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AMBI Launches Cardia Salt Alternative Nationally.

TARRYTOWN, N.Y.--(HealthWire)--Jan. 16, 1997--

Columbia University School of Public Health Expert Panel announces

benefits of reducing sodium and maintaining adequate dietary

potassium

News Personality Larry King Featured as Cardia(TM) Radio

Advertising Spokesman

AMBI Inc. (Nasdaq: AMBI) announced that its patented food product, Cardia(TM) Salt Alternative, is now available on pharmacy shelves throughout the United States. Cardia(TM) has been shown in clinical studies to be an effective dietary aid to help reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension -- a condition that affects more than 50 million Americans, or one-quarter of the adult population.

Mary S. Hudson, AMBI's Director of Marketing and Sales said, "The decision to make Cardia(TM) available nationally was based upon the results of nine months of test marketing in several areas of the country. Physicians, pharmacists, and dietitians now recognize the medical value in recommending Cardia(TM) for their patients with high blood pressure and also for those at risk of becoming hypertensive. Given its real salt taste, Cardia(TM) is making it easy for those people who have been unable to modify their normal diets to comply with medical recommendations to reduce their sodium intake and to maintain adequate levels of potassium and magnesium."

Cardia(TM) has 54 percent less sodium than table salt plus the added benefit of potassium and magnesium, two minerals that may be deficient in the diets of many people with high blood pressure.

Commenting on the national marketing plans, Ms. Hudson said, "Beginning today, we are implementing both 'professional' and 'consumer' marketing campaigns, designed to inform members of the medical community as well as potential users of the product about its benefits and availability. 'Consumer' promotion includes radio advertising featuring news personality Larry King and appearances by physicians and dietitians on radio and television programs. Promotion to 'professionals' includes clinical literature and samples for trial usage. In addition, we are providing pharmacists with both in-store merchandising programs as well as the clinical information necessary to advise consumers."

Experts Confirm Importance of Sodium Reduction

Although the issue of appropriate salt use has drawn much attention recently, today's announcement by the Expert Panel convened by the Dean of the Columbia University School of Public Health entitled --- "The Role of Dietary Sodium and Potassium in the Prevention and Management of Hypertension: A Public Health Concern," --- provides confirmation of the significance of sodium reduction in the diet.

The panel affirmed a causal relationship between sodium (salt) consumption and high blood pressure and announced that most people would benefit by moderating their daily sodium intake and maintaining an adequate level of potassium.

"The panel agreed that dietary sodium reduction could manage and, in some cases, prevent hypertension. It can also be an effective alternative to the use of some antihypertensive medications," said Dan Jones, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Director, Division of Hypertension, University of Mississippi Medical Center. "The panel also agreed that adequate potassium levels should be maintained and that the amount of sodium relative to the amount of potassium in the diet may be of greater clinical significance than sodium reduction alone."

"This consensus, along with the latest findings of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and Trial of Nonpharmacologic Interventions in the Elderly (TONE) studies presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) meeting in November 1996, show that dietary and lifestyle modifications can help manage high blood pressure and reduce or eliminate the need for medication in some people," stated Dr. Jones. "The message is clear that sodium reduction is important to all Americans, especially those who have or are at risk for hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases."

The AHA and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have both issued guidelines stating that Americans eat twice as much salt as they should. They recommend that to adhere to a heart healthy diet, people should eat no more than 2.4 grams of sodium (a little more than 1 teaspoon of salt) daily. They also recommend that adequate amounts of potassium and magnesium be maintained in the diet.

"Even with a modest reduction in salt intake, we can reduce the death rates from stroke by 22 percent and heart attack by 16 percent," says Paul Whelton, MD, Dean of Tulane School of Public Health. "If we follow the guidelines, we can reduce mortality even further."

Cardia(TM), as a Dietary Aid, has Been Shown to Help Reduce Blood Pressure

"The clinical studies for Cardia(TM) are compelling and demonstrate that it is an effective approach to help people with hypertension decrease their blood pressure, whether or not they are on drug therapy," says Dr. Whelton.

A double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study found that the substitution of Cardia(TM) for table salt in the diet over a five-week period significantly reduced systolic blood pressure (a measure of pressure when the heart is pumping) by 7.4 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (a measure of pressure when the heart is at rest) by 3.6 mm Hg.

In another double-blind trial, 40 untreated mildly hypertensive patients were placed on salt-reduced diets and randomized to received Cardia(TM) or regular table salt over a six-month period. Investigators found a statistically significant reduction in both systolic (13 mm Hg) and diastolic (8 mm Hg) blood pressure for those patients on Cardia(TM).

Cardia(TM), unlike regular salt, has also shown that it does not interfere with the blood pressure lowering effect of the most commonly prescribed antihypertensive medications including beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and calcium channel blockers, in preclinical studies.

Cardia(TM) Salt Alternative is not a treatment for hypertension; it is a healthy and convenient way for people to comply with medical guidelines for dietary sodium reduction and maintenance of adequate potassium and magnesium intake without giving up the taste of salt.

Cardia(TM) has Real Salt Taste

While most people are aware that reducing salt is important for the prevention and management of high blood pressure, many people with hypertension have difficulty cutting salt from their diets. Salt-free food can be bland and most salt substitutes have a bitter, metallic taste. In addition, decreasing sodium intake can be difficult because it is found in most processed and canned foods, frozen meals, and dry mixes.

"People with high blood pressure will benefit from reducing sodium in their diet," says Jerome Cohen, MD, Professor, Internal Medicine, St. Louis University Hospital. "However, this is very difficult for most people to achieve. Cardia(TM) is the first product I can recommend to my patients because I am confident they will find it an acceptable alternative since its taste is indistinguishable from salt. Instead of having to take something away from a patient, doctors will now be able to recommend something patients can use and enjoy which provides the benefit of lowering sodium without diminishing the pleasure of good eating."

Cardia(TM) can be used just like salt, measure for measure, in cooking, baking and at the table. It comes in portion-controlled packets, each containing 1/8 teaspoon, an average serving size. "Cardia(TM)'s real salt taste provides a solution for balancing the American public's taste for salt and the lower-sodium, higher-potassium diets their doctors recommend," said Dr. Whelton.

AMBI develops and commercializes pharmaceutical and dietary products in the areas of hypertension and infectious disease.

CONTACT: Investor Relations, (914) 345-6888

Ms. Marcia Kean, Feinstein Partners, (617) 577-8110
COPYRIGHT 1997 Business Wire
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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