Cancer is a leading cause of death across the globe. The numerous side effects and complications in the treatment of various forms of cancer caused by the currently available anticancer drugs highlight the urgent need for new, efficient, and less harmful therapy. This raises great interest in some prized mushrooms with proven anticancer properties and their active ingredients.
Some of the best mushrooms for cancer are Reishi, Chaga, Lion's mane, and Turkey tail. Proteins, polysaccharides, phenolics, flavonoids, fats, glycosides, ash, alkaloids, tocopherols, volatile oils, folates, carotenoids, organic acids, and ascorbic acid enzymes are among the bioactive components of these medicinal mushrooms(1) with anticancer benefits. Likewise, other active ingredients such as krestin, lentinan, lectin, Hericium polysaccharides A and B (HPA and HPB), and ganoderic acids also confer anticancer potential. So, let's take a deep dive into the best mushrooms supplement for cancer and how they can help you battle the dreaded disease.
The Top Four Best Mushroom For Cancer
Medicinal mushrooms have been renowned for their ability to combat cancer. They can enhance the immune system, kill cancer cells, and prevent their spread.
Here are the four best mushroom supplement for cancer:
Reishi Mushrooms And Cancer
Reishi or Lingzhi, also known as Ganoderma lucidum, is a valuable superfood mushroom. The active ingredients in mushrooms have been shown in studies to have an action against tumor cells.
Adenomas, a precursor to colorectal cancers, has been shown to be suppressed by Reishi mushroom extracts. In this study(2), colorectal adenomas were present in two groups, one receiving Reishi mycelium treatment and the other not. After the 12-month study period, the adenomas underwent colonoscopy for evaluation. People who weren't taking the mushroom supplement developed more adenomas.
Reishi was found to be the most effective of several mushrooms tested in a study(3) for their capacity to inhibit the growth of tumors. The mushroom's methanol extract had cytotoxic effects by stopping the cell division cycle in tumor cells. Additionally, it causes cancer cells to kill themselves.
Ganoderma lucidum(4) has also been found to be an effective chemotherapeutic agent. Patients who received anticancer regimens containing Reishi extracts were 1.27 more likely than others to respond to radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The mushroom also improves the effectiveness of radiotherapy.
Ganopoly and beta-glucans are two polysaccharides found in the Reishi fruiting body. The immune system's functions are boosted and supported by these substances. Additionally, polysaccharides encourage regular cell turnover, maintaining the body's general health. Other bioactive proteins also influence the medicinal benefits of the mushroom's immunosuppressive and antioxidant properties. Long-chain fatty acids found in Ganoderma lucidum spores are thought to help fight cancer cells. Reishi mushroom polysaccharides and triterpenes destroy tumor cells(5) and guard against(6) the harmful effects of chemotherapy.
Chaga Mushrooms Cancer Benefits
Chaga mushroom, or Inonotus obliquus, has been used in folk medicine to treat cancer. Even today, numerous studies have looked into Chaga's anticancer properties.
Triterpenes, polysaccharides, small phenolic compounds, and ergosterol found in Chaga mushrooms have been shown to have anticancer properties. Triterpenes with anti-proliferative properties include inotodiol, betulinic acid, lupeol, polyphenols like caffeic acid, and 3,4-dihydroxybenzal acetone. The potential for betulinic acid(7) as a chemotherapeutic agent is being investigated. The polysaccharides found in mushrooms inhibit protein synthesis in tumor cells and stimulate the host immune system to combat cancer.
It has been discovered that a 70% ethanol extract of the Chaga mushroom(8) exhibits cytotoxic effects against breast cancer cells. For 30 days, the study models received 2g/kg of the Chaga mushroom extract. It was discovered that Inonotus obliquus both promoted the tumor cells' ability to eat themselves (autophagy) and inhibited the growth of breast cancer cells. Additionally, it was claimed that the mushroom extract did not counteract the cytotoxic effects of anticancer drugs. This has led to the suggestion that Chaga might be a beneficial complementary treatment for people with breast cancer.
In a study, the cytotoxic potential of Inonotus obliquus(9) was assessed in human lung cancer cells. Four different types of lung cancer cells were found to have their viability reduced by the extract of Chaga by inducing cell death (apoptosis). Triterpenoids of the lanostane type were thought to be responsible for Chaga's cytotoxic and pro-apoptotic effects on lung cancer cells.
Significant cytotoxic activity(10) has been observed against human sarcoma cells. Chaga mushroom reduced tumor volume by up to 33% in mice bearing sarcoma cells. In the following experiment, human sarcoma cells were used, and a Chaga mushroom extract showed inhibitory activity against sarcoma cell proliferation. Therefore, inotodiol and lanosterol, which were extracted from Chaga, may be valuable components of an anticancer medication or an anticancer food.
Lion's Mane Medicinal Mushrooms Cancer Effects
Numerous experimental studies have found that Lion's mane mushroom or Hericium erinaceus aids in the fight against cancer cells. For added benefits, some even advocate taking the mushroom in addition to cancer treatments.
In this 2014 study(11), the anticancer potential of Hericium erinaceus extracts against human gastrointestinal cancers was investigated. Two mushroom extracts—designated HTJ5A and HTJ5—were employed for the study.
