Ganoderma Lucidum or Reishi mushrooms have a wide application in natural medicine. They are used for the treatment of several chronic diseases, including diabetes. Reishi mushrooms are low in glycemic index and glycemic load content so they won't increase your blood sugar levels.
Additionally, the bioactive compound in the reishi mushroom lowers blood sugar levels and improves insulin levels. It also helps with cholesterol management which is especially important in diabetics.
This article explains why it is an excellent choice to opt for Reishi mushroom for diabetes. First, we will explore the research behind the antidiabetic effects of Reishi and take a closer look at its safety. Then we will answer some of your most asked questions about the health benefits of reishi medicinal mushrooms.
How Is Reishi Mushroom Good For Diabetes?
Reishi mushroom helps lower blood glucose as well as improve insulin resistance. Reishi mushroom extract has also been recognized as an alternative adjuvant treatment for diabetes.
Here are some ways Ganoderma Lucidum is beneficial in diabetes:
Reduces Blood Sugar
Based on scientific research, proteoglycans, polysaccharides, triterpenoids, and proteins have been shown to have hypoglycemic effects. In animal studies (1) using diabetic mice or diabetic rats, polysaccharides have been reported to have a blood sugar-lowering effect by decreasing plasma sugar levels and increasing plasma insulin levels.
Read More:See how Lion's mane treats diabetes.
A study has demonstrated that the polysaccharides extracted from the fruiting body of mushrooms have a lowering effect on blood sugar. A significant hypoglycemic impact was seen in mice with diabetes when researchers fed them the reishi mushroom (2).
The mushroom helped reduce the mice's Blood sugar levels by up to 50%, and the hypoglycemic effect persisted for up to 24 hours. In addition, the amount of plasma insulin, a hormone important in lowering blood sugar, also increased.
In a research paper published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms (3), adults with type 2 diabetes received supplements of the mushroom's polysaccharides.
Seventy-one patients participated in this study and received either the mushroom extract or a placebo for 12 weeks. Plasma glucose levels and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C), which measure the amount of glucose in your blood, were analyzed at the end of the study period. The values significantly dropped, demonstrating Reishi's hypoglycemic effect.
A 2019 study (4) also found that polysaccharides from Reishi mushroom exerted a hypoglycemic effect by inhibiting the death of insulin-producing beta cells in diabetic animals.
Read More:See how Chaga mushroom fights diabetes.
May Decrease The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
Your body may make less insulin if your potassium levels are too low. This would cause a rise in blood sugar levels. According to studies, people with low potassium levels have higher blood sugar levels, less insulin release, and are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes (5).
Reishi mushrooms are rich in potassium. High potassium levels in Reishi help lower blood sugar and cholesterol, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases associated with diabetes.
It Helps Improve Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance is when cells in the fat, muscles, and liver don't respond well to insulin and can't easily take up glucose from the blood.
Two peptidoglycans, ganoderan A and ganoderan B, isolated from Ganoderma Lucidum, promote insulin release from the cell, according to this 2019 study (6).Researchers also found that the mushroom peptidoglycans allow calcium to flow inside the beta cells, eventually improving insulin resistance.
Other Health Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms for People with Diabetes
The primary benefits of reishi mushroom for diabetes revolve around controlling blood sugar levels, improving insulin sensitivity, and lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, beyond managing blood glucose levels, Reishi boasts numerous benefits that help people with diabetes avoid long-term complications.
Below, we will look at how Reishi goes beyond lowering blood sugar levels to reduce the risk of diabetes complications. If you plan to manage diabetes with Reishi, see the additional benefits you will get.
Reishi Fights Alzheimer's Disease
Scientists often call Alzheimer's disease type 3 diabetes. Alzheimer's disease is a condition that affects brain health and is heavily connected to diabetes.
A research study conducted in 2020 (7) noted that while the relationship between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's is still under investigation, researchers have noticed that poorly controlled blood sugar levels increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. The study notes that the connection between diabetes and Alzheimer's is so strong that Alzheimer's is often called "diabetes of the brain."
Another research study conducted in 2018 (8) analyzed the connection between Alzheimer's disease and diabetes. The researchers noted that pathologically, Alzheimer's Disease is characterized by extracellular plaques of Aβ and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles of hyperphosphorylated tau. The researchers also stated that type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance.
