There is a promising breakthrough that can help in the treatment for human papillomavirus or HPV in the form of a Japanese mushroom extract. This finding is based on a pilot clinical study conducted by the researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center. The active hexose correlated compound or AHCC is the mushroom extract that was administered orally to HPV positive women once a day. The treatment was undertaken for six months and the outcome showed promising possibility of the effectiveness of the mushroom extract for treating HPV.
What is HPV?
The human papillomavirus, or HPV is a virus that is sexually transmitted. The infection involves the genitals of both sexes, although symptoms may also appear in the throat and the mouth. Infected individuals sometimes do not know that they have the virus, thus the infection is easily transmitted to unsuspecting partners. Most of the time, the HPV does not manifest any apparent symptoms and the person's immune system usually clears up the infection within two years. HPV can actually become a risk factor to the development of genital warts and in certain cases, it can lead to the development of cervical cancer when the infection begins to affect the normal cells in a woman's body.
There is no known cure for HPV, but medical researchers have found a way on how to eliminate the virus that cause the disease. Currently, HPV makes up 99% of cervical cancer, 95% of anal cancer, 65% of vaginal cancer, 60% of oropharyngeal cancer, 50% of cancer of the vulva and 35% of penile cancer. Its prevalence in some types of cancer is alarming and eliminating the virus is crucial as a preventive measure from developing cancer diseases.
The mushroom extract is taken as a nutritional supplement that works in improving the body's immune system. The mushroom extracts known as as the AHCC have the ability to produce more natural killer cells, cytokines and dendritic cells that strengthen the body's immune system to fight bacteria, viruses and various forms of infection. It can also block the growth of any tumor in the body. The mushroom extract has no side effects and must be taken long term to produce its outstanding effects.
The clinical trial
The clinical trial was performed on ten women who are HPV positive who took the supplements for six months. Five of them revealed a negative test for HPV while three of them showed a reduction of the infection after they stop taking the supplement. The remaining two subjects remain to continue further with the clinical trial. The researchers pursued to study the Japanese mushroom extracts after discovering its ability to prevent tumor growth. As they continue with their research, they discovered more promising health benefits from AHCC against virus strains, until they trace its effectiveness on cervical cancer prevention and HPV treatment.
The Japanese basidiomycetes mushrooms were found to be more effective over other types of mushrooms because of its isolated acetylated alpha glucan content that cannot be found in other types of mushrooms. The limitation of the clinical research is that it was only conducted on women, but the lead researcher believes that it can produce the same results in men mainly because both sexes have the same immune system. The extract is also known to treat genital warts in men.
Warnings and considerations
The AHCC supplement is not yet approved by the Foods and Drug Authority (FDA) and the authorities warn to take the necessary precautions of taking the mushroom extract supplement for the treatment of HPV. Since the pilot study has just been recently released, more clinical studies are needed to finally confirm its safety dose and purity level that will be safe for public consumption. Moreover, if the extracts are tainted with other agents, unknown side effects and complications might occur.