Administration of bioactive nutritional supplements near or at the time of immunization has been a recent approach to stimulate human immune response to vaccination. Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC), a mushroom extract, has been shown to protect mice against lethal primary influenza infection. Moreover, when AHCC was administered pre-vaccination in mice, they showed improved protection from lethal avian flu infection when compared to mice vaccinated alone. In this study, we hypothesized that AHCC will also improve the immune responses of healthy individuals to influenza vaccine. A randomized controlled study was performed with 30 healthy adults to evaluate the effects of AHCC supplementation on the immune response to the 2009-2010 seasonal influenza vaccine. Blood was drawn pre-vaccination and 3 wk post-vaccination. Immediately post-vaccination, the AHCC group began supplementation with AHCC (3 g/d). Flow cytometric analysis of lymphocyte subpopulations revealed that AHCC supplementation increased NKT cells (P < .1), and CD8 T cells (P < .05) post-vaccination compared to controls. Analysis of antibody production 3 weeks post-vaccination revealed that AHCC supplementation significantly improved protective antibody titers to influenza B, while the improvement was not significant in the control group. Overall, our study showed that AHCC supplementation improved some lymphocyte percentages and influenza B antibody titers over the control. Future studies are required to determine the kinetics of AHCC supplementation to improve the overall response to influenza vaccination.
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