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AHCC® Absorption Secrets: Why Taking it On an Empty Stomach Matters


The goal of any supplement is to maximize absorption. After all, if a supplement cannot be absorbed, the body cannot feel the benefits properly. The time of day that you take your supplement is very important for absorption, and most supplements and drugs specify exactly when you should take them because of this. 

AHCC®, in this case, is best taken on an empty stomach, typically right as you wake up. But why exactly should you take AHCC® on an empty stomach? For the science behind it all, keep reading! 

Table of Contents:

  1. AHCC® Explained
  2. How is AHCC® Made?
  3. How Does AHCC® Benefit the Immune Response?
  4. When Should You Take AHCC®?
  5. The Right AHCC® Supplement For You
  6. Conclusion

AHCC® Explained

AHCC® is an immunomodulatory supplement that was originally developed in Japan.* A standardized extract of cultured Lentinula edodes, or shiitake mushrooms, is the primary component of AHCC®. These healing mushrooms have been used as a natural remedy for centuries.

AHCC® is a very popular supplement in Japan and Korea and recently has been gaining traction in the United States. This is because AHCC® can support your overall immune health, as well as help with the response of both your innate and adaptive immune systems.*

Immune health is absolutely crucial to your survival. Components of the immune system exist all throughout the body, especially in the gut, skin, and throat, working to expel any invaders and keep the body safe from outside harm. AHCC® helps maintain these individual components, as well as the overall response.*

The following is a complete list of all that AHCC® can help do for the body/immune system:

  • AHCC® helps promote white blood cell (WBC) production*
  • AHCC® helps increase the number and activity of dendritic cells*
  • AHCC® helps enhance cytokine production*
  • AHCC® helps maintain optimal natural killer (NK) cell activity*
  • AHCC® helps promote macrophage and T cell activity*
  • AHCC® helps soothe the digestive system and helps minimize irritation throughout the body*
  • AHCC® provides the body with better energy levels*

In addition, AHCC® is a soothing supplement that contains a high concentration of antioxidants, primarily in the form of alpha glucans.* These antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and prevent them from inflicting harm on cellular structures.* The work of antioxidant-rich supplements like AHCC® allows the cells to perform at their best. 

How is AHCC® Made?

AHCC® is made from the mycelia, or roots, of healing mushrooms. People with mushroom allergies are typically only allergic to the top parts of mushrooms, so they should have no issue with AHCC®. If you are concerned about how your mushroom allergy may prevent you from taking AHCC®, talk to your primary care provider.

As previously mentioned, AHCC® was first developed in Japan. In fact, the scientists at Amino Up Chemical Co., Ltd, a Japanese biotechnology company, originally meant for AHCC® to be used as a treatment for hypertension. We now know that it is best used to support immune function.*

To make AHCC®, scientists combine shiitake mushrooms with other hybrid mushrooms. This collection of mushroom roots is then cultured in rice bran extract, which further adds immunomodulatory qualities to the compound.

The mushroom roots are cultured for around 45-60 days, during which they will form a colony. Lastly the colony has to undergo cultivation, decomposition by enzymes, sterilization, concentration, and freeze-drying to be turned into the final product. To this day, AHCC® is only produced in Japan.

Since its development in 1987, AHCC® has been the subject of many in vivo, in vitro, and/or clinical trials. The more research that is performed, the more we learn exactly how AHCC® can benefit the body

How Does AHCC® Benefit the Immune Response? 

The immune system is made up of two different types of responses -- innate and adaptive -- and AHCC® supports both.* Of course, for the immune system to function at its best, it needs the innate and adaptive immune responses to work in harmony. AHCC® also helps the innate and adaptive immune systems to work together at their best.*

The innate immune response is made up of cytokines, NK cells, dendritic cells, and macrophages. This system responds first to a perceived threat, helping to identify it and setting off the initial non-specific attack against it. The innate immune system also communicates with the adaptive immune response, in order to help it prepare for what it needs to do.

The adaptive immune response also contains many white blood cells, like T cells and B cells. Using their experience from previous exposure to pathogens, these white blood cells launch a specific, targeted attack against invaders. 

AHCC® supports immune health by helping to maintain the numbers and activity of the individual components of these immune responses, as well as by supporting the way the two responses work together to protect the body.*

When Should You Take AHCC®? 

You should take AHCC® on an empty stomach, or at least one hour before eating another meal. The best time to do so is in the morning, since you likely have not eaten for several hours after just waking up. As long as you wait at least 2 hours after eating to take your AHCC® supplement, your stomach should be empty enough to manage the supplement.

The majority of drugs and supplements indicate exactly how the supplement should be taken, in order to maximize efficacy. The two most common instructions are either to take a supplement on an empty stomach or with a meal. How and when you take a supplement controls how well it will be absorbed by the body, and is therefore crucial. If you do not take a medication as directed, it may not be as effective as it is meant to be.

In this particular case, when you try to digest AHCC® and certain foods or drinks at the same time, the food may alter how well AHCC® is absorbed. If you cannot absorb AHCC® well, it cannot supply you with the many benefits it has to offer. So be sure to always take AHCC® on an empty stomach, and wait about an hour before eating a meal.

An expert’s tip: keep your AHCC® supplement, along with a glass of water, on your nightstand. That way when you wake up you will see it immediately and remember to take it.

The Right AHCC® Supplement For You

When you decide to start taking a supplement, you want to know that what you are putting in your body is made from the highest quality. So why not choose the supplement brand that has “quality” right in our name?

We named ourselves Quality of Life for one reason: we care about your quality of life! We want our supplements to improve your health and the way you live your daily life.

Quality of Life is dedicated to science, especially when it comes to the human clinical trials that back up every single one of the ingredients that we use in our supplements. AHCC®, for example, is the focus of over 30 clinical studies involving humans. We listen to real results, so we can ensure that our products are the very best.

We have three AHCC® supplements: AHCC® Kinoko Gold, which contains 500 mg of AHCC® in each vegicap; AHCC® Kinoko Platinum, which delivers 750 mg of AHCC® per vegicap; and AHCC® Rx, which offers 300 mg of a more potent AHCC® in each capsule. Your primary care provider can help you determine which dose is right for you.

No matter which of our AHCC® supplements you choose, you can be sure that they will be absorbed and used efficiently by the body (especially when taken on an empty stomach!)* This is because Quality of Life AHCC® has a molecular weight of just 5,000 Daltons, as well as a high concentration of alpha glucans, both of which enable optimal absorption and efficacy.*

Once Quality of Life AHCC® is absorbed, it can then go on to support the innate and adaptive immune responses, white blood cell production and activity, energy levels, and even the digestive tract.* Rest assured that all ingredients are also GMO-free, vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

AHCC® can support your immune health, but your immune system will be at its strongest when you follow a healthy lifestyle as well.* This includes getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, and exercising, at a minimum, 3-5 times a week.

For better immune health, you should avoid smoking entirely and alcohol in excess. Additionally, find ways to unwind and relax each day so as to reduce your levels of stress.

With a healthy lifestyle and Quality of Life AHCC® supplements, your immune system and overall health will thank you!*


AHCC® is a nutritional supplement made from the mycelia of specific types of mushrooms. The supplement has been commonly used in East Asia for a couple of decades and is now growing in popularity in the United States. AHCC® is used to support immune health and the immune response.*

AHCC® is meant to be taken on an empty stomach. This prohibits other foods from interacting with the way AHCC® is digested and absorbed, maintaining that AHCC® is able to be used in the best possible way by the body. For the highest quality AHCC® supplement, turn to Quality of Life AHCC®.


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