· By Richard Gray
Top Medicinal Mushrooms for Liver Health: A Guide to Detoxification and Wellness
The liver plays a crucial role in the body's detoxification process by filtering toxins and removing them from the bloodstream.
Over time, environmental toxins, poor diet, and unhealthy lifestyle habits can put a strain on the liver, leading to a range of health issues.
Medicinal mushrooms have gained popularity for their potential to promote liver health and aid in detoxification. With their natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, mushrooms offer a natural and effective way to support liver function.
In this guide, we will explore the top medicinal mushrooms for liver health, their benefits, and how to incorporate them into your daily routine for optimal detoxification and wellness.
The Liver Functions
The liver functions in distinct phases to detoxify harmful substances from your body.
Phase 1 is all about converting toxins using the family of enzymes known as the P-450 system via three reactions: oxidation, reduction, and hydrolysis.
Phase 1 changes the toxins into something more usable for phase 2.
This second phase innately creates a lot of free radicals as it’s dealing with harmful, reactive molecules.
Therefore, having a diet and lifestyle that encourages ample antioxidants that will neutralize free radicals is what the body needs.
What Makes Mushrooms Good for Your Liver?
Medicinal mushrooms are a source of ergothioneine and glutathione, two key antioxidants that can aid with oxidative stress in the body.
In fact, medicinal mushrooms are the top dietary source of ergothioneine out of any food.
Ergothioneine (ERGO) is a potent dietary antioxidant amino acid that can scavenge reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and thereby mitigate oxidative damage to biological molecules that contribute to chronic human diseases.
Glutathione has been shown to improve protein, enzyme, and bilirubin levels in the blood of individuals with alcoholic and nonalcoholic chronic fatty liver disease
Edible mushrooms should not be considered simply as food, as some of them have been shown to be rich in bioactive compounds called beta-glucans that have been studied for their antioxidant properties. (5)
Common Characteristics of Liver Disease
The liver is essential for digesting food and ridding your body of toxic substances.
Liver disease can be inherited (genetic). Liver problems can also be caused by a variety of factors that damage the liver, such as viruses, alcohol use, and obesity.
Cirrhosis, which can cause liver failure and be fatal, is a disorder that develops over time as a result of liver damage conditions. But early intervention can offer the liver some breathing room.
Liver disease doesn't always cause noticeable signs and symptoms. If signs and symptoms of liver disease do occur, they may include:
- Skin and eyes that appear yellowish (jaundice)
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
- Itchy skin
- Dark urine color
- Pale stool color
- Chronic fatigue
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Tendency to bruise easily
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is recommended to seek advice from a healthcare professional.
Best Medicinal Mushrooms to Boost Your Liver Health
In this section, we will explore some of the best medicinal mushrooms for liver health.
These mushrooms contain powerful compounds that can help support liver function and promote detoxification.
Incorporating these mushrooms into your diet or supplement routine may help improve liver health and overall wellness.
1. Agaricus blazei Murill
Agaricus blazei Murrill extract, also known as ABM extract, is a popular dietary supplement that has been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments.
A study found that ABM extract may have potential benefits in normalizing liver function in patients with chronic hepatitis B. (7)
In this 12-month open-label pilot study, four patients with chronic hepatitis B were given ABM mushroom extract of 1500 mg daily for 12 months. At the end of the study, the mean levels of the enzymes aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) were dramatically decreased, suggesting a potential improvement in liver function.
These findings suggest that ABM extract may have the potential to improve liver health in humans, particularly in individuals with chronic hepatitis B. However, more controlled studies with larger samples are needed to confirm these findings.
ABM extract is believed to have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help protect the liver against damage and inflammation.
Additionally, ABM extract contains beta-glucans, a type of polysaccharide that has been shown to modulate immune function, which may also contribute to its potential liver-protective effects.
2. Reishi Mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum)
Ganoderma lucidum, commonly known as reishi mushroom, is a traditional medicinal mushroom that has been used for centuries to improve overall health and vitality.
In recent years, research has shown that Ganoderma lucidum extract has hepatoprotective effects and can be beneficial in treating liver diseases.
