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Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC)

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Also listed as: AHCC
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Activated hemicellulose, adenosine, AHCC-FD, alpha-1,4-glucan, amino acids, arginine, basidiomycete fungus, basidiomycete mushroom, Basidiomycetes, Basidiomycota mushroom, basidiomycotina extract, beta-glucan, choline, copper, folate, functional food, glutamic acid, glycoproteins, ImmPowerT, Immunomax®, Lentinula edodes, leucine, lipids, magnesium, minerals, mycelia extract, niacin, oligosaccharides, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, potassium, selenium.

Background
  • Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) is an alpha-glucan-rich dietary supplement extracted from Basidiomycota mushrooms, such as shiitake (Lentinula edodes).
  • AHCC is thought to stimulate the immune system and to reduce the adverse effects of chemotherapy. AHCC was developed in Japan in 1992 and may have antioxidant and anticancer activity, prevent the onset of diabetes, and prevent liver injury.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Preliminary research suggests that active hexose correlated compound (AHCC), either alone or in combination with known anticancer therapies, improves various markers of cancer. Additional research in this area is warranted.

C


AHCC has been shown to reduce chemotherapy-related side effects and enhance antitumor effects. Early evidence suggests that AHCC supplementation may improve the prognosis of cancer patients. However, there are not enough data to make a conclusion. Further research is needed.

C


Early evidence suggests that AHCC intake may improve glucose control in patients with diabetes. However, data remain insufficient upon which to base a conclusion. Further research is required.

C


In people with hepatitis, preliminary research suggests that AHCC taken alone or in combination with known antiviral agents lowers levels of hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA and hepatitis B antigen, respectively. Further research in this area is warranted before any firm conclusions can be made.

C


Preliminary evidence suggests that AHCC increases platelet count and helps blood-related symptoms of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), such as bruises and petechiae. However, due to the lack of high-quality research in this area, further research is warranted.

C


Early evidence suggests that AHCC intake may improve the immune response. However, data remain insufficient upon which to base a conclusion. Further research is needed.

