Are Reishi Mushrooms AIP?

Are Reishi Mushrooms AIP featured image

Are reishi mushrooms AIP? The answer to this question is a little complicated.

Reishi mushrooms are a type of mushroom that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Some people believe that they can help improve immune function and protect against disease.

Let’s take a look at what this might imply for autoimmune disease management and some of the more complex ideas in depth. Some beta-glucans (mushroom fibrous components that can be highly bioactive) are tiny molecules, allowing them to bind to immune cells directly, impacting immune function as well as the indirect consequences of the gut microbiota. This information was used to justify avoiding medicinal mushroom extracts on the Autoimmune Protocol in the beginning. Any substance that activates the immune system must be avoided by autoimmune disease patients. Reishi mushrooms, on the other hand, have been shown to be more immunomodulatory (than immunostimulatory) in newer research. Reishi is the most thoroughly researched among them.

In rheumatoid arthritis patients, two studies found a reduction in joint pain alongside a drop in interleukin (IL)-18, which strongly activates Th1 cells. There was also no change in any measured inflammatory cells or other cytokines.) In a study of mice with lupus, reishi extract supplementation reduced autoantibodies and improved survival. Reishi increased the ratio of regulatory T cells to Th17 and Th1 cells, as well as cytokines, such as decreases in IL-21, IL-10, and IL-17 and increases in IL-2 and IL-12P70, according to a mouse lupus research. Finally, reishi supplementation was found to reverse changes in gene expression that corresponded with reduced disease activity in a mouse model of autoimmune Alzheimer’s disease. The fascinating context is that reishi extract has also been shown to be effective in cancer, specifically boosting cytotoxic T cell activity (in addition to affecting tumor angiogenesis and cancer cell growth directly).

The data presented in this image suggest that medicinal mushroom extracts (at least in the case of reishi) may help with cases of under-active immune systems, overactive immune function, and carcinogenesis. While medicinal mushrooms (such as shiitake, which is widely accessible in supermarkets) are covered under the Autoimmune Protocol, there is still a lot of study needed to validate this before reishi and other medicinal mushroom extracts are authorized for autoimmune disease treatment. For now, medicinal mushroom extracts should be considered an AIP gray area.

Additionally, reishi mushrooms contain a compound called purine. Purines are a type of molecule that can be broken down into uric acid. Uric acid is known to aggravate gout symptoms.

For this reason, people with gout may want to avoid eating reishi mushrooms. If you are unsure whether or not you should eat reishi mushrooms, you should speak with your doctor or a registered dietitian.

About the author

Bruce Wilson

I've studied Mycology and Forest Pathology and love creating content to help other learn more about my passion. Follow along as I continue to explore the amazing world of functional fungi!

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