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What is the Difference Between Beta Glucan and AHCC®?


AHCC® is rapidly becoming one of the most popular dietary supplements in the western market today. These supplements have helped people boost their general well-being and improve the health of their immune system, thanks to the supplements’ rich immunomodulatory properties.*

The Difference
Where Does AHCC® Come From?
Why Do People Take AHCC®?
Where Can I Find AHCC®?
What’s the History Behind AHCC®?
Is There Anything Else I Should Know About AHCC®?
Should I Take AHCC®?


The Difference

AHCC® supplements should not be confused with beta glucan supplements, as there are key differences between the two.

Beta glucans can be found in a wide variety of different foods, such as barley and oats. They are sugars that can be found in the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, and yeasts. They’ve also been used as an additive in food products such as salad dressings and frozen desserts. They are available for purchase as a dietary supplement.

On the other end, AHCC® is a dietary supplement made from the extract of shiitake mushrooms. AHCC® is a compound rich in shiitake mushroom extract and other health-promoting fungi. Some key ingredients in AHCC® include both high amounts of alpha glucans and beta glucans, which are associated with the health-boosting properties of the compound. The production of AHCC® from shiitake mushrooms is a lengthy, complex process.

Though beta glucans can be found in AHCC®, beta glucans supplements do not have the same properties as the entire AHCC® compound.

Where Does AHCC® Come From?

brown and white mushrooms on brown wooden surface

AHCC® is a nutritional supplement extracted from the mycelia of Lentinula edodes, also known as shiitake mushrooms.

Shiitake mushrooms must first be cultivated and grown. Wild shiitake mushrooms are normally found in the dense forestry of mountainous regions in east Asia. However, they are commonly grown in Japanese forests under close supervision in a delicate process--which is usually a lengthy process that takes many weeks.

The extraction of important shiitake mushroom elements in the production of AHCC® includes the following steps:

  1. Shiitake mushrooms are imported into the factory.
  2. A wide selection of Basidiomycota phylum fungi are also imported.
  3. The mycelia of the shiitake mushrooms are physically separated from the rest of the mushrooms,
  4. The fungi are cultured in a rice bran extract, which is rich in various immune system-boosting compounds,* until a colony has formed.
  5. After a colony has visibly formed, the blend is further cultured for an additional 45 to 60 days.
  6. After full growth, the shiitake mushroom blend undergoes another complex, patented process, in preparation for its consumption via AHCC® capsule. These steps include further cultivation, enzyme decomposition, sterilization, concentration, and freeze-drying.

This production process is carefully technologically monitored to ensure a high-quality standard for AHCC®.


Why Do People Take AHCC®?

AHCC® is taken by people who want to improve their general health and well-being, and more specifically, want to support their immune system.*

The human immune system is very complex and layered, but can be broken down to a few main points:

  • The innate immune system is non-specific, and includes your skin and mucous membranes--it includes cytokines, natural killer cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells
  • The adaptive immune system is slower-acting, but launches specific responses meant to combat foreign microscopic invaders in the body--it includes T cells and B cells

AHCC® has been studied by various institutions, and results have supported the beliefs that AHCC®:

  • Increases the production of cytokines*’
    • Cytokines are signaling proteins that act as humoral regulators, modulating the functions of individual cells
  • Increases the populations of macrophages by as much as 200%*
    • Macrophages are specialized immune cells involved in the detection, phagocytosis, and destruction of bacteria and other foreign micro invaders
  • Increases the activity of NK cells by as much as 300% - 800%*
    • NK cells are a type of lymphocyte that play a major role in combating tumors and virally infected cells
  • Increases the number of T cells by as much as 200%*
    • T cells are a type of lymphocyte that directly kill infected host cells, activate other immune cells, and regulate immune response
  • Increases the number of dendritic cells*
    • Dendritic cells capture and process antigens, producing adaptive immune cells

Where Can I Find AHCC®?

Quality of Life Labs

AHCC® dietary supplements can be purchased online from Quality of Life®.

Quality of Life® was founded in 1998. Since then, we have aimed to provide consumers with easy access to high-quality natural nutritional supplements--all of which we have curated and hold to high standards.

