This information describes the common uses of AHCC, how it works, and its possible side effects.

Common Name

Active Hexose Correlated Compound

How It Works

AHCC appears to have immunomodulatory and anticancer effects, but large human studies are lacking.

Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) is an extract of mushrooms from the Basidiomycete class, including shiitake mushrooms. This product contains polysaccharides called glucans, which scientists think are responsible for its biological activity.

Lab studies suggest AHCC may enhance the activity of some types of immune cells. Animal studies suggest that AHCC has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and may improve immune system response in mice with chemotherapy-weakened immune systems. In a few human studies, AHCC improved liver function in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma and cirrhosis, and reduced blood levels of some tumor markers.

Purported Uses

To prevent and treat cancer
Laboratory experiments suggest anticancer activity. A clinical study supported the use of AHCC in patients undergoing surgical resection of hepatocellular carcinoma, but another study found it ineffective for early stage prostate cancer. More research is needed.

Do Not Take If

  • You are taking drugs that are substrates of Cytochrome P450 2D6: Lab studies suggest AHCC may make these drugs less effective. Clinical significance is not known.

Side Effects

  • Diarrhea and itching have been reported in patients following consumption of AHCC.