A Japanese medicinal mushroom extract, sold as a raw ingredient and used to strengthen the immune system, has won the Nutracon Best New Product of 2002 award, otherwise known as the NutraAward.
The mushroom extract, officially known as AHCC(Active Hexose Correlated Compound) is derived from a specialised manufacturing process developed in the mid-1980s that relies on the hybridisation of several species of mushrooms cultivated in Japan.
According to industry analysts in Japan, currently over 700 hospitals and medical clinics recommend AHCC to patients in that country as part of an immune enhancement maintenance regimen, creating a $150 million (€169.7m) industry.
"AHCC has been very successful in Japan for the past 15 years," said Steve Yamada, president of Quality of Life Labs, the sole distributor of the product. "We are hopeful that this award will bring more light to AHCC so that those in the United States and other countries can benefit from its unique health properties."
AHCC has been the subject of some 325 clinical studies conducted at Japanese universities and several studies have been scheduled for 2002 at US institutions.
Nutracon is an annual exhibition for the cosmeceutical, dietary supplement, nutraceutical and functional/medical foods industries. Award selection criteria included scientific merit, efficacy, safety, innovation, market potential and credibility to advance industry.