Ganoderma lucidum, known as Reishi in Japan and Lingzhi in China, is an invaluable superfood mushroom. These woody and tough mushrooms have a bitter taste, and the fruiting body is known to have medicinal value.
The mushroom has been in use for many centuries and is notable for its immune-enhancing, free-radical fighting, liver, stomach protecting, and stress-relieving properties. The mushroom also plays a key role in fighting off cancer cells. Often used as a holistic cancer treatment by cancer patients, reishi mushroom cancer benefits have been confirmed by researchers.
Reishi mushroom cancer research has noted that the active compounds in the mushroom have activity against tumor cells. Besides,Reishi mushroom benefits in cancer have been put to the test on study models.
This article will help you understand the relationship between Reishi mushrooms and cancer and will explore the mechanisms of the anti cancer mushroom. By the time you reach the end of this detailed guide, the information in it will help you understand how reishi cancer benefits help during cancer therapies. By answering the question "what is the best mushroom to fight cancer?" we hope to help our audience take advantage of the best holistic health solutions. Let’s dive in!
What Makes The Mushroom Fight Cancer?
There are numerous mushrooms for cancer. However, the Ganoderma lucidum cancer benefits make reishi stand out as the best mushroom for cancer. However, if you want to use the mushroom supplements to enjoy the reishi pancreatic cancer benefits, you may want to know how the mushroom Ganoderma operates. In this section, we will take a deeper look at the reishi mushroom for cancer treatment. We will also help you understand the ideal reishi mushroom cancer dosage.
The anticancer benefits of Ganoderma lucidum have been an interesting topic for many scientific studies. The cancer-fighting potential of the Reishi mushroom has been evaluated in preclinical trials and laboratory research. Many people also consume Reishi to fight off the nasty tumor cells. So, does reishi qualify to be one of the best cancer fighting mushrooms? What exactly does the reishi mushroom study on cancer say about the mushroom's health benefits? What makes the mushroom useful in cancer?
Like other mushrooms, red reishi—also known as lingzhi mushroom—consists of a fruiting body, mycelium, and spores. The mature fruiting bodies of the fungus contain a high level of triterpenes (or ganoderic acid). Triterpenes are bioactive compounds that are structurally similar to steroids.
These compounds play a key role in reishi's cancer benefits—they inhibit the growth and invasive properties of cancer cells. Triterpenes reduce the expression(1) of Matrix Metalloproteinase (MMP). MMP is an enzyme that facilitates the spread of cancer cells by breaking down the insoluble barriers in the body. They also limit the attachment of cancer cells(2) to the lining of blood vessels and stop their spread through the bloodstream. Normal cells transform into cancer cells due to mutations in their genes. The antioxidant properties(3) of the mushroom protect the cells from mutations.
The fruiting body of Ganoderma mushrooms contains polysaccharides like beta-glucans and ganopoly. These compounds stimulate and support the functions of the immune system. Polysaccharides also promote a normal cell turnover, maintaining overall wellness in the body—this also plays a key role in helping reishi mushroom fighting cancer.
Other bioactive proteins in the mushroom contribute to(4) immunosuppressive and antioxidant medicinal properties. The spores of Ganoderma lucidum have long-chain fatty acids that are also believed to fight cancer cells. Polysaccharides and triterpenes of Reishi mushroom kill tumor cells(5) and protect against(6) the harmful effects of chemotherapy.
When combined, all these features make reishi one of the best mushrooms for cancer fighting. Well established as one of the top-rated Chinese mushrooms for cancer, the reishi mushroom cures cancer when combined with other therapies at the right dosage.
Therecommended dosage for the anti cancer mushroom is about 1.5 grams per day for a period of up to 12 months. The cancer fighting mushroom has also been proven to be effective at dosages of 1800 mg (1.8 grams) per day.
It is worth noting that when using reishi mushroom cancer treatment, the ideal dosage varies from one person to the other. For this reason, talking to a health professional about reishi medicinal mushrooms cancer dosage is always a good idea. This will ensure you are using the reishi mushrooms for cancer treatment at a dosage that guarantees maximum benefits without causing side effects.
What Are The Benefits Of Reishi In Cancer?
Now that you know reishi is one of the mushrooms that fight cancer, you may want to go ahead and have a deeper understanding of the benefits that the mushroom offers. Listed among the top-rated and the best mushrooms for cancer, Reishi mushroom has shown anti-cancer activity in vitro, in animal models, and humans.
