We’ve all seen media claims that supplements can be a “waste of money” while other reports illustrate the dangers of “natural products”. So how valid are these claims? It’s all in the fine print. A catchy fear-inducing headline is sure to make waves, but it’s time to break down the science – and the actual text – of this information. When are supplements actually not worth it, and when can they actually make a difference in your health? What outcomes are we looking for? The first thing you need to ask yourself is “What am I looking to achieve?” There
Mushrooms and fungi have been used in medicine for thousands of years. They have been used traditionally to treat and prevent infections, protect the liver and offset the negative effects of stress. There are many different varieties of mushrooms that have demonstrated beneficial effects against cancer cells, boosting the immune system and reducing chemo side effects.
Mushrooms contain specific compounds called alpha and beta glucans that are responsible for the anticancer and immune stimulating actions. The most well studied types of mushrooms are Coriolus versicolor, Agaricus blazi, Grifolia frondosa (AKA Maitake), and ganoderma lucidum (AKA Reishi). While these mushrooms are excellent in their own right there is a tremendous amount of research supporting a more refined mushroom extract called Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) that comes from the shiitake mushroom family. This extract is a blend of mushrooms that are grown and fermented together before the active components are extracted.
AHCC is used along side chemotherapy treatments in many Japanese hospitals for its immune supportive effects. The majority of studies have shown reduced side effects, increased quality of life and improved survival rates. The primary mechanism that AHCC delivers its beneficial effect is by stimulating and balancing the immune system. The studies found it increased a specific arm of the immune system that targets cancer cells and microbes for destruction. These specialized immune cells are called macrophages, T-cells, dendritic cells and natural killer cells. This board spectrum of action is very important to recreate immune balance while blood cells are able to recognize and attack cancer cells or foreign bacteria invaders. The immune effects of AHCC are not limited to only cancer and have been applied to microbial infections as well.
One interesting application is that AHCC supplementation improved the immune response to vaccinations, which is very applicable to the aging population that sometime has a difficult time mounting an adequate immune response to vaccines.
If you are looking for one of the most powerful ways to boost your immune system look no further then AHCC. Backed by solid science this extract packs a powerful immune punch for those stubborn infections like bronchitis or pneumonia. The most common doses in studies have been from 1-6 g of the AHCC extract.
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