Question and answer for Immunocal®
What Is Immunocal®?
It is a bio-active whey protein isolate, which shares many of the same immune promoting and enhancing properties of Mother's milk. It contains un-denatured precursors or building - blocks for our body to manufacture glutathione (GSH). GSH is our body's own Master Antioxidant, Immune System Enhancer and Detoxifier (AID) and is found in every tissue and cells in our body.
As an Antioxidant, it reduces the other exogenous antioxidant such as vitamins C and E to their active states to achieve maximum antioxidant effect. As an Immune-system enhancer, our defense cells lymphocytes are dependent on GSH for their proper function and replication. As a Detoxifier, GSH detoxifies pollutants, carcinogens (cancer causing agents) and radiation damage and the highest level of GSH is found in our liver. GSH is ineffective when taken orally as it will be broken down during digestion and eliminated.
The only natural and effective way for our own cells to manufacture GSH is via a precursor. Immunocal® contains bioactive cystine (bonded cysteine) which converts to cysteine when ingested and is responsible for the biological activity of GSH. In the cell, cysteine will combine with glycine and glutamate to form GSH.
GSH is high when we are young and healthy. As we age, GSH levels in our body decreases. When GSH levels are low, we are susceptible to infections and result in disease and illness. "We literally cannot survive without this miraculous antioxidant." - Dr. Earl Mindell in his book 'What You Should Know About the Super Antioxidant Miracle'.
What are the credibility of Immunocal®?
Immunocal® is manufactured by Canadian public listed company Immunotec Inc.. It took over US$10 million and 18 years of research to perfect Immunocal®. The secret of this unique bio-active whey protein isolate lies in the patented manufacturing process to retain the cystine molecules in their most natural and active form in proportion similar to human milk. That is why Immunocal® is also known as Humanized Milk Serum Protein Isolate. This is important to ensure a raise in blood Glutathione levels to achieve immunity enhancing, antioxidant and detoxification functions.
Immunocal® is clinically proven to increase serum and tissue GSH levels and is validated by extensive researches which include numerous published scientific studies and peer-reviewed articles which appear in the National Library of Medicine. It is classified as Nutraceutical in the US, ie. a natural product with pharmaceutical validity and indication. It is listed in the US Physician's Desk Reference (PDR) and Pharmacists' Red Book for many consecutive years. It qualifies for the coverage by US Medicare / Medicaid (for cancer and HIV only) under stringent conditions. Immunocal® is also listed in the Canadian Compendium of Pharmaceutical Specialties (CPS) with a NPN to be officially recognized for the claim "Immunocal® is effective in maintaining the immune system". Immunocal® is also endorsed by world class scientists such as Dr. Luc Montagnier, who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2008 for discovering the HIV/ Aids virus. It has 75 patents in 29 countries. The power of the patents is not in manufacturing but METHOD OF USE whereby the product must produce clinical proofs on what it claimed it is useful for. This means that no other whey protein can state "clinically PROVEN to stimulate the immune system" and "significantly raises glutathione levels". It is not easy or common for a nutritional supplement to get approval for such a patent. Immunocal® was granted a "Method of Use" patent in Singapore in 1999 and has been widely used by the specialist doctors and GPs here for many years.
What is the difference between Immunocal® and other whey proteins?
The cystine in Immunocal® is thermo-labile and heat sensitive. Normal whey proteins, like ordinary milk, are manufactured by standard high-temperature pasteurization, which destroys or denatures the natural bioactivity of the whey protein, making it just an ordinary source of protein without immuno-enhancing, antioxidative and detoxification properties Immunocal® has. The protein in Immunocal® is processed by patented micro-filtration to remove bacteria and low-temperature purification procedures to ensure intact, safety and purity of the bioactivity of the proteins.
Immunocal® is extracted exclusively from milk produced without antibiotics or steroids, is casein free and contains less than 1% fat and lactose and hence, is safe even for individuals who are lactose intolerant. There are no scientific studies on other whey proteins to show the same immune stimulating effects that are seen with Immunocal®. Immunocal® is the result of 18 years of rigorous clinical research that has been published in peer reviewed medical journals. These studies, performed in world renowned medical and scientific institutions, confirmed the effectiveness of Immunocal® in raising the GSH level in the body that no other whey proteins have ever shown.