A study conducted on mice evaluated the hepatoprotective effects of triterpenoids from G. lucidum on liver injury induced by a-amanitin (α-AMA). (8)
The results showed that treatment with G. lucidum total triterpenoids significantly reduced serum alanine aminotransaminase and aspartate aminotransaminase concentrations and reduced mortality rates by 20-40%. (8)
Moreover, triterpenoids and a reference drug silibinin significantly enhanced the activity of antioxidant enzymes like superoxide dismutase and catalase and reduced malondialdehyde content in livers. (8)
Another retrospective study examined patients who had had acute mushroom poisoning and discovered that therapy with G. lucidum was linked to a considerably shorter hospital stay and lower hospitalization costs in patients who survived liver damage. (9)
Also, the G. lucidum group had considerably fewer instances of blood purification treatments lasting longer than 48 hours than the control group.
Overall, these studies suggest that Ganoderma lucidum extract has the potential to boost liver health in humans.
Its hepatoprotective effects may be attributed to its antioxidative and radical scavenging activities, as well as its ability to inhibit apoptosis. However, further research is needed to confirm these findings and explore the potential benefits of G. lucidum extract in liver disease treatment.
Cordyceps, a type of mushroom that grows in the high-altitude regions of China, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to treat various ailments, including liver disease.
Recent studies have further supported the use of Cordyceps in promoting liver health, specifically in the prevention and treatment of liver fibrosis, a condition that can progress to liver cirrhosis and even liver cancer if left untreated.
One clinical trial published showed that Cordyceps extracts can inhibit the activation of hepatic stellate cells, which are responsible for the excessive production of extracellular matrix proteins that contribute to liver fibrosis. (10)
The study also found that Cordyceps extracts can decrease the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increase the expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines, which can help to reduce liver inflammation and promote liver regeneration. (10)
Another study published demonstrated the hepatoprotective effects of Cordyceps sinensis mycelium, a type of Cordyceps that is commonly used in supplements and herbal remedies.
The study found that Cordyceps sinensis mycelium can protect the liver from damage caused by acetaminophen, a common over-the-counter pain reliever that can cause liver toxicity at high doses. (11)
Cordyceps sinensis mycelium was also shown to decrease liver enzymes and increase antioxidant activity, indicating its potential in preventing and treating liver diseases. (11)
In addition to its hepatoprotective effects, Cordyceps has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-modulating properties, which can benefit overall health and well-being. (11)
While more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms of Cordyceps and its potential therapeutic applications, these studies provide promising evidence for the use of Cordyceps in promoting liver health and preventing liver disease.
4. Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)
Trametes versicolor, also known as Turkey Tail, is a type of mushroom that has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries.
A study conducted by Zhenfeng Huang et al. examined the effects of intracellular and extracellular polysaccharide extracts of Trametes versicolor (IPTV and EPTV) on hyperlipidemic mice. (12)
The study found that both IPTV and EPTV were effective in improving serum lipid profiles, with EPTV showing significant decreases in serum total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, and atherosclerosis index. (12)
In addition to its hypolipidemic effects, Trametes versicolor has also been shown to have hepatoprotective effects, which can improve liver health. (12)
Trametes versicolor has shown promising results in improving liver health in humans. Its hepatoprotective and anti-inflammatory effects make it a potential therapeutic agent for liver diseases.
However, more research is needed to fully understand its mechanisms of action and potential side effects.
Maitake mushrooms, also known as "hen of the woods," are a type of edible mushroom native to Japan and North America.
They are known for their unique flavor and have been used in traditional medicine for their potential health benefits, including immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties.
Maitake mushrooms have been shown to have potential hepatoprotective effects in animal studies.
One study conducted on rats with hyperlipidemia found that a diet fortified with 20% maitake mushroom dried powder led to consistently lower levels of cholesterol, phospholipids, and triglycerides in the liver and serum compared to rats fed a basic cholesterol-rich diet. (13)
Additionally, the value of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which typically decreases with a high-cholesterol diet, maintained its initial level in the maitake-fed rats. The weights of the liver and epididymal fat pads were also significantly less in the maitake-fed rats. (13)
Another study investigated the effects of the thick extract of Maitake mushrooms on rats with paracetamol-induced hepatitis. The study found that the extract had hepato-, cytoprotective, and antioxidative properties, contributing to the normalization of indicators such as aminotransferases, gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase, alkaline phosphatase, and thymol sample size. (14)
While these studies were conducted on animals, the results suggest that maitake mushrooms have the potential to alter lipid metabolism and protect the liver from damage.
Further research is needed to understand the mechanisms of action and to establish whether these effects are similar in humans. Nonetheless, incorporating maitake mushrooms into the diet may be a promising approach for supporting liver health.
As always, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to one's diet.
6. Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)
Shiitake mushrooms, scientifically known as Lentinula edodes, have been widely recognized for their potential health benefits. Recent studies have shown that shiitake mushrooms can have a positive impact on liver health in humans.
One study published in Food & Function investigated the effects of sulfated polysaccharides from Lentinula edodes (SPLE) on zymosan-induced multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) mice. (15)
The results showed that mice treated with SPLE had improved hepatic parameters, including decreased levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and improved high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC) levels. (15)
In addition, SPLE also reduced levels of inflammatory factors and increased antioxidant enzyme activity, ultimately playing a role in protecting organ function. (15)
Another study published in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology investigated the anti-intoxication and protective effects of a recombinant serine protease inhibitor from Lentinula edodes (rLeSPI) against acute alcohol-induced liver injury in mice. (16)
The results showed that rLeSPI displayed anti-intoxication activity and exerted protective effects against acute alcohol-induced liver injury, including improved glutathione peroxidase activity and reduced levels of malondialdehyde and aspartate amino transferase. (16)
These studies suggest that Lentinula edodes, or shiitake mushrooms, may have hepatoprotective effects in humans.
While more research is needed to confirm these findings and determine the optimal dosage and duration of shiitake mushroom consumption for liver health benefits, incorporating shiitake mushrooms into a healthy and balanced diet can potentially provide numerous health benefits, including liver support.
7. Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)
Lion's Mane mushroom, also known as Hericium erinaceus, has been shown in studies to have numerous health benefits, including boosting liver health in humans.
In one study, researchers investigated the effects of sulfated Hericium erinaceus residue polysaccharides (SHRPs) on D-galactose-induced aging mice. (17)
The results indicated that SHRPs could alleviate aging properties by scavenging radicals, elevating enzyme activities, and reducing malondialdehyde content, thus improving serum biochemical indices and enhancing immunological activity. (17)
Liver and brain injuries in mice could be remitted by SHRP interventions. These findings suggest that SHRPs could be used as an effective dietary supplement and functional food for the prevention of aging and age-related diseases. (17)
Another study investigated the antibacterial effect of four extracts from the fruit body of Hericium erinaceus against murine salmonellosis. (18)
The results indicated that HWE and MWE could protect infected mice against Salmonella Typhimurium-induced liver damage and mortality by stimulation of innate immune cells.
HWE and MWE-treated non-infected macrophages had altered morphology and elevated inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) mRNA expression. In the presence of S.
Typhimurium, iNOS mRNA expression was further increased, accompanied by an increase in NO production. Histology assays of the livers of mice infected with a sublethal dose of S.
Typhimurium showed that HWE and MWE, administered by daily intraperitoneal injection, protected against necrosis of the liver, a biomarker of in vivo salmonellosis. (18)
Based on these studies, it is evident that Lion's Mane mushroom has beneficial effects on liver health.
SHRPs and HWE/MWE extracts have shown the potential to protect against liver damage and boost liver function, making them a promising dietary supplement or functional food for individuals looking to improve their liver health.
However, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms of action and long-term effects of Lion's Mane on liver health in humans.
Agaricus blazei Mushroom Supplements
Agaricus blazei mushroom is a powerhouse of nutrition, and NutriMyco has developed two amazing supplements to help you get the most out of this potent fungus.
NutriMyco Agaricus Blazei Murill Immunity Power Shot is a proprietary liquid shot that delivers 16 times the beta-glucans of a traditional liquid extract.
This powerful liquid shot helps support your immune system, making it an ideal supplement to take when recovering from surgery, illness, or injury.
And if you're looking for a daily supplement to supercharge your immunity, promote cellular health and keep you at your best, NutriMyco Agaricus Blazei Murill Mushroom Powder is the perfect choice for you.
Made with a Concentrated Agaricus Fruiting Body Extract Liquid that is 10X concentrated, this potent powder provides more powerful and faster effects than other powders available in the market.
With NutriMyco Agaricus Blazei Murill Mushroom Powder and NutriMyco Agaricus Blazei Murill Immunity Power Shot, you can be sure that you're getting the purest, most potent Agaricus blazei mushroom supplements available.
In conclusion, incorporating medicinal mushrooms into your diet can have numerous benefits for liver health and overall wellness.
Overall, these medicinal mushrooms offer natural and effective ways to support liver health and detoxification.
While further research is needed to fully understand their mechanisms of action and potential side effects, incorporating these mushrooms into your diet as part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle can have numerous benefits for liver health and overall wellness.