· By Richard Gray
Discover the Best Mushroom for Cancer Treatment
In this blog post, we will explore the world of medicinal mushrooms and their potential role in cancer treatment.
With the rise of interest in alternative cancer treatment routes, many are turning to medicinal mushrooms with apoptogenic properties for cancer prevention and treatment.
There are hundreds of different kinds of mushrooms. Those most frequently studied in cancer research are not usually sold in grocery stores.
Below we will discuss the benefits and uses of the top medicinal mushrooms for cancer, including their active compounds and potential side effects.
What Are Medicinal Mushrooms?
Medicinal mushrooms are higher fungi that have extra health benefits. They are low in fat and have a trans-isomer of unsaturated fatty acids.
They are considered an unmatched source of healthy food and medicine.
Bioactive components found in medicinal mushrooms and their extract are classified as secondary metabolites. (1)
The presence of polysaccharide β-glucans or polysaccharide–protein complexes content in mushroom extracts has great therapeutic applications in human health as they possess many properties such as anti-diabetic, anti-cancerous, anti-obesity, immunomodulatory, hypocholesteremia, hepatoprotective nature along with anti-aging. (1)
It’s important to note that the terms medicinal and adaptogenic aren’t the same thing. Many mushrooms have medicinal effects, including anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating properties.
However, the term adaptogenic refers specifically to how a substance may affect the body’s response to stress.
There are several popular medicinal mushrooms known for their potential health benefits, including:
- Agaricus Blazei Mushroom: Known for its immune-boosting and anti-tumor properties and is commonly used as a complementary treatment for cancer.
- Reishi Mushroom: Known for its immune-boosting and anti-cancer properties, Reishi mushrooms are commonly used to reduce inflammation, improve sleep, and support heart health.
- Chaga Mushroom: Rich in antioxidants and have been studied for their potential ability to slow the growth of cancer cells and boost the immune system.
- Turkey Tail Mushroom: Rich in polysaccharides, Turkey Tail mushrooms have been studied for their potential to stimulate the immune system and reduce inflammation.
- Shiitake Mushroom: Contains beta-glucans, which have been shown to stimulate the immune system and reduce inflammation.
- Lion's Mane Mushroom: Known for its potential cognitive benefits, including improving memory and concentration.
- Maitake Mushroom: Rich in beta-glucans, which have been shown to stimulate the immune system and reduce inflammation. They are commonly used to support immune function, improve blood sugar control, and reduce cholesterol levels.
- Cordyceps Mushroom: Known for their potential to improve athletic performance and stamina, as well as their immune-boosting properties. They are also commonly used to support kidney health and improve respiratory function.
Top 6 Medicinal Mushrooms to Fight Cancer (Back by Research)
In Japan and China, mushrooms have been used safely for a long time, either alone or in combination with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. There are more than 100 types of mushrooms used to treat cancer patients.
Below, we'll talk about the most popular and effective types of mushrooms that have been shown to have anti-cancer activity in clinical trials.
1. Agaricus blazei Murrill (ABM)
Agaricus blazei Murrill (ABM), also known as "Cogumelo do Sol" in Brazil and "Himematsutake" in Japan, is a mushroom that is native to Brazil.
It is widely grown in Japan for its medicinal uses, so it is now considered one of the most important edible and culinary-medicinal biotechnological species.
The polysaccharides phytocomplex is thought to be responsible for its immunostimulant and antitumor effects.
This mushroom has said to be used as an anticancer agent due to the presence of its beta-glucan composition.
Scientists found that extracting ABM with chemicals can help fight cancer cells in breast cancer. This extract can be shown to kill breast cancer cells. (3)
In another study, Agaritine contained in ABM showed an antitumor effect against leukemic cells in vitro. Unlike beta-glucan, which indirectly stops the growth of tumor cells, Agaritine exerts an antitumor effect directly against leukemic tumor cells through a process called apoptosis. (4)
Apoptosis is a type of cell death in which a series of molecular steps in a cell lead to its death.
Additionally, a steroid called blazein found in this mushroom has been shown to kill cells and change their structure in a way that suggests apoptotic chromatin condensation in human lung cancer cells. This chemical has also proven to work the same way on stomach cancer cells as it does on lung cancer cells. (4) (5)
In this last study, ABM showed antitumor effects in mouse models of fibrosarcoma, myeloma, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, and lung cancer. It also worked against gynecological cancer and leukemia in human studies, which measured the natural killer cell activity and the quality of life. (6)
Due to the evidence provided, we can confidently say that ABM has the ability to inhibit the growth of tumors such as cancer and improve the quality of life of cancer patients receiving treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.
2. Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum)
Reishi is a type of mushroom that grows on live trees. Scientists may call it either Ganoderma lucidum or Ganoderma sinense.
In traditional Chinese medicine, this group of mushrooms is known as Ling Zhi. In Japan, they are known as Reishi.
Reishi has been used as medicine for a very long time in East Asia. It was thought to prolong life, prevent aging, and increase energy. In China, it is being used to strengthen the immune response of cancer patients who receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
The polysaccharides (Gl-PS) in reishi provide anti-tumor support by activating lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are white blood cells in the immune system.
In fact, one study of over 4,000 breast cancer survivors found that around 59% consumed reishi mushrooms. (7)
However, it should be noted that the success of treatment in a laboratory setting does not guarantee success in a clinical setting with animals or humans.