The mushroom is known to fight cancerous cells(7) in the lung, white blood cells, liver, breast, prostate, uterus, cervix, ovaries, colon, and bladder. Research and clinical trial evidence have confirmed that reishi is the best mushroom for lung cancer.
A 2004 study(8) on mushrooms to fight cancer tested several mushrooms for their tumor inhibitory properties, of which Reishi was found to be the most effective. The methanol extract of the mushroom had cytotoxic effects on tumor cells, by bringing the cell division cycle to a halt--this resulted in a reduction in cancer symptoms. It also induces the killing of cancer cells by self-destruction.
Reishi mushroom extracts have been shown to suppress the development of adenomas, a precursor of colorectal cancers. This study(9) enrolled two study groups with colorectal adenomas, one taking Reishi mycelium and the other without any treatment. The adenomas were evaluated on colonoscopy after a 12-month study period. The number of adenomas increased in people who were not taking the mushroom supplement.
Reishi mushroom has potent anti-angiogenesis properties(10). Angiogenesis is the formation of new and abnormal blood vessels, especially to provide nutrients to cancer cells continuously. The tumor cells also spread to new and distant sites through the blood vessels.
The anti-angiogenesis effect is achieved by blocking two factors that regulate angiogenesis, Transforming Growth Factors Beta (TGF-B) and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors (VEGF). When the tumor cells do not receive adequate blood supply, they are unable to grow or multiply. This will also stop the distant spread of cancers.
A 2014 study(11) explored the benefits of Ganoderma in highly invasive breast cancer cells. The mushroom was found to suppress the breast to lung metastasis of the tumor cells through the downregulation of genes that are responsible for the invasion.
Ganoderma lucidum is a known enhancer of the immune system. The mushroom has been found to increase(12) the percentages of different types of white blood cells (CD3, CD4, and CD8 lymphocytes) considerably. These CD cells are specialized in killing the tumor cells, and other invaders. Reishi also marginally increases the activity of Natural Killer (NK) cells, which are indicators of self-defense against the tumor cells.
The polysaccharides of Reishi mushroom can inhibit(13) many types of viruses including Hepatitis B Virus (HBV, Ebstein Barr Virus (EBV), and Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV 1 and 2). Chronic HBV infection can eventually lead to the development of Hepatocellular Carcinoma(14) while EBV is linked to Hodgkin’s and Burkitt’s lymphoma. HSV type 1 is associated with cancers of the oral cavity and throat while type 2 is linked with cervical cancers in women.
Extracts of Reishi are also found to be a potent chemotherapeutic agent. Patients given anticancer regimens containing Ganoderma lucidum were 1.27 times(15) more likely to respond to radiotherapy and chemotherapy as compared to other patients. The mushroom also increases the efficacy of radiotherapy(16).
The antioxidant property of Reishi is useful in increasing plasma antioxidant levels. This can lead to interaction(17) between the chemotherapy agents that rely on free radicals.
Studies have also demonstrated that patients on Reishi were more likely to have tumor shrinkage compared to patients who were only using cancer medicine. Furthermore, Reishi is well tolerated by patients on chemotherapy, similar to other natural remedies.
65%(18) of people with advanced cancer have reported an increase in their quality of life. The mushroom alleviates nausea(19) induced by chemotherapy. There is also an increase in the cellular immunity index by 80%(20).
Multiple reports of Reishi mushroom and cancer inhibitory activity are mainly based on its immune-modulatory and antioxidant properties. Reishi mushroom has anti-proliferative effects on various cancer cells.
They are also shown to suppress the spread of the tumor and block their blood supply. Additionally, Reishi mushrooms have also been used to counteract chemo and radiotherapy-induced side effects including depletion of lymphocytes.