Mice containing gastric, colon, and liver cancer cells were used in the in vitro experiment. The extracts' cytotoxicity and antitumor efficacy against these cancer cells were subsequently investigated.
The effects of Lion's mane extract at 500 and 1000 mg/kg/day were contrasted with those of 5-fluorouracil, another anticancer drug. In the first ten days, measurements of the body weight and tumor volumes were taken every day. The mushroom extract demonstrated significant antitumor efficacy and was discovered to be more effective than 5-FU with lower toxicity.
The substances may one day be used to treat gastrointestinal cancer as anticancer agents. It may be used alone or in conjunction with other chemotherapeutic medications that are clinically accepted.
Anticancer effects(12) of Lion's mane mushroom on breast were investigated in 2021 and reported in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms.
Here, the anticancer properties of Lion's mane on human breast adenocarcinoma cells with receptor-positive (ER+) status were investigated. The mushroom's water extract could inhibit the survival of breast cancer cells. In addition, apoptosis was significantly induced, and the cell proliferation cycle was stopped after treatment with Lion's mane.
Overall, the study's findings offered in vitro proof that Lion's mane extracts might be a strong candidate for breast cancer treatment.
Turkey Tail Mushroom Cancer Benefits
According to preliminary research, Polysaccharide Krestin (PSK) and polysaccharide peptide, two specific polysaccharides, are responsible for the Turkey tail mushroom's ability to fight cancer. Protein-bound mushroom polysaccharides like PSP and PSK stimulate the immune system. They encourage the body to produce more monocytes and macrophages, two types of immune cells. Both of these categories of white blood cells suppress the immune system and eliminate abnormal and foreign cells in the body.
Turkey tail mushroom cancer treatment properties have been demonstrated in a clinical trial(13).
After undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the mushroom enhances the immune response in breast cancer patients. Therefore, it might also be employed as a secondary cancer prevention method.
In addition, a 2019 study(14) discovered that the mushroom extract prevented colon cancer cells from migrating and invading. The same study also found that adding chemotherapy to the fungal extract improved its ability to fight cancer.
What Kind Of Mushrooms Are Good For Cancer Patients?
Several medicinal mushrooms have notable anticancer benefits. However, Reishi, Lion's mane, Chaga, and Turkey tail have been well-researched and proven to have bioactive compounds that help prevent the growth and spread of tumor cells.
Can Mushrooms Be Used To Cure Cancer?
The ability of any type of mushroom to prevent or treat cancer is currently unproven. However, based on scientific evidence, medicinal mushrooms like Lion's mane, Reishi, Turkey tail, and Chaga can help fight cancer cell growth and spread.
Can Chaga Mushroom Cure Cancer?
While there is limited evidence to say that Chaga can cure cancer, the mushroom can help strengthen the immune system, prevent oxidative stress and DNA damage, and help kill cancer cells
Recent research has shown that medicinal mushrooms are an excellent source of nutraceuticals with anticancer, antioxidant, and immunomodulating effects. Several biologically active substances found in medicinal mushrooms have been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Reishi, Turkey tail, Chaga, and Lion's mane are some of the best mushrooms for cancer.
Generally, mushrooms are considered safe to include in your daily diet. However, speaking with your healthcare provider before using medicinal mushrooms for their anticancer benefits is always good.
- Recent developments in mushrooms as anti-cancer therapeutics: a review, (1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3339609/
- A water-soluble extract from culture medium of Ganoderma lucidum mycelia suppresses the development of colorectal adenomas, (2)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20518254/
- Cytotoxic activity of methanol extracts from Basidiomycete mushrooms on murine cancer cell lines, (3)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15125575/
- Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi mushroom) for cancer treatment, (4)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6353236/
- The dual roles of Ganoderma antioxidants on urothelial cell DNA under carcinogenic attack, (5)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18550308/
- Medicinal mushroom modulators of molecular targets as cancer therapeutics, (6)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15726350/
- Immunomodulatory Activity of the Water Extract from Medicinal Mushroom Inonotus obliquus, (7)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3774877/
- Chaga mushroom extract induces autophagy via the AMPK-mTOR signaling pathway in breast cancer cells, (8)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378874121003081
- Bioactivity-based analysis and chemical characterization of cytotoxic constituents from Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) that induce apoptosis in human lung adenocarcinoma cells, (9)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S037887411831403X
- Anticancer activity of subfractions containing pure compounds of Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) extract in human cancer cells and in Balbc/c mice bearing Sarcoma-180 cells, (10)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2895696/
- Anticancer potential of Hericium erinaceus extracts against human gastrointestinal cancers, (11)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24631140/
- Transcriptome-Wide Analysis Reveals the Molecular Mechanism of Tumoricidal Effects of Lion's Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Agaricomycetes), on MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells, (12)https://www.dl.begellhouse.com/journals/708ae68d64b17c52,367ee73d7a1caab0,3d4c5fa53a165c60.html
- Phase 1 Clinical Trial of Trametes versicolor in Women with Breast Cancer, (13)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22701186/
- In Vitro Anti-proliferative and Anti-invasive Effect of Polysaccharide-rich Extracts from Trametes Versicolor and Grifola Frondosa in Colon Cancer Cells, (14)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6367522/