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What is AHCC? Why Is It So Important?

August 24, 2021

What is AHCC? Why Is It So Important?

AHCC is derived from the shiitake mushroom and is widely used as an immune system supplement. AHCC is generally sold as a liquid, powder, or capsule. AHCC has become a highly praised supplement because of its effects on the immune system. The body can better handle everyday life with a strong immune system, which can lead to more energy and a better quality of life.

 Why Mushrooms?

When the average person thinks about mushrooms as a medicinal supplement, they may assume it is related to “psychedelic” mushrooms. Psychedelic mushrooms give an individual a euphoric high and provoke hallucinations due to the psychoactive chemical psilocybin. But not all mushrooms are psychoactive. Throughout Eastern history, mushrooms have been used as immune supplements and nutritional additives. In the modern era, Western traditions have adopted the mushroom as a superfood and incorporated mushrooms into supplements sold on the medical market. One such supplement is AHCC. 

Who Discovered AHCC? 

AHCC was discovered in Japan by Amino Up Chemical Co., LTD. and Dr. Toshihiko Okoamoto. AHCC originates from shiitake mushrooms, native to Japan, amongst other derivatives of the species Basidiomycetes. The active compounds in AHCC are beta- and alpha-glucans, which are known to support healthy cholesterol levels and overall heart health.* In fact, AHCC was introduced to the medical market as a supplement for high blood pressure. However, more research has gone into how AHCC affects the immune system.

How is AHCC Made? 

The process of cultivating AHCC is delicate and complex. Proper curation of the supplement ensures the compound produces maximum effects. First, the shiitake mushrooms are sourced from Japan. Then, derivatives of Basidiomycota, or fungi of the same phylum, are used. The mycelia of the mushroom are cultured in a rice bran mixture, a process that is widely used to promote immune enhancement properties.* After the fungi form a colony, those mushrooms are cultured for an additional two months. The finalized consumable mushroom will have been broken down and freeze-dried, and either powderized or liquified, to be administered in tablets.  

Alpha Glucans 

AHCC is rich in alpha-glucans. Alpha-glucans are polysaccharides that are formed from carbohydrates and make up the cell wall of fungi. Polysaccharides are easily absorbed by the digestive system and aid metabolic processes. Proper digestion is directly correlated with the efficacy of the immune system. Without proper absorption, you cannot benefit from the nutrients of the foods and supplements you consume. Therefore, your immune system is dependent on the vitamins absorbed from food. 

Who Can Take AHCC?   

Most people should be able to take AHCC safely.* AHCC supplements are also gluten-free, vegan, and dairy-free. If you have an allergy to mushrooms, AHCC generally does not incite an allergic reaction since most mushroom allergies are caused by the spores of the mushroom, which are not involved in making AHCC. However, it is important to consult a doctor before taking AHCC if there is any concern.

Consult a healthcare provider for the appropriate dosage of AHCC in children as safety has not been fully studied in children. AHCC may be recommended by some veterinarians for animals. Consult a veterinarian on the appropriate dosage to use for your pet. 

The Importance of AHCC  

AHCC may be a beneficial supplement because of its effects on the immune system.* The immune system is associated with two main responses: the innate response and the adaptive response. The innate response comprises the actions of white blood cells, such as macrophages, dendritic cells, and NK cells. Each cell works in different ways to help eradicate pathogens from the body. Dendritic cells bridge the gap between the different immune responses. They process information from foreign substances so that T-cells can strategize and attack previously encountered pathogens. 

AHCC is involved with all the key players in the immune system. It is important that the immune system has moderated levels of white blood cells. Too many white blood cells can cause the immune system to attack itself, and too little white blood cells leave the immune system vulnerable. AHCC moderates the production of macrophages and NK cells while enhancing the production of dendritic cells.*

AHCC also supports the production of cytokines, which are the chemical messengers in the immune system.* Cytokines communicate between the white blood cells to ensure regulatory processes. AHCC supports the production of cytokines as well as T-cells and promotes a balanced immune system.* 

Why should I consider taking AHCC? 

With the emergence of the pandemic, now more than ever, you should be thinking about  your immune support. Just like you have adapted to wearing masks, sanitizing every surface, social distancing, and working from home, you should consider supporting your immune health with supplements such as AHCC.* 

Even if you are in excellent health and feel that you are not susceptible to this illness, there is no harm in giving the immune system that extra support.* It is normal to feel invincible, that is, until you fall ill. So, taking precautions with your immune system is incredibly important.

Having a strong immune system doesn’t only benefit you in terms of illness. A strong immune system supports optimal energy levels and overall well-being. AHCC helps support healthy digestive processes, which can help the body soak up important nutrients that give you energy.* Proper nutrition can help support brain function and physical stamina. You may also experience prolonged energy, less fatigue, and increased productivity.*

Things To Consider When Taking AHCC  

When taking AHCC, it is important to consider simple lifestyle changes to promote the supplement’s effectiveness. Avoiding behaviors that suppress the immune system is increasingly important when taking AHCC. 


Sleep is often taken for granted. The average adult needs at least seven hours of sleep per night, but many adults would claim they’re able to function on five or six. Getting enough sleep is crucial to immune health. Cytokines are produced during sleep, which enables communication between the other cells of the immune system. Cytokines send messages to T-Cells which are responsible for fighting viruses. Without this communication, the body becomes more susceptible to contracting any illness. 


Smoking cigarettes is known to weaken the immune system. It is clinically recognized that cigarette use leads to lung cancer due to carcinogens. Tobacco users are also more prone to autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and respiratory infections. The chemicals in cigarettes, such as nicotine, are most likely responsible for immune suppression. Nicotine, among other toxins found in cigarettes, interacts negatively with the immune system and causes inflammation.

Heavy alcohol consumption can also weaken the immune system. Alcohol is a toxin that can destroy healthy cells. Heavy alcohol users generally suffer from inflammation in the gut. It is also known that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to low white blood cell counts. Therefore, it is important to moderate alcohol consumption when taking AHCC to ensure the best results. 

Exercise and Diet 

It probably goes without saying, but a healthy diet and regular exercise are the key to maintaining a healthy immune system. A healthy diet can work in conjunction with AHCC to ensure proper gut absorption of the supplement.* Exercise can alleviate stress, and therefore prevent stress hormones from weakening the immune system. A balanced life can ensure proper immune support.


In conclusion, AHCC is an important immune support supplement that can help support overall health.* The results of numerous studies prove that there is value in taking AHCC, and that it can support your immune system, not only enhancing it but also regulating it.* Whether you have an ailment or not you can reap the benefits of a healthy immune system. What are you doing to protect your immune system? 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.







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