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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
  • AHCC, Basidiomycota mushroom, functional food, Lentinula edodes.

Background
  • Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) is an alpha-glucan-rich dietary supplement extracted from the vegetative part of 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 also 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 *


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 glycemic control in patients with diabetes. However, data remain insufficient upon which to base a conclusion. Further research is required.
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
* 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.

  • Anemia, allergies, anti-inflammatory, ascites, breast cancer, candidal infection, infections, edema (swelling), hepatitis C viral infection (chronic), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), inflammatory bowel disease, multiple myeloma, platelet aggregation, prostate cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, surgical recovery, trauma.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for active hexose correlated compound (AHCC). Various doses have been studied in humans. As an antioxidant, 3 grams of AHCC has been used daily. For cancer, 3 grams of AHCC has been used daily for up to three months and six months for diabetes. For immune function, 3 grams of AHCC has been used daily for four 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.
  • Use cautiously in patients with autoimmune diseases or those who are using drugs that affect the immune system.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) is not recommended 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 enhance the effects of anticancer agents.
  • AHCC may interfere with drugs used to suppress the immune system.

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 enhance the effects of antioxidant agents.
  • AHCC may enhance the effects of anticancer herbs and supplements.
  • AHCC may interfere with herbs and supplements used to suppress the immune system.

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. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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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