They indicated that insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes exacerbates Aβ and tau pathologies. The study determined that insulin resistance elucidates the pathophysiological traits of synaptic dysfunction, inflammation, and autophagic impairments shared by Alzheimer's and diabetes and indirectly impacts Aβ and tau functions in neurons. The researchers indicated that this connection could cause people with diabetes to have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Read More: See how Lion's mane fights Alzheimer's.
In addition to helping with diabetes management, the compounds in reishi mushroom extracts also play a vital role in fighting diabetes-related Alzheimer's.
In a research study conducted in 2020 (9), researchers analyzed the benefits of reishi mushrooms in treating Alzheimer's disease. In the study, researchers grouped mice into two groups, each containing eight animals—one group was used as a control. In contrast, the other was used to analyze the effects of Reishi on memory and learning, two of the most common abilities impacted by Alzheimer's disease.
The researchers analyzed the effect of the reishi mushroom on learning and memory for six consecutive days. The researchers concluded that the reishi mushroom significantly fought memory loss and increased learning capabilities in the mice.
A research study conducted in 2017 (10) also analyzed the effects of Lion's mane on Alzheimer's disease. The researchers noticed that reishi mushroom water extract and polysaccharides promoted neural progenitor cell (NPC) proliferation to enhance neurogenesis. The neurogenesis alleviated cognitive deficits in transgenic mice suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.
Read More: See how Lion's mane mushroom promotes neurogenesis.
A research study conducted in 2019 (11) analyzed the impacts of reishi mushrooms on the progression of Alzheimer's disease. The researchers concluded that the Reishi mushroom delayed the development of Alzheimer's disease in rodents by regulating DNA methylation.
As noted earlier, Alzheimer's in people with diabetes is often a result of poorly managed blood sugar levels. Reishi helps lower blood glucose levels, eliminating hyperglycemia as a risk factor. Moreover, the mushroom directly impacts Alzheimer's disease, further reducing the risk of people with diabetes suffering from brain health issues associated with the disease.
Read More: See all the mushrooms that improve brain health.
Reishi Fights Kidney Disease
Diabetic kidney disease is one of the most common health problems. A research paper published in 2016 (12) noted that nearly 20 to 30% of all people with diabetes would progress to evident diabetic nephropathy in their lifetime. A more recent research study in 2019 (13) indicated that diabetic nephropathy affects 40% of all people with diabetes.
Luckily, people with diabetes can reduce their risk of diabetes kidney disease by adding reishi mushrooms to their diet. Various research studies have shown the effectiveness of Ganoderma Lucidum in fighting kidney disease.
A research paper published in 2020 (14) analyzed the preventive and therapeutic effects of reishi mushrooms on kidney disease and injuries. The paper noted that recent research had uncovered the therapeutic benefits of Reishi mushroom and its extracts for treating a variety of acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) pathogenesis.
The mushroom effectively treats autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, diabetic nephropathy, and others. The research paper noted that clinical studies also revealed reishi mushrooms have strong anti-renal disease bioactivities.
Read More: See how cordyceps mushrooms fight kidney disease.
Consuming reishi mushroom reduces the risk of suffering from diabetic kidney disease. The mushroom maintains healthy blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of kidney damage. Moreover, traditional Chinese medicine reishi fights other complications that increase the risk of diabetic kidney complications.
Reishi Fights Diabetes Insomnia
Insomnia is a common condition that affects people with diabetes. In a research study conducted in 2020 (15), researchers analyzed the prevalence of insomnia in people with diabetes. The research study concluded that insomnia affects 39% of people with diabetes and is often associated with poor blood sugar control.
What's more, insomnia is not always a side effect of diabetes. Insomnia can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
One research study (16) analyzed the impacts of insomnia on the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In the research study, the researchers followed a group of participants from 2007 to the end of 2015. The cohort consisted of 81,233 individuals with pre-diabetes, 24,146 (29.7 percent) of whom had insomnia. The researchers concluded that people with insomnia had a 28% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Reishi improves sleep quality—therefore, taking this functional fungus can help people with diabetes fight sleep troubles. Moreover, the mushroom can help non-diabetic people with insomnia reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
A research study conducted in 2021 (17) analyzed the mechanism by which reishi mushroom fights insomnia. The researchers identified 34 sedative-hypnotic components (5 central active components) and 51 target genes in the reishi mushroom. They determined that reishi mushrooms simultaneously exert an anti-insomnia effect via multiple central-peripheral mechanisms.
