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In Japan, various mushrooms and tree fungi have a long history of medicinal use. Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) is a proprietary compound made from the mycelia (vegetative portion) of various mushrooms in the general family of basidiomycete. The exact composition of the mushrooms, as well as the method used to prepare them, are considered a trade secret. AHCC has been developed in Japan for use in treatment of cancer. For related treatments, see the articles on Maitake , Shiitaki , and Reishi .
AHCC is primarily advocated as an aid to cancer treatment , said to improve survival in people undergoing treatment for liver cancer and other forms of cancer. However, current evidence that it works is far too preliminary to be taken as meaningful, consisting as it does only of animal studies and a few entirely inadequate human trials. 1 2 3 Only double-blind studies can actually prove a treatment effective, and none have yet been performed on AHCC. (For information on why this type of study is essential, see Why Does This Database Depend on Double-Blind Studies? )
While use of AHCC has not been associated with any severe adverse effects, this substance has not undergone thorough safety testing. Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.