AHCC (Active Hexose Correlated Compound) is a food substance considered as a dietary supplement because of its high polysaccharide and fiber content. It is derived from the mycelia of selected mushroom species called basidiocymetes cultured in liquid form. According to published studies, this rich nutritive extract is very effective in stimulating the immune system for stronger defense against diseases and injuries. In Japan, AHCC supplements are widely used for immune-therapies.
AHCC works as a biological response modifier, meaning it effectively boosts the body’s natural immune response. All AHCC benefits are accounted for its effects on the two aspects of immunity namely: the innate immunity and the adaptive immunity.
Innate immunity is considered as the immune system’s first line of defense. This type of immunity is already present at birth and doesn’t have to be acquired from exposure to pathogens. Thus, it is the one that provides an immediate response to invaders. Innate immunity is composed of specialized cells called cytokines, natural killer cells, macrophagic cells, and the dendritic cells.
Cytokines serves as the chemical messengers for immune cells to communicate and generate an immune response. AHCC increases the production of cytokines for a more active coordination between immune cells.
Natural Killer Cells are white blood cells (WBC) that detect and kill infected cells. AHCC also increases the activity of these specialized cells by up to 300-800%.
The macrophages are the ones responsible for phagocytosis, the engulfing of bacteria. AHCC mushroom extract increases the population of these phagocytes.
The dendritic cells initiate immune response by presenting foreign substances to the B and T cells. AHCC research shows that it can significantly increase the number of these immune response initiators.
Adaptive immunity is the body’s second line of defense. This line of defense is not present at birth. It is learned as the immune system is exposed to antigens or foreign substances. The cells in this immunity learn the proper way to attack these antigens and develop familiarity for that antigen. Adaptive immunity is composed of the B and T Cells. The B and T cells are lymphocytes that recognize foreign invaders and initiate a specific response for those invaders. In this type of immunity, AHCC can increase the number of the B and T cells by as much as 200%.
By promoting maximum immune function, AHCC significantly reduces an individual’s sick period. A stronger immune system means higher resistance against colds, flu, and seasonal infections. It is also very useful for asthma, osteoarthritis, allergies, lyme disease, chronic fatigue, and fibromyalgia since the body’s natural inflammatory response is greatly influenced by the immune system. AHCC supplements are also very beneficial to immune-compromised patients like those with AIDS, heart diseases, Hepatitis, and cancers. This nutritive extract is also recommended to counteract the negative effects of chemotherapy like hair loss, vomiting, and fatigue. Additional immune support is also valuable in maintaining a general well being.