Freqently Asked Questions (FAQ)

These are common questions asked about Biobran MGN-3

Q: Why does this MGN-3 immune system supplement have such a strange brand name — Biobran?

To some people the name "Biobran" sounds like a laxative, which can be off-putting to those involved with conditions more life-threatening than constipation, and for those with delicate stomachs. Biobran, however, has its name for good reason: it is a fractionated pre-digested (using enzymes from the shitake mushroom) biologically active rice bran product. So Biobran is a good descriptive name for this supplement, although those interested in marketing might prefer something more scientific sounding — perhaps with an "immuno" in the name. However, it must be remembered that, apart from its efficacy, the most important aspect of Biobran is its safety, and being a pre-digested bran product makes it very safe indeed. Also, as a soluble fibre, it has no laxative effect.  

Q: Is Biobran MGN-3 an immune booster or an immunomodulator?

Biobran is an immunomodulator; it does not artificially boost the immune system. As a consequence, those who benefit most from taking it are those with weak immune systems (if your immune system is already strong Biobran supplementation will not make a lot of difference). Modulators are much safer than boosters or stimulants because they bring biological parameters to balance rather than pushing up specific parameters at the expense of others, which causes side-effects.

Q: Is Biobran a cure or a treatment for specific diseases?

Biobran is a nutritional supplement that helps to modulate immune function. If, in the process of modulating immune function, some of the symptoms of a particular disease or condition abate, then all well and good. Biobran, however, is not in itself a treatment or a cure for any disease or medical condition. It is most successfully used as an adjunct or addition to a proper treatment program (conventional or otherwise) supervised by a health care practitioner. Indeed, Professor Ghoneum himself promotes conventional tumour treatment as an effective "debulker" whilst using Biobran MGN-3 to help the body's own immune function mop up any remainder and help the body to restore integrity.

Q: Would Biobran be beneficial for X, Y or Z disease?

Generally, anyone with a disease that involves a lowering of the immune system as a symptom is likely to receive some benefit from Biobran supplementation, although once again it should be stressed that Biobran is NOT a treatment in itself, but a useful supplement to take alongside treatment. Generally, virally caused diseases/infections and cancerous conditions respond best with Biobran supplementation alongside proper treatment, although you are always advised to inform your doctor of any supplementation. As conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy also severely deplete the immune system, lowering quality of life, it comes as no surprise that one of the most reported benefits of Biobran supplementation is that it can help increase quality of life during these treatments by reducing some of the side-effects.

Q: Should Biobran MGN-3 be avoided if one has an autoimmune disease?

Autoimmune diseases are those conditions in which the immune system attacks its own body — it has lost the ability to differentiate between self and non-self. Examples of autoimmune diseases are rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and Crohn's Disease. If the problem is serious, doctors will prescribe immunosuppressant drugs in order to weaken the severity of this self-attack. Immunosuppressants are also prescribed for cell, tissue or organ transplants in order to minimise rejection by the immune system. So if you are taking immunosuppressant drugs then you are obviously advised NOT to take Biobran, or at least check with your doctor first.   The reason for this might be that those with autoimmune diseases tend to have lowered NK cell activities and substantially fluctuating macrophage numbers. Under such circumstances, Biobran can help boost the NK cell activity and help to damp macrophage fluctuations. However, activating white cell activity before the fluctuations are sufficiently reduced might aggravate symptoms for a period of about a month after the start of Biobran administration. For this reason, it is suggested that you start with a small dosage and very slowly increase it, carefully observing the symptoms afterwards.   Another factor that should be taken into consideration is the anti-inflammantory effect of Biobran. Dr. Yuzo Endo, an advisor to Daiwa Pharmaceutical,himself originally started taking Biobran for his rheumatoid arthritis. He was so impressed with the results that he started examining the other aspects of this supplement (see Anti-Inflammantory Effect of Biobran).

Q: Can Biobran MGN-3 be helpful for the skin condition psoriasis?

There have been no clinical studies or case studies on the effect of BioBran on psoriasis, an autoimmune skin condition. Although BioBran possesses immunomodulatory activity and suppresses inflammation by enhancing NK activity and promoting proliferation of B and T cells, as well as reducing inflammatory cytokine production, the pathogenic mechanism of psoriasis hasn't been elucidated and so it is difficult to know exactly what can be helpful, although it is believed that diet, stress and infections, along with genetics, are all important factors. Standard treatment for psoriasis generally includes anti- inflammatory or immunosuppressive agents. So although BioBran is expected to be effective on psoriasis, it is also possible that it may worsen the inflammation by promoting the immunity. Therefore, when a psoriasis patient takes this product, he or she should begin with a small dosage and carefully observe the symptoms afterward. If conditions improve, the dosage should be regulated between one to three 1000mg packets per day. If conditions deteriorate, then Biobran should be stopped.

Q: Can I take Biobran with X, Y or Z medication?

Like any product, it would be impossible to test Biobran with every one of the tens of thousands of medicines currently available. However, understanding that Biobran is a digestible bran supplement, and that it has been taken by tens of thousands of people worldwide without incident, makes it a very safe supplement with no reported contraindications, apart from, obviously, immunosuppressants. It has also passed strict hospital evaluation tests. That said, it is always recommended with any product (or indeed radical change in diet) that you inform your doctor or practitioner.

