms or injections?

      First, to the best of my knowledge, nasal gels and nasal sprays are not classified as “nutritional supplements” or “foods.” The FDA prohibited vitamin B12 nasal gels from being sold as over the counter nutritional supplements many years ago, and I assume the same regulatory status applies to B12 nasal sprays. They are available on prescription, however.

      Do they work–whether on prescription or otherwise? The answer seems to be, “kind of!” I looked at the “package insert” for one prescription B12 nasal spray product, and I found the evidence a little vague. I am appending the pertinent section at the end of this article. You can decide for yourself.

      At best, the same practical question begs to be answered, i.e. why spend all that money for an expensive, prescription B12 nasal spray when you can get the same result from an inexpensive vitamin B12 1,000 mcg or 5,000 mcg supplement?

      And finally, here is what Dr. Alan Gaby has to say about B12 nasal sprays: “Hydroxocobalamin administered by the intranasal route has been found to be well absorbed. Hydroxocobalamin given intranasally produced higher peak plasma vitamin B12 concentrations than those achieved with oral administration, but lower concentrations than those obtained with intramuscular injections. However, the long term safety of intranasal vitamin B12 has not been demonstrated, and it is possible that it could damage the nasal mucosa. Administration of cyanocobalamin by inhalation resulted in a rapid increase in serum vitamin B12 levels, indicating that the vitamin was absorbed through pulmonary alveoli. However, pulmonary damage could result from this route of administration, since pulmonary fibrosis has occurred in dogs exposed to prolonged inhalation of cobalt. Because of the lack of long term safety data, I have avoided the use of these forms of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 for sublingual administration is also commercially available, but it is not absorbed more efficiently than oral vitamin B12.” (Gaby, Alan R., MD. Nutritional Medicine. 2011. Available from Willner Chemists, Product Code: 59437, List: $295.00, Discount: $266.50)

      In summary, there may be medical conditions requiring vitamin B12 dosing obtainable only through injectable or prescription medication modes. But, by definition, that is a medical application, and should be determined by a medical professional. What is important is that they recognize that oral dosage forms of vitamin B12 are no longer considered ineffective.

      Don Goldberg

      Addendum #1: Excerpt from original blog entry, Oct 11, 2010, http://www.dongoldberg.com
      . . . see original post, above . . .

      Addendum #2
      Excerpt from package insert: Nascobal Nasal Spray (Par Pharmaceutical Companies, Inc. Spring Valley, NY, 10977)
      A three way crossover study in 25 fasting healthy subjects was conducted to compare the bioavailability of the B12 nasal spray to the B12 nasal gel and to evaluate the relative bioavailability of the nasal formulations as compared to the intramuscular injection. The peak concentrations after administration of intranasal spray were reached in 1.25 +/- 1.9 hours. The average peak concentration of B12 obtained after baseline correction following administration of intranasal spray was 757.96 +/- 532.17 pg/mL. The bioavailability of the nasal spray relative to the intramuscular injection was found to be 6.1%. The bioavailability of the B12 nasal spray was found to be 10% less than the B12 nasal gel. The 90% confidence intervals for the loge – transformed AUC(0-t) and Cmax was 71.71% – 114.19% and 71.6% – 118.66% respectively.
      In pernicious anemia patients, once weekly intranasal dosing with 500 mcg B12 gel resulted in a consistent increase in pre-dose serum B12 levels during one month of treatment (p < 0.003) above that seen one month after 100 mcg intramuscular dose (Figure).

  2. Thank You for your fine work, it means a great deal to me and many many of my patients, clients, and family.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s