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New study shows green algae extract boosts flu vaccine

Halifax, Nova Scotia . . July 22 . . In a study published today in the prestigious Canadian Medical Association Journal, a research team from Dalhousie University and Ocean Nutrition Canada have shown that taking a carbohydrate extract of a green algae in pill form, Respondin, significantly boosted the immune response to the flu vaccine in people 50-55 years of age, the young baby boomers.

The research team's findings comprise the first published human study showing how a derivative of a food source algae improves the body's immune response to a commonly used vaccine for influenza.

"Our clinical study clearly demonstrates Respondin has a biological effect in humans, increasing the antibody response to a flu vaccine in this population," said Dr. Scott Halperin, a professor of pediatrics and associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Dalhousie University. "These results have raised the bar, showing that natural products can be studied for clinical effect in a pharmaceutical-caliber study. The true clinical role for Respondin needs to be determined through future study," he added.

The Canadian collaborators gave two different doses of the extract, a patented carbohydrate fraction from the green microalgae Chlorella pyrenoidosa, to two groups of 41 healthy persons for 28 days. Another 42 subjects received a placebo. All subjects were at least 50 years of age. After 21 days of supplementation all subjects received a vaccine designed for the 2000/2001 flu season, which contained three different flu strains. Those subjects 50-55 years of age receiving the 400 milligram/day dose showed significantly greater antibody responses to the vaccine 7 and 21 days after vaccination. There were no adverse effects from taking the Respondin.

"We are quite encouraged by the results of this first clinical trial with Respondin and have other studies planned or underway to more comprehensively explore other potential uses such as helping to a
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21-Jul-2003


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