Q: What determines the cost of Biobran MGN-3?

Although Biobran is "merely" pre-digested rice bran that has been fractionated to select certain molecular sizes, the process itself is quite complex to do under pharmaceutically controlled conditions. Also, the yield of Biobran from rice bran during this process is actually very small. This makes Biobran an expensive product. Add to this the product development and research costs that Daiwa Pharmaceutical have borne over the years and you begin to understand the costs involved. In the future, this price will gradually reduce as development costs are recouped, hospitals carry a larger percentage of the research costs, and production is scaled up.

Q: Why do the 1000mg sachets of Biobran have a net weight of 2000mg?

The sachets each contain 1000mg of active Biobran whilst the tablets each contain 250mg of active Biobran. The rest of the weight for each is from the excipients that are added to stabilise the product, help keep it together (for the tablets), help it to flow (for the sachets), and to keep the Biobran dry (it is very hydrophilic). You can find these other ingredients in the ingredients section of this site. 

Q: Is there any difference between the efficacy of sachets and tablets?

The manufacturers of Biobran MGN-3 have assured that there is no difference in effectiveness between the forms that the Biobran comes in. So taking 4 tablets is entirely equivalent to taking one sachet: both contain 1000mg of Biobran. (Tablets are more convenient for those on smaller dosages and for those not wanting the fuss of mixing the powder in half a glass of water.) However, as the sachets are more readily absorbed, ideally they should be taken twenty minutes after a meal whereas the tablets should be taken with a meal.

Q: How much Biobran MGN-3 should I take?

As a general rule, higher doses of Biobran tend to get to the optimum immune level or normalization point much more quickly than lower dosages and so are recommended for more serious conditions where speed of recovery is important.   Dosages vary from 500mg a day (half a sachet or 2 tablets) right up to 3000mg a day (3 sachets or 12 tablets) or more for a standard-weight adult. A fairly healthy adult, or someone with a mild cold or infection, would take 500mg a day for general immune protection and disease prevention. For more serious immune deficiencies or for faster recovery one would take 1 sachet a day (4 tablets or 15mg/kg/day), whilst for very serious immune deficiencies, such as those associated with cancer, one would take 3 sachets (12 tablets or 45mg/kg/day) a day for 2 months and then drop down to a maintenance dose of 1 sachet (4 tablets) thereafter. (If, whilst on the maintenance dose, treatments like chemotherapy or radiotherapy are given, it is advisable to increase the amount again to the full 3 grams a day or more from a week before the treatment until a couple of weeks after.)   It is always better to divide dosages throughout the day between the meals, so for example, someone on 3 sachets or 12 tablets a day should take 1 sachet or 4 tablets with the three main meals of the day — breakfast, lunch and supper.  

Q: If I stop and then start Biobran supplementation, how much should I take?

Those taking a gram (1000mg or 4 tablets) or more of Biobran a day will reach optimum immune modulation after a two month period. If Biobran is stopped at any time, immune function will generally fall back, over a month period, to its original weakened level because of the continued immunosuppressant factors such as disease presence, poor diet, stress, toxicity etc. It is advisable, therefore, not to interrupt a course of Biobran for more than a very occasional unavoidable few-day period.

Q: When can I safely stop taking Biobran?

Biobran MGN-3 suffers no hyporesponsiveness or tail-off in effectiveness over time, and so it can be taken indefinitely. However, the cost of long-term supplementation can be prohibitive and so many want to know when they can stop taking it. If you have taken it for a particular condition and that condition has been successfully treated, then Biobran supplementation can be stopped or a very small maintenance dose can be continued. If the condition persists or is ongoing, it is probably better to continue taking it. When stopping Biobran you are always recommended to adopt healthy lifestyles in order to maximize your unaided immune system levels. You can find some suggestions here.

Q: Can I reduce chemotherapy dosage if I take Biobran?

Some research has suggested that as the body's ability to fight for itself has been increased, chemotherapy dosages can be reduced. Whilst this has tentatively been shown in some animal studies, we would NOT recommend this. Always consult your oncologist.

Q: If I am having chemotherapy/radiotherapy and choose to take Biobran alongside, when should I start taking it?

The sooner the better provided your oncologist does not object. Having a strong immune system when you first start chemotherapy will make the chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment much easier to take with milder side effects. You should start with the higher dose of 3 grams or sachets a day immediately to get your immune system normalized as rapidly as possible. Normally you would reduce the dose of Biobran to 1 sachet or 1 gram a day after 2 months, but in the case of an extended period of chemo or radiotherapy, it is recommended that you remain on this higher dose throughout actual treatment to help mitigate the side effects. (Ideally, the high dose should be taken from a week before the treament to two weeks after.)

Q: Can children take Biobran MGN-3?

Biobran has been safely and successfully taken by children of all ages. Doses tend to be reduced in proportion to their weight to adult weight. So for example, a child that weighs 20kg might take about a third or a quarter of the adult dose.

