In Japan, various mushrooms and tree fungi have a long history of medicinal use. Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) is a proprietary compound made from the mycelia (vegetative portion) of various mushrooms in the general family of basidiomycete. The exact composition of the mushrooms, as well as the method used to prepare them, are considered a trade secret. AHCC has been developed in Japan for use in treatment of cancer. For related treatments, see the articles on Maitake, Shiitaki, and Reishi.
AHCC is primarily advocated as an aid to cancer treatment, said to improve survival in people undergoing treatment for liver cancer and other forms of cancer. However, current evidence that it works is far too preliminary to be taken as meaningful, consisting as it does only of animal studies and a few entirely inadequate human trials.1-4 Only double-blind studies can actually prove a treatment effective, and none have yet been performed on AHCC. (For information on why this type of study is essential, see Why Does This Database Depend on Double-Blind Studies?)
Other proposed uses of AHCC have even weaker supporting evidence. These include decreasing chemotherapy side effects,5reducing cancer risk,6treating inflammatory bowel disease,7 and generally enhancing immune function.8-13
A typical dose of AHCC is 3 grams daily, often divided into 3 doses.
While use of AHCC has not been associated with any severe adverse effects, this substance has not undergone thorough safety testing. Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
1. Kitade H, Mtsui S, Takai S, et al. Preventive effect of active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) on the recurrence of postoperative hepatocellular carcinoma. On file with manufacturer: Kosuna Osaka/Sapporo. Japan.
2. 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;24:33-45.
3. 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;37:78-86.
4. Matsushita K, Kuramitsu Y, Ohiro Y, et al. Combination therapy of active hexose correlated compound plus UFT significantly reduces the metastasis of rat mammary adenocarcinoma. Anticancer Drugs. 1998;9:343-350.
5. Hirose A, Sato E, Fujii H et al. The influence of active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) on cisplatin-evoked chemotherapeutic and side effects in tumor-bearing mice. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2007 Apr 20. [Epub ahead of print]
6. Gao Y, Zhang D, Sun B, et al. Active hexose correlated compound enhances tumor surveillance through regulating both innate and adaptive immune responses. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2006;55:1258-1266.
7. Daddaoua A, Martinez-Plata E, Lopez-Posadas R, et al. Active hexose correlated compound acts as a prebiotic and is antiinflammatory in rats with hapten-induced colitis. J Nutr. 2007;137:1222-1228.
8. Aviles H, O'Donnell P, Sun B, et al. Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) enhances resistance to infection in a mouse model of surgical wound infection. Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2006;7:527-535.
9. Ritz BW, Nogusa S, Ackerman EA, et al. Supplementation with active hexose correlated compound increases the innate immune response of young mice to primary influenza infection. J Nutr. 2006;136:2868-2873.
10. Aviles H, Belay T, Vance M, et al. Active hexose correlated compound enhances the immune function of mice in the hindlimb-unloading model of spaceflight conditions. J Appl Physiol. 2004;97:1437-1444.
11. Ikeda T, Ishibashi H, Fujisaki R et al. Prophylactic efficacy of a basidiomycetes preparation AHCC against lethal Candida albicans infection in experimental granulocytopenic mice. Nippon Ishinkin Gakkai Zasshi. 2003;44:127-131.
12. Aviles H, Belay T, Fountain K, et al. Active hexose correlated compound enhances resistance to Klebsiella pneumoniae infection in mice in the hindlimb-unloading model of spaceflight conditions. J Appl Physiol. 2003;95:491-496.
13. Burikhanov RB, Wakame K, Igarashi Y, et al. Suppressive effect of active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) on thymic apoptosis induced by dexamethasone in the rat. Endocr Regul. 2000;34:181-188.
Last reviewed December 2015 by EBSCO CAM Review Board Last Updated: 12/15/2015