AHCC – the enormous healing capacity #1

Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) is an alpha-glucan rich nutritional supplement produced from the mycelia of shiitake (Lentinula edodes) of the basidiomycete family of mushrooms, and is not an approved drug.

One cohort study published in 2003 reported improved survival associated with AHCC in primary liver cancer patients after surgical resection of the primary tumor. The immunological effect of AHCC has been studied in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study with 21 healthy volunteers. The AHCC group showed a significantly higher number of total dendritic cells compared with baseline, a significantly higher number of DC1 cells compared with baseline, a significantly higher number of DC2 cells compared with controls, and a significantly increased mixed-leukocyte reaction compared with controls. There was no significant difference in cytokine production, NK cell activity or other immune function parameters between the two groups.

AHCC – Active Hexose Correlated Compound

AHCC (Active Hexose Correlated Compound), a registered trademark of Amino Up Co. Ltd. is a functional food made from the hybridized mycelia of shiitake and other mushrooms fermented in rice bran. It was developed by Professor Toshihiko Okamoto, Department of Pharmacology, Tokyo University in conjunction with Amino Up Chemical Co. Ltd. of Sapporo, Japan. It was developed as a therapeutic aid for life-style related diseases, including liver diseases and diabetes. AHCC adheres to international quality and safety standards, including the HACCP9000 system. This system is a combination of HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) systems, which is an international level hygiene control system for foods and ISO9002 (International Organization for Standardization 9002), a quality assurance system.

Manufacturing process

AHCC is manufactured by culturing the mycelia of basidiomycetes (mushroom root threads) for a period of 45 –60 days in a large holding tank. Several types of mycelia are initially cultured to form a colony (a mass of mycelia). After the culture is completed, the product is subjected to enzyme reaction, sterilization, concentration and freeze drying.

Chemical composition

Polysaccharides comprise 40% of the composition of AHCC. These include beta-glucan (β-glucan) and acetylated α-glucan. Acetylated α-glucan, produced by culturing the mushroom mycelia, is unique to AHCC. Glucans are polysaccharides and these polysaccharides are known to have immune stimulating effects. The low molecular weight of acetylated α -glucan (around 5000 daltons) is easily absorbed into the system compared to the higher molecular weight of β-glucan, which is in the range of tens to hundreds of thousands of daltons.

Safety of AHCC

AHCC has been studied for safety in human trials as well as safety with conventional chemotherapy.

Safety studies have been conducted according to GLP standards. The LD50 according to tests with SD rats is > 12,500 mg/kg by oral administration. Toxic activity was not seen even in intra-peritoneal administration of AHCC: Male: LD50 = 8,490 mg/kg, estimated intraperitoneal fatal dose =7,430 mg/kg Female: LD50 = 9,849 mg/kg and estimated fatal dose = 8,340 mg/kg

Role of AHCC as a supplemental alternative medicine

AHCC is widely used in Japan and China. AHCC is used to protect the immune system of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation in over 700 clinics and hospitals in Japan alone. It is available to the general public in Japan and China without a prescription and many people use it for general health maintenance and treatment of acute infections. Its legal status is that of a “functional food.” Research on AHCC has been carried out in Japan, China, Korea, Thailand, Spain and the United States. Results of research show that AHCC may work in the prevention and treatment of numerous diseases.

In Japan, AHCC is the 2nd most popular complementary and alternative medicine used by cancer patients. Agaricus blazei supplements are the most popular, outpacing AHCC use by a factor of 7:1.


Source: icnim.jpn.org