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Study: Mushroom Extract AHCC Boosts Immune System

Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine and Japan recently released the results of a study which found that a mushroom extract called Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) can strengthen the immune system and may also have anti-cancer properties.

AHCC is made up mostly of polysaccharides, which are a class of carbohydrates. It has been used by Japanese health professionals since the late 1980s to boost the immune system and is one of the most popular immune-enhancing supplements in Japan.

In order to determine the effectiveness of the extract, researchers measured the production of two cytokines, Interferon (IFN-y) and Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF-a), for 30 and 60 days. Cytokines are produced by white blood cells and help regulate the body's response to disease and infection by preventing the growth of abnormal cells. Accordingly, higher cytokine levels are associated with increased immune defenses.

Researchers found that production of IFN-y and TNF-a increased within four weeks of taking AHCC and continued for up to four weeks after consumption stopped. The results were presented to over 300 Medical Professionals at the 16th International AHCC Symposium in Sapporo, Japan, last month.

According to one of the presenters, Professor Emeritus Yasuo Kamiyama of Kensai Medical University, AHCC can work particularly well as a complementary medicine to pharmaceuticals for cancer patients who develop complications.

There have been over 300 clinical studies performed to test the effectiveness of AHCC. More research needs to be done to confirm these results but the findings do add to a growing body of evidence that shows AHCC can play a significant role in strengthening the immune system.
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