For general health and well-being, maintaining a healthy gut is crucial. A healthy gut contributes to a good mood, increased energy, a healthy heart, and a robust immune system. The gut microbiome also affects weight management, digestion, and brain health.
Functional mushrooms have been consumed for thousands of years for their many benefits, including those for physical and mental health. But are mushrooms good for gut health? Medicinal mushrooms like Lion's mane, Chaga, Turkey tail, Reishi, Maitake, and Cordyceps have gut-health-supporting properties. From modulating the immune system to fighting infections, these mushrooms are on our list of best mushrooms for gut health.
So, let's explore medicinal mushroom gut health benefits!
Best Medicinal Mushrooms For Gut Health
Regular consumption of mushrooms has been linked to improved gut health. The digestive system benefits from the high amount of fiber found in mushrooms. Blood sugar and cholesterol management, appetite control, and gut health are all aided by mushroom fibers.
Several studies have looked into the link between mushrooms and gut health. Here is a list of the six best mushrooms for digestion and the evidence behind it.
Lion's mane for gut health
Lion's mane mushroom or Hericium erinaceus is one of the best brain tonics. But do you know it is also one of the best mushrooms for gut health?
Researchers examined the impact of intestinal mucosal immunity on polysaccharides isolated from Hericium erinaceus in a 2017 study(1). They also studied Muscovy ducklings with the Muscovy duck reovirus (MDRV) infection.
After infection, samples from the duodenum (small intestine) and different intestinal parameters were examined in the biopsies. Results showed that Lion's mane mushroom polysaccharides significantly improved intestinal structures and associated markers. Additionally, the mushroom polysaccharides markedly increased the secretion of antibodies and other chemicals that point to enhanced immune functions of the intestinal mucosa.
Thus, according to research, Hericium erinaceus may aid in enhancing the immune function of the gut mucosa in sick Muscovy ducklings.
Reishi for gut health
Next on the list of best mushroom for gut health is Reishi, or Ganoderma lucidum. Researchers discovered that polysaccharide fractions from Reishi mushrooms(2) could speed the healing of stomach ulcers in rats. For 14 days straight, the animals received daily injections of Reishi mushroom directly into their stomachs.
The findings showed that two weeks of treatment with Ganoderma lucidum significantly sped up the healing of ulcers by 40.1% and 55.9%, respectively.
These findings suggest that polysaccharides from the Reishi mushroom have therapeutic effects on rat gastric ulcers, suggesting a potential herbal remedy for preventing and treating ulcers in the stomach and digestive tract.
Chaga for gut health
Another best mushroom for digestion is Inonotus obliquus or Chaga mushroom. According to studies, Chaga can help treat several diseases of the digestive system.
The extract of Chaga reduced acute inflammation in mice with colitis, according to a study(3). Groups of female mice were randomly assigned to receive doses of Inonotus obliquus extract.
Biopsies of the colonic tissues were then performed, and the results demonstrated that the mushroom extracts prevented colitis-related cellular swelling, mucosal damage, and architectural changes. In addition, extracts from Chaga have also been shown to have a suppressive effect on immune cell infiltration.
The findings point to Chaga mushroom's anti-inflammatory effect on colorectal tissues and suggest that it might be a helpful supplement in cases of inflammatory bowel disease.
Turkey Tail for gut health
Trametes versicolor, or Turkey tail, is one of the best mushrooms for digestion and gut health. And this has been validated by several studies.
A 2022 study(4) found that Turkey tail mushrooms may have an anti-colitis effect and can inhibit some inflammatory pathways. The mushrooms were given to mice for four days, and the tissues were subsequently removed for various examinations.
Weight loss and colon changes were significantly less noticeable after Trametes versicolor treatment. The mushroom also enhanced the architecture of the colon and reduced the production of cytokines that cause inflammation. The findings of this study demonstrate that this natural substance may be used as a dietary supplement to treat colitis.
Maitake for gut health
Maitake or Grifola frondosa contains several components, such as glucans and dietary fibers, that can improve gut health and modulate the microbiota of the digestive tract. That is why it is on our list of top 6 mushrooms for gut health.
The prebiotic potential of the extract of Maitake mushroom was evaluated in this 2021 study(5). The prebiotics helps the body maintain a healthy community of microorganisms and produce substances that have desirable effects. Additionally, Maitake prebiotics also influences the body's immune response.
Cordyceps for gut health
Another mushroom on our list of the six best mushrooms for gut health is Cordyceps. The intestinal mucosal barrier is preserved by Cordyceps sinensis, according to a pilot study from 2015(6). The study investigated whether the mushroom could be used as an adjunct therapy in sepsis-infected rats.
Results showed that Cordyceps sinensis significantly increased the proliferation of mucosal cells and decreased the proportion of cells that died spontaneously (apoptosis). Treatment with Cordyceps sinensis also restored the tight junctions, which are a crucial component of the intestinal barrier and were disrupted in septic rats.
According to these results, Cordyceps sinensis protects the gut barrier against sepsis by encouraging growth and preventing the degeneration of intestinal mucosal cells.
Which Mushroom Is Best For IBS?
Oyster mushrooms are the best for irritable bowel syndrome. Apart from that, Lion's Mane, Turkey tail, Reishi, Cordyceps, and Maitake are other medicinal fungi well worth adding to your diet to pursue gut health benefits.
Maitake mushrooms are well known for their prebiotic effects. In addition, polysaccharides from important medicinal fungi such as Reishi, Turkey tail, and Maitake have also shown potential prebiotic functions.
Are Mushrooms Good For Stomach Problems?
Medicinal fungi have been used for thousands of years due to their medical healing and adaptogenic properties, especially regarding stomach health and digestive issues.
If you are thinking about incorporating functional fungi into your life, some of the best mushrooms for gut health are Lion's mane, Turkey tail, Cordyceps, Chaga, and Reishi. These mushrooms are abundant in beta-glucans, antioxidants, and dietary fibers and have anti-inflammatory properties, which support gut and digestive health.
And now, making these mushrooms a part of your daily routine is even easier. Start your day by adding mushroom powders to your favorite food or beverage, and you are ready to go!
- Hericium erinaceus polysaccharide facilitates restoration of injured intestinal mucosal immunity in Muscovy duck reovirus-infected Muscovy ducklings, (1)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0141813017321402
- Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide fractions accelerate healing of acetic acid-induced ulcers in rats, (2)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15671683/
- Orally administered aqueous extract of Inonotus obliquus ameliorates acute inflammation in dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis in mice, (3)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22819687/
- Coriolus Versicolor Downregulates TLR4/NF-κB Signaling Cascade in Dinitrobenzenesulfonic Acid-Treated Mice: A Possible Mechanism for the Anti-Colitis Effect, (4)https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3921/11/2/406/htm
Prebiotic Effect of Maitake Extract on a Probiotic Consortium and Its Action after Microbial Fermentation on Colorectal Cell Lines,
- Cordyceps sinensis preserves intestinal mucosal barrier and may be an adjunct therapy in endotoxin-induced sepsis rat model: a pilot study, (6)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4509218/
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