As a world-trusted supplement company, we stay close to cutting-edge research, as we strive to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the natural products industry. We put your health first!

All Quality of Life® ingredients are backed by human studies and are delivered only in dosages consistent with the latest clinical research.

Quality of Life® distributes only quality, premier AHCC® products:

The ingredients in our supplements are very simple, as we strive to stay fully transparent with our customers. All ingredients ensure the best experience when taking AHCC®:

  • AHCC®, a proprietary blend of mushroom mycelia extract from hybridized basidiomycetes or shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) with acetylated alpha-glucans
  • Carnauba plant wax
  • Dextrin (tapioca)
  • Cellulose (plant)
  • Alpha-cyclodextrin (vegetable)

Quality of Life® AHCC® has a very low molecular weight of only 5,000 daltons, making for better absorption compared to other forms of AHCC®.*

In addition, our AHCC® products are dairy-free, gluten-free, GMO-free, magnesium stearate free, vegetarian, and are packaged and shipped within the United States. We promise easy access to only the best natural health-promoting supplements with quality ingredients!


What’s the History Behind AHCC®?

AHCC® is derived from shiitake mushroom extract. For centuries, people in east Asia have grown and cultivated shiitake mushrooms. Shiitake mushrooms have been a part of east Asian cuisine for a very long time.

Historians have explored centuries-old writings by scholars that document the supposed health-boosting effects of shiitake mushrooms.* They have been used in Asian alternative medicine for centuries.

It has been speculated that certain molecules and compounds found in shiitake mushrooms are good for human health. Specifically, shiitake mushrooms contain sterols, beta glucans, and eritadenine, and it has been suggested that these compounds specifically play a role in boosting heart health.*

In 1989, Dr. Toshihiko Okamoto of the University of Tokyo Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences led a team of researchers from Amino Up Chemical Co Ltd., working to develop a compound made from shiitake mushrooms with the goal of combating hypertension and improving cardiovascular health.

AHCC® has been a very popular nutritional supplement in Asia--especially in Japan and China. Only recently has AHCC® become available to the western market, with easy purchase and shipment online, right at your fingertips!

Is There Anything Else I Should Know About AHCC®?

AHCC® was actually developed with the original intention of improving cardiovascular health.* Yet, studies have shown that AHCC® has the greatest impact on supporting the function of the human immune system.* Other studies are still ongoing, as scientists attempt to explore how else AHCC® affects the human body. 

AHCC® is also typically safe for consumption for people with mushroom allergies. Most people who are allergic to mushrooms are allergic to mushroom spores. However, AHCC® is made from the mycelia of shiitake mushrooms, which typically do not contain any mushroom spores. 

In addition, the production process of AHCC®, in which the shiitake mushroom mycelia are broken down and processed, also breaks down large macromolecules that may cause an allergic reaction. If you are unsure, you can take AHCC® slowly by putting the powder on the tip of your tongue, and waiting to see if you have an allergic reaction.

AHCC® is also typically safe to take with other nutritional supplements and medicines. AHCC® is metabolized via enzyme pathway “P450 2D6,” which means that any other nutritional supplement or medicine metabolized by “P450 2D6” can increase or decrease the absorption of AHCC®, or vice versa. 


As always, you should consult a healthcare professional if you are concerned about any possible conflicts when taking AHCC®.

Should I Take AHCC®?

Quality of Life's mission is to bring top quality nutritional supplements to the general public, and to make complex groundbreaking research easy to understand.

We have been one of the top distributors of quality AHCC® for years because we truly do believe in the supplement’s health-enhancing properties.* 

For people looking for that extra support for their immune system, AHCC® is a great choice.* 

Many of us struggle to get enough health-promoting nutrients and compounds from our diets alone--hence why we support AHCC®.

AHCC® continues to make strides in the world of natural supplement products, and that can be seen in how it is the premier nutritional supplements for over 1,000 health clinics across the world.

Ultimately, if you are unsure of whether or not AHCC® is right for you, you should consult a healthcare professional that can help you make the best decision for yourself.



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

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