A Quick Look at Mushrooms
Commonly Available Mushrooms:
Agaricus bisporus (White, Cremini, Portabella): Immune System, Blood Sugar, Blood Pressure, Breast and Lung Cancers
All these mushrooms are the same mushroom, but the white is the youngest and the large portabella is the eldest, when harvested and although the common mushroom only offers a small number of vitamins and minerals, its health benefits are enormous. Many of these benefits are found in the enzymes and bacteria contained within.
Eating common mushrooms boosts your immune system. Like many other mushroom types, the common mushroom contains a significant number of helpful bacteria, especially for the microbiome found in the gut. These helpful bacteria improve digestion of vital nutrients that power the body's immune response.
A recent study found that a diet including mushrooms can reduce the likelihood of developing high blood pressure during pregnancy. High blood pressure occurs in 10% of pregnant women. Eating 100 grams of mushrooms per day, including the common mushroom, can significantly reduce a pregnant woman's risk of having high blood pressure.
The common mushroom also protects against breast and lung cancers. This effect is a result of the aromatase inhibitors in common mushrooms. Aromatase inhibitors block an enzyme called aromatase that promotes the creation of estrogen—a hormone that promotes the growth of some types of cancerous tumors.
Chaga: Immune System, Inflammation, Blood Sugar, Blood Pressure, Cardiovascular Disease, Cholesterol, Cancerous Tumors
The Chaga mushroom is an ancient, revered remedy growing in the northern hemisphere from Canada to Siberia. It is distinguished by its habit of growing on the side of birch trees and its orange tissue. It is rich in a wide variety of nutrients, including B-complex and D vitamins, cesium, rubidium, amino acids, copper, zinc, iron, potassium, selenium, manganese, magnesium, calcium and an abundance of antioxidants.
Blood Sugar - Chaga might have a role in the fight against Diabetes A 2006 study found that the types of beta-D-glucans found in chaga help to lower blood sugar in rats after ingesting chaga for 8 weeks.
Cholesterol, Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Disease - Polysaccharides present in chaga have been found to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so-called “bad” cholesterol. Research also suggests that the inflammation caused by oxidative stress is a contributing factor in high blood pressure increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke and poor cardiovascular health. Chaga’s abundant antioxidants have shown to lower blood pressure to safeguard cardiovascular health.
Cancer - Increasingly, researchers are taking seriously the possibility that chaga may be able to prevent cancer and slow its growth A 2010 study found that chaga could slow the growth of lung, breast and cervical cancer cells in a petri dish. The same study also found that chaga could slow the growth of the tumors in mice. Another study showed that a tea extract of chaga mushroom inhibited the growth and promoted the death of colon cancer cells. A 2009 study found that triterpenes, the compounds found in chaga and some other mushrooms, cause tumor cells to self-destruct. Additional studies carried out on animals have found similar results. Unlike other cancer treatments, chaga does not harm healthy cells.
Immune System - Cytokines are the immune system’s chemical messengers. They are proteins that play a vital role in stimulating white blood cells, which are the immune system’s first line of defense against a range of illnesses. Recent research on mice suggests that chaga helps to regulate the production of cytokines and supports the immune system by helping cells communicate with one another. The Beta-D-glucans further help to balance the immune system. This means that they can stimulate your immune system when you need a boost and downregulate it when it is overactive. Together these properties help fight infections, from minor colds to life-threatening illnesses.
Inflammation - When the body is fighting an illness inflammation supports the fight, but sometimes inflammation can become a chronic health problem. Conditions such as rhuematoid arthritis are linked to inflammation and recently depression has been linked to chronic inflammation. Cytokines in your body, such as tumor necrosis factor alpha, are responsible for inflammation. Betulinic acid, inotodial and ergosterol peroxide in chaga reduce inflammation by inhibiting the production of these cytokines supporting recovery of autoimmune conditions and other diseases.
Chanterelle: Bone Health, Antioxidants, Immune System, Cancer
Chanterelles are particularly rich in copper, a mineral that plays a central role in your body’s energy production, brain health, and iron metabolism. For example, copper which is essential for immunity, a deficiency in this important mineral can increase the body’s susceptibility to bacterial infections. They also contain vitamin D, which your body needs to regulate the absorption of calcium and mineralize bone tissue to maintain the health of your bones and immune system. Chanterelle mushrooms also provide several B vitamins like niacin and pantothenic acid, both of which support your body’s central nervous system.
