I found this info on a "name brand" vitamin site and found the following information. It's sort of pricey, so I thought I'd see if anyone else had tried it first. It mentions having anti-inflammitory properties and potential uses for treatment of fm, cfs, and lyme disease. Below is the article. I would appreciate any opinions. At $80 a bottle (month's supply), I don't want to just throw it away!! I'm really new at this and very recently dx by gp, so I have no idea what I'm doing yet. I just know that the elavil and flexeril are not working for me, they're working against me... (Here's the article. I don't think it specifically mentions anything that's not supposed to be posted. I removed the links, author, list of published works, and company name.) AHCC-Your key to improved immune function Fortifying one’s immune system is the cornerstone of good health. There has never been a time in history when our immune system is under so much assault—from the air we breathe to the food we eat and the lifestyle we lead. Is your body capable of handling the stresses of everyday life without help? To add to those assaults on your immune system, a new condition known as immunosenescence has just been described. This condition reflects the deterioration of the immune response that occurs with age and is the cause of increased frequency and severity of auto-immune, infectious, and non-infectious diseases that afflict us as we age. Medicinal mushrooms and their extracts have been reported in the scientific literature to have a variety of biological effects including immunomodulation, anti-tumor properties and beneficial influences on blood sugar regulation, serum lipids and blood pressure. Activating parts of the immune system A hybridized mushroom extract called active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) is one example of this class of compounds. AHCC has proved extremely effective for activating vital parts of the immune system leading to both prevention and treatment of serious diseases associated with aging and our stressful lifestyle. Because of their effect on the immune system, treatments such as these can offer improved quality of life, help slow or reverse the progression of cancer, hepatitis, diabetes, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and other chronic diseases. Our immune system suffers due to an almost continuous exposure to antigens such as viruses, bacteria, pollution, and pesticide residues on the food we eat and many other things. This deterioration is accelerated by increased levels of cortisol due to stress, decreased levels of DHEA and other hormones as we naturally age and through our sedentary lifestyles. Internally this assault leads to a misfiring of the immune system as it responds to these insults. These insults lead to a decreased functioning of natural killer (NK) cells, T cells and macrophages, suppression of IL-2 and the overproduction of IL-6 and other inflammatory cytokines. The immune system is a complex mechanism and science is only beginning to understand the vast interrelatedness of its many cells and how to make corrections where we can. However, there are a few things that we understand. NK cells, for example, serve dual functions. They play a role as a cytotoxic destroyer and immunoregulator. NK cells are known as the sentinel cell of the immune system because they provide the first line of defense against invasive pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and emerging malignancies. In fact, our bodies produce cancer cells each and every hour and it is the role of the NK cells to remove these bad cells before they have a chance to multiply. It is therefore critical for the NK cells to be working to the best of their ability. The NK cell participates either directly or indirectly in multiple developmental, regulatory and communication networks of the immune system. NK cell initiated cytokines prevent the over-proliferation of precursor cell populations, thereby exerting more discriminating control over antigen-specific T and B cell responses. These are critical functions of the immune system and in many chronic and inflammatory diseases, levels of NK cell function prove to be an important indicator of disease progression and patient prognosis. Therefore, because the NK cell plays such a critical role in how well our immune system functions, ensuring or restoring lost function and/or enhancing NK cell effectiveness is a central part of a healthy immune system and thus a nutritional supplement program. Stimulating NK cell function The pharmaceutical drugs that can stimulate NK cell function have two fatal flaws. The first is that they lose their effectiveness over time and the second is their severe side effects and toxicity. They are therefore, not appropriate for use in the management of chronic diseases. There is one natural compound however, that has been proven to offer an effective balance between high levels of stimulation of NK cell function and non-toxicity. It is well tolerated with very few reported side effects. The research on an extract of hybridized medicinal mushrooms called active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) shows it most likely to be in a class of compounds known as biological response modifiers (BRM). These BRMs are known to activate or restore host immunity. AHCC in particular has been documented to increase NK cell function by 300-fold or more and to stimulate T cell, macrophage and cytokine activity. This level of immune stimulation and modulation can be quite effective in both treatment and prevention of age and stress related