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Doctors Urge Precaution to Shield Against Swine Flu

BLAUVELT, N.Y., April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- As world health authorities debate how to stop the new strain of potentially deadly swine flu spreading quickly across the globe, medical options are limited. The current strain is a mutant of H1N1, containing a unique combination of pig, bird and human DNA, that current vaccines don't work against, and according to CDC acting director Dr. Richard Besser, a new vaccine will take 6 months or more to develop, test and deploy. In addition to recommending frequent hand washing and avoiding exposure to those already infected, doctors and other experts have urged extraordinary measures, including closing schools, businesses and curtailing travel. Many are also recommending proven strategies to boost the natural defenses of the body's immune system against strains of influenza.

Scientists predict that the aspect of immune defense called "acquired immunity" will also be challenged by the new mutant strain of swine flu. It is so radically different from prior strains that antibodies produced by previous flu illnesses, and stored in the immune system's memory, will be ineffective. Therefore, preventing infection and immune response in the first few days of infection will depend almost entirely on "innate" immune defenses, and specifically on the strength and activity of white blood cells called Natural Killer (NK) cells. NK cells identify and kill any non-self cell, foreign invader or abnormal cell, without prior exposure. Research shows that the strength of NK cells can fluctuate from individual to individual. People with lower NK cell function are shown to develop more frequent and severe illnesses. Research also shows that various nutritional strategies, including specific dietary supplements, can support peak NK cell function and defend peak health.

One such compound, a fermented mushroom extract known as Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC), is standardized, has been extensively studied in animals and humans, and is the subject of dozens of articles in peer-reviewed medical journals available via the National Library of Medicine website, Clinical trials have shown that AHCC reliably helps to support NK cell activity in people with low NK cell function, improving the coordination of many aspects of immune response, including the interaction of dendritic macrophage cells, T-cells and B-cells, resulting in improved health.

The benefit of AHCC's NK Cell supporting effect, and its role in defense against influenza was explored in a study in mice conducted at Philadelphia's Drexel University and published in Journal of Nutrition, November 2006. Compared with animals exposed to the H1N1 virus without consuming AHCC, the viral load in the lungs of those fed AHCC was 96% lower, their weight was maintained, whereas control group experienced a 19% weight loss, and the AHCC group showed a 27% reduction in deaths. In the AHCC group, NK cell activity was markedly increased immediately, achieving peak NK activity within 48 hours of administration and significantly reduced the severity of flu infection while helping to clear the influenza virus rapidly from the lung. "You've got to be proactive. There is a strong chance that NK cells are going to be very important in fighting this virus especially prior to and within the first couple of days of infection," according to Elizabeth Gardner, PhD, lead investigator of the study.

Sold in the US under the supplement name, ImmPower, AHCC has long been popular among knowledgeable herbalists and alternative medicine practitioners, as well as many thousands of medical doctors.

Mary Hardy, MD, a conventionally-trained allopathic medical doctor and expert in botanical medicine and medical systems of ancient and traditional cultures, currently counsels patients undergoing treatment at Simms/Mann-UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology. "I continually emphasize the importance of the basics of good nutrition, adequate sleep and exercise in reducing risk, recovering from disease, and staying healthy," notes Dr. Hardy. "And at times when there is more of a health threat out there than usual -- such as a rapidly-spreading and dangerous new strain of flu, like this one -- I make sure my patients know they can safely and effectively add supplements that contain proven immune system boosters, such as AHCC, which carefully controlled scientific studies have shown boosts NK cell function."

Additional information and research about ImmPower AHCC can be found at The product is sold through doctors' offices and vitamin retailers nationwide, and it is available at or by calling 1-800-422-5518.

    American BioSciences, Inc.
    560 Bradley Parkway
    Blauvelt, NY 10913
    p: 888-884-7770
    f: 845-727-0864

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

    Press Contact:
    Denise Mingione
    American BioSciences, Inc.

SOURCE American BioSciences, Inc.
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