(NewsUSA) - As the flu pandemic rages throughout the U.S., the question on everyone's mind is what they can do to protect themselves. The flu shot is usually on top of the list, but even those who have been vaccinated are susceptible. So, what else can you do that has been clinically proven to work? Some experts are now turning to an unexpected source: Japanese medicinal mushrooms.
A new human clinical study published in the journal "Nutrition Research" says that "AHCC" -- a natural extract from the roots of Japanese medicinal mushrooms -- can boost the effectiveness of the flu shot.
The researchers followed 30 healthy adults receiving the flu shot, half of whom took AHCC in addition to getting vaccinated. Three weeks later, the group taking the AHCC supplement were found to have higher levels of infection-fighting white blood cells than the vaccine-only group. AHCC users also had significantly improved antibody titers -- a measurement of how much antibody an organism has produced -- to the influenza B virus. Since stimulating antibody production is the main purpose of the vaccination, the study demonstrated that AHCC worked synergistically with the flu shot.
"This collection data is promising as it suggests that supplementing with AHCC can help boost immunity and help make the vaccine more effective," says Elizabeth Gardner of Michigan State University, who was the paper's lead author.
These findings are consistent with the previous study, conducted at Yale Medical School, which showed that AHCC improved immune response in healthy elderly subjects. Pre-clinical research has demonstrated that AHCC is effective against a wide variety of viral infections, including the H1N1 influenza virus (common flu), the H5N1 avian influenza (bird flu), the West Nile virus and several types of hospital-borne infections, such as MRSA.
AHCC is available from numerous nutritional supplement brands at health food stores nationwide. To learn more about this natural compound, you can visit www.AHCCresearch.org.