The reishi mushroom is a type of medicinal mushroom that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Reishi mushroom benefits are wide ranging, including reducing inflammation, fighting cancer, and boosting the immune system. However, there are also some potential side effects associated with reishi mushrooms. In this article, we will discuss both the benefits and side effects of reishi mushrooms, so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not to include them in your diet.
What is the Reishi Mushroom?
The reishi mushroom, also known as Ganoderma lucidum and lingzhi, is a fungus that grows in various hot and humid places throughout Asia.
This fungus has been used in Eastern medicine for many years.
Triterpenoids, polysaccharides, and peptidoglycans are three of the molecules found in reishi mushrooms that might contribute to its health benefits.
While the mushrooms may be eaten fresh, powdered forms or extracts containing the chemical compounds found in them are also popular.
Different types of forms of reishi have been studied in cell, animal, and human trials.
The reishi mushroom has been studied in a number of ways, and the following are six of its recognized advantages. The first three have greater evidence to support them, while the others do not have quite as much conclusive evidence.
Reishi Mushroom Benefits the Immune System
The reishi mushroom benefits a stronger immune system. While certain details are still hazy, test-tube study have shown that reishi may alter the genes in white blood cells, which are important components of your immune system.
Furthermore, these studies discovered that some types of reishi modify inflammation pathways in white blood cells. Natural killer cells are a kind of white blood cell that can increase the activity of certain chemicals found in the mushroom.
Natural killer cells fight infections and cancer in the body.
According to other research, reishi may boost the amount of different white blood cells (lymphocytes) in those with colorectal cancer.
Although reishi mushroom’s immunological benefits have been documented in persons who are sick, some research suggests that it may help healthy people as well.
In one research, the fungus enhanced lymphocyte function, which aids in the fight against infections and cancer, in athletes subjected to stressful circumstances.
However, reishi extract had no effect on immune function or inflammation in healthy adults when used for 4 weeks.
Reishi has been shown to impact white blood cells and the immune system. More study is needed to determine the degree of the benefits in both healthy and sick people.
Anti-Cancer Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms
This fungus is consumed by many people due to its supposed anti-cancer effects.
In a different research, over 4,000 breast cancer survivors were questioned and it was discovered that 59% consumed reishi mushrooms.
It has also been studied in animal tests, and several test-tube research have revealed that it may be harmful to cancer cells.
However, the findings of these studies may not always guarantee effectiveness in animals or people.
Among the most popular herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine, reishi has been studied for its influence on testosterone.
Although one case study suggested that chemicals in this fungus may be used to cure prostate cancer in people, a larger follow-up research did not back this up.
Reishi mushroom has also been studied for its potential role in preventing or treating colorectal cancer.
According to some studies, reishi extract decreased the number and size of large intestine tumors by one year after treatment.
Furthermore, according to a comprehensive study of numerous studies, the fungus can help cancer patients.
The researchers discovered that these advantages including boosting white blood cell activity, which aids in the fight against cancer, and enhancing quality of life for cancer patients.
Researchers, on the other hand, recommend that reishi should be used in conjunction with traditional therapy rather than replacing it.
In addition, many of the reishi mushroom and cancer studies were not high-quality. As a result, much additional study is required.
Reishi Mushroom Benefits: Fatigue and Depression
Reishi’s immunological effects are frequently emphasized, but it offers a slew of additional benefits as well.
Improved quality of life as well as reduced fatigue and depression are just a few of the additional benefits.
One study using reishi mushrooms examined its effects in 132 people with neurasthenia, a strange condition that includes the side effects of aches, pains, dizziness, headaches and irritability.
After 8 weeks of taking reishi, sleep quality was improved and fatigue was reduced, according to the study.
According to another study, 4 weeks of reishi powder supplementation improved fatigue and quality of life in a group of 48 breast cancer survivors.
Furthermore, the people in the study also had reduced levels of anxiety and depression.
While reishi mushroom has potential for individuals with certain diseases or illnesses, it is uncertain if it would help those who are otherwise healthy.
Other Potential Reishi Mushroom Benefits
Heart Health: The Journal of Natural Medicines published a 12-week study on reishi mushrooms and their effects on “good” HDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Overall, more study is required in the field of reishi mushrooms and heart health.
Blood Sugar: According to several research studies, polysaccharides contained in reishi mushrooms can help to lower blood sugar levels in mice. Blood sugar levels varied after meals. Reishi mushroom reduced blood sugar in some individuals, but it increased it in others.
Antioxidants: Antioxidants are compounds that may help your cells remain healthy. Because of its vital function, there is a lot of interest in antioxidant-boosting foods and supplements. Many people swear by reishi mushroom’s ability to provide anti-oxidant benefits.
Most Effective Reishi Mushroom Dosage
Unlike other foods or pills, reishi mushroom supplement doses vary considerably depending on the type used.
When someone consumes the mushroom, the highest doses are observed. Depending on the size of the mushroom, doses may range from 25 to 100 grams in these situations.
Instead of eating the mushroom itself, people eat a dried extract. When compared to consuming the mushroom itself, these doses are generally 10 times lower.
For example, 50 grams of reishi mushroom may be equivalent to approximately 5 grams of reishi extract. The daily dosage of the mushroom extract is generally between 1.5 and 9 grams.
Reishi Mushroom Side Effects
Despite its popularity, reishi mushroom has been criticized for its toxicity.
Those who took reishi mushroom for four months were almost two times as likely to experience a negative effect as those taking a placebo, according to some research.
However, the majority of these effects were minor and included an increased risk of stomach or digestive discomfort. There have been no reports of adverse health effects on the liver.
In another study, four weeks of reishi mushroom extract did not appear to harm the liver or kidneys in healthy people.
However, in two case studies, significant liver issues have been reported.
The two individuals in the case studies had previously used reishi mushroom with no difficulties, but they experienced negative effects after switching to a powdered form.
Because reishi mushroom benefits, on the other hand, contain polysaccharides that are essential for liver function and regeneration (these substances stimulate the immune system), it’s difficult to determine whether or not the mushroom itself was behind the observed liver damage or if there were issues with the powdered extract.
Limited information is available overall, and many studies on reishi mushroom have not included safety data, therefore further research is needed.
Despite the fact that reishi is generally regarded as safe, there are certain groups of individuals who should avoid it. Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, have a blood disorder, will be having surgery, or have low blood pressure are among them.