What Does AHCC Do: A Complete Guide On AHCC
In the year 2020, immune health has never been more important. Faced with the constant threat of illness in the midst of a global pandemic, most people are looking for information on how to best prepare their immune system, which is probably how you stumbled across AHCC. Read on to find out what exactly AHCC is, and to discover the many benefits of this super compound.
WHAT IS AHCC?
AHCC stands for active hexose correlated compound. AHCC i, meaning even beyond its expansive nutritional benefits AHCC offers additional support to the body’s overall health. In this case, AHCC provides massive support to the immune system, which protects us from illness both big and small. AHCC can also help you better endure treatment for some chronic illnesses/conditions. AHCC is derived from healing mushrooms, and more specifically is a standardized extract of cultured Lentinula edodes. These mushrooms are more commonly known as shiitake, and have been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat various ailments. AHCC is anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, and immune system enhancing and is rich in antioxidants and alpha glucans.
Antioxidants are crucial to preventing cell damage caused by dangerous free radicals, allowing cells to function at their absolute best. AHCC offers many advantages to the immune system, such as:
- Maintains optimal natural killer (NK) cell activity
- Enhances cytokine production
- Promotes white blood cell (WBC) production
- Calms the digestive system, which is crucial to the immune system, and other parts of the body
- Increase the number and activity of dendritic cells
- Promotes T cell and macrophage activity
WHAT IS IMMUNITY?
We need our immune system in order to fight off infection and avoid severe illness. A strong and healthy immune system is better prepared to recognize and respond to an outside threat and will keep us energized and functioning at our best. Most of the time when we get sick, it is due to compromised immunity. The immune system is composed of two parts: the innate immune system, and the adaptive immune system. We need both of these to be as strong as possible and working in powerful synergy for the immune system to be as effective as possible. Each part of the immune system plays its own role in maintaining the body’s health:
Innate Immunity: The innate immune system is composed of cytokines, NK cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells. This is the initial responder to any threat, and the response is likely to be non-specific. Rather, these components of the immune system are working to identify the threat and communicate with other parts of the body/immune system what is going on.
Once the innate immune system has evaluated the situation, the adaptive immune system is then able to respond as well. Adaptive Immunity: The adaptive immune system is composed of lymphocytes, such as B cells and T cells. These white blood cells are able to recognize previous invaders and initiate an attack that is tailored to the threat in question. When our adaptive immune system is able to recognize an invader it makes it easier for the entire immune system to fight it off, using lessons from their past experience. This is also why vaccines for common illnesses, like the flu, can safely help the body prepare for a potential future attack. AHCC modulates both our innate and adaptive immune systems, allowing each of them to function better and become stronger. When both systems are working together at their best, our immune system as a whole is at its healthiest and will most effectively protect us from any harm that may come our way.
HOW IS AHCC MADE?
AHCC was initially developed in 1987 by the Japanese biotechnology company Amino Up Chemical Co., Ltd, with special contributions by Dr. Toshihiko Okamoto. It is derived from the mycelia, or the roots, of healing mushrooms. (Note: For anyone dealing with mushroom allergies, it is generally the above-ground part that triggers an allergic response. Check with your doctor first, but AHCC should be safe to use even with a mushroom allergy.) The process of making AHCC takes a couple of steps:
- First, the roots of shiitake mushrooms are combined with those of several hybrids from the fungi phylum Basidiomycota.
- Next, these roots are cultured in a rice bran extract, which has immune system enhancing qualities. Ultimately, the various roots will form a colony, which will then continue to be cultured for another 45-60 days.
- Finally, the colony will undergo various processes, such as cultivation, decomposition by enzymes, sterilization, concentration, and freeze-drying. The final product will be the functional food supplement AHCC.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF AHCC?
As previously mentioned, AHCC offers many benefits to both the innate and adaptive immune system. Let’s look in closer detail at what this means for the body:
- Natural killer (NK) cells: These white blood cells roam the body, looking for invaders and destroying infected and/or abnormal cells that may cause harm to the body. White blood cell count is key to health, and AHCC keeps NK cell activity at an optimal level.
- Macrophages: Macrophages are special white blood cells that essentially function as the janitors of the immune system, cleaning up cellular debris and engulfing/ingesting bacteria. AHCC gives macrophages the energy they need to do their job.
- B and T cells: These two major components of the adaptive immune system are responsible for recognizing previous invaders and initiating specific attacks in order to destroy them. AHCC powers this essential response.
- Dendritic cells: These cells, like many others in the immune system, are white blood cells. They could be thought of as the bridge between the adaptive and innate immune systems, given that they present invaders to B and T cells to then destroy. Dendritic cells are also responsible for enhancing cytokine production, similar to AHCC. AHCC increases both the number and the activity of dendritic cells.
This is just a small look into all that the immune system is composed of, and all that AHCC does for the immune system.
WHO SHOULD TAKE AHCC?
AHCC has obvious benefits for immuno-compromised patients, as it promotes optimal function of practically all aspects of the immune system. Whether you are looking for extra support against your chronic illness, live in a high-stress environment, or just want an extra immune boost, AHCC can help.
The average healthy adult may wonder why an immune-enhancing supplement like AHCC might be useful for them, but multiple human clinical studies of AHCC have shown that healthy individuals benefit from AHCC supplementation, showing lower incidences of infection and stronger immune function.
RESEARCH ON AHCC
Results from various clinical trials and other research show that AHCC offers innumerous benefits to the immune system. In fact, over thirty human clinical studies support the many advantages of AHCC supplementation. Over 1,000 healthcare facilities across the globe use AHCC supplements to limit the side effects of chemotherapy, improve patient outcomes, prevent unnecessary infection, and much more.
Human clinical studies have been performed to test AHCC’s effectiveness in treating various cancers and liver problems and reducing the effects of chemotherapy. These studies have also tested the safety of AHCC supplementation, and whether or not it has benefits for healthy people.
Read more about AHCC research here
AHCC is a powerful compound derived from healing mushrooms that offers massive support to both the innate and adaptive immune systems. It is a proven option for all people looking to improve their immune health, whether they are healthy or dealing with chronic illness.
- https://www.immunology.org/public-information/bitesized immunology/cells/macrophages#:~:text=Macrophages%20are%20specialised%20cells%20involved,cytokines)%20that%20activate%20other%20cells