Q: Can pregnant women take Biobran?

Pregnant women have taken Biobran without any problems. However, Daiwa Pharmaceutical have told us that, as with any product or food, no matter how seemingly safe, until extensive tests are done on pregnant women they cannot endorse Biobran supplementation for this group.

Q: Can I give Biobran MGN-3 to my pets?

Many people have given Biobran to their pets to strengthen immune function. We have heard of it given to mammals and birds only, although we are sure somebody who feeds it to their pet iguana will be contacting us shortly (less developed life-forms such as fish have more primitive immune systems and so it wouldn't be recommended). Again, as with children, the doses need to be scaled down according to weight. Use the formula of 15mg/kg/day to have the equivalent dosage of an adult human being taking 1000mg or 1 sachet a day.

Q: Does Biobran pass through the blood-brain barrier?

As yet, there is no evidence that Biobran can pass through the blood-brain barrier. Biobran has a large molecular mass, much larger than glucose which can go through this barrier, and so it is unlikely that it can penetrate it. Does this mean that Biobran is of no use for someone with abnormal cell growths in the brain? No. Biobran is still beneficial because the brain does not have a separate immune system to the body so a strengthened immune system will benefit all regions of the body to some extent. And although NK cells generally do not migrate across the blood-brain barrier, any abnormal growths in the brain would have a correspondingly increased vascularisation (and one that is more haphazard than normal vascularisation) and so NK cells are more likely to be able to reach these abnormal cells. Having said that, there is little data available for the effect of Biobran on brain growths, although it will definitely help with quality of life of such patients. (Information from Dr. Endo in Japan.)

Q: Can Biobran be taken during a stem cell transplant?

When someone is undergoing stem cell therapy, they are invariably on immunosuppressants to help reduce the risk of rejection of the stem cells. During this period, nothing that increases immune function should be taken. Once the stem cells have taken and the immunosuppressants have been stopped, provided your doctor is happy, Biobran can be taken to help normalize the immune system again.

Q: Is Biobran a sterile product?

Like other natural food supplements, Biobran is not a sterile product. In fact, any process of sterilization, which usually involves high temperatures and possibly pressures, would denature the product. It is, however, made in a pharmaceutical lab and is packed by a high quality packer. So although there is extremely low bacterial content in this product, it would still be classified as very clean in comparision to other health supplements on the market. Biobran does not contain any harmful bacteria.

Q: Can Biobran MGN-3 be home-made?

Unfortunately, the Biobran making process is much more complex than just mixing shitake mushrooms with rice bran. The enzymes have to be isolated from the mushrooms, mixed with the rice bran and then, after a set period of time, the low molecular weight compounds of the resulting short-chain polysaccharides fractionated off. This process, therefore, is too complex to be done in a kitchen.

Q: Is Biobran MGN-3 tested on animals?

As a Japanese company, Daiwa Pharmaceutical was legally required to perform an LD50 animal test for safety reasons. This is a one-off test conducted on rats that all new products have to go through. Whilst this test is regrettable because some of the rats are killed, it is unavoidable and a legal requirement. Without LD50 safety data, no hospital ethics committee would conduct any human trials or studies with Biobran, and it would certainly not be available to the public. The other animal experiments (again with rats) that this company has performed with Biobran are "subchronic" tests to study side effects and immune system activation. With these tests, no animals are killed. Daiwa is committed to acting both ethically and responsibly, and always keeps any animal experimentation to an absolute minimum.

Q: Does Biobran MGN-3 contain GMO ingredients?

Absolutely not. Biobran is not genetically modified in any way and contains no GMO ingredients.

Q: Are arsenic levels in Biobran MGN-3 concerning?

Most foods contain a tiny bit of the mineral arsenic, just as they do with many different minerals. The content of arsenic in Biobran is 3ppm or less — which works out to 9µg per day on a 3g/day Biobran daily dose. As the WHO safety standard for inorganic arsenic (the high toxic kind) is set at 107µg a day for a person of 50kg, the amount in Biobran is certainly in the safe zone. However, as a percentage of the arsenic in Biobran, as with other food substances, is of the low toxic organic variety, the amount of dangerous arsenic will be an even smaller fraction of the safety limit, making arsenic toxicity a non-issue for Biobran. To top this off, the safety of Biobran is backed by a mutagenicity study and a number of toxicology studies, which have never reported any toxic or dangerous side-effects. For more info on arsenic content of Biobran, click here.

Q: Is there any danger of Biobran MGN-3 being radioactive after the Japanese Fukushima nuclear accident?

Daiwa's manufacturing plant is not only hundreds of miles away from Fukushima, but as a matter of course every batch of Biobran MGN-3 is tested for radiation and all have tested completely clear. Biobran sold in Europe comes in by way of Germany, and there are very stringent radiation tests in place in that country.

Q: Why are agents selling Biobran MGN-3 so reticent about presenting its benefits?

In most European countries it is not legal for agents selling any food supplement to make medical claims. Biobran therefore is sold simply as a supplement that can help boost weak immune systems. In the US, promoters seem to have the freedom to say a little more, although recently Lane Labs in the US has been banned from selling it because of the claims they made for it.