Mushroom extract may boost flu shot

Jan. 29, 2013 at 11:21 PM
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EAST LANSING, Mich., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- A mushroom extract from Japan may increase white blood cells and improve the antibody response to the influenza B vaccine, a researcher suggests.

Study author Elizabeth Gardner of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University, said Active Hexose Correlated Compound, is a natural immune-modulating ingredient derived from the roots of several subspecies of hybridized Japanese medicinal mushrooms.

Supported by more than 20 human clinical studies, AHCC has been demonstrated to help patients with liver disease, cancer, hepatitis, infections, numerous chronic conditions as well as healthy people seeking to regulate their immune systems, Gardner said.

The randomized, controlled study involved 30 healthy adults, who were given influenza shots. The analysis of white blood cells in these adults after vaccination showed that AHCC supplementation increased the natural killer cells and T cell types of white blood cells when compared to the group who didn't receive AHCC.

Antibody levels against the influenza B virus were also higher in those receiving AHCC three weeks after being given the shot.

The study, published in the Nutrition Research Journal, found adults taking AHCC had better immunity with greater levels of white blood cells and antibodies against the flu virus compared to the control group.

"This collection of data is promising as it suggests supplementing with AHCC can help boost immunity and make the vaccine more effective," Gardner said in a statement. "We recognize the importance of future studies to determine the immune enhancing potential of AHCC, particularly with the influenza vaccine in immune-compromised or aging individuals."

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