Alternate Title

  • AHCC

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

    Disclaimer

    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.

    Cancer

    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.

    Diabetes

    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.

    Immune function

    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.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

    Disclaimer

    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.

Dosing

    Disclaimer

    The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

  • 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

    Disclaimer

    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

    Disclaimer

    Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. 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.

  • 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 ().

Bibliography

    Disclaimer

    Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.

  • 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.
    View Abstract
  • 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.
    View Abstract
  • 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.
    View Abstract
  • 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.
    View Abstract