AHCC: Benefits, Side Effects, Dosages, and Interactions

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AHCC (active hexose correlated compound) is a naturally occurring substance extracted from certain species of basidiomycetes, a class of fungi that includes shiitake.

Available in supplement form, AHCC is known to act as an antioxidant. While research on the health effects of AHCC is quite limited, advocates argue that taking AHCC can bring many health benefits.

What is AHCC used for?

In alternative medicine, AHCC is believed to boost the immune system and increase defenses against viral infections, including the flu and the common cold . Many advocates also speculate that AHCC may help protect against cancer and reduce the side effects of chemotherapy. Additionally, AHCC is believed to help prevent heart disease and hepatitis.

So far, several clinical trials have tested the effects of AHCC. However, some preliminary research suggests that AHCC may have specific health benefits. Here are some of the main findings of the available research.

The immune system

According to a small clinical study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer , AHCC can help boost immunity. In the study, 21 healthy volunteers took an AHCC supplement or a placebo every day for four weeks. At the end of the study, members of the AHCC team showed significantly greater increases in the number of dendritic cells, a type of cell involved in the immune response.

Side effects of chemotherapy

Animal studies show that AHCC can help reduce some of the side effects of chemotherapy. For example, in a 2009 report from the Journal of Experimental Therapy and Oncology , scientists found that treating AHCC mice helped protect them from chemotherapy-induced liver damage and bone marrow suppression. However, it is too early to say whether AHCC can also help alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy in humans.

Cancer

AHCC can help suppress the development of cancer. A 2018 study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer found that AHCC suppressed the proliferation of ovarian cancer cells. Researchers speculate that this compound could be used as an add-on therapy for ovarian cancer. The compound may also have potential for therapeutic use in the treatment of other cancers.

Inflammatory bowel disease

AHCC shows promise in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. A 2014 study found that AHCC has a therapeutic effect on lymphocytic colitis in mice. The researchers suggest that these results indicate that AHCC may have beneficial anti-inflammatory effects in inflammatory bowel disease.

Flu

In tests on mice, scientists have shown that AHCC can help boost the immune response to influenza infection. For example, in a 2009 study from Nutrition Research , AHCC appears to reduce the severity of influenza infection and increase the activity of natural killer cells (key participants in the immune response) in influenza-infected mice .

Possible side effects.

Little is known about the safety of long-term use of AHCC. However, there is some concern that AHCC may cause mild side effects, such as bloating , diarrhea, itching, leg cramps, and fatigue . Fever or increased body temperature have also been reported after daily use of AHCC.

You should not take AHCC if you are taking drugs that are substrates of cytochrome P450 2D6 or drugs altered by the liver, as the supplement may reduce the effect of the drug. Check with your pharmacist or doctor to find out if your medicine may be affected.

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Dosage and preparation

There is no recommended dose for AHCC. However, doses ranging from 4.5 to 6 grams per day have been safely applied for six months. The lowest dose, three grams per day, has been used safely for nine years .

The correct dose can depend on a number of factors, including your age, gender, and health. Seek personalized advice from your doctor.

What to look for

You will find AHCC supplements in many health food stores and online. Softgels or capsules are usually combinations of AHCC and other compounds or ingredients. Doses range from 300mg to 750mg or more.

Due to the lack of supporting research, it is too early to recommend AHCC for any health problem. Also, there is insufficient evidence to support the claim that AHCC can prevent cancer.

To reduce your overall risk of cancer, the National Cancer Institute recommends avoiding cigarette and tobacco smoking; Limit your exposure to radiation and get screened for precancerous conditions. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight can also help prevent cancer.

If you plan to use AHCC for a chronic condition, be sure to consult your doctor. Treating a chronic condition on your own with AHCC and avoiding or delaying standard treatment can have serious consequences.

Also, follow the recommendations when buying supplements. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommend that you look for the supplement label on the product you purchase. This label will contain important information, including the amount of active ingredients per serving and if the product contains other additives. ingredients such as fillers, binders, and flavorings.

Finally, the organization invites you to search for a product with the approval of a third-party quality testing organization. These organizations include the United States Pharmacopeia, ConsumerLab.com, and NSF International.

A seal of approval from one of these organizations does not guarantee the safety or effectiveness of a product, but does provide assurance that the product has been manufactured correctly, contains the ingredients listed on the label, and does not contain harmful levels of contaminants.

Frequently asked questions

  • AHCC is an additive known as an active compound that correlates with hexose. It is a natural substance derived from a class of fungi known as basidiomycetes. Shiitake mushrooms contain AHCC.

  • AHCC is believed to strengthen the immune system and help prevent viral infections. It can also ease the side effects of chemotherapy and relieve digestive tract inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel syndrome.

  • Yes, AHCC can have side effects, but they are usually mild. Common AHCC side effects can include:

    • Swelling
    • Diarrhea
    • Fatigue
    • Hot
    • Foot cramps
    • Itching

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