Eastern medicine uses many different plants and fungi. It is also interesting that the reishi mushroom is especially popular.
It offers various potential health benefits, including boosting the immune system and fighting cancer. However, his safety has recently been called into question.
This article will tell you what you need to know about the potential benefits and risks of reishi mushrooms.
What is reishi mushroom?
Reishi mushroom, also known as Ganoderma lucidum and lingzhi, is a fungus that grows in various hot and humid locations in Asia.
For many years, this fungus has been the basis of Eastern medicine.
Mushrooms contain several molecules, including triterpenoids, polysaccharides, and peptidoglycans, that have their own health effects.
While the mushroom itself can be eaten fresh, it is also common to use powdered mushrooms or extracts containing these specific molecules.
These different forms have been tested at the cellular level and in research involving animals and humans.
Below are 6 scientifically studied benefits of the reishi mushroom. The first three are supported by stronger evidence, while support for the others is not final.
1. They strengthen the immune system
One of the most important effects of the reishi mushroom is that it can lift your immune system.
Although some details are still uncertain, research shows that reishi mushrooms can affect white blood cells’ genes, which are critical parts of your immune system.
Moreover, these studies have found that some reishi mushroom forms can alter inflammation pathways in white blood cells.
Studies in cancer patients have shown that some of the molecules found in this mushroom can increase a type of white blood cell called a natural killer cell.
Natural killer cells fight infections and cancer in the body.
Another study showed that reishi mushrooms could increase the number of other white blood cells (lymphocytes) in people with colorectal cancer.
Although the immune system benefits from reishi mushroom in those who are ill, some evidence shows that it can also help healthy people.
In one study, this fungus improved the function of lymphocytes that help fight infections and cancer and athletes exposed to stressful conditions.
However, other studies in healthy adults have not shown an improvement in immune function or inflammation after 4 weeks of taking reishi extract.
All in all, the reishi mushroom affects white blood cells and immune function. More research is needed to determine all the benefits for healthy and sick people.
2. Anti-cancer properties
Many people consume this mushroom because of its potential anti-cancer properties.
In fact, one study involving more than 4,000 breast cancer survivors found that about 59 percent of them consumed reishi mushrooms.
Besides, several studies have shown that it can lead to cancer cells’ death.
However, these studies’ results are not necessarily as effective in animals or humans.
Some research has shown whether the reishi mushroom may be beneficial for prostate cancer because of its effect on the hormone testosterone.
While one case study showed that the molecules found in this fungus could reverse prostate cancer in men, a larger study that followed did not support these findings.
Rishi mushroom has also been studied for its role in preventing or fighting colorectal cancer.
Some studies have shown that a year of treatment with reishi mushroom resulted in a reduced number of tumors in the colon.
Moreover, a detailed report on multiple studies has shown that the fungus can positively affect cancer patients.
These benefits included increased activity of white blood cells in the body that help fight cancer and improve cancer patients’ quality of life.
However, researchers claim that Ganoderma lucidum should be used combined with traditional treatment and not replace.
Moreover, many types of research of reishi mushrooms that were performed were not of high quality, and therefore many more researches are necessary.
Six ways in which reishi fungus targets and kills cancer cells
Many people with cancer become ill when their immune system declines greatly. With the immune system then vulnerable, potential hidden pathogens such as bacteria and viruses can make it harder to halt disease progression.
We should not be surprised by the millions of deaths related to cancer or weakened immunity, especially when we consider the lack of minerals in arable land, excessive use of sugar in the diet, and artificial ingredients in already overprocessed, plus increasing use of GMO foods.
Conventional medicine and health professionals know little or often nothing about diet, herbs and mushrooms
For example, according to world-renowned mycologist Paul Stamet, “out of 140,000 species of fungi, science is only 10 percent familiar.” It is such a pity, especially when we consider that mushrooms have some of the most powerful natural remedies on the planet.
Fortunately, many scientists are looking at the plant world’s health benefits – especially in terms of reishi mushrooms. Known for improving the immune system and its anti-aging properties, recent research indicates multiple powers that make the reishi mushroom a super cancer fighter.
How do you solve (and kill) cancer cells?
- Reishi mushroom helps the immune system prevent secondary infections. As if cancer itself is not a big challenge, secondary attacks on the immune system by pathogenic environmental influences, such as viruses and bacteria, make the immune system especially vulnerable in those who already have oncological problems.
- Reishi mushroom helps breast cancer patients. Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is the most productive cancer of its kind. New findings confirm that reishi mushroom is a suitable IBC therapy because it can inhibit cancer cells’ survival selectively.
Journal of Nutrition and Cancer has published research results showing that the Oak snout constantly inhibits cell invasion and disrupted cell spheroids involved in the invasive nature of cancer cells.
- Reishi mushroom has multiple immunomodulatory effects. Studies show that reishi fungi can identify potential pathogens by increasing natural killer cells’ activity. Thanks to reishi fungi’ therapeutic action, which can break down fibrinogen, the outer layer that protects cancer cells, they are more susceptible to cell death.
More information on the effect of Reishi mushroom on cancer
- Reishi mushroom does not affect healthy cells and keeps them intact. A study that tracked its effects on ovarian cancer cells and cell-mediated reactions, reishi fungus inhibited cell colony formation and cell migration, demonstrating its ability to protect already healthy cells. Preventing the growth of tumor cells.
