Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC), a mushroom extract rich in α-1,4 linked glucans, is associated with immunostimulatory effects. AHCC is used in Japan as a dietary supplement to boost immune function and it also is purported to improve the symptoms of cancer and liver disease patients. A series of toxicological studies were conducted on a freeze dried preparation of AHCC (AHCC-FD) to further develop the body of evidence supporting the safety of this ingredient. AHCC-FD was not mutagenic to Salmonella typhimurium and did not exhibit clastogenicity in a mouse micronucleus assay. In a 90-day study, Sprague-Dawley rats were administered 1000, 3000, or 6000 mg/kg body weight/day by gavage. No changes attributable to AHCC-FD treatment were observed in overall condition, body weight, food consumption, ophthalmology findings, hematology and clinical chemistry parameters, and absolute and relative organ weights. Changes in urinary pH values observed in high-dose animals and mid-dose females were considered physiological rather than adverse effects given the acidic nature of AHCC-FD. Urinary protein also was increased in the same dose groups. As this finding was associated with decreased urinary pH and no evidence of kidney dysfunction was observed, it was considered of no toxicological significance. Histopathological changes related to AHCC-FD administration were observed in the limiting ridge of the stomach and in the liver of the high-dose group. The NOAEL was considered to be 3000 mg/kg body weight/day.
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