One of our primary goals is to make sure you fully understand every aspect of AHCC®. We want you to understand how AHCC® is researched, the clinical trials undertaken, and the results of all studies about AHCC® and immune system health. On this page we provide an overview of the key research done into AHCC® and a range of conditions and lifestyle factors.
AHCC is the world’s most researched specialty immune supplement, supported by over 30 human studies and by more than 100 pre-clinical in vivo and in vitro studies. It is utilized by over 1,000 healthcare facilities worldwide to reduce the incidence of infections in both healthy and immune-compromised patients, improve cancer patient outcomes, decrease chemo side-effects
help control HPV infections, manage viral loads in Hepatitis-C patients and help those with liver disease. For a quick summary of the human studies on a particular condition, visit our Clinical Research page and select the condition on the top of the bar. To see the summaries of all the clinical studies on AHCC, click here to download the PDF.
In vivo research has shown that AHCC modulates the immune response against a variety of infectious agents, including influenza virus (the common flu), avian influenza virus (“bird flu”), Klebsiella pneumoniaebacteria (which causes pneumonia), Candida albicans fungus (which causes yeast infections), Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria (which can infect any part of the body), and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureusbacteria (or MSRA, which causes an antibiotic-resistant staph infection). Most recently, AHCC was found to boost protective immune response specific to the West Nile Virus in mice.
Studies have repeatedly shown that mice treated with AHCC prior to infection with these pathogens experience:
- Decreased severity of infection
- Shortened recovery time
- Increased survival
In fact, one study found that mice pretreated with AHCC before infection with K. pneumoniae had completely cleared the bacteria from their systems by day 6, whereas control mice had increased levels of the bacteria and became extremely sick.
AHCC has been used with great success in cancer patients. Data from the treatment of over 100,000 individuals with various types of cancer have shown AHCC treatment to be of benefit in 60% of cases. (Kenner p. 15) AHCC is particularly effective for liver, lung, stomach, colon, breast, thyroid, ovarian, testicular, tongue, kidney and pancreatic cancers. (Kenner p. 15)
One landmark AHCC trial enrolled 269 patients with liver cancer. Following surgery, about half of the patients took AHCC and about half did not.
The results were dramatic: At the end of the ten-year study, only 34.5% of the AHCC patients experienced a recurrence in their cancer, compared with 66.1% of the control group. Similarly, while 46.8% of the patients in the control group had died at the end of ten years, less than half that amount — 20.4% — of those in the AHCC group had. Another study found that AHCC not only prolonged survival of advanced liver cancer patients, it also improved various parameters of quality of life, including mental stability, general physical health status and the ability to have normal activities.
SIDE EFFECTS OF CHEMOTHERAPY
Chemotherapy is fraught with side effects, which range from psychologically distressing to life-threatening. In addition to being able to fight cancer directly, AHCC also alleviates many of the side effects of chemotherapy, including:
- Hair Loss: Doctors noticed that chemotherapy patients taking AHCC did not lose their hair. Subsequently, an in vivo study found that mice treated with AHCC were protected from chemically induced hair loss.
- Nausea: Clinical studies in Korea and Japan have indicated that AHCC remarkably improves symptoms of nausea and vomiting in cancer patients. (Kenner, p. 18)
- Bone Marrow Suppression: Chemotherapy can inhibit bone marrow function, which is life-threatening because the body’s key immune soldiers — the white blood cells — originate in bone marrow. AHCC has been shown to raise the white blood cell count of cancer patients by about 30%. (Kenner, p. 17)
- Liver Damage: One of the major drawbacks of chemotherapy is that it kills healthy cells in addition to cancer cells. An in vivo study found that while rats given chemotherapy experienced large increases in liver enzymes (indicative of liver damage), those given chemotherapy plus AHCC had normal levels. (Kenner, p. 17)
Dr. Fred Pescatore, of the Center for Integrative and Complementary Medicine in New York, has reported that he has achieved marked reductions in the liver enzymes of hepatitis patients through the use of AHCC. This is an important discovery, as high levels of liver enzymes are indicative of liver damage. Dr. Pescatore has also observed massive drops in the viral loads of hepatitis C patients. One case study, a 47 year-old male, had a viral load of 2,498,200 before treatment, which plunged to 499,600 after six months on AHCC — an 80% reduction.
Animal studies confirm AHCC’s liver-protective effect. Rats treated with AHCC and then administered the liver-toxic chemical carbon tetrachloride were spared from its liver-damaging effect. Similarly, rats treated with AHCC and then administered the lethal substance galactosamine had an improved survival rate compared to control rats. (Kenner, p. 19).
