Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is used to boost the immune system, reduce stress, improve sleep and reduce fatigue. People also take reishi mushrooms for health conditions such as: High blood pressure. High cholesterol level.
6 benefits of reishi mushroom (plus side effects and dosage)
Many different plants and fungi are used in Eastern medicine. Interestingly, reishi mushroom is known for its many health benefits.
It has a variety of potential health benefits, including boosting the immune system and fighting cancer. Recently, however, its safety has come into question.
In this article, we'll tell you what you need to know about the benefits and potential risks of reishi mushroom.
What is a reishi mushroom?
Reishi mushroom, also known as Ganoderma lucidum and lingzhi, is a mushroom that grows in various hot and humid places in Asia.
For many years, this mushroom has been a major product of oriental medicine .
The mushroom contains several molecules, including triterpenoids, polysaccharides, and peptidoglycans, which may be responsible for its health effects .
Although the mushrooms themselves can be eaten fresh, powdered forms of mushrooms or extracts containing these specific molecules are often used.
These different forms have been tested in cell, animal, and human studies.
Below are 6 researched benefits of reishi mushroom. The first three are supported by stronger evidence:
1. Strengthens the immune system
One of the most important effects of reishi mushroom is that it can boost your immune system .
Although some details have not yet been clarified, test tubes have shown that reishi can affect white blood cell genes which are essential parts of the immune system.
Additionally, these studies have shown that certain forms of reishi can alter inflammation pathways in white blood cells.
Studies in cancer patients have shown that some of the molecules in the mushroom can increase the activity of a type of white blood cells called natural killer cells .
Another study found that Reishi may increase the number of other white blood cells (lymphocytes) in people with colorectal cancer.
Although most of the immune system benefits of reishi mushroom have been seen in sick people, there is some evidence to suggest that it can help healthy people as well.
In one study , the mushroom improved the function of lymphocytes, which help fight infection and cancer, in athletes exposed to stressful conditions.
However, other studies in healthy adults have shown no improvement in immune function or inflammation after 4 weeks of Reishi extract.
It is generally clear that reishi affects white blood cells and immune function. More research is needed to determine the benefits for healthy and sick people.
Reishi mushroom may improve immune function by affecting white blood cells, which help fight infection and cancer. This can be effective especially in sick people, as mixed results have been seen in healthy people.
2. Anticancer properties
Many people consume this mushroom because of its potential anti-cancer properties.
In fact, a reliable pubmed study of over 4,000 breast cancer survivors found that about 59% of them consumed Reishi mushroom and Ginseng.
Additionally, several test-tube studies have shown that it can cause cancer cell death.
However, the results of these studies are not necessarily equivalent to efficacy in animals or humans.
Some studies have looked at whether reishi may be helpful in prostate cancer due to its effects on the hormone testosterone.
Although a case study has shown that the molecules present in this mushroom can reverse the development of prostate cancer in men, more studies are needed to confirm these writings.
Reishi mushroom has also been studied for its role in preventing or fighting colorectal cancer.
Some studies show that one year of Reishi treatment reduces the number and size of colon tumors.
In addition, a detailed report of numerous studies shows that the mushroom can have a beneficial effect on cancer patients.
These benefits include increasing the activity of white blood cells in the body, which help fight cancer, and improving the quality of life for cancer patients.
However, researchers say reishi should be used in combination with traditional medicine, not to replace it.
Additionally, many studies on Reishi mushroom and cancer are not of high quality. Therefore, much more research is needed.
The reishi mushroom seems to be interesting for the prevention or treatment of cancer, more information is needed to integrate it into a treatment protocol. However, in some cases, it may be appropriate to use it in addition to usual care.
3. It May Help Reduce Fatigue and Depression
The focus is often on reishi's effects on the immune system, but it has other potential benefits.
These include reducing fatigue and depression, as well as improving quality of life.
One study looked at its effect in 132 people with neurasthenia, an ill-defined condition associated with pain, suffering, dizziness, headache and irritability.
The researchers found that after 8 weeks of taking the supplements, fatigue decreased and well-being improved.
Another study found that fatigue decreased and quality of life improved after 4 weeks of taking Reishi powder in a group of 48 breast cancer survivors.
