Immune Power of Medicinal Mushrooms
By Andrew Hocek, CNC
Medicinal mushrooms are growing in popularity due
to their unique and effective immune enhancing properties. Research
has shown medicinal mushrooms, like Reishi and Maitake, to be
incredible immune enhancers, not only for bacteria incursions to
our bodies, but for viruses and yeasts alike. As you'll see, the
Fungal Kingdom that medicinal mushrooms are a part of can be
fascinating allies in maintaining and bolstering our natural immune
It is estimated that we share about 33% of the
same DNA structure with medicinal mushrooms while sharing only
about 10% DNA similarity with the Plant Kingdom. Interestingly, it
seems that many of the pathogenic organisms (viruses, bacteria, and
yeasts) that attack mushrooms also have an affinity for attacking
humans. This is not so with humans and plants where most of the
pathogens that attack plants rarely are problems for humans. It seems
logical then, that since mushrooms have been around for millions of
years longer than humans, perhaps the potent medicines they developed
to protect themselves from these pathogens of illness could be of
benefit to humans.
The key class of immune-enhancing compounds found
in medicinal mushrooms are polysaccharides. Studies have shown
immune enhancing and anti-tumor effects through the use of
polysaccharides found in medicinal mushrooms, (Institute of
Evolutions, Israel, PMID#12436306). These compounds are abundantly
found in medicinal mushrooms and are secreted on the outer portion of
mushroom flesh to repel and kill off pathogenic organisms. There are
many different polysaccharide complexes created by medicinal mushrooms
with a variety of benefits to humans. Besides enhancing immune
activity, research has shown polysaccharide compounds to be beneficial
in many health areas including: calming overactive immune activity
(autoimmune disease), rebuilding nerve and brain tissue, reducing
allergy symptoms, boosting energy, heart health, blood sugar
regulation and much more.
When choosing a complex be sure you are getting
the "whole" mushroom. Many mushroom formulas only use specific
parts of the mushroom deemed most valuable or only include the fruit
body (hoods and stems). To get the full benefit from a medicinal
mushroom formula make sure it contains the fruit body parts, along
with the mycelia (similar to a plants root system), and growth media
extract. All three parts have greater medicinal benefit when used
together versus only using one part by itself. In this way you'll also
get a broader range of polysaccharide complexes to address your health
Besides getting a "whole" mushroom complex look
for formulas that are grown in such a way to insure efficacy. One of
the most important things to look for are mushroom complexes that are
certified organic. Mushrooms are much like sponges and can soak up
heavy metals from the ground and copious amounts of acid rainfall from
highly polluted areas. On the other hand, buying a medicinal mushroom
complex that is certified organic will indicate that the growing media
is at least free of chemical toxins, while many times offering
enhanced nutritional quality over conventionally grown mushrooms. This
most often occurs due to the use of quality natural fertilizers and
growth media when growing to certified organic standards.
The next thing to look for is a Certified P-Value.
Having a Certified P-Value ensures that a medicinal mushroom or
complex has not been cloned more than 10 generations. For most
mushrooms, after cloning more than 10 times tends to weaken the
quality of the mushroom. With Certified P-Value you can be assured
that the medicinal mushrooms are always at their highest quality and
retain nutritional integrity.
Lastly, you'll want to look for mushroom blends.
Research has shown that when a mushroom has a certain medicinal
benefit to humans its benefit is enhanced when the mushroom is
compounded together with other mushrooms. A recent study showed
that a 16 mushroom blend increased natural killer cell activity 400%
as compared to 300% when using only a single species of medicinal
mushroom, (Stamets, International Journal of Mycology, 2003).
Medicinal mushrooms have much to offer us when we
consider natural supplements for our immune health…So when preparing
your health shopping list for immune supporting supplements, don't
forget medicinal mushrooms. You're health is worth it!
Organic Mushrooms meet all the
above criteria for the highest quality and purity of medicinal
mushrooms available in the market today. Click on the following links
for more information.
The statements contained in this article have not
been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information
contained here is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any
disease. Suggestions and ideas presented in this document are for
information only and should not be interpreted as medical advice, meant
for diagnosing illness, or for prescriptive purposes.