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NHANES Data Support Market for Shaman Weight Loss Product.

Business Editors and Health/Medical Writers

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.--(BW HealthWire)--Dec. 21, 2000

Shaman.com, the main operating division of Shaman Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OTCBB:SHPH.OB) today announced that the initial results from the 1999 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) indicate that an estimated 61% of American adults are overweight or obese. These results demonstrate a substantial increase in the potential U.S. weight loss market over the previous 1994 NHANES III study that estimated those two groups to comprise approximately 55% of the adult population.

For individuals plagued with excess weight, the news is bad for multiple reasons besides the societal preoccupation with beauty. We know that obesity increases risk of cancer, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, gall bladder disease, and Syndrome X. One of our national goals has been to reduce the prevalence of obesity among adults to less than 15%. However, as the NHANES data indicate, the problem has been getting worse, not better.

The 1999 NHANES, using body mass index (BMI) measurements, defined overweight as having a BMI of 25 to 29.9. Obesity was defined as having a BMI of 30 or greater. Among adults, age 20-74 years, the prevalence of being overweight in the overweight group increased approximately 2%. However, the prevalence of obesity in the obese group nearly doubled, going from approximately 15% to 27% during the period 1995 to 1999.

Obesity is a factor that makes insulin resistance and Syndrome X worse. Among the various diseases that Syndrome X and its elevated insulin levels lead to, are heart attack, polycystic ovary syndrome, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. Initial studies indicate that it may also be likely to predict colorectal and breast cancer.

Syndrome X was first described in 1988 by Dr. Gerald Reaven, Professor of Medicine at Stanford University and Senior Vice President for Clinical Affairs at Shaman, after 30 years of intensely focused research. He has recently written a book entitled, Syndrome X: Overcoming The Silent Killer That Can Give You A Heart Attack (Simon & Schuster 2000) that shows you how to reduce your risk of Syndrome X. The book has been reviewed in Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus Reviews as the authoritative guide on Syndrome X. As a complete care guide, it provides a full chapter of weight loss guidelines, including BMI measurement and evaluation. Dr. Reaven's book shows readers how to establish where they are now in terms of weight and what their weight loss objectives should be. It tells you what Syndrome Diet to follow, how many calories per day will lead you to your desired weight, and gives you actual dietary menus and complete recipes. The book also provides a comprehensive exercise program helping individuals increase their HDL (good) cholesterol level while they lose additional weight.

Dr. Reaven and Shaman have created an educational website for Syndrome X at www.syndromexweb.com that includes the Nutritional Analysis Tool (NAT) that makes monitoring calories and making good food choices easy. With the NAT, individuals can also create their own diet and automatically compare how it matches up to Dr. Reaven's Syndrome X Diet. It does all the calculations for you.

Individuals who are insulin resistant with Syndrome X should focus on early prevention to lower risk of an untoward event such as heart attack or its other multiple disease manifestations. Along with a steady diet of exercise, overweight, insulin resistant individuals can lower their risk by losing weight. Weight loss will improve their insulin sensitivity and therefore lower their insulin levels. They can further reduce risk by eating the Syndrome X Diet, which will help them maintain healthy levels of insulin, triglyceride (blood fat) and good (HDL) cholesterol.

Dr. Reaven formulated the Syndrome X Diet based on more than 35 years of clinical research at Stanford. The diet is a careful balance of 15% protein, 40% fat (mostly monounsaturated and 45% carbohydrate. The Syn X Bar that Shaman launched in July 2000 is based on the 15/40/45 ratio.

Shaman is developing a natural product named SP-49400 to help people effectively and safely lose weight. This product contains a medicinal plant extract from the stembark of a West African tree that is used by traditional healers to treat a variety of disorders such as obesity, fatigue and type 2 diabetes. Biological study results in a mouse model of obesity demonstrated significant weight reduction, and the extract was well tolerated. The extract has the added advantage of being free of all known stimulants such as caffeine and ephedrine and has no laxative effect.

In keeping with Shaman's rigorous manufacturing and development standards for products clinically tested for safety and efficacy, the Company is planning to conduct a human clinical trial to demonstrate that the new proprietary botanical ingredient leads to weight loss equal or superior to results of a major ephedrine product. For more information about managing Syndrome X and its multiple disease manifestations, visit our website at www.syndromexweb.com. The Company plans to incorporate SP-49400 into the Syn X Bar as well as into a wide array of other products to satisfy customer's unmet needs.

Shaman Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a leader in medicinal plant research and commercialization of proprietary dietary supplements. Shaman works collaboratively with indigenous communities to discover, harvest and reforest medicinal plants. The Company also provides cultural educational programs in conjunction with rainforest communities. Shaman has retained Roth Capital Inc., an investment bank that focuses on emerging growth and middle market companies, to provide a broad range of corporate finance, research, syndicate sales and trading services to assist Shaman in exploring strategic business opportunities to drive shareholder value.

This press release contains, among other things, certain statements of a forward-looking nature relating to Shaman's ability to advance its development and research programs. Such statements involve a number of risk and uncertainties including the Risk Factors listed in the Shaman Pharmaceuticals, Inc.'s Annual Report on Form 10K and 10K/A for the year ended December 31, 1999. These filings are available upon request at 650/952-7070. Also visit Shaman at http://www.Shaman.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 21, 2000
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