- Chen, N. H., Liu, J. W., & Zhong, J. J. (2008). Ganoderic acid Me inhibits tumor invasion through down-regulating matrix metalloproteinases 2/9 gene expression.Journal of pharmacological sciences,108(2), 212–216. (1) https://doi.org/10.1254/jphs.sc0080019
- Li, Y. B., Wang, R., Wu, H. L., Li, Y. H., Zhong, L. J., Yu, H. M., & Li, X. J. (2008). Serum amyloid A mediates the inhibitory effect of Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides on tumor cell adhesion to endothelial cells.Oncology reports,20(3), 549–556. (2) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18695905/
- Mau, J. L., Lin, H. C., & Chen, C. C. (2002). Antioxidant properties of several medicinal mushrooms.Journal of agricultural and food chemistry,50(21), 6072–6077. (3) https://doi.org/10.1021/jf0201273
- Sissi Wachtel-Galor, Yuen, J., Buswell, J. A., & Iris. (2011).Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi). Nih.gov; CRC Press/Taylor & Francis. (4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92757/
- Yuen, J. W., & Gohel, M. D. (2008). The dual roles of Ganoderma antioxidants on urothelial cell DNA under carcinogenic attack.Journal of ethnopharmacology,118(2), 324–330. (5) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2008.05.003
- Zaidman, B. Z., Yassin, M., Mahajna, J., & Wasser, S. P. (2005). Medicinal mushroom modulators of molecular targets as cancer therapeutics.Applied microbiology and biotechnology,67(4), 453–468. (6) https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-004-1787-z
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- Tomasi, S., Lohézic-Le Dévéhat, F., Sauleau, P., Bézivin, C., & Boustie, J. (2004). Cytotoxic activity of methanol extracts from Basidiomycete mushrooms on murine cancer cell lines.Die Pharmazie,59(4), 290–293. (8) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15125575/
- Oka, S., Tanaka, S., Yoshida, S., Hiyama, T., Ueno, Y., Ito, M., Kitadai, Y., Yoshihara, M., & Chayama, K. (2010). A water-soluble extract from culture medium of Ganoderma lucidum mycelia suppresses the development of colorectal adenomas.Hiroshima journal of medical sciences,59(1), 1–6. (9) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20518254/
- Johnston N. (2005). Medicinal mushroom cuts off prostate cancer cells' blood supply.Drug discovery today,10(23-24), 1584. (10) https://doi.org/10.1016/S1359-6446(05)03657-3
- Loganathan, J., Jiang, J., Smith, A., Jedinak, A., Thyagarajan-Sahu, A., Sandusky, G. E., Nakshatri, H., & Sliva, D. (2014). The mushroom Ganoderma lucidum suppresses breast-to-lung cancer metastasis through the inhibition of pro-invasive genes.International journal of oncology,44(6), 2009–2015. (11) https://doi.org/10.3892/ijo.2014.2375
- Jin, X., Ruiz Beguerie, J., Sze, D. M., & Chan, G. C. (2016). Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi mushroom) for cancer treatment.The Cochrane database of systematic reviews,4(4), CD007731. (12) https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD007731.pub3
- Eo, S. K., Kim, Y. S., Lee, C. K., & Han, S. S. (1999). Antiviral activities of various water and methanol soluble substances isolated from Ganoderma lucidum.Journal of ethnopharmacology,68(1-3), 129–136. (13) https://doi.org/10.1016/s0378-8741(99)00067-7
- Chang M. H. (2011). Hepatitis B virus and cancer prevention.Recent results in cancer research. Fortschritte der Krebsforschung. Progres dans les recherches sur le cancer,188, 75–84. (14) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-10858-7_6
- Jin, X., Ruiz Beguerie, J., Sze, D. M., & Chan, G. C. (2016). Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi mushroom) for cancer treatment.The Cochrane database of systematic reviews,4(4), CD007731. (15) https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD007731.pub3
- Kim, K. C., Jun, H. J., Kim, J. S., & Kim, I. G. (2008). Enhancement of radiation response with combined Ganoderma lucidum and Duchesnea chrysantha extracts in human leukemia HL-60 cells.International Journal of Molecular Medicine,21(4), 489–498. (16) https://doi.org/10.3892/ijmm.21.4.489
- Wachtel-Galor, S., Szeto, Y. T., Tomlinson, B., & Benzie, I. F. (2004). Ganoderma lucidum ('Lingzhi'); acute and short-term biomarker response to supplementation.International journal of food sciences and nutrition,55(1), 75–83. (17) https://doi.org/10.1080/09637480310001642510
- Yuen, J. W., & Gohel, M. D. (2005). Anticancer effects of Ganoderma lucidum: a review of scientific evidence.Nutrition and cancer,53(1), 11–17. (18) https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327914nc5301_2
- Wang, C.-Z., Basila, D., Aung, H. H., Mehendale, S. R., Chang, W.-T., McEntee, E., Guan, X., & Yuan, C.-S. (2005). Effects ofGanoderma lucidum Extract on Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting in a Rat Model.The American Journal of Chinese Medicine,33(05), 807–815. (19) https://doi.org/10.1142/s0192415x05003429
- Gao, Y., Zhou, S., Jiang, W., Huang, M., & Dai, X. (2003). Effects of ganopoly (a Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide extract) on the immune functions in advanced-stage cancer patients.Immunological investigations,32(3), 201–215. (20) https://doi.org/10.1081/imm-120022979