Plus, chanterelles are a good source of antioxidants, like beta-carotene, flavonoids, polyphenols, and ascorbic acid, which are compounds that may reduce inflammation and protect you against chronic disease by neutralizing harmful free radicals. Though more research is needed, other test-tube studies also show that specific compounds extracted from chanterelle mushrooms could have cancer-fighting properties and may slow the growth of cancer cells.
Cordyceps: Stamina, Herpes, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Lung, Colon, Skin and Liver Cancers
Cordyceps are thought to increase the body’s production of the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is essential for delivering energy to the muscles, building stamina and aiding in recovery after life threatening illnesses, Herpes, Hepatitis, CFS, or injury. Several studies also found that Cordyceps' antioxidants help improve memory and sexual function as well as being an anti-depressant.
In test-tube studies, Cordyceps have been shown to inhibit the growth of many types of human cancer cells, including lung, colon, skin and liver cancers. Cordyceps may also reverse the side effects associated with many forms of cancer therapy. One of these side effects is Leukopenia. A 2009 study showed that Cordyceps completely reversed Leukopenia in mice.
Lion’s Mane: Nervous System, Brain, Cancer
Like Chaga, Lion’s Mane possesses many of the same constituents and is effective in controlling and preventing inflammation, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and cancer, but this mushroom’s remarkable ability lies with the nervous system and the brain. Studies have found that Lion’s Mane contains two special compounds that can stimulate the growth of brain cells hericenones and erinacines. Additionally, animal studies have found that Lion’s Mane may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative brain disease that causes progressive memory loss.
Maitake: Immune System, Prostate, Skin and Bladder Cancer
This mushroom species has anticancer, anti-metastatic (slows cancer spreading), antiviral, anti-candida and immune system enhancing effects, as well as helping to control both high blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Three grams of mushroom concentrate, or half a cup fresh per day of Maitake mushrooms is said to be able to sweep the system, find abnormal cells and cause them to self-destruct. Simultaneously, Maitake triggers the body to release immune cells that attack and kill malignant cells.
Oyster: Protein Source, Colon and Breast Cancers
Oyster mushrooms are rich in protein, up to 30 percent by dry weight, plentiful in B vitamins, significant levels of the cholesterol-lowering molecule Lovastatin and two molecular mechanisms that specifically inhibits growth of colon and breast cancer cells.
Oyster mushrooms up-regulate genes coding for proteins, which stop tumors from growing and support tumor regression. Additionally, the beta glucan and glycoprotein complexes alert the immune system's cancer weapon the cytotoxic T cells, which boosts the body's natural anti-cancer response.
Reishi: Immune System, Brain, Liver and All Cancers
Reishi is beginning to be understood as one of the most important mushrooms for health and medicine, just as Chaga has proven to be. Reishi mushrooms are loaded with ganoderic acid, which is known to help reduce cholesterol and lower high blood pressure. It has strong immune boosting powers and is revered as an antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-cancer fighting fungus. A 2009 study demonstrated that Reishi contained unique polysaccharides that promote longevity by boosting immune system function and preventing abnormal blood vessel formations that could lead to life-threatening cancerous growths.
In 2010, a different study found that the triterpinoid ganoderic acid found in Reishi acted to inhibit the development and metastasis of all kinds of tumors. A 2011 study expanded these studies suggesting that this mushroom could potentially seek out and eradicate existing cancerous cells within the body and actively support the creation of nerve growth factor, a protein that is fundamental for healthy neurological function, which can help patients with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Huntington’s. More recently, a 2013 study showed that Reishi can reverse chemical-driven liver damage in mice. Like Chaga, the more we study Reishi the more we learn how diverse this mushroom is in its ability to impact all major functions of the body, especially in terms of cancer.
Shiitake: Gastric, Pancreatic, Stomach, Lung and GIT Cancers, Anti-viral, Anti-bacterial
Not only an excellent source of Vitamin D, Shiitake mushrooms also contain a powerful natural anti-tumor compound called Lentinan, which treats gastric, pancreatic, stomach, lung and GIT cancers. A 2011 study showed that Shiitake reduces inflammation in the body by improving function of the gamma delta T-cells. Shiitake also lowers cholesterol, reduces platelet aggregation, is anti-viral and anti-bacterial.
