Natural food supplements
Within the past years there has been an increasing popularity for number of dietary supplements available from medical shops without a valid prescription. These supplements are not limited only to medical shops but you also can obtain them from open market and health shops. They go by the name of Nutraceuticals which was first coined by Dr. Stephen De Felice in 1989. He was preparing for a conference and defined nutraceuticals as “food or parts of food that provide medical or health benefit including the prevention and treatment of diseases”. Another name for nutraceuticals can be “functional food”, but the two slightly differ because nutraceutic is an isolated form of a concentrated functional food.
Usually products that fall into Nutraceuticals category claim to reap the benefits from the plant kingdom. It is so because many plants produce secondary compounds known as alkaloids to protect themselves from infections – it is believed that humans can use these to their own benefits. There are even preparates that are similar to human hormones which have been synthesied from plants.
Nutraceuticals Usage in Everyday Life
Some physicians are recommending Nutraceuticals before prescribing pharmaceuticals. A recent study in United States reveals that 72% of the respondents took food supplements to feel better, 67% to prevent illnes, 50% to live longer and 37% to build muscle and strength, 12% for weight management and 33% on the advice of their physicians. 53% said nutraceuticals offer better benefits not matched by conventional drugs and 56% said they offered benefits compared to drugs but with few side effects. Remarkably 95% were satisfied with supplements.
Many Nutraceuticals are known as mushroom supplements also known as medical mushrooms. They have been popular in Eastern medicine for decades and now they have slowly emerging to Western world.
One of the most researched Nutraceutical is AHCC (Active Hexose Correlated Compound). It is a proprietary extract that is prepared from co-cultured mycelia of several species of Basidiomycete mushrooms. Such as Shiitake (Lentinus edodes). Active Hexose Correlated Compound is extracted from mushrooms using hot water following an enzyme pretreatment, but specific mushroom source and preparation details have not been fully disclosed.
Active Hexose Correlated Compound glucenas are low molecular weight (~5 kDa) polysaccharides with alpha 1.3 linkages. This means that the supplements are well absorbed in the digestive system. Most mushroom supplements have weight of 200kDa and they are not easily absorbed. Both properties are unusual for this class of mushroom gluceans with reported immunomodulatory properties, however the mechanism of action is not completely understood.
The predominant components are oligosaccharides, totaling approximately 74% of the total dry weight. Of these, nearly 20% are partially acetylated α-1,4-glucans, which are believed to constitute the active compounds in AHCC.
Scientific Research for AHCC
In animal studies there has been proof that AHCC might have antioxidant effects which protects against disorders induced by oxidative stress; there has been proof about enchance in resistance for bacterial infection by increasing inflammatory cytokine and chemokine expression as well as expression of lymphocytes. AHCC also has shown to be improving T-cell response, in chemotherapy immune response to Candida albicans. In patients with hepatocellular carcinoma treatment with AHCC has shown beneficial effects on liver function probably by regulating nitric oxide production. Clinical effects and safety have been demonstrated in humans with malignancy, as well as in healthy subjects, most recently in a report investigating the potential application of AHCC as an immune adjuvant in influenza vaccination.
Administering AHCC to patients with prostate cancer may impede cancer progression. In the second phase of a multicentered clinical trial in which AHCC was administered to patients with early stage prostate cancer who were expectantly managed demonstrated a decrease in PSA value by more than 50%. Out of 74 patients only 1 showed no positive effects from using AHCC.
AHCC side effects
AHCC has shown positive effects even in these people who haven’t been sick by boosting their natural immunity as measured by dendritic cell count (these cells initiate and shape the body’s natural immune response).
So far studies that have been conducted on AHCC, no diverse side effects have come to light, especially in those people taking other medications. AHCC is one of the very few nutritional supplements that has been cleared for drug-to-drug interaction so that doctors, patients, and healthy individuals can be confident in its safety.
AHCC has never demonstrated any toxicity, even when used in excess of the amounts estimated to be fatal in animals.
Take AHCC as an Precaution
It is recommended to take AHCC as a safeguard during Fall and Winter seasons because that is the time when the Rhino Viruses are most active. We get sick because people stay more in-doors and come more into contact with eacother. People whos work requires them to come into contact with other people a lot could benefit from stronger immune response. For example a kindergarden teacher who was always sick during the winter period felt a stronger response from her immune system when she noticed that she wasn’t sick anymore when her colleagues were.