insults to the immune system. Further research showed the ability of AHCC in cancer patients to produce increased serum levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-a, gamma interferon, and interleukin-12, all of which are decreased in patients undergoing chemotherapy. Furthermore, AHCC has been shown to cause a decreased circulation level of immunosuppressive acidic protein (IAP) and tumor growth factor (TGF)-beta. This supports the use of AHCC not only in aiding treatment of cancer but in helping to ameliorate some of the negative side effects of chemotherapy. There have been numerous studies that have shown the effectiveness of AHCC against many liver disorders, including hepatitis C and hepatocellular carcinoma. The beneficial mechanism specific to the liver appear to be that AHCC causes improved detoxification function by inducing P450 enzymes and by inhibiting the decline of phase II enzymes. This also appears to be able to protect the liver against chemical-induced injury, such as from overdose of certain medications or over-consumption of alcohol. Reducing free radical damage That same study showed that AHCC reduced free radical damage and associated hepatic injury. This means that AHCC is able to reduce oxidative damage and lower oxidative stress-two powerful mechanisms that may protect against cardiovascular disease and lower homocysteine and C-reactive protein levels. A little-known silent epidemic is starting to take place in this country and is now the 10th leading cause of death—chronic liver disease associated with hepatitis C. The current traditional medical treatment of interferon-alpha and ribavirin has an effectiveness of 10-20 percent. The side effects of this treatment are usually described as being worse than the disease and for that reason; most patients can not tolerate the full course of therapy. In one clinical trail, AHCC was shown to be effective in reduction of viral load, the parameter to measure effectiveness of treatment by up to 85 percent. The liver function tests did not change significantly in this study group. Further and larger clinical trials are underway hoping to replicate this success. Because AHCC can activate NK cells, T cells, macrophages and alter cytokine responsiveness, there are many active research projects either underway or about to begin that will further help us determine where AHCC can be most effective. Preliminary reports from physicians around the country indicate that AHCC can help during cold and flu season as a preventive measure. Other physicians have reported CD4 count increased in patients with immuno-compromised states such as AIDS, or post-chemotherapy treated patients. Potential uses for AHCC include treatment of chronic fatigue, chronic Lyme disease cases, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and many other inflammatory responses that are modulated in the body by the immune system. Since most diseases can be linked to a breakdown in the immune response, it stands to reason that AHCC should be considered as a first line or at the very least adjunct therapy in a variety of different disease states. AHCC has an anti-inflammatory effect through its stimulation of the cytokine defense mechanism. It is therefore useful for the treatment of allergies and asthma. Allergy states where AHCC has shown some effectiveness include eczema, hives, rashes, chronic sinusitis and seasonal affectations. No adverse consequences Medicinal mushroom extracts, and specifically active hexose correlated compound, AHCC, have been shown both in the laboratory and through clinical testing to be effective in helping to increase the functioning of the immune system. In my own clinical practice, I recommend AHCC to most of my patients because each one of us can benefit in some way from having a more intact immune system. In fact, AHCC has been shown to have no adverse consequences for people with auto-immune disorders. Very few other nutritional supplements aimed specifically at immune stimulation can boast of that property. AHCC has been widely used and significantly tested in Japanese hospitals for over 10 years without any evidence of toxicity. Studies in this country are beginning to replicate the overseas success. The volumes of clinical and basic science research on this one medicinal mushroom are quite impressive. Of course, no immune stimulatory program is complete without the addition of other natural and nutritional therapies that support and enhance other aspects of the immune system. Research and my own clinical experience support the use of low sugar, low simple-carbohydrate diet as the foundation for good health. Other nutritional supplements include N-acetyl cysteine, thymic peptides and other vitamin and mineral antioxidants. The key to 21st century medicine will be prevention of disease and control over inflammation and the immune process. Inflammation plays a role in the most common and chronic diseases affecting us today such as heart disease, arthritis, atherosclerosis and many more. One important thing to remember is that we can’t ignore our immune system simply because we do not feel sick or don’t anticipate getting sick. By the time you feel something, it may be too late. By keeping your immune system strong, you may be able to deter cancer, heart disease, or any other illness that we get, as you grow older. AHCC has been proven time and again to be the cornerstone of therapy in helping to triumph over inflammation, to reduce oxidative damage and to fortify the immune system. AHCC should be part of anyone’s daily regimen in maintaining and achieving optimum health.