AHCC appears to have several benefits for diabetics. A small human clinical trial conducted in Japan found that all 13 diabetic patients enrolled in the study experienced a significant drop in blood glucose and glycohemoglobin levels after taking AHCC for six months. (Kenner, p. 21)
AHCC’s blood-sugar lowering effect was also observed in animal research.
Diabetes was induced in rats through injection with the chemical streptozotocin (STZ). Among untreated (control) animals, blood glucose levels increased, insulin levels decreased, and insulin-secreting cells were damaged. Among AHCC-treated rats, however, blood glucose levels decreased, insulin levels increased, and there was little damage to insulin-secreting cells.
AHCC was first developed as a treatment for hypertension, so it’s not surprising that several doctors have reported on its positive impact on cardiovascular health. Dr. Fred Pescatore, of the Center for Integrative and Complementary Medicine in New York, reported that AHCC can prevent stress-induced high blood pressure and damage to the heart.
Dr. M. Iwamoto of the En-Zan-Kai Medical Corporation reported that AHCC has a beneficial influence on ventricular arrhythmias, a type of heart disorder in which the heart rhythm is disrupted. (Kenner, p. 21)
It is widely recognized that stress plays a major role in the etiology of many diseases. When people and animals are under stress, several things happen: the production of stress hormones such as adrenalin and corticosteroids increases, uric acid production increases, and blood sugar rise.
A study in rats that had been stressed through immobilization found that AHCC mediated the stress response, keeping levels of stress hormones, uric acid, and blood sugar normal.
Other in vivo studies have shown that as a potent antioxidant, AHCC may also protect against disorders caused by oxidative stress (cellular stress caused by free radicals).
While many people associate inflammation with arthritis, few realize it is one of the underlying contributors to a number of different diseases, from asthma to heart disease to Alzheimer’s. In acute situations, such as sickness or injury, inflammation is helpful because it helps the body eliminate pathogens. When inflammation becomes chronic, however, it can destroy healthy tissue. Research shown that AHCC has a profound anti-inflammatory effect.
One study found that AHCC administration attenuated inflammation in rats with colitis (inflammation of the colon) on a level equal to that of the anti-inflammatory drug sulfasalazine. Another study observed that AHCC protected rats from the damaging effects of peritonitis (inflammation of the peritoneum, the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity). (Kenner, p. 23)
1Ritz BW. Supplementation with AHCC increases survival following infectious challenge in mice. Nutr. Rev. 2008 Sep;66(9):526-31.
2 Wang S, et al. Oral Administration of AHCC Enhances Host Resistance to West Nile Encephalitis in Mice. J Nutr. 2009 Jan 13 [Epub ahead of print]
3 Aviles H, et al. AHCC activates immune function to decrease bacterial load in a murine model of intramuscular infection. Am J Surg. 2008 Apr;195(4):537-45.
4 Matsui Y et al. Improved prognosis of postoperative hepatocellular carcinoma patients when treated with functional foods: a cohort study. J Hepatol. 2002 Jul;37(1):78-86.
5 Cowawintaweewat S, et al. Prognostic improvement of patients with advanced liver cancer after AHCC treatment. Asian Pac J Allergy Immunol. 2006 Mar;24(1):33-45.
6 Mukoda SB, et al. Reduction of side affects of anticancer drugs by AHCC. Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research. 1999 March;40.
7 Edman JS, Pescatore F. Medical intelligence: A preliminary report of three cases. Influences of AHCC, a combination mushroom extract, on patients with hepatitis. Anti-Aging Medical News. Fall 2000.
8 Buxiang S, et al. Preventive effects of AHCC on carbon tetrachloride induced liver injury in mice. Natural Medicine. 1997;51(4):310-315.
9 Wakame K. Protective effects of AHCC on the onset of diabetes induced by streptozotocin in the rat. Biomedical Research. 1999;20(3):145-152.
10 Department of Biochemistry, Dokkyo University School of Medicine. AHCC on immobilization stress in the rat: beneficial effects of AHCC. Dokkyo Journal of Medical Sciences. 2001;28(1):559-565.
11 She-Fang Y, et al. Amelioration by AHCC of endocrine disturbances induced by oxidative stress in the rat. Endocr Regul. 2004 Mar;38(1):7-13.
12 She-Fang Y, et al. Suppressive effects of AHCC on the increased activity of hepatic and renal ornithine decarboxylase induced by oxidative stress. Life Sci. 2003 Dec 19;74(5):593-602.
13 Wang S. Preventive effects of AHCC on oxidative stress induced by ferric nitrilotriacetate in the rat. Dokkyo Journal of Medical Sciences. 2001;28(2-3):745-752.
14 Daddaoua A, et al. AHCC acts as a prebiotic and is anti-inflammatory in rats with hapten-induced colitis. J Nutr. 2007 May;137(5):1222-8.