Magic Mushrooms

By Nora Simmons

Unlike the kind you heard about in college, the chemicals in these ’shrooms won’t give you special powers—or get you arrested for that matter—but they are creating quite a buzz. Developed in Japan in the mid 1980s, active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) is produced from the fermented extract of a hybrid of several medicinal mushrooms. In the last 20-plus years, AHCC has gained international attention and shown promise as a treatment and preventative for everything from candida infections and post-traumatic stress disorder to hair loss and nausea caused by cancer treatment.

But what really has health experts buzzing with excitement are studies showing that AHCC may increase survival rate—and decrease recurrence— in cancer patients. In a nine-year study of 269 post-surgical liver cancer patients published in the Journal of Hepatology, the group taking AHCC (3 grams per day) showed a 13 percent higher rate of survival than those in the control group. Plus only 35 percent of the patients in the AHCC group had a recurrence of cancer compared to 66 percent in the control group.