Immunity is always the hot topic come fall/winter because we all know what is coming…as the seasons change, the temperatures drop and flus and other ailments spread across the land like the winds.
There are the timeless approaches to immunity boosting; vitamin C, zinc, plenty of rest, drinking enough water… but what about dietary and nutritional prevention. Surely eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains help support the body’s immunity, but this time of year fresh fruits and vegetables are harder to come by and most of us gravitate towards more comfort foods: macaroni & cheese and turkey with stuffing-which can leave gaps in our already nutrient deficient diets. Dietary supplements; such as herbs, vitamin formulations and teas can be beneficial in providing nutrients that can support our innate ability to heal and help boost or balance our immune system. But with so many different dietary supplements to choose from, I decided to focus on one ingredient that has established itself as a dietary supplement with the ability to enhance the immune system. AHCC (Active Hexose Correlated Compound) is a nutritional supplement with immunomodular effects and over the past 10 years animal and human studies have demonstrated its effects on immune responses to different infections and revealed its immunostimulatory benefits.
AHCC is an extract of Lentinula edodes of the basidiomycete family of fungi rich in alpha glucans-a fermented mushroom extract-that contains oligosaccharides, amino acids, lipids and minerals. The main active constituent (74%) of AHCC is oligosaccharides and the glucans are thought to provide a carbohydrate to stimulate the immune response. AHCC is a natural compound that also has the potential to be used as an immunoenhancer when the immune system is compromised and has been shown to modulate protective immune responses to a wide range of acute infections, including influenza. It has also been shown to improve the feeling of well-being in patients suffering from multiple disorders.
As we age our innate and adaptive immunity declines drastically, therefore making us more susceptible to diseases we come into contact with. This is where supplementation with an immunity boosting ingredient would be beneficial because it could help support the body’s innate ability to fight disease and bring our immune system back to a balanced state. AHCC is also an antioxidant, which is quite beneficial as we age.
Safety and Dosage: Multiple safety studies have shown that even at high dosages well above those typically utilized in laboratory studies, AHCC showed no significant abnormalities in laboratory parameters and adverse effects were minimal. Though there is not enough research to determine a typical dosage; most studies used 3g daily; typically administered in 1000mg dosages three times daily (as indicated on the label of the majority of AHCC products); however, dosages of 1000mg once daily have been known to promote a sense of well-being. Carefully read the label to determine what dosage would be beneficial for you.
Given the vast amount of accumulating research and safety studies, AHCC may be a wonderful addition to your nutritional regime to help support your immune function during the cold and flu season. As always, be sure to consult with your healthcare practitioner before beginning any supplement regime, especially if you are being monitored for any healthcare condition or on medication.