What is Glutathione (GSH) and how important is it to our health?
GSH is present in every cell in our body and has to be manufactured within the body cells. Scientific studies show that GSH level is high in the young and healthy and low in the old and sick. Without GSH, we die. As a result of normal cell metabolism, damaging by-products known as 'free radicals' are released. The body is equipped with a variety of protective mechanisms to neutralize these dangerous substances. GSH is our body's master antioxidant which neutralize free radicals directly and reduce risks of cell damage by free radicals which can lead to diseases and illnesses. Other lesser antioxidants not produced by our body such as vitamins C & E depend on GSH for their functions to achieve optimal antioxidation activity. That is why GSH is also known to be the centre of cellular antioxidation. GSH stimulates our immune response by increasing the production of our defense cells, lymphocytes. This helps in combating infections.
Evidences have been shown in HIV-infected individuals whose GSH concentrations in their blood lymphocytes are low, compared to a healthy individual. It has also been shown that the more GSH such patients carry in their CD4 helper T-cells, cells primarily targeted by the HIV virus, the longer these patients are likely to survive. In fact, low GSH levels are commonly found among the elderly, those undergoing cancer treatment, and among patients suffering from autoimmune and immune deficiency diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome.
The highest level of GSH can be found in our liver, our major detoxifying organ. This is important in ensuring that our body is capable of removing toxic wastes due to exposure to pollutants, carcinogens and radiation. GSH works within the liver, lungs, colon, kidneys and skin in the process of removing toxic and eliminating cellular metabolic wastes. Although the importance of GSH has been known for decades, it was not until recently that medical experts found a way to increase intra-cellular GSH naturally and effectively. Immunocal® has immune promoting properties similar to human milk and contains the effective cysteine delivery system that ensures cell GSH level is raised and sustained naturally, safely and effectively.
Is it useful to take GSH pills or powder which are easily available in health food stores?
GSH is produced within the cells (intra-cellularly). When it is taken orally, it has not been shown in clinical studies to be absorbed in the blood stream but is broken down during digestion and eliminated. Taking food that is rich in GSH also results in non-absorption and very little effect in raising GSH level in the body. The most effective and natural way that has been proven scientifically to raise intra-cellular GSH is by giving our cells precursors (building blocks) to manufacture GSH. The 3 bioactive proteins or bonded-cysteine in Immunocal® constitute a natural 'delivery system' from the cystine precursors to the cells.
These cystine precursors are easily transported inside the cell whereby they can be quickly converted to cysteine upon cell entry and synthesized into GSH. The availability of cysteine determines how much GSH we can synthesize. However, cysteine as a dietary supplement can promote hypercysteinemia and potential toxicity hence, is not recommended.
Is Immunocal® safe and useful for expecting and lactating mothers?
The proteins in Immunocal® are similar to those found in mother's milk. Hence, taking Immunocal® is as safe as taking mother's milk. Also, Immunocal® is listed as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the US FDA and is probably the safest milk derived product in the world with numerous credibility and clinical proofs. If an expecting mother can drink milk, she can most certainly take Immunocal® to achieve and maintain optimal levels of GSH.
In pregnancy, women undergo drastic physiological changes and are susceptible to the environment. There are evidence that low GSH levels in expecting mothers increase the risk of gestational hypertension, diabetes and eclampsia. Also, according to recent research, the fetus seems to be low in antioxidant defenses and depends on its mother's good health to ensure healthy fetal development. The process of organ development (organogenesis) is extremely sensitive, but at this stage is especially well protected by higher GSH levels. And there is every reason to believe it would also help infants suffering from diminished liver function (jaundice). Ensuring high level of GSH to optimize the A.I.D. (AID). functions will ensure that the expecting and lactating mothers are in their best of health.
How does Immunocal benefit expectant mothers?