- Reishi fungus Ganoderma lucidum regulates programmed cell death. Regarding apoptosis, reishi mushroom extract can stop trace cancer cells. In the end, all healthy cells die, but certain cancer cells do not undergo apoptosis and endlessly separate, creating a big problem. Reishi mushroom is very successful in this process
- Reishi mushroom defeats cancer in this process. Cancer cells, through an enzyme that destroys proteins, matrix metalloproteinase finds its way into healthy cells and destroys the surrounding tissue. They can also enter the bloodstream to metastasize. Reishi successfully blocks the enzyme and prevents hand penetration.
3. It can fight fatigue and depression
The effects of shiny oak on the immune system are often the most pronounced, but they also have other potential benefits.
This includes reduction fatigue and depression and improved quality of life.
One study examined its effects in 132 people with neurasthenia, a poorly defined condition related to pain, dizziness, headache, and irritability.
The researchers found that fatigue was reduced and well-being improved after 8 weeks of taking the supplements.
Another study showed that fatigue was reduced and quality of life improved after 4 weeks of taking reishi powder in a group of 48 breast cancer survivors.
Moreover, the study’s people also noted less anxiety and depression.
While reishi mushroom is useful for people with certain diseases, it is unclear whether it would benefit those who are otherwise healthy.
Other potential benefits
In addition to the effects on the immune system and quality of life, Reishi mushroom has been studied for its potential to improve other aspects of health.
4. Heart health
A 12-week study of 26 people showed that reishi mushrooms could increase “good” HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides.
However, another study in healthy adults showed no improvement in heart disease risk factors.
Moreover, the analysis did not show positive effects on heart health after examining five different studies with about 400 people. The researchers found that consuming reishi mushrooms for up to 16 weeks did not improve cholesterol.
Overall, more research is needed on reishi mushrooms and heart health.
5. Blood sugar control
Several studies have shown that molecules found in reishi mushrooms can lower blood sugar in animals.
Some preliminary studies in humans have noted similar findings.
However, most research has not supported this benefit. After evaluating hundreds of participants, the researchers found no benefit in achieving better blood sugar results.
Mixed results were visible for postprandial blood sugar. In some cases, reishi mushroom lowered blood sugar, but in other cases, worse results were observed compared to the use of the placenta.
More research is needed here as well.
6. Antioxidant status
Antioxidants are molecules that can help prevent cell damage.
Due to this important function, there is a great interest in food and supplements that can improve the body’s antioxidant status.
Many claim that the reishi mushroom is effective for this purpose.
However, several studies have not revealed a change in the levels of two important antioxidant enzymes in the blood after consuming the fungus for 4 to 12 weeks.
Dosage recommendations vary based on the form used
Unlike some foods or supplements, the reishi mushroom dose can vary significantly based on the shape used.
The highest doses are seen when someone consumes the mushroom itself. In these cases, the doses can be from 25 to 100 grams, depending on the mushrooms’ size.
Generally, the dried mushroom extract is used instead. In these cases, the dose is approximately 10 times lower than when the mushroom itself is consumed.
For example, you can compare 50 grams of reishi mushroom to approximately 5 grams of mushroom extract. Doses of mushroom extract vary but usually range from about 1.5 to 9 grams per day.
Besides, some supplements use only certain parts of the extract. In these cases, the recommended doses may be significantly lower than the stated values.
Since the suggested dose can vary significantly based on the mushroom’s shape, it is significant to know what type you are taking.
Possible side effects and dangers
Despite their popularity, some have questioned the safety of reishi mushrooms.
Some studies have found that those who took reishi mushroom for 4 months noticed almost twice as many side effects as those taking a placebo.
However, these effects were small and included a slightly increased risk of upset stomach or digestive stress. No adverse effects on liver health were observed.
Other studies have also shown that four weeks of taking reishi mushroom extract did not have harmful effects on the liver or kidneys in healthy adults.
In contrast to these reports, significant liver problems were observed in two studies.
The study subjects had previously used reishi mushrooms without any problems but had side effects after switching to a powdered form.
This makes it very difficult to know whether the fungus itself is responsible for the observed liver damage or whether there was a problem with the powder extract.
It is also important to note that many studies of reishi mushrooms have not recorded safety data, so only limited information is available.
However, several groups of people should probably avoid using reishi mushrooms.
This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, who have a blood disorder, need to undergo surgery, or have low blood pressure.
Reishi mushroom is a popular mushroom used in Eastern medicine.
It affects the immune system’s increase through its effects on whites blood cells, especially in ill people, such as those with cancer.
This fungus can also reduce the size and number of tumors in certain types of cancer and improve the quality of life in some people with cancer.
Most human studies have shown that this fungus does not improve cholesterol, blood sugar, or antioxidants, but it can be effective in reducing fatigue or depression in certain cases.
It is important to know that not all reishi supplements are equal. To access the benefits noted in the research, it is necessary to use standardized reishi mushroom extracts that contain tested levels: Ganoderma Lucidum, an active therapeutic agent.
Ask your chosen doctor to help you and suggest a dose as well as a high-quality reishi supplement that is best for your needs. Also, discuss how you can include reishi mushroom in your regular diet.