Review looks at the health benefits of mushroom nutraceuticals and supplements
04/22/2019 // Evangelyn Rodriguez // Views

Researchers from China compiled the latest information about the health benefits and underlying functional mechanisms of mushroom nutraceuticals. Their review, published in Food Science and Human Wellness, listed the important components of mushrooms and their medicinal properties.

  • Bioactive nutraceuticals that can be found in mushrooms include proteins, polysaccharides, unsaturated fatty acids, phenolic compounds, tocopherols, ergosterols, and lectins.
  • According to several studies, mushrooms can attenuate health hazards induced by obesity, hypolipidemia, hypotension, hypertension, and aging.
  • Mushroom polysaccharides have immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory activities; they work by activating cytokines and immune cells like dendritic cells, monocytes, neutrophils, natural killer cells, and macrophages.
  • Mushroom polysaccharides also regulate gut microbiota and gastrointestinal function; they serve as energy sources for specific bacterial groups which produce beneficial compounds like acetate, propionate, butyrate, and valeric acid. These short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are involved in controlling appetite.
  • Lectins, the proteins found in mushroom, have immunomodulatory, antitumor, antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties.
  • Terpenes isolated from mushroom display cytotoxicity against some tumor cell lines, while the terpenes from the Pleurotus species of mushrooms have anti-inflammatory activity. Methyl ganoderate A acetonide and n-butyl ganoderate H have anti-acetylcholinesterase activity and pharmaceutical companies have developed potential drugs for treating Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases based on them.
  • Phenolic compounds found in mushrooms provide protection against free radicals, brain dysfunction, aging, and cardiovascular disease. They also have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anticancer, and antiviral activities.
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids in mushrooms can reduce serum cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease. Ergosterol, a major sterol found in mushrooms, has antioxidant activity. Linoleic acid, on the other hand, can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
  • Mushrooms are also used for the development of functional food and dietary supplements which could reduce the risk of some diseases.

Due to its many active components and their medicinal properties, the researchers concluded that adding mushrooms to a person's diet will help prevent and treat several diseases.

Read the full text of the study at this link. has more information about functional mushrooms and other healing foods.

Journal Reference:

Ma G, Yang W, Zhao L, Pei F, Fang D, Hu Q. A CRITICAL REVIEW ON THE HEALTH PROMOTING EFFECTS OF MUSHROOMS NUTRACEUTICALS. Food Science and Human Wellness. June 2018;7(2):125–133. DOI: 10.1016/j.fshw.2018.05.002

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