Reishi Fights High Blood Pressure
While high blood pressure does affect regular people, people with diabetes are at a much higher risk of developing hypertension. A research study conducted in 2022 (18) noted that The prevalence of high blood pressure among people with type 2 diabetes mellitus is higher than that of age- and sex-matched patients who do not have diabetes, ranging from 32% to 82%.
Read More:See how Chaga mushroom treated high blood pressure.
People with diabetes, however, can reduce their risk of developing high blood pressure by using reishi mushrooms. A research study conducted in 2014 (19) analyzed the hypotensive effects of reishi mushrooms. The researchers fed mice with high blood pressure a reishi mushroom extract and waited for 4 hours before testing their blood pressure levels again.
Four hours after consuming the reishi mushroom, the researchers determined that the functional mushroom had managed to lower the blood pressure of the mice to 34.3 mmHg. The hypotensive effect of reishi mushroom lasted 8 hours, with the blood pressure level reaching an impressive low of 26.8 mmHg.
Another research study conducted in 2014 (20) also analyzed the effects of reishi mushrooms on high blood pressure. In the study, the researchers administered a water extract of Lion's mane mushroom to rats suffering from high blood pressure. After seven weeks, the reishi mushroom managed to bring down the blood pressure in the rats to a level similar to the one that can be achieved with a hypertension medication known as losartan.
Read More: See how Lion's mane manages blood pressure.
If you have diabetes, adding reishi mushroom to your diet will help lower hypertension risk. If you already have hypertension, the mushroom will lower your blood pressure to normal levels, improving your circulatory system and boosting your heart health.
Ganoderma Lucidum Fights Cancer
People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing cancer than healthy people. A research study conducted in 2020 (21) concluded that people with type 2 diabetes are at a 10% increased risk of developing cancer. A meta-analysis of 14 research studies (22) (six case-control and eight cohort) determined that the risk of colon cancer among people with diabetes was 38 percent higher than those without diabetes.
Luckily for people with diabetes, consuming reishi mushrooms can lower the risk of developing cancer. Reishi mushroom boosts the immune system and functions, allowing the human body to fight off cancerous cells. Moreover, the mushroom is also known to induce cancer cell death and keep cancer cells from spreading to other sites in the human body. Various research studies have confirmed these benefits.
Reishi mushroom appears to have strong anti-angiogenesis properties. Angiogenesis creates new, atypical blood vessels, continuously supplying cancer cells with nutrients.
Through the blood vessels, it might aid tumor cells in migrating to new and distant locations. By inhibiting the angiogenesis risk factors like Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGF-B) and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors (VEGF), Reishi has an anti-angiogenesis effect.
Lack of sufficient blood flow prevents the growth and multiplication of tumor cells. Additionally, this prevents cancer from spreading far and wide, demonstrating that the reishi mushroom—the mushroom of immortality—fights metastasis in cancer patients.
Read More: See all the reishi mushroom cancer benefits.
Reishi Medicinal Mushrooms Fight Depression and Anxiety
Undoubtedly, anxiety and depression do affect normal healthy individuals. However, these two conditions are much higher in people with diabetes. One research study confirmed (23) that the prevalence rate of depression is more than three times higher in people with type 1 diabetes and nearly twice as high in people with type 2 diabetes compared to those without diabetes.
Another research study conducted in 2020 (24) analyzed the prevalence of depression among people with diabetes in one medical center. Among the 422 diabetes patients approached for the research study, 37% had depression.
Luckily for people with diabetes, reishi mushroom has depression benefits. Various research studies have confirmed the effectiveness of the functional fungus in fighting depression symptoms.
One study examined (25) how the acidic Ganoderma Lucidum extract affected depressed mice. In this experiment, the extract was administered orally at 20 mg/kg, 75 mg/kg, and 130 mg/kg. The standard medication was fluoxetine, an antidepressant.
In the forced swim and tail suspension tests, the immobility time was significantly reduced by Ganoderma Lucidum. Researchers concluded that Reishi mushrooms could help mice with depressive symptoms.
A study released in 2016 (26) emphasized the Reishi mushroom's potential to treat depression. Here, the authors postulate that the adaptogenic properties of Reishi aid in the treatment of depression by assisting a person in adapting to a wide range of biological, environmental, physical, and psychological stresses.
It is worth noting that Reishi does not just fight depression. The functional fungus also has anxiety benefits. One research study conducted in 2022 (27) determined that 40% of diabetic patients had elevated anxiety symptoms—a different study (28) conducted in 2021 observed anxiety in 49.7% of diabetes patients.
