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AHCC stands for active hexose correlated compound. This fungi-derived and mushroom-derived supplement can help support the immune system. One of the most important things to remember when taking this potent supplement is to use it on an empty stomach. So why take AHCC on an empty stomach, and what else should you know?
How Does AHCC Work?
AHCC is an immunomodulating supplement that was developed in Japan. The main component comes from cultured shitake mushrooms. Medicinal mushrooms have been used for centuries and are currently used as cancer treatments in Asian countries.
AHCC is made using a proprietary process. It comes from the mycelium of healing mushrooms. Scientists make the supplement by combining shitake mushrooms with others. The mushroom roots are cultured in rice bran extract, which further helps enhance their immunomodulatory qualities. The roots are cultured for up to 60 days, and they make a colony during that time. The colony undergoes cultivation, where it’s freeze-dried into its final product. AHCC has been widely studied and has several benefits in clinical trials and in vitro and in vivo studies.
Our immune system has two primary responses—innate and adaptive. AHCC can support both responses. The innate immune response includes cytokines, macrophages, dendritic cells, and natural killer cells.
If your immune system perceives a threat, it responds, starting with a nonspecific attack. Then, this innate immune response communicates and works along with your adaptive immune response.
The adaptive response includes T, B, and other white blood cells. The cells use exposures to previous pathogens to begin targeted immune attacks against invaders.
AHCC helps maintain the activity and number of these immune response components. The supplement may also help support how your innate and adaptive immune response works together.
What Are the Benefits of AHCC?
Potentially benefits of AHCC backed by research include:
- May help prevent and treat cancer
- Helps with oxidative stress disorder
- Improves T-cell immune response
- May help combat microbial infections
- Can eradicate HPV infections
- Reduces blood pressure
- Modulates the immune system
- Can help improve energy levels
- Helps soothe the digestive system
- Promotes white blood cell production
- Reduces toxicity associated with cancer treatments like chemotherapy
- May help with the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease
- Can promote liver health
How Do You Take AHCC?
AHCC is available as a supplement that you can buy over the counter. Most commonly, people take it as a capsule. You should take it on an empty stomach. Make sure you take AHCC at least an hour before you eat, which for most people is in the morning, right after they wake up.
Most manufacturers’ dosing guidelines recommend taking two 500 mg capsules by mouth three times daily on an empty stomach. The typical daily dosage for conditions like HPV is three milligrams, but doses up to six milligrams a day have been used.
You can likely take AHCC safely for long periods, and studies often look at its use for at least six months.
In one phase I trial, taking 9 grams a day for 14 days was well-tolerated by most patients, so it’s possible to take a relatively large dose for many people.
It’s important to be consistent with your use of AHCC to see benefits. It should be taken every day and continuously for the best results.
More specific dosing instructions for AHCC, according to currently available studies, include:
- In some studies, up to six grams a day for eight weeks had been studied for cancer.
- To combat seasonal infections and sicknesses, taking around three grams daily can help with immune response.
- Taking two grams of AHCC daily has shown promise in managing chronic hepatitis C.
Why Take AHCC On An Empty Stomach?
You will almost always see instructions that indicate you should take AHCC on an empty stomach. So, why take AHCC on an empty stomach?
Most clinical studies have evaluated the benefits of AHCC when people take it on an empty stomach. When you take supplements with food, it can reduce their absorption and their effectiveness. Taking them on an empty stomach increases the absorption of the AHCC into the bloodstream, so you will get the maximum therapeutic benefits.
If you experience nausea taking AHCC on an empty stomach, you can have a very small snack, which shouldn’t affect absorption much.
Is AHCC Safe?
The safety of AHCC is well-established. The only time symptoms have been seen in research so far are mild. They might include bloating, nausea and diarrhea.
Final Thoughts—Why Take AHCC On An Empty Stomach?
Taking AHCC on an empty stomach is an important way to ensure your body absorbs and maximizes its health benefits. If you feel nauseous, you can take it with a small snack, but if you can wait until an hour after taking it to eat, that’s best.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “AHCC.” July 27, 2022. Accessed September 10, 2022.
Smith, Judith A. “From Bench to Bedside: Evaluations of AHCC Supplementation to Modulate the Host Immunity to Clear High-Risk Human Papillomavirus Infections.” Frontiers in Oncology, March 2019. Accessed September 10, 2022.
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. “Mushroom extract, AHCC, helpful in treating HPV.” Science Daily, October 28, 2014. Accessed September 10, 2022.
Primeau, Andrea Blevins S. “AHCC and Cancer.” Cancer Therapy Advisor, March 9, 2018. Accessed September 10, 2022.
Drugs.com. “AHCC.” December 22, 2021. Accessed September 10, 2022.