Pregnancy, GSH (Glutathone) & Immunocal
• HEALTHY PREGNANCY
• ESSENTIAL NUTRITION BEFORE DURING & AFTER PREGNANCY
• CRUCIAL FOR DEVELOPMENT OF FOETUS & PLACENTA
• DETOXIFICATION OF FREE RADICALS & TOXINS
Many would like to know about glutathione for a healthier pregnancy. Dr. Jimmy Gutman, world's leading expert on glutathione, devoted a whole chapter to pregnancy, lactation, and childbirth and the role of glutathione (GSH) in these conditions in his latest book. Note the conclusion to this chapter here that sums up the role of glutathione for a healthier pregnancy:
"Glutathione's role in embryonic, foetal and placental development is crucial. It is constantly at work as a scavenger of free radicals and as a detoxifying enzyme of dozens of foreign substances and toxins.
Without GSH, these substances can push the child towards an unnerving variety of developmental and health problems. Once past the stage or organogenesis, the unborn child's principal GSH protection comes from outside its own body - the placenta. There is an interesting similarity between the placenta and the liver. Among their many other functions, both act as filters for toxins and both have high levels of GSH within their tissues. It is no coincidence.
Many common complications of pregnancy including high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes coincide with low glutathione levels. Decreased GSH can cause many difficulties in pregnancy. A great deal of research is being carried out using GSH enhancing strategies to combat these problems. There is already some success and much optimism."
It is clear from the foregoing that glutathione for a healthy pregnancy is a very positive role. This is due to its effectiveness in reducing oxidative stress in the womb, as a detoxifier, and other related roles with pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes.
It is important to know that in order to raise glutathione for a healthier pregnancy, taking glutathione pills will not raise your glutatione, and many supplements that are known to raise glutathione are not recommended for pregnant or nursing women. (See Glutathione Side Effects).
One supplement that is safe and recommended by Dr. Gutman for pregnant and nursing mothers for raising glutathione for a healthy pregnancy is Immunocal. It contains the same bonded cysteine that is in mother's breast milk that a baby receives while breastfeeding.
Immunocal is the most effective, safe, and natural way to raise and sustain your glutathione.
What is the difference between colostrum and Immunocal®?
Commercially available colostrum are usually from cow. It is produced during the first 26 hours following birth of cows which are vaccinated with antigen-specific viruses. This means that such colostrum is useful for only those virus inoculated into the cow. However, this postulated mechanism of action of inter-species transfer of immune factors has NOT been clinically proven. Data that are used to show effectiveness in increasing immune function are not statistically significant and usually anecdotal (consisting mostly of personal testimonies rather than clinical studies).
Colostrum has NOT been demonstrated to be superior to Immunocal® and does not have any of the credibility Immunocal® has under its belt. The proteins in colostrum have no cystine content, which is critically essential to the synthesis of GSH to achieve immuno-enhancing, antioxidation and detoxification properties. On the contrary, the effectiveness of Immunocal® has been demonstrated in numerous human clinical trials which found statistically significant increases in GSH and indices of immune function such as the CD4:CD8 ratios. The clinical data is significantly more convincing for Immunocal®.
Can a person who is lactose intolerant take Immunocal®?
Yes. Immunocal® contains less than 1% lactose and fats. It is safe even in the most severe case of lactose intolerance.
Can I take other supplements if I take Immunocal®?
Definitely. In fact, increased level of GSH from the intake of Immunocal® helps to improve the action of health supplements which usually contain antioxidant vitamins. Immunocal® increases GSH levels (endogenous antioxidant ie. antioxidant produced by our body) and this helps improve the action of exogenous (not produced by the body) antioxidant vitamins. For this reason, mega-doses of antioxidant supplements are not required if you are taking Immunocal® as the raised GSH will optimize the functions of the other antioxidants. Low levels of GSH have been shown to be associated with diseases and illnesses. Immunocal® helps to optimize and maintain our GSH level so that the health supplements we are taking will work more effectively to maintain optimum health.
Will Immunocal® affect the medications I am taking?
