Mushroom Complex And The immune System
Mushrooms have been a source of nutrition throughout history, but they have been linked to immune function only in the past few decades. The 20th century opened doors to scientific research that has supported many of the age-old health claims of several species of mushroom used in folk medicine. Since most mushrooms are historically known for their restorative properties, it is not surprising that recent studies have often associated them with the immune system. Research on medicinal mushrooms has attracted much attention lately, spurring an ever growing mushroom niche in the nutraceutical industry. In general, mushrooms are well accepted as dietary supplements, especially as immune boosters. That being said, not all species have been well studied. Only a select few have been proven really beneficial and considered safe for regular consumption.
Mushroom Complex Benefits
Immunotherapeutic Agents A good mushroom complex contains one or any combination of fruiting mycelia that have been observed to display immunomodulatory properties inside the human body. Mycelium is the vegetative part of mushrooms believed to be immune-boosting in nature. It is extensive studied in the natural sciences, and lately tied to chemical reactions that lead to natural immune responses of the body. Mushrooms that contain immunotherapeutic agents are the following: Shiitake (Lentinula edodes), Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), Maitake (Grifola frondosa), Turkey tail (Trametes versicolor), Almond mushroom (Agaricus blazei), Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceous), Enokitake (Flammulina velutipes), Tremella, Split gill (Schizophyllum commune), Artist’s Conk (Ganoderma applanatum), Poria, Zhu ling, Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus), Caterpillar fungus (Cordyceps sinensis). Natural Antibiotics Medicinal mushrooms are traditionally used in the treatment of infections. They work as natural antibiotics due to the fact that they contain organic compounds that inhibit the propagation of many known bacteria and fungi. These natural antibiotics interfere with protein production, DNA replication, and other cellular processes that support bacterial metabolism. In addition, mushrooms naturally contain protease inhibitors, which are responsible for their antiviral effect when ingested. Shiitake and himematsutake, or almond mushroom, have become the most popular nutritional supplements in Japan largely owing to their ability to increase the disease-fighting capacity of the body against influenza virus, herpes simplex virus, and hepatitis virus, among others. Chemopreventive Potential Mushrooms have been the subject of cancer research that actually produced promising results. For example, turkey tail is approved as an adjuvant cancer treatment in Japan. Lion’s mane has been linked to the treatment of esophageal cancer whereas maitake selectively inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells. Enokitake, reishi, and zhu ling have been utilized in cancer immunotherapy. The antineoplastic properties of mushrooms have been demonstrated in cell culture and animal studies. Mushrooms inhibit growth and metastasis via apoptosis induction. At the same time, they enhance the capacity of immune cells to counter cancer cells. Any of the mushrooms mentioned herein have shown great promise based on recent studies, and their combination makes a good mushroom complex.
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