Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC)

Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC)

"Stimulating NK cell function and supporting the immune system's front-line defense has become one of the most promising avenues of cancer treatment and prevention. Since 1986, 29 published scientific studies using a proprietary natural compound called AHCC (Active Hexose Correlated Compound) made from a hybrid of mushrooms used in traditional Japanese medicine, has been shown to increase NK cell cancer killing function by several hundred times, providing benefits for the majority of cancer patients in several human clinical trials. Substantial improvement is also shown in the functioning of macrophages, another type of cytotoxic white blood cell that clears debris from cell damage, directly attacks disease causing cells, and displays antigens which stimulate antibody production by B-cell white blood cells, and in the production of specific cytokines, immune system chemical messengers..."

Improving the Immune Function

Fortifying one's immune system is the cornerstone of good health. There has never been a time in history when our immune system is under so much assault--from the air we breathe to the food we eat and the lifestyle we lead. Is your body capable of handling the stresses of everyday life without help? To add to those assaults on your immune system, a new condition known as immunosenescence has just been described. This condition reflects the deterioration of the immune response that occurs with age and is the cause of increased frequency and severity of autoimmune, infectious and non-infectious disease that afflict us as we age.

Medicinal mushrooms and their extracts have been reported in the scientific literature to have a variety of biological effects including immunomodulation, antitumor properties and beneficial influences on blood sugar regulation, serum lipids and blood pressure.

A hybridized mushroom extract called active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) is one example of this class of compounds. AHCC has proved extremely effective for activating vital parts of the immune system, leading to both prevention and treatment of serious diseases associated with aging and our stressful lifestyle. Because of their effect on the immune system, treatments such as these can offer improved quality of life, help slow or reverse the progression of cancer, hepatitis, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, osteoporosis and other chronic diseases.
Our immune system suffers due to an almost continuous exposure to antigens such as viruses, bacteria, pollution, pesticide residues on the food we eat and many other things. This deterioration is accelerated by increased levels of cortisol due to stress, decreased levels of DHEA and other hormones as we naturally age and through our sedentary lifestyles.

Internally this assault leads to a misfiring of the immune system as it responds to these insults. These insults lead to a decreased functioning of natural killer (NK) cells, T cells and macrophages, suppression of the IL-2 and the overproduction of the IL-6 and other inflammatory cytokines.

The NK cell participates either directly or indirectly in multiple developmental, regulatory and communication networks of the immune system. NK cell initiated cytokines prevent the over proliferation of precursor cell populations, thereby exerting more discriminating control over antigen-specific T and B cell responses. These are critical functions of the immune system and in many chronic and inflammatory diseases, levels of NK cell function prove to be an important indicator of disease progression and patient prognosis.

Therefore, because the NK cell plays such a critical role in how well our immune system functions, ensuring or restoring lost function and/or enhancing NK cell effectiveness is a central part of a healthy immune system and thus a nutritional supplement program.

The pharmaceutical drugs that can stimulate NK cell function have two fatal flaws. The first is that they lose their effectiveness over time and the second is their severe side effects and toxicity. They are therefore not appropriate for use in the management of chronic diseases.

There is one natural compound however, that has been proven to offer an effective balance between high levels of stimulation of NK cell function and nontoxicity. It is well tolerated, with very few reported side effects.
The research on an extract of hybridized medicinal mushrooms called active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) shows it most likely to be in a class of compounds known as biological response modifiers (BRM). These BRMs are known to activate or restore host Immunity.

AHCC in particular has been documented to increase NK cell function by 300-fold or more and to stimulate T cell, macrophage and cytokine activity. This level of immune stimulation and modulation can be quite effective in both treatment and prevention of age and stress related insults to the immune system.
Because AHCC can activate NK cells, T cells, macrophages and alter cytokine responsiveness, there are many active research projects either underway or about to begin that will further help us determine where AHCC can be most effective.

Preliminary reports from physicians around the country indicate that AHCC can help during cold and flu season as a preventive measure. Other physicians have reported CD4 count increased in patients with immunocompromised states such as AIDS or post-chemotherapy treated patients. Potential uses for AHCC include treatment of chronic fatigue, chronic Lyme disease cases, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and many other inflammatory responses that are modulated in the body by the immune system. Since most disease can be linked to a breakdown in the immune response, it stands to reason that AHCC should be considered as a first line, or at the very least, adjunct therapy in a variety of different disease states.

AHCC has an anti-inflammatory effect through its stimulation of the cytokine defense mechanism. It is therefore useful for the treatment of allergies and asthma. Allergy states where AHCC has shown some effectiveness include eczema, hives, rashes, chronic sinusitis and sectional affectations.

AHCC has been widely used and significantly tested in Japanese hospitals for over 10 years without any evidence of toxicity. Studies in this country are beginning to replicate the overseas success. The volumes of clinical and basic science research on this one medical mushroom are quite impressive.

Of course, no immune stimulatory program is complete without the addition of other natural and nutritional therapies that support and enhance other aspects of the immune system. Research and my own clinical experience support the use of a low sugar, low simple-carbohydrate diet as the foundation for good health. Other nutritional supplements include N-acetyl cysteine, thymic peptides and other vitamin and mineral antioxidants.

The key to 21st century medicine will be prevention of disease and control over inflammation and the immune process. Inflammation plays a role in the most common and chronic diseases affecting us today such as heart disease, arthritis, arteriosclerosis and many more.

One important thing to remember is that we can't ignore our immune system simply because we do not feel sick or don't anticipate getting sick. By the time you feel something, it may be too late. By keeping your immune system strong, you may be able to deter cancer, heart disease or any other illness that you get as you grow older.
AHCC has been proven time and again to be the cornerstone of therapy in helping to triumph over inflammation, to reduce oxidative damage and to fortify the immune system. AHCC should be part of anyone's daily regimen in maintaining and achieving optimum health.
By Fred Pescatore, M.D., MPH, CCN

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