No. The proteins in Immunocal® are similar to those found in mother's milk. Hence, taking Immunocal® is as safe as taking mother's milk. In fact, if you are taking medications, increased level of GSH resulting from taking Immunocal® will help improve and control the medical condition you are suffering by its antioxidant, immune enhancing and detoxification pathways. (AID). However, individuals who have undergone organ transplant should not take Immunocal® as the immune system needs to be suppressed in order to prevent organ rejection.
Please take note that implants are not transplant. Patients with implants can take Immunocal safely.
Are there any side effects associated with Immunocal®?
The proteins in Immunocal® are similar to those found in mother's milk. Hence, taking Immunocal® is as safe as taking mother's milk. Unless you are allergic to these specific proteins or human milk (which is very rare and pls take note that lactose intolerance is NOT a milk allergy), there is no side effects associated with Immunocal®.
Since Immunocal® contains proteins, can gout sufferers who should refrain from taking protein rich food take Immunocal®?
Gout is an abnormality of uric acid metabolism that results in the deposition of sodium urate crystals in joints, soft tissue and the urinary tract. Overproduction or under-excretion of uric acid may cause high levels of uric acid in the blood. A high dietary intake of purine-rich proteins, such as internal organs, meat extracts, peas and shellfish, may be another factor. Milk has low levels of purine, hence is safe for those suffering from gout. In fact, Immunocal® is very useful for gout sufferers as raised GSH levels from the intake of Immunocal® can help reduce inflammation and free radicals attack on the affected tissues and improve the condition due to its AID (AID) actions.
One cannot totally refrain from taking proteins as the body needs essential amino-acids for proper functioning. The body cannot make these amino-acids and therefore, we need to consume them in the diet. Immunocal® offers the best source of protein and most importantly, help to achieve the AID effects!
Who cannot take Immunocal®?
Only those who have undergone organ transplant and those who are allergy to specific milk protein found in Immunocal® or mother's milk (very rare) cannot take Immunocal®. Those who have undergone organ transplantation should not take Immunocal® because their immune system need to be suppressed in order to prevent organ rejection.
Please take note that implants are NOT transplant and lactose intolerance is NOT a milk allergy. Immunocal® contains less than 1% lactose and so even severe cases of lactose intolerance can take Immunocal® without problem. In short, new born infants who are not fed with mother's milk right up to the old and aged can take Immunocal® to maintain optimal health. Remember Immunocal® contains proteins which are similar to human milk so taking Immunocal® is as safe as taking mother's milk.
I am skeptical that Immunocal® is good for so many disease conditions. Can you please explain how and why this is so?
It is important to first of all, understand that it is GSH in our body that helps in so many disease conditions. Free radicals are being implicated in many diseases and illnesses. GSH, being our own Master Antioxidant, is the best and most effective antioxidant to take care of the free radicals in our body. Our defense cells, lymphocytes, are dependant on GSH for their proper function and replication. Therefore, in order to optimize our immune system, we must first of all optimize our GSH. The highest level of GSH is in our liver. It is important to keep our GSH levels high to eliminate toxins, pollutants, drug metabolites, carcinogens and radiation damage.
The AID (AID) functions of GSH are very important to help control diseases and illnesses. GSH has to be produced by our own body cells as the raw form in terms of pills or powder will be totally destroyed during digestion. Immunocal® has been proven to provide the effective natural precursors or building blocks for the manufacturing of GSH in our cells. Hence, the importance of Immunocal® lies in giving our body sufficient raw materials to make GSH ourselves, so that our immune system is always optimal to take care of diseases and illnesses.
I eat a balance diet, sleep well and exercise on a regular basis. Do I still need to take Immunocal®?
Immunocal® is useful in maintaining good health. Aging inevitably affects our energy level and quality of life. It has been shown in Lancet, a renowned British medical journal, that GSH level decreases precipitously as we age. The reverse is also true. Free radical production increases as we age. This contributes to aging symptoms and decline in health. If we want to maintain good health as we age, it is important to take Immunocal® to maintain our GSH level so that the AID (AID) functions in our body are optimized.
How long does it take before I can experience the health benefits from Immunocal®?