Due to its effects on testosterone, Reishi has been studied for its potential to treat prostate cancer. (11)
What’s more, a detailed report of multiple studies indicated that the mushroom can beneficially affect cancer patients. (14)
These benefits included increasing the activity of the body’s white blood cells, which help fight cancer and improve the quality of life in cancer patients.
3. Maitake Mushroom (Grifola frondosa)
The Japanese word "Maitake" translates to "dancing mushroom" in English. According to legend, the mushroom was given its name because its discovery in the woods caused such much joy that the villagers danced.
This mushroom is a type of adaptogen. Adaptogens assist the body in fighting against any type of mental or physical difficulty.
Compared to other mushrooms, maitake has shown better results in preventing and treating cancer and other health conditions. Maitake also has a positive effect on overall immunity.
A 2013 study indicates that maitake D-Fraction could be useful in preventing and treating breast cancer. Researchers suggest that this mushroom can fight the growth and reproduction of cancerous cells. (15)
It has also been shown to suppress tumor growth in mice. (16) It can also increase the number of cells fighting against the tumor. This suggests that it could also be effective in managing cancer in humans when taken orally.
Another study found maitake D-Fraction, which is an extract, to be efficient in killing human cancer cells. It was taken alongside a protein that also fights cancer and succeeded in increasing the protein’s effectiveness. (17)
Laboratory research suggests that Maitake may be effective in treating types of cancers. More studies are needed to confirm its effect on humans, but the current findings are promising.
4. Chaga Mushroom (Inonotus obliquus)
Chaga mushroom is a fungus that grows primarily on birch trees in cold climates. With an appearance similar to burnt charcoal, it has been harvested for centuries as a traditional medicine.
Traditionally, Chaga was grated into a fine powder and brewed as an herbal tea.
Nowadays, it’s not only available as a tea but also as a powdered or capsuled supplement. The tea may feature Chaga alone or in combination with other mushrooms, such as Cordyceps.
Several test-tube and animal studies show that Chaga can prevent and slow cancer growth. (18)
Chaga mushroom may provide a new therapeutic option, as a potential anticancer agent, in the treatment of hepatoma (Hepatocellular carcinoma), the most common type of primary liver cancer. (19)
Similar results were observed in a study that focused on colon cancer. (20)
In particular, chaga contains the antioxidant triterpene. Test-tube studies reveal that very concentrated triterpene extract can help kill cancer cells. (21)
Bear in mind that significant conclusions about Chaga's anticancer potential cannot be drawn without human trials.
5. Turkey Tail Mushroom (Coriolus versicolor)
In Asia, Turkey Tail is one of many types of mushrooms that have been used as medicine for hundreds of years.
It is also called Trametes versicolor or Coriolus versicolor. It is called a Turkey Tail because of its bright color patterns that look like a turkey's tail.
They are said to have many health benefits, but one that stands out is that they are said to boost the immune system so that it can fight cancer.
Polysaccharide K (PSK) is the best-known active compound in Turkey Tail mushrooms. In Japan, PSK is an approved mushroom product used to treat cancer.
While more research is needed, an in vitro study published in 2013 showed promise in using an extract derived from turkey tail mushrooms in treating leukemia. (22)
Clinical trial data from China and Japan suggests that PSK can improve overall survival in breast cancer. In a randomized study of 158 cancer patients, the survival of the radiochemotherapy plus PSK group was significantly better than that in the group receiving radiochemotherapy alone. (24)
Although some study results are promising, Turkey Tail can’t replace anticancer drugs. They should only be used by people with cancer if recommended by oncology.
Cordyceps is a fungus that lives on certain caterpillars in the high mountain regions of China.
It contains various bioactive ingredients including cordycepin. Cordycepin, also known as 3-deoxyadenosine, is a major compound and has been suggested to have anticancer effects.
Supplements and products containing Cordyceps extract have become increasingly popular due to their many purported health benefits.
Of the more than 400 species of Cordyceps discovered, two have become the focus of health research: Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris.
Researchers believe the fungi may have anti-tumor properties in a variety of ways.
Cordyceps may also reverse the side effects associated with many forms of cancer therapy. One of these side effects is leukopenia.
Not to be confused with the cancer leukemia, leukopenia is a condition in which the number of white blood cells (leukocytes) decreases, lowering the body’s defenses and increasing the risk of infection. (29)
One study tested the effects of Cordyceps on mice that developed leukopenia after radiation and treatments with a common chemotherapy drug. (30)
In a surprising twist, Cordyceps was able to reverse the leukopenia. These findings point to the fungi as a potential resource for alleviating side effects of cancer therapy.
However, much of this research is limited to animal or lab studies, so health experts currently can’t draw conclusions about their effects on people.
Interested in Taking Medicinal Mushrooms for Cancer?
In conclusion, medicinal mushrooms have shown great potential as a complementary therapy for cancer treatment. While there are numerous types of medicinal mushrooms available, Agaricus Blazei Murill stands out as one of the best due to its potent anti-tumor and immune-boosting properties.
Studies have shown that Agaricus Blazei Murill can help enhance the efficacy of cancer treatments while minimizing side effects.
If you are interested in incorporating Agaricus Blazei Murill into your cancer treatment regimen, NutriMyco's Agaricus Blazei Murill Mushroom supplements are an excellent option. Made from high-quality mushrooms, NutriMyco's supplements are designed to provide maximum health benefits and support your overall well-being.
Remember, while medicinal mushrooms can be a helpful addition to your cancer treatment, it's essential to consult with your healthcare professional before taking any new dietary supplements or changing your treatment plan.
With the right support and guidance, you can harness the power of nature to support your health and well-being during your cancer journey.