Every year, about 13 million Americans are newly infected with human papillomavirus (HPV), which makes it one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. There are more than 100 strains of HPV, but most strains don’t cause serious problems. However, there are high-risk strains that can cause an increased risk of cancer in both men and women. According to the CDC, HPV is responsible for as many as 36,000 cases of cancer every year.
HPV can cause cancer in many parts of your body, including the vagina, vulva, anus, and the back of the throat, but cervical cancer is the most common type of cancer caused by HPV in women. Right now, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer for women and as many as 90% of cervical cancer cases are caused by HPV.
Getting the Gardasil 9 vaccine is the best way that you can protect yourself against cancers caused by HPV. This vaccine protects you from the high-risk strains of HPV that cause more than 90% of cervical cancers. However, the vaccine cannot protect you from all strains of HPV and if you already have HPV, it doesn’t do anything to get rid of the virus. Also, the vaccine wasn’t available until 2006, so many people were infected with HPV before the vaccine was available.
Finding Out You Have HPV – Now What?
Finding out that you have HPV does not mean that you will develop cancer. For many people, their body’s natural defenses can fight the infection. There are many things that can raise your risk of developing cancer from HPV, including:
- Poor nutrition
- Poor immune functioning
Testing positive for a high-risk HPV infection may feel scary and daunting. But keep in mind that your immune system will most likely clear the infection within two years. There are steps you can take to support your immune system as it works to protect you. Making sure that you eat nutritious foods, quitting smoking, managing stress, getting good sleep, and taking supplements to boost your immune system are all steps that allow you to take control of your health.
AHCC Clinical Results Are Impressive
Scientific studies have shown that AHCC supercharges the immune system and makes it function better. AHCC is a proprietary extract derived from shiitake mushrooms that is formulated in Japan. AHCC also has antioxidant and anticancer properties. Research looking at how AHCC works has shown that it enhances the activity of T cells and natural killer cells, which are your body’s first line of defense against infections, inflammation, and tumors (Shin et al., 2019).
In addition to all its health benefits, AHCC also helps the body manage stress. One study showed that taking AHCC can increase the activity of your parasympathetic nervous system while you rest. This system is responsible for restoring your body to its natural equilibrium after you go through stressful experiences, so if it is working better it means that your body restores itself better and more quickly after stress. In this study, the people with chronic stress who took AHCC said that they fell asleep quicker and slept better compared to people who took a placebo. The researchers from this study believe that one of the ways that AHCC can help boost the immune system is through better functioning of the parasympathetic nervous system and improving sleep.
Once researchers realized how effectively AHCC enhances the immune system, they started looking at whether it could be used to help your body fight high-risk HPV infections. The results of these studies are encouraging. A pilot study showed four out of six women with persistent high-risk HPV infection tested negative for HPV after 6 months. This study also looked at whether a lower dose of AHCC could help the immune system fight off HPV infection. Four of nine women tested negative for HPV after treatment with just one gram of AHCC for seven months (Smith et al., 2019).
After these impressive results, researchers repeated their study with a larger sample in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. They found that 63.6% of women with persistent high-risk HPV infections tested negative for HPV after six months of taking AHCC, compared to only 10.5% of women who took a placebo.
Researchers also realized that the effects of AHCC are long-lasting, as 64% of those whose infections had cleared remained HPV-negative twelve months after they stopped taking AHCC. Additionally, AHCC did not cause bothersome side effects. This is noteworthy because the usual treatments for HPV (i.e., cryotherapy, surgical excision procedures, topical medications) are much more invasive and localized and many people notice that their lesions repeatedly reoccur in the same location, which means that they must go through the treatment again.
Currently, there are no treatments for HPV that can kill the virus once it is in your system. If your immune system cannot fight off the virus, then you will need treatment to remove the lesions caused by HPV and screening to ensure that you have not developed HPV-related cancer. The research on AHCC shows that it works in harmony with the body’s natural defenses, increasing and enhancing the activity of immune cells as they work to clear the infection. Taking ACHH may be one of the best ways to help your body fight off HPV infection and protect yourself from HPV-related cancers.
Takanari, J., Sato, A., Waki, H. Miyazaki, S., Kazuo, U., & Hisajima, T. (2018). Effects of AHCC on immune and stress responses in healthy individuals. Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, 23.https://doi.org/10.1177/2156587218756511
Smith, J. A., Gaikwad, A. A., Mathew, L., Rech, B., Faro, J. P., Lucci, J. A., Bai, Y., Olsen, R. J., Byrd, T. T. (2022). AHCC supplementation to support immune function to clear persistent human papillomavirus infections. Frontiers in Oncology, 22. https://doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2022.881902
Smith, J. A., Mathew, L., Gaikwad, A., Rech, B., Burney, M. N., Faro, J. P., Lucci, J. A., Bai, Y., Olsen, R. J., & Byrd, T. T. (2019). From bench to bedside: Evaluation of AHCC supplementation to modulate the host immunity to clear high-risk human papillomavirus infections. Frontiers in Oncology, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2019.00173