Studies have shown that those who are old, weak or sick have very low levels of GSH. These are the people who can experience the positive effects of Immunocal® immediately. Those who are feeling sick should increase their dosage to 3 pouches and will notice that they recover very quickly, as compared to not taking Immunocal® in the past. Those who suffer from chronic illness such as diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension will achieve better control of their illness when they take Immunocal® as an adjunct therapy to their medications. Those undergoing cancer treatments such as chemotherapy will experience lesser side effects and faster recovery due to the effect of GSH resulting from the intake of Immunocal®. This has been clinically proven in many trials and published in renowned peer-reviewed medical journals.
The Journal of Applied Physiology has published a study on healthy athletes who often suffers from oxidative stress due to the rigorous training routine they have to go through. In this double-blind clinical study, lymphocyte GSH value was increased by 35.5% and muscular performance increased by 13% for those using Immunocal®. No increase in control subjects who took only casein was observed. This is due to the fact that high GSH resulting from the intake of Immunocal® are able to take care of the free radical production resulting in oxidative stress in such individuals. However, the time for normal healthy individuals to experience the benefits of Immunocal® varies. We encourage these individuals to take note of his energy level prior to taking Immunocal®. Increase in stamina and energy levels will usually be experienced in the first week after consuming Immunocal® due to the increased in GSH. This is usually the first sign on the efficacy of Immunocal®.
Will my GSH level be affected if I stop taking Immunocal® after a few months of consumption? Will there be any harmful effects or withdrawal symptom?
Please take note that Immunocal® is not a drug. It is extracted exclusively from milk produced without antibiotics and steroids. Therefore, there will not be any withdrawal symptoms or craving unlike addiction. GSH is produced intra-cellularly by our body. We are born with this miraculous substance. Hence, your GSH will only drop to your body's original level if you stop taking Immunocal®. It has been shown in the Lancet, a renowned British medical journal, that GSH level decreases precipitously as we age. Low GSH levels have been implicated in many diseases and illnesses associated with aging and degenerative conditions. It is ideal if we can optimize our GSH level at all times to maintain good health and quality of life.
Do I need to keep Immunocal® in the refrigerator since it is so heat sensitive?
It is not necessary to do so. However, it is important to ensure the storage place is not near anywhere that is hot or warm such as beside the stove or above the refrigerator. The most important caution is not to mix Immunocal® in anything hot or warm or in a blender.
Can I mix half a pouch of Immunocal® in the morning and the remaining half pouch in the evening?
Once open, it is advisable that the full content in the pouch be mixed and consumed. Once exposed to air, the efficacy of the product will reduce over time. Imagine leaving a cut apple in the open air. It will turn brown from oxidation.
If I need to take 2-3 pouches of Immunocal® a day, can I take them all in one go or individual doses?
It is better to take 1 sachet 3 times a day on an empty stomach or with a light meal. Please take note that concomitant intake of another high protein load eg. a piece of steak, may adversely affect absorption.
How can I get rid of the foam after mixing Immunocal® in the shaker by shaking?
You can add 1 or 2 teaspoons of other powder such as Milo, Holicks, Almond or infant formula to the Immunocal® before shaking. The lesser fluid you put, the easier to mix. Just add 1 oz or 10 ml of fluid when using the shaker. Alternatively, pour 1 - 2 tablespoon of fruit juice, Ribena, Yakult or vitagen into an empty glass, empty 1 - 2 pouches of Immunocal into the glass and use a fork to stir into a paste. Add some more fluid to dilute it and drink.
Other options include mixing Immunocal® powder into milk shake, yogurt, ice-cream (children's favorite), cold cereal or blended fruits and vegetables. Please take note that Immunocal® is heat sensitive so never mix Immunocal® in anything that is warm or hot. Do not mix Immunocal® in a blender as the heat produced by the blender will destroy the bioactiveness of Immunocal®.
I eat food, fruits and vegetables that I believe are already rich in GSH. Why do I still need to take Immunocal®?
Please remember that although GSH is present in some food, it is easily broken down in the digestive tract and eliminated. GSH has to be produced by our cells (intra-cellularly) and the most effective and natural way of increasing our GSH levels is to give our body the raw materials or precursors to make GSH.
