(Natural News) Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum) are red-varnished, kidney-shaped mushrooms popular in traditional Japanese and Chinese medicines. A recent study suggests that this type of mushroom can fight oxidative stress, lower cholesterol, and help prevent cancer.
In the study, a team of researchers at Hunan Agricultural University in China looked at the effect of polysaccharides derived from reishi mushrooms on lipid metabolism, oxidative stress, and apoptosis in mice. The Chinese research team fed mice with a high-fat diet to induce obesity. Obesity can damage cells, promote oxidative stress, and increase lipid levels. Then, they treated the mice with different doses of reishi mushroom polysaccharides. One group of mice was treated with 200 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) body weight of reishi mushroom polysaccharides once a day for 12 weeks, while another group received 400 mg/kg body weight.
Based on their findings, treatment with reishi mushroom polysaccharides attenuated the oleic acid-induced cell viability loss and apoptosis dose-dependently in lymphocytes isolated from the spleens of mice. In mice, treatment with reishi mushroom polysaccharides significantly decreased the body weight increases caused by the high-fat diet. Moreover, it dramatically reduced fat in the liver and heart of the mice, as well as reduced their levels of white adipose tissue.
In addition, the treatment also reduced lipid buildup in the blood and oxidative stress in serum and small intestine of mice fed a high-fat diet. High-fat diet-induced cellular damage, which may contribute to the development of cancer, was also prevented upon treatment with reishi mushroom polysaccharides.
From these findings, the research team concludes that polysaccharides extracted from reishi mushrooms may be used to reduce high cholesterol and prevent diseases, such as cancer. The study was published in the Journal of Medicinal Food.
More on reishi mushrooms and their health benefits
Reishi mushrooms are known as “lingzhi” in Chinese, which translates to “mushrooms of immortality.” Because of their powerful healing properties, the reishi mushroom has gained the interest of the scientific community. Here are some evidence-based health benefits of reishi mushrooms:
- They help you live longer: A study published in the journal Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry found that reishi mushrooms can prolong life due to its polysaccharides which boost immune system function and prevent abnormal blood vessel formation that could lead to cancerous growths.
- They may help in liver regeneration: Reishi mushrooms can reverse liver damage caused by chemicals, according to a study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. This may be attributed to their triterpenes which protect the liver from free radicals and to promote liver cell regeneration.
- They protect the brain: These mushrooms may be helpful for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease, according to a study published in Neuropharmacology. In particular, the study found that reishi extract promotes the production of nerve growth factor, which is a protein that is important for healthy brain function.
- They strengthen your immune system: Various studies have revealed that regular consumption of reishi mushrooms can affect white blood cells, reducing inflammation. The immune system can better fight off infection when inflammation is low.
- They can boost mood and relieve depression: There is some evidence that suggests consuming reishi mushrooms can improve depression, anxiety, and irritability. In one study, 132 individuals with a condition called neurasthenia consumed reishi mushrooms. After consumption, they experienced that their aches, pains, and dizziness eased up, at the same time, their feelings of irritability improved. (Related: Studies show reishi mushrooms benefit people stricken with a variety of ailments, from high blood pressure to AIDS.)
Because of their bitter, woody taste, reishi mushrooms are prepared in teas and tinctures or as an extract. They can also be found in capsules and in superfood protein powder blends.
Visit AlternativeMedicine.news to learn more about the benefits of reishi mushrooms.