Additionally, the people in the study also experienced less anxiety and depression.
Although reishi mushroom may show promise for people with certain illnesses or diseases, it is unclear whether it would benefit those who are otherwise healthy.
Some preliminary studies show that reishi mushroom can reduce anxiety and depression, as well as improve the quality of life for people with certain illnesses.
4. Health of the cardiovascular system
A 12-week study in 26 people found that Reishi mushroom may increase "good" HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides.
However, other studies in healthy adults have not shown improvements in these risk factors for heart disease.
What's more, a large analysis showed no beneficial effects on heart health after looking at five different studies involving around 400 people. Researchers have found that eating reishi mushroom for 16 weeks does not improve cholesterol.
In general, more research is needed on reishi mushrooms and heart health.
5. Blood sugar control
Several studies have shown that molecules found in reishi mushroom can lower blood sugar in animals.
Some preliminary human studies have reported similar results.
However, most studies have not confirmed this benefit. After evaluating hundreds of participants, researchers found no benefit for fasting blood sugar.
Mixed results were observed for postprandial blood glucose. In some cases, the reishi mushroom lowered blood sugar, but in other cases it was worse than the placebo.
Again, more research is needed here.
6. Powerful Antioxidant
Antioxidants are molecules that help prevent damage to your cells.
Due to this important function, there is significant interest in foods and supplements that can increase antioxidant status in the body.
However, several studies have found no change in blood levels of two important antioxidant enzymes after consuming the mushroom for 4 to 12 weeks.
A small number of studies show that reishi mushroom can improve good cholesterol or blood sugar levels. However, most studies show that it does not improve cholesterol, blood sugar, or antioxidants in the body.
Reishi dosages vary depending on the form used
Unlike some foods or supplements, the dose of reishi mushroom can vary greatly depending on the type used.
The highest doses are observed when consuming the mushroom itself. In these cases, the doses can vary from 25 to 100 grams, depending on the size
Usually dried mushroom extract is used instead. In these cases, the dose is about 10 times lower than when the mushroom itself is consumed.
For example , using 50 grams of reishi mushroom itself can be compared to about 5 grams of mushroom extract. Mushroom extract doses vary, but generally range from about 1.5 to 9 grams per day.
Plus, some supplements only include parts of the extract. In these cases, the recommended doses may be much lower than the above values.
As the recommended dose can vary greatly depending on the form of mushroom used, it is very important to know which type you are taking.
The dosage for reishi mushroom varies depending on how the mushroom is consumed. Consuming the mushroom itself provides higher doses, while extracts provide lower doses.
Possible side effects and dangers
Despite its popularity, some people doubt the safety of reishi mushroom.
Some studies have shown that those who took a reishi mushroom for 4 months were almost twice as likely to have a side effect as those who took a placebo.
However, these effects were minor and included a slightly increased risk of stomach upset or indigestion. No adverse effects of reishi on the liver have been reported.
Other studies also show that a four-week intake of reishi mushroom extract did not cause harmful effects on the liver or kidneys in healthy adults.
Contrary to these reports, significant liver problems were reported in two cases
The two case study participants had previously used reishi mushroom without any problems, but experienced adverse effects after switching to the powder form.
Therefore, it is difficult to know for sure if the fungus itself is responsible for the observed liver damage or if there were problems with the powdered extract.
It is also important to note that no safety data has been reported in many studies of Reishi mushrooms, so information is generally limited.
However, there are several groups of people who should probably avoid reishi .
Among them are those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, who have blood diseases, who are going to undergo surgery or who have low blood pressure.
Some studies of Reishi mushroom have not provided safety information, but others report that taking it for several months is probably safe. However, several cases of severe liver damage have been linked to reishi extract.
In conclusion :
The Reishi mushroom is very well known and mainly used in oriental medicine.
It can boost the immune system by affecting white blood cells, especially in sick people such as cancer patients.
This mushroom may also help reduce the size and number of tumors in certain cancers, as well as improve the quality of life of some cancer patients.
Most human studies show it does not improve cholesterol, blood sugar, or antioxidants, but may be effective in reducing fatigue or depression in some cases.
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