C


Preliminary research suggests that AHCC improves liver function in people with nonviral liver conditions. Although this is promising, additional research in this area is necessary to substantiate early findings.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Allergies, alopecia, anemia, angiogenesis, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiparasitic, antiviral, anxiolytic, ascites, candidal infection, edema, encephalitis (West Nile), herpes simplex virus, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), human papilloma virus (HPV), infections, inflammatory bowel disease, lipid lowering effects, multiple myeloma, nutritional supplement (prebiotic), periodontal disease, platelet aggregation, psoriasis, radiation protection, reducing body fat mass, reperfusion injury, respiratory problems (prevention), rheumatoid arthritis, stress, surgical recovery, trauma, vitiligo.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • As an antioxidant, three grams of active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) has been used daily. For cancer, up to nine grams of AHCC has been used daily for up to 12 years. Three grams has been used for up to six months for diabetes. For hepatitis, two grams has been used three times daily for six months. For idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, 1.5 grams has been used daily for an unspecified duration. For immune function, three grams of AHCC has been taken daily for three weeks to six months. For liver function, one gram and three grams of AHCC have been taken daily for 12 weeks.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for AHCC in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or sensitivity to active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) or Basidiomycota mushrooms.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Human studies have reported AHCC dose-related toxicities such as nausea, diarrhea, bloating, headache, fatigue, and foot cramps.
  • AHCC may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar levels. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • AHCC may affect the risk of bleeding when taken with agents that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
  • Use cautiously in patients with autoimmune diseases or those who are using drugs that affect the immune system. Also use cautiously in patients with skin disorders, muscle or joint disorders, or fever.
  • AHCC may interfere with agents metabolized by the CYP450 2D6 enzyme system.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • AHCC is not suggested in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar levels. Patients taking insulin or drugs for diabetes by mouth should be monitored closely by qualified healthcare professionals, including pharmacists. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • AHCC may interfere with the way the body processes certain agents using the liver's cytochrome P450 enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these agents may be changed in the blood and may cause different effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. People using any medications should check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.
  • AHCC may affect the risk of bleeding when taken with agents that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
  • Other possible interactions include agents that suppress the immune system, antianxiety agents, antibiotics, anticancer agents, antifungals, anti-inflammatories, antilipemics, antiprotozoals, antivirals, dermatologic agents, gastrointestinal agents, hepatotoxins, respiratory agents, weight loss agents.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar levels. Patients taking insulin or drugs for diabetes by mouth should be monitored closely by qualified healthcare professionals, including pharmacists. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • AHCC may interfere with the way the body processes certain agents using the liver's cytochrome P450 enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these agents may be changed in the blood and may cause different effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. People using any medications should check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.
  • AHCC may affect the risk of bleeding when taken with agents that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
  • Other possible interactions include antianxiety agents, antibiotics, anticancer herbs and supplements, antifungals, anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, antiprotozoals, antivirals, Bifidobacterium longum, dermatologic agents, gastrointestinal agents, genistein combined polysaccharide (GCP), hepatotoxins, herbs and supplements that lower cholesterol, herbs and supplements that suppress the immune system, Nucleoforce®, respiratory agents, weight loss agents.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Cowawintaweewat, S, Manoromana, S, Sriplung, H, et al. Prognostic improvement of patients with advanced liver cancer after active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) treatment. Asian Pac.J Allergy Immunol 2006;24(1):33-45.
  2. Ishizuka, R., Fujii, H., Miura, T., Fukuchi, Y., and Tajima, K. Review of Cancer Therapy with AHCC® and GCP®; The Long-Term Follow-Up over 12 Years for Stage IV (M1) Cancer of the Lung and the Breast. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE 2010;2(1):98-111.
  3. Kawaguchi, Y. Improved Survival of Patients with Gastric Cancer or Colon Cancer when treated with Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC): Effect of AHCC on digestive system cancer. Nautral Medicine Journal 2009;1(1):1-6.
  4. Kidd, P. M. The use of mushroom glucans and proteoglycans in cancer treatment. Altern.Med Rev. 2000;5(1):4-27.
  5. Matsui, Y, Uhara, J, Satoi, S, et al. Improved prognosis of postoperative hepatocellular carcinoma patients when treated with functional foods: a prospective cohort study. J Hepatol 2002;37(1):78-86.
  6. Matsui, Y. and Kamiyama, Y. Retrospective study in breast cancer patients supplemented with AHCC. International Journal of Integrative Oncology 2009;3(2):12-16.
  7. Mukoda, S., Kosuna, K., and Okada, F. Reduction of side affects of anticancer drugs by active hexose correlated compound (AHCC). Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research 1999;40.
  8. Roman, B. E., Beli, E., Duriancik, D. M., and Gardner, E. M. Short-term supplementation with active hexose correlated compound improves the antibody response to influenza B vaccine. Nutr Res. 2013;33(1):12-17.
  9. Shah, S. K., Walker, P. A., Moore-Olufemi, S. D., Sundaresan, A., Kulkarni, A. D., and Andrassy, R. J. An evidence-based review of a Lentinula edodes mushroom extract as complementary therapy in the surgical oncology patient. JPEN J Parenter.Enteral Nutr. 2011;35(4):449-458.
  10. Spierings, E L, Fujii, H, Sun, B, et al. A Phase I study of the safety of the nutritional supplement, active hexose correlated compound, AHCC, in healthy volunteers. J Nutr.Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 2007;53(6):536-539.
  11. Sumiyoshi, Y., Hashine, K., Kakehi, Y., Yoshimura, K., Satou, T., Kuruma, H., Namiki, S., and Shinohara, N. Dietary administration of mushroom mycelium extracts in patients with early stage prostate cancers managed expectantly: a phase II study. Jpn.J Clin.Oncol. 2010;40(10):967-972.
  12. Terakawa, N, Matsui, Y, Satoi, S, et al. Immunological effect of active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) in healthy volunteers: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Nutr Cancer 2008;60(5):643-651.
  13. Turner, J. and Chaudhary, U. Dramatic prostate-specific antigen response with activated hemicellulose compound in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Anticancer Drugs 2009;20(3):215-216.
  14. Uno, K., Kosuna, K., Sun, B., Fujii, H., Wakame, K., Chikumaru, S., Hosokawa, G., and Ueda, Y. Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) Improves Immunological Parameters and Performance Status of Patients with Solid Tumors. Biotherapy 2000;14(3):303-309.
  15. Yin, Z., Fujii, H., and Walshe, T. Effects of active hexose correlated compound on frequency of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells producing interferon-gamma and/or tumor necrosis factor-alpha in healthy adults. Hum.Immunol. 2010;71(12):1187-1190.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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