Immunocal®, which contains bioactive precursors of GSH, is both natural and effective and guarantees the rise in intra-cellular GSH levels.
Since the protein in Immunocal® is extracted from milk, can I just drink ordinary milk and get the same benefits?
No. Ordinary milk is manufactured by standard high-heat pasteurization. This will completely destroy the specific heat sensitive proteins that are needed in the raising of intra-cellular GSH and will not achieve the AID effects (AID). That is why Immunocal® took so many years to perfect. The importance in preserving the proteins' bioactivity lies in the patented process by means of low-heat pasteurization and micro-filtration. No other product has the proprietary to this unique manufacturing process which results in our unique 'Method of Use' patents which ensures that no other milk products can state "clinically PROVEN to stimulate the immune system" and "significantly raises glutathione levels".
In addition, one pouch of Immunocal® takes 20 glasses of fresh cow's milk to process. If you drink 20 glasses of fresh cow's milk, not only will you experience flatulence and consume all the fats and lactose in the milk, it will have absolutely no influence on your GSH level to achieve the AID functions ie. Antioxidant, Immune Enhancement and Detoxification!
What is the difference between Immunocal® and Immunocal® Platinum (IP)?
Immunocal® has been clinically proven to provide the essential bioactive precursors or raw materials similar to human milk for your cells to make Glutathione (GSH). GSH helps to optimize your immune system (lymphocytes) on a sustained basis resulting in more resilience against illness and disease. It also enhances our detoxification function against pollutants, carcinogens, toxins, poison and cigarette smoke. It slows down the aging process by reducing "oxidative stress" and helps in muscular performance and recovery (Journal of Applied Physiology 1999 Oct:87(4): 1381-5).
Immunocal® Platinum (IP) consists of the whole pouch of Immunocal® plus 2 added ingredients namely Cytokine Modulating Protein (CMP) and Redox Modulating Formula (RMF).
CMP represents the next generation of whey protein subfractions. Cytokines are proteins used to coordinate the body's immune response to infectious agents and help manage normal cellular growth. These components play roles in repairing cell damage, promoting healthy cell differentiation and growth, and inhibiting abnormal cell growth. Most importantly, CMP can modulate the inflammatory response in cells and tissues.
RMF is a proprietary blend of minerals and electrolytes to support the natural pH balance in the body. This is important as studies have shown that acidosis (body in an acidic state) leads to disease and ageing. RMF helps to decrease the amount of acid formed in the body (important to the kidneys) and slows down calcium loss thus, ensuring stronger bones. It optimizes and maintains muscle function and strength and helps in sugar metabolism.
In short, IP provides triple action for immune health namely Glutathione for defensive immunity, CMP for reparative immunity and RMF for sustained immunity.
We highly recommend IP to the aging group (above 45 years old), those with chronic illness (diabetes, hypertension, high-cholesterol, fatty liver), cancer patients, smokers, drinkers and highly-stressed individuals.
Where can the highest level of Glutathione be found?
Glutathione (GSH) is present in every cell of your body. We are born with this important tripeptide to protect us from daily bombardments of both internal and external origins.
The highest level of GSH is found in your liver, your major detoxifying organ. The liver has been found to perform more than 500 vital functions from making bile to processing nutrients from food. However, the most known vital function of your liver is detoxification. Studies have found that GSH has multiple functions in detoxification and its depletion has been associated with an increased risk of chemical toxicity, heavy metal toxicity such as mercury amalgams (dental fillings), as well as environmental toxins such as pollutants, carcinogens, fuel exhaust, cigarette smoke. The increased liver GSH levels seen in healthy and physically fit individuals leave them better equipped to handle toxic threats from such substance as paracetamol. The fact is, when one is overdosed with paracetamol, intravenous infusion of GSH precursors elevate GSH levels immediately to neutralize the poisoning, thus saving lives.
However, GSH levels drop precipitously as we age and we start to experience ageing symptoms and are more susceptible to infections and diseases. Our liver function will inevitably weaken as we age. It is therefore, important to ensure high levels of GSH at all times so as to ensure optimal liver health to perform the more than 500 vital functions.