AHCC Research Association

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


1. Is AHCC only for people who are sick, or can people who are generally healthy use it to keep their immune systems strong and balanced?
In today's overly stressed world, AHCC may provide just the immune system boost you need. If you are generally in good health and want to keep your immune system strong and balanced, AHCC acts as an "insurance policy" against the bacteria, viruses, environmental toxins you encounter that can attack your immune system.

2. How much AHCC is recommended to maintain immune system health?
We recommend 1 gram a day as an "insurance plan" for general immune system maintenance and 3 grams a day as a therapeutic dosage if you are taking AHCC for specific conditions.

3. Can AHCC be used instead of conventional cancer treatments?
AHCC is not a cure for cancer, and any individuals with cancer should take advantage of the many conventional treatment options. AHCC offers complementary immune enhancing benefits to anyone preparing to undergo conventional cancer treatment, those patients currently in treatment or those who have completed treatment.

4. Can't I just eat mushrooms to get the same benefits as AHCC ?
Whole mushrooms do have many beneficial nutrients, but AHCC is created from culturing selected mushrooms to produce a functional food that has a unique polysaccharide called acetylated alpha-glucan. Alpha-glucan has a low molecular weight that makes it easy to digest and absorb. This unique component possesses a powerful immune-stimulating action that ordinary mushrooms and other mushroom supplements do not contain.

5. Does every person who takes AHCC improve his or her immunity?
Studies to date show that AHCC can improve immunity for healthy individuals and for people challenged by various diseases. However, the immune system is a complex network so people respond differently. Keeping your immune system strong requires many helpers, and AHCC is just one of these supporters although it's a potent one.

6. Besides AHCC, are there other natural immune system boosters?
A number of nutritional and herbal supplements can boost the immune system and help keep it strong. That said, AHCC has probably undergone more intensive research then all of them.
Other supplements and ingredients to consider include: astragalus, echinacea, flavonoids (plant compounds such as Quercetin, and catechins found in green tea), probiotics (beneficial bacteria), reishi (another Chinese mushroom), vitamins C, D and E, and zinc. Before you take these, or any supplements, consult a healthcare professional first.

7. Can AHCC be used in companion animals such as dogs and cats?
Many people consider dogs and cats to be family members, and when their pets develop serious health conditions, such as cancer, some individuals turn to veterinary specialists who offer a variety of treatments to improve their pet's quality of life. Numerous reports of using AHCC in dogs and cats show that AHCC, either alone or with shark cartilage, slowed or stopped the progression of tumors and were effective against age-related diseases such as cataracts.

8. Can AHCC be taken with other medications?
Research shows that AHCC can be taken with most conventional medications, including antidepressants and anti-nausea medication, insulin and OTC drugs.
An estimated 100,000 people worldwide take AHCC, and many also take medications, therefore any adverse effects due to interactions would have already come to light. There have been no reports of any interaction. Still, it is important to refer to research to ensure safety. AHCC is one of very few nutritional supplements that has been cleared for drug-to-drug interaction potential so that doctors, patients and healthy individuals can be confident in its safety.

7. Does AHCC interfere with any chemotherapy drugs?
Since many people take AHCC during chemotherapy or in conjunction with other medications, two studies were conducted By Dr. Judith A. Smith at the highly prestigious University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and UTHealth Medical School then published in the Journal of Integrative Oncology and Journal of Applied Research in Natural Products, respectively. Drugs that are metabolized via the Cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2D6 pathway may have the potential for interaction (the study showed that AHCC would increase the metabolism (conversion/breakdown in liver) of drugs metabolized by CYP2D6). The good news is that few chemotherapy drugs use this same pathway. In cancer treatment, the only mainline chemotherapies that use this pathway are Doxorubicin and Tamoxifen; other chemotherapeutic drugs use different pathways from the one used by AHCC. Dr. Smith has evaluated the combination of AHCC + doxorubicin and AHCC + Tamoxifen and there was no interaction in the mice studies. Therefore if you are taking other medications, you should ask your doctor or pharmacist the following question: "Is the drug I am taking metabolized through the cytochrome P450 2D6 pathway?" Most likely the answer will be "no," which means that AHCC is highly unlikely to interact with the drug you are taking.

8. Can AHCC help with hair loss from chemotherapy?
Losing hair from chemotherapy is not life-threatening, but it can be emotionally devastating. Both men and women report that the side effect they fear most when diagnosed with cancer is losing their hair. Not everyone who undergoes chemotherapy loses their hair, because this side effect depends on the type and dose of drug used. Hair root cells grow rapidly, and people with rapidly growing cancers can expect to lose hair from their scalp and other areas of the body.
The good news is that, in most cases, hair tends to grow back in 3 to 10 months after chemotherapy treatment ends. The other good news is that AHCC may help reduce hair loss.

9. Where can I find AHCC?
AHCC is widely available at independent health food stores, online and through select healthcare professionals.


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