Mushrooms have been used medicinally in many cultures for generations upon generations, however, it has been in recent years that western medicine has started to catch up. One of the most popular reasons for using mushrooms for their health benefits is their ability to boost people’s immune systems due to their high levels of vitamin D, polysaccharides and beta-glucans, to name a few.
But their health benefits expand way further than just aiding the the average person’s immune system. In Japan and China in particular, mushrooms are used often and routinely during cancer treatments.
There have been thousands of studies conducted over the last couple years, and many of them are linking functional mushrooms to a lower risk of cancer.
Here’s what you need to know about how functional and medicinal mushrooms can affect cancer patients and their treatments:
So, Which Kind of Mushrooms Are Linked to Cancer Treatment?
There are tens of thousands of mushrooms that have been discovered throughout history and many agree that there are many more to be discovered. Of all known mushrooms, the fungi that have been gaining the most traction in the cancer treatment world are undoubtedly the turkey tail, reishi, shiitake and maitake mushrooms.
Maitake mushrooms have been scientifically linked to the killing of cancer cells in a patient's body. A study done in 2009 showed that maitake were capable of boosting the immune systems of breast cancer patients.
Two mushroom extractions from the maitake, GD- and PL-fractions, when combined with vitamin C, were shown to significantly reduce growth of cancerous bladder cells by up to a stammering 90%. In some patients it was even shown to kill the cells all together.
Shiitake have a long standing reputation in the medicinal world, dating back thousands of years. Some of the most promising benefits of the shiitake mushrooms stem from its compound lentinan, which is a polysaccharide that has been studied and shown to increase the the rate of survival in people living with cancer.
Reishi has also had its fair share of the spotlight in the cancer treatment world. Recent studies have shown that reishi mushrooms contain immune boosting and anti-cancer properties.
In a paper published in 2013, scientists studied how reishi mushrooms could be linked to killing cancer cells. A polysaccharides found in reishi mushrooms was shown to help a patient’s antibodies find and kill antigens that are commonly associated with cancer cell growth.
Turkey tail mushrooms have been linked to helping cure breast cancer, leukemia, colon cancer, lung cancer. Although the use of turkey tail mushrooms wouldn’t be used independently to treat cancer, ingesting them in conjunction with modern science has been effective.
Mushrooms Are Promising
Living with cancer can be extremely difficult on the mind and body. Oftentimes, patients are eager to try everything and anything that may alleviate them from their pain. Below are some of the ways that mushrooms may be able to help.
Functional Mushrooms May Allow Cancer Patients to Live Longer
Many of the studies done on these functional mushrooms show their positive immune boosting qualities on cancer patients.
It is also common for people who are receiving chemotherapy to indulge in medicinal mushrooms in order to be able to better tolerate their high intensity and painful treatments.
Mushrooms May Improve Quality of Life
Taking mushroom supplements during cancer treatments can help improve a patient’s quality of life by increasing their appetite, increasing their physical and mental capacities, as well as decrease fatigue while increasing energy.
Some Mushrooms Can Have Side Effects
Oftentimes, studies on mushrooms are done retrospectively, which means that scientists are studying patient’s medical records rather than working with them in the present. It’s important to know that this could potentially lead to the absence of important side effects or details that could affect the outcomes of these studies.
Research on Mushrooms is Not One Size Fits All
The majority of studies done on mushrooms have been conducted in Asia on Asian patients, which some scientists note could mean that people from North American, or other parts of the world, may see different results due to differences in metabolisms and genetic makeup.
When it comes to the treatment of different kinds of cancers, it is still relatively unclear how reishi, maitake, shiitake and turkey tail mushrooms have a certain effect on some people and not others.
Many scientists and doctors agree that mushroom supplements, and cancer treatments in general, are not a one size fit all process. If you’re interested in finding out if taking mushroom supplements during cancer treatment is right for you, always discuss with your doctor.
Mushroom Capsules For Mental and Physical Well-Being
Mushroom capsules can be used when you’re sick as a means to recovery or simply to improve your day to day mental and physical health. Alchemi Mushrooms is an organic mushroom and wellness company that strives to bring the benefits of mushrooms into people’s daily routines.
Our blends of mushrooms and vitamins can be used to clear your mind, balance your energy and boost your immune system when taken daily. See what mushroom medicine can do for you by checking out our products!