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Ditch the Fake AHCC®: How to Know If You Are Getting the Real Stuff

June 11, 2020

Ditch the Fake AHCC®: How to Know If You Are Getting the Real Stuff

There is a much-increased interest in immunity supplements of all kinds given the global pandemic that has taken over everyday life. Fear and hysteria reign supreme and people are often confused and willing to listen to anyone tell them what they want to hear. It is essential during times like these to keep composure and maintain the use of our mental faculties. One of the ways we can do this is by verifying claims we see on the internet, especially when they have a financial incentive involved. This requires research and due diligence on the part of consumers. We have compiled this resource to help you with your research and to briefly summarize some of the information that is factually correct and publicly available about AHCC®.

AHCC® is a proprietary mushroom formula that was developed in Japan in the 1980s. It has been prized for its medicinal properties used in Asian nations and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). One of the most appealing features of this supplement from a health perspective is that it has a low molecular weight, which enhances the body's ability to absorb it into the bloodstream effectively*. This compound has been shown to have several perceived health benefits:

  • Maintains optimal natural killer cell activity*
  • Increases number and activity of dendritic cells*
  • Promotes T-cell and macrophage activity* 
  • May enhance cytokine production*

While these may seem like bold claims, there are very few supplements that have been as thoroughly researched as AHCC®. For example, shiitake mushrooms have been used in Japanese culture for years in diet and medicine. 

Natural Killer Cells: These are white blood cells that are your body's primary response against foreign pathogens or infected cells. These cells, therefore, identify and terminate the threats that our body encounters every day. 

Dendritic Cells: These are also a different type of immune-supporting cell. They are a vital component of the immune response and are helpful in the identification of harmful pathogens. 

Cytokines: These convey important information between cells and help maintain communication between various parts of the immune system to coordinate a response. Imagine a modern army without contacts, and you will begin to understand how vital Cytokines are to the immune response. 

Macrophages: These are extraordinary white blood cells that help the immune response by clearing potentially harmful debris from the body's systems as well as finding and disposing of pathogenic threats. 

B and T Cells: These essential cells are also known as lymphocytes. These cells provide the body's immune system with the vital memory it needs to maintain immunity. Without these crucial, resistant system components, we may get sick from the same pathogens over and over again without building any resistance. 

Facts About AHCC®

AHCC® was first developed in partnership between a chemical company and a Japanese doctor. Shiitake mushrooms are one of the primary and most visible ingredients, but other components are in the compound as well. However, one unique aspect when compared with other medicinal mushrooms, is that AHCC® is only extracted from the mycelia (roots) and not the cap ( fruiting body). This helps to maximize health benefits and can prevent irritation that can be caused by mushroom spores. The different mycelia are cultured in rice bran extract in a precise process, and the colonization required for the synthesis of AHCC® takes from one and a half to two months. 

Can I Use an AHCC® Supplement If I’m Allergic to Mushrooms? 

This is a common and easily answered question. Luckily, if you’re allergic to mushrooms, you do not need to be deprived of the health benefits that AHCC® can provide. This is because allergies are almost always associated with the spores of fungi rather than the root, which is what AHCC® is derived from. If you have an allergy, you still need to talk to your primary care provider even though sensitivity to the spores of the mushroom is the common cause of most allergic reactions. You should always consult with your doctor before taking any supplements.

It is important to remember that the Food and Drug Administration regulates medicinal mushrooms as a supplement, meaning they do not verify the contents of the products or the veracity of claims made by vendors. This means that as a consumer, you are required to conduct an above-average level of due diligence. Always remember to carefully analyze anything that will go into your body.

Only Shop For Quality Brands

Given the additional objectives that consumers face in the supplement industry, it is important for consumers to only engage with brands that go above and beyond to provide quality scientific research to back their products instead of prioritizing their profits with false claims. Unfortunately, the latter motive can be powerful, and vulnerable consumers with the best of intentions searching for wellness products can fall victim to clever tricks by unscrupulous vendors. If you want to be sure that you are receiving quality and accurately labeled AHCC®, then you should stick with verified brands. You can check customer reviews, you can look to see if the vendor has won awards, and you can ensure that you peruse the vendors' materials to ensure your values align with their values and mission. 

Use Brands That Use Human Trial Data

Believe it or not, it can be challenging to find supplement companies that use any data on humans in the dosing or research of their products. If everything that worked on a mouse or a rat worked on humans, then we would live in a very different world. It is hard to find a vendor that can back their claims with research, but one such brand is Quality of Life. This company was founded in 1998 and is dedicated to providing consumers access to high quality and condition-specific supplements that they can trust. 

The company’s singular focus on quality and providing evidence and data-driven products to consumers is unparalleled among its peers. 

The Hucksters Are Out

Whenever an environment of fear is pervasive, consumers can often fall victim to evil schemes and plots conducted by people who value money over integrity. These folks can take dangerous shortcuts that leave consumers getting fleeced at best and getting harmed at the worst. This is why, now more than ever, consumers should only be relying upon brands that can show exactly what is in their products while adhering to the highest standards of quality.

Be extremely wary of any vendor selling supplements that claim they can cure something, or particularly if they seem to be claiming it can cure everything. These are major red flags, and using common sense can help you to avoid scams. It is often useful to deal with American businesses if you live in America as the regulatory system here gives consumers firm and concrete steps for holding disingenuous or deceptive vendors accountable. The Food and Drug Administration, for example, is out in full force to quickly shut down the many false claims that have been permeating the internet about unproven treatments. 

AHCC® is not one of these scams. It’s imperative to distinguish between claims that have evidence and claims without. However, there is a lot of anecdotal and preliminary evidence suggesting that AHCC® may possess several critical medicinal properties, including immunity-boosting effects*. That being said, you should not rely on this to replace any prescription medications. You always need to consult a doctor before adding a supplement. 

A Time Tested Remedy

AHCC® comes from mushrooms that have been in use in Asian cultures for many centuries for their medicinal properties. This also helps set AHCC® apart from other types of supplements. AHCC® comes from a mushroom, and these have been safely consumed by humans for many years. Shiitake mushrooms have been a vital part of Asian diets for many years as well. This makes them perhaps more trusting and more accepted in Asian cultures. Whether they are part of your diet, or if you rely on specially designed and patented solutions like AHCC® to attain the maximum benefit, medicinal mushrooms can be a powerful aid to the health of human beings. 



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