Turkey Tail: Breast, Colon, Ovarian and Stomach Cancers
Turkey Tail mushrooms contain compounds called polysaccharopeptide (PSP) and polysaccharide-K (PSK). PSP and PSK inhibit the growth of breast, colon, ovarian and stomach cancer cells and may have the ability to stimulate the immune system during chemotherapy, especially when combined with other anticancer treatments. In Japan, researchers have isolated the PSK compound and it is now available as an approved adjuvant cancer treatment, according to the National Cancer institute.
Standard Daily Doses
Mushroom Powder Concentrate: 1g capsule = 3g, [1-3x/day] *
Fresh: 100g (by weight) [1x/day]
Tea: 3g dry mushroom with 8oz H2o, [1-3x/day]
Syrup: 1 tsp (5ml) - 3 tsp (15ml), [1-3x/day]
Tincture: 1 tsp (5ml) - 3 tsp (15ml), [1-3x/day]
* Capsule concentrates are often used in conjunction with other Cancer treatments.
Mushrooms are food and are considered safe for the vast majority of people when they are consumed normally, like any other complex vegetable you would eat (1/4 cup cooked daily). See dosages. Many people will be taking mushrooms to lower their blood sugar and blood pressure and if you are taking medications for these conditions, you will experience dosage issues as your body alters from a sick state to a healthy state. This should always be taken into consideration and monitored.
Blood Thinners - Mushrooms may interact with blood thinners, such as warfarin or clopidogrel. Some studies suggest that mushroom may add to the effects of your blood thinner and will cause medication dosage issues.
Lower Blood Sugar/Diabetes Medicine - Researchers have discovered compounds in mushrooms that naturally lower blood sugar and will cause medication dosage issues.
Kidney Stones - Chaga is high in oxalates. Oxalates bind to calcium during digestion and are eliminated in the stool. Any oxalate not attached to calcium goes through the kidneys and leaves in the urine. If there is too much oxalate and not enough water in the urine, the oxalates may form into kidney stones.
If you take any medications always consult your doctor before taking any other form of medication, including Herbal and Chinese Medicine.
The information herein is intended to be understood as researched information from the public sphere, which is widely available and referenced. It is not intended as medical advice.
Kim Andersen, B.A., C.H., C.K.P. _________________________________________________________
Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters: New antioxidant polyphenols from the medicinal mushroom Inonotus obliquus.
International Conference on BioMedical Engineering and Informatics (BMEI): Effect of the Inonotus Obliquus Polysaccharides on Blood Lipid Metabolism and Oxidative Stress of Rats Fed High-Fat Diet In Vivo.
Journal of Pre-Clinical and Clinical Research: Betulin and betulinic acid in cancer research.
The Medical Clinics of North America: Oxidative stress and hypertension.
Medicina: Effects of beta-glucans on the immune system.
Mediators of Inflammation: Anti-inflammatory and Immunomodulating Properties of Fungal Metabolites.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: Chaga Mushroom.
8. Molecules: Anti-Oxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Inonotus obliquus and Germinated Brown Rice Extracts.
National Kidney Foundation: What are Oxalates and Why are They a Concern for Kidney Disease Patients?
Nutrition Research and Practice: Anticancer activity of subfractions containing pure compounds of Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus extract in human cancer cells and in Balbc/c mice bearing Sarcoma-180 cells).
Phytochemistry: Terpenoids with alpha-glucosidase inhibitory activity from the submerged culture of Inonotus obliquus.
Phytotherapy Research: Antitumor activity of water extract of a mushroom, Inonotus obliquus, against HT-29 human colon cancer cells.
Vascular Health and Risk Management: Beta-glucans in the treatment of diabetes and associated cardiovascular risks. https://www.healthfitnessrevolution.com/top-10-healthiest-mushrooms-and-their-benefits/
Erica Julson, MS, RDN, CLT, 2019
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Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 2009
Pharmacological Reports, 2010
Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2013
Jullian Kubala, MS, RD. 2018
Cordyceps sinensis Health Supplement Enhances Recovery from Taxol-Induced Leukopenia, 2009
University of Arizona Medical School, The Mighty Oyster Mushroom: The Workhorse of Gourmet Fungi, 2017
Web MD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-crimini-mushrooms#1