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Important Notice of Caution about the ABM Mushroom

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A word of caution has surfaced about the ABM mushroom.From Dr. Ray Sahelian (see my comments at the end):Agaricus side effects

Up to December 2006, no agaricus side effects had been reported in Japan, where it has been in use as a dietary supplement since the mid 1990s.

There is now a report in the medical literature that three cancer patients taking an agaricus supplement had liver damage.

An Alternative Medicine, Agaricus blazei, May Have Induced Severe Hepatic Dysfunction in Cancer Patients.

Japan J Clinical Oncology. 2006 Dec;36(12):808-10. Mukai H, Watanabe T, Ando M, Katsumata N. Division of Oncology/Hematology, National Cancer Center Hospital East, 6-5-1, Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa-shi, Chiba, Japan.

We report three cases of patients with advanced cancer who showed severe hepatic damage, and two of whom died of fulminant hepatitis. All the patients were taking Agaricus blazei ( Himematsutake ) extract, one of the most popular complementary and alternative medicines among Japanese cancer patients. In one patient, liver functions recovered gradually after she stopped taking the Agaricus blazei, but she restarted taking it, which resulted in deterioration of the liver function again. The other patients who were admitted for severe liver damage had started taking the Agaricus blazei several days before admission. Although several other factors cannot be completely ruled out as the causes of liver damage, a strong causal relationship between the Agaricus blazei extract and liver damage was suggested and, at least, taking the Agaricus blazei extract made the clinical decision-making process much more complicated.

Comments by Dr. Sahelian: For the time being, limit your intake of agaricus supplement to maximum 3 times a week and a full week off each month. It is not clear at this time whether the problem was with the particular agaricus supplement these patient were using, i.e, Himematsutake as it is called in Japan, or whether the problem of liver harm applies to all agaricus extract brands. Was the Himematsutake product these Japanese cancer patients were taking contaminated with something else? It is also not clear whether the liver problem is dose dependent. Sometimes patients with cancer will take a very high amount of a supplement thinking more is better. It is also not clear whether the liver damage occurred due to the fact that these patients may have been on chemotherapy drugs which weakened their liver and immune system.My comments:ABM was one of the ingredients in the original OPC formula and is widely used around the world as a single supplement. My research on the ABM was conducted prior to 2006 and I could find no reports at all of toxicity, including a number of PubMed studies. Although I see no reason for anyone taking oleander to be alarmed, this new information requires some cautions in using ABM, with or without oleander. First though, there are some important other factors that I believe merit consideration:First of all, an impaired liver is a pre-requisite to cancer in the first place, and secondly, cancer treatments and protocols that work end up sending a toxic flood to the liver. Those that work best send the greatest flood, since dying cancer cells release their toxins as they are killed off and the more cancer cells that are killed and the quicker they are killed, the more toxins that are released in a short period of time. That is why Dr. Max Gerson mandated frequent liver flushes for all his patients. So, it seems likely to me that the combination of the ABM working and an already impaired liver, perhaps from chemo or radiation, may be likely.In the case of the prior OPC, it is likely that the 80% oleander, along with the cat's claw and pau d'arco, were more than sufficient to boost the immune system and protect the liver. No such liver problems have ever been reported with OPC. And now, as noted earlier, OPC has replaced the ABM mushroom and other ingredients with s. frutescens.I am still very impressed with the ABM mushroom; however, given the recent report, if I were taking ABM in any form, I would do a liver flush and keep doing periodic flushes and I would add the three anti-oxidants used so successfully in the Berkely Study (where they helped regenerate and protect the liver in "hopeless" hepatitis patients): alpha lipoic acid, selenium and milk thistle - all of which I already take. I would also make sure that I had a healthy diet and lifestyle.And, of course, consultation and monitoring by a qualified naturopathic professional.Tony

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