The scientific name of this supplement is Active Hexose Correlated Compound. It is derived from mushrooms that belong to the Basidiomycete species.
The major constituents of the AHCC supplement are Amino acids, Polysaccharides and minerals. This novel compound is used in treatment of cancer, diabetes and hepatitis. The AHCC supplements were developed in Japan.
This supplement is postulated to have the ability to stimulate the immune system. This mechanism of action is believed to provide the stimulatory effects required to enable the immune system to destroy the cancerous cells.
AHCC Supplement Benefits, Dosage and Side Effects
AHCC is known to act as an antioxidant. The research on AHCC heath effects is fairly limited. AHCC supplement benefits, dosage and side effects are given below:
AHCC Supplement Benefits in Cancer, Diabetes, Allergy
In alternative medicine, AHCC is said to stimulate the immune system and increase your defense against viral infections, flu, common cold, allergies, diabetes, metabolic disorders, tumors and cancer:
Benefits of AHCC supplement in Inflammation and swelling
One of the key benefits of AHCC supplements is the stimulation of the activity of the Natural Killer (NK) cells. These cells are key players in the cell mediated immunity and they contain chemicals such as granzymes, perforin and cytokines like interferon gamma and tumor necrosis factor-alpha which when released mediate the destruction of the mutated cells. It is important to comprehend the fact that these antigen nonspecific cells are neither B cells nor T cells and their markers are CD56 and CD16.
AHCC Supplement as Immune System Booster
AHCC supplements also have the benefits of increasing the production of chemical substances known as cytokines that are critical in modulating the functions of the immune system. One the cytokines whose production is influenced majorly by the supplement is a heterodimer interleukin 12 (IL-12). Interleukin 12 is majorly produced by the macrophages and it is important in stimulating the differentiation of T cells into T helper 1 cells. The interleukin 12 is also very important in activating the Natural Killer cells.
Benefits of AHCC Supplement in Infectious diseases
One of the foremost benefits of this supplement is the ability to almost double the population of T helper cells. The T helper cells play a critical role in tumor surveillance because these cells have the ability to detect class two major histo-compatibility complex molecules in response to tumors. The T helper cells are also an important source of interleukin 2 (IL-2) that is an important cytokine required for the proliferation and activation of the T cells. It is important to appreciate that the T cells also secrete other cytokines like interleukin 9 (IL-9) which is a T cell mitogen. Interleukin 10 (IL-10) is another cytokine secreted by the T helper cells. The main function of this cytokine is mainly inhibitory, that is, it inhibits synthesis of interferon and it also inhibits activated macrophages and dendritic cells. The third cytokine produced by these cells is interleukin 13 (IL-13) that is a potent anti-inflammatory chemokine. The role of T cells in eradication of cancer is invaluable and therefore an increase in their numbers leads to a better defense against cancer.
AHCC Supplement benefits for Tumors
The supplements also increase the populations of macrophages in the body. Macrophages are key players in tumor eradication. These cells are usually activated by a cytokine known as interferon-gamma that is produced by the T- helper cells. When these cells are activated, they produce chemicals like hydrogen peroxide, oxygen radicals, tumor necrosis factor-alpha and nitric oxide. These substances are then used to destroy the tumor cells. The cell marker associated with these cells is CD 14. The macrophages also secrete interleukin 1 (IL-1) which is an inflammatory cytokine that is also associated with fever production.
AHCC Supplement benefits for Allergic reactions
Dendritic cells are antigen presenting cells whose population is also increased by the active hexose correlated compound. These cells contain the major histocompatibility complex molecules on their cell membranes. This complex is an essential component in the identification of antigens that are required for destruction. These cells also secrete cytokines. The major cytokine produced by these cells is: interleukin 1(IL-1) that is responsible for stimulation of the T and B cells. Presentation of the antigen to the T helper cells is a function of these cells and this is achieved when defective cells are phagocytized and the antigen that is to be destroyed is bound to the class two major histocompatibility complex.
AHCC Supplement benefits against Cancer
The Active Hexose Correlated Compound is beneficial and has been shown to increase the survival rates in selected cancers that include: lung cancer and gastrointestinal tract cancers that include gastric and liver carcinomas.
AHCC Benefits for Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders
The drug is also an enzyme inducer. The enzyme induced by AHCC supplement is CYP450 2D6, an enzyme responsible for the metabolism of drugs such as antidepressants and opioids. AHCC supplement increases the overall metabolism of body so that’s why they are also effective in diabetes and other metabolic problems.
AHCC Supplement Dosage
AHCC is most commonly available in capsule dosage form. There are no obvious guidelines from any health authority but dosage recommendations provided by some manufacturers is two 500 mg capsules by mouth 3 times a day on an empty stomach or 2 capsules by mouth daily for general well-being.
AHCC Supplements Side Effects
A drug is well-defined as any chemical substance that brings about a biologic effect on the body while the side effect of a drug is defined as an unwanted biological impact that is brought about by the drug. It is paramount to understand that all drugs have side effects due to the intertwined nature of the human body. The only difference in the side effects produced by drugs is the type of body system that the drug will affect and the severity of the effects.
The AHCC supplements are no different, they have their own side effects that can be mitigated.
The major body system that is affected by this drug is the gastrointestinal tract. This drug in taken orally therefore it stands to reason the gut will bear the brunt of the side effects. Nausea, diarrhea and vomiting have been reported by the patients who have been on this drug.
The gut is not the only system in the body that is affected. Headache is one of the complaints that has been reported. Easy fatigability has also been seen as the side effect of using this drug.
In rarer cases, hypersensitivity may be experienced especially in patients who are to any of the ingredients that are contained in the compound.
Potentiation of the immune system was the main mechanism of action and this is the reason why this drug is contraindicated in people suffering from autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. The drug may worsen their state.
Although no studies have with finality contraindicated the use of this drug in pregnancy, the drug is not generally used by expectant mothers due to the high susceptibility of the fetus to mutations.