Reishi mushroom is an adaptogenic mushroom. The functional fungus helps the body adapt to stressful conditions, reducing the risk of anxiety.
Read More: Read our detailed guide on how Reishi fights anxiety.
Is Reishi Mushrooms Safe For Diabetics?
Reishi mushroom supplements are safe for people with diabetes, as no significant side effects are associated with their use.
However, avoid using Reishi mushroom powder for diabetes simultaneously if you take antidiabetic medications or insulin. As both the mushroom and the medication work to lower blood sugar, combining the two may cause hypoglycemia or dangerously low levels of blood glucose.
Before using the reishi mushroom for diabetes, talk to a healthcare professional. Your doctor will analyze your diabetes and help you figure out the ideal reishi dosage that won't cause side effects. Moreover, the doctor can also help you adjust the doses of your antidiabetic medication to a point where it is well balanced with the reishi mushroom dosage.
What Are The Side Effects Of Lion's Mane?
Low doses of Lion's mane supplements are safe, although they can have some adverse side effects. On the other side, consuming too much of it could result in digestive pain like indigestion or bloating. But, in general, Lion's Mane is harmless because it is a form of mushroom that is occasionally used as natural medicine.
Does Reishi Lower Blood Sugar?
Various scientific research has demonstrated that Reishi or Ganoderma Lucidum helps lower blood sugar and improve insulin, the blood sugar-lowering hormone, in the blood. The reishi mushroom has hypoglycemic effects that help lower blood glucose levels.
Can Ganoderma Cure Diabetes?
There is no cure for diabetes. However, Ganoderma Lucidum may help improve blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. This will relieve the symptoms of diabetes, which often result from higher-than-normal blood sugar levels.
What Is Reishi Good For?
Reishi mushroom is well known for its immunomodulatory properties. The mushroom also helps control blood sugar levels, protect the liver, and fight oxidative stress and inflammation.
Several studies have highlighted the benefits of Reishi mushroom for diabetes. Reishi polysaccharides and triterpenes have notable hypoglycemic activity by promoting insulin release and improving insulin resistance.
If you are interested in taking Reishi supplements for diabetes, speak with your healthcare provider. You and your doctor can work out the best form and dosage beneficial for your condition.
Have you used reishi mushrooms for any disease in the past? Did you get the health benefits you needed? Share your experience with reishi mushrooms in the comment section.
- Antidiabetic effects of Ganoderma lucidum, (1)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25790910/
- Isolation and hypoglycemic activity of ganoderans A and B, glycans of Ganoderma lucidum fruit bodies, (2)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3840903/
- A Phase I/II Study of Ling Zhi Mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (W.Curt.:Fr.)Lloyd (Aphyllophoromycetideae) Extract in Patients with Type II Diabetes Mellitus, (3)https://dl.begellhouse.com/journals/708ae68d64b17c52,0738f8d34e863c74,1629a45749954343.html
- Mushrooms of the Genus Ganoderma Used to Treat Diabetes and Insulin Resistance, (4)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6891282/
- Potassium and risk of Type 2 diabetes, (5)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3197792/
- Mushrooms of the Genus Ganoderma Used to Treat Diabetes and Insulin Resistance, (6)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6891282/
- Type 3 Diabetes and Its Role Implications in Alzheimer’s Disease, (7)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7246646/
- Alzheimer's Disease and Type 2 Diabetes: A Critical Assessment of the Shared Pathological Traits, (8)https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2018.00383/full
- Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (Agaricomycetes) Ameliorates Spatial Learning and Memory Deficits in Rats with Hypercholesterolemia and Alzheimer's Disease, (9)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32464001/
- Polysaccharides from Ganoderma lucidum Promote Cognitive Function and Neural Progenitor Proliferation in Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease, (10)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5233449/
- Alcohol Extracts From Ganoderma lucidum Delay the Progress of Alzheimer’s Disease by Regulating DNA Methylation in Rodents, (11)https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2019.00272/full
- Diabetic kidney disease: world wide difference of prevalence and risk factors, (12)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5297507/
- The analysis of risk factors for diabetic nephropathy progression and the construction of a prognostic database for chronic kidney diseases, (13)https://translational-medicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12967-019-2016-y
- Preventive and therapeutic effect of Ganoderma lucidum on kidney injuries and diseases, (14)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32089235/
- Prevalence of Insomnia (Symptoms) in T2D and Association With Metabolic Parameters and Glycemic Control: Meta-Analysis, (15)