Active Hexose Correlated Compound or AHCC® is an extract derived from the mycelium of Shiitake mushrooms and is used worldwide as a nutritional supplement and also prominently in traditional Chinese medicine. It supports the immune system by increasing the activity of natural killer cells — cells that kill tumor cells or cells infected with a virus.
AHCC® Uses And Benefits
By virtue of its immunostimulatory effects, AHCC® is taken by cancer patients to offset the side effects of cancer drugs on the immune system. In addition, AHCC® may have beneficial effects on the liver. For example, it may protect the liver from the adverse effects of poisonous chemicals, treat swelling caused by hepatitis C and improve overall liver function. Furthermore, it may also supports the prevention diabetes.
Talk with your healthcare provider before taking AHCC® as studies are not definitive.
AHCC® Side Effects
Side effects of taking AHCC® reported in clinical literature include:
- Abdominal bloating
- Foot cramp
- Elevated body temperature
While gut-related side effects like diarrhea and bloating are common, other side effects occur rarely. Furthermore, AHCC® may also interact with certain medications you might be taking and cause complications. For example:
- AHCC® may increase the activity of the liver enzyme CYP2D6. As a result, drugs that are deactivated by this enzyme, such as doxorubicin or ondansetron — commonly prescribed cancer medications, may lose their efficacy.
- AHCC® may also increase Aromatase activity — an enzyme that converts hormones into estrogen. Consequently, AHCC® may reduce the efficacy of aromatase inhibitor medications such as letrozole.
Although the clinical significance of both these side effects is unknown, you should consult your doctor before taking an AHCC® supplement if you taking these medications.
Where Is AHCC® Manufactured?
AHCC® is a patented ingredient derived from mushrooms and is manufactured by the Amino Up Company Ltd. in Japan. AHCC® is a registered trademark of the company and is Japan’s top-selling immune-stimulating dietary supplement.
What Does the Research Say About AHCC®?
AHCC® (Active Hexose Correlated Compound) is extracted from the mycelia (a root-like structure) of shiitake mushrooms (scientific name: Lentinus edodes). The beneficial effects of AHCC® are attributed to its high content of alpha-1,4-glucan oligosaccharides.
Research shows that AHCC® has anti-inflammatory properties and protects against chronic inflammatory diseases caused by continuous raised oxidative stress. In addition, AHCC® has antimicrobial benefits against certain microbes.
The anti-cancer and immuno-stimulating benefits of AHCC® are attributed to its ability to increase the response of T-cells (natural killer cells), the number and function of dendritic cells — a special type of cells that boost immune responses, and improve antibody responses.
Furthermore, when used in combination with Bifidobacterium longum in healthy adults, AHCC® promoted anti-inflammatory responses after antibiotic use. AHCC® does this by modulating T cell regulatory and dendritic cell phenotypes favoring the anti-inflammatory response.
Initial findings suggest that AHCC® supplementation may greatly benefit people who have undergone surgical resection (removal) of hepatocellular carcinoma. In these people, AHCC® prevents cancer recurrence, improves nutrition, reduces side effects of chemotherapy, and improves the overall outlook for the disease.
As a result, AHCC® is reported to show many benefits, including:
- Treat cancer
- Treat infections such as HPV, AHCC for HPV (human papillomavirus)
- Improve Liver Function
- Protect the Liver against poisonous chemicals
How Does AHCC® Work?
Active Hexose Correlated Compound has a low molecular weight alpha-1,4-glucan oligosaccharides. AHCC® is believed to act in many beneficial ways. First of all, AHCC® increases the activity of natural killer cells. Natural killer cells, in turn, induce IL-12 activity, a potent, pro-inflammatory type 1 cytokine that may have immunotherapy potential for cancer and increase resistance against the West Nile virus.
In addition, AHCC® may increase resistance to bacterial infections by increasing lymphocytes — one of the body’s main types of immune cells — and inflammatory mediators. AHCC® benefits people with liver conditions such as hepatocellular carcinoma and cirrhosis by regulating nitric oxide production — an essential molecule required for overall health.
In healthy adults, AHCC® increases CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell immune responses. These are two important types of lymphocytes, with CD4+ cells leading the fight against infections and CD8+ cells killing cancer cells and other invaders. Thus, AHCC® promotes immune responses and maintains immune homeostasis.
To add more, AHCC® also improves the action of certain anticancer drugs, such as 5-fluorouracil, by enhancing tumor cell death and reducing resistance against the drug in tumor cells. Researchers believe that AHCC® overcomes resistance against drugs by downregulating Heat Shock Factor 1, which induces heat shock protein HSP27. HSP27 is involved in gemcitabine resistance — a medication used in various types of cancer.
The Bottom Line
The evidence for AHCC® is not anecdotal but rather backed by more than 30 clinical trials in humans. In addition, over 100 pre-clinical trials also support its use. AHCC® is widely recommended in more than 1000 clinics worldwide. The is being used on a regular basis with great success as a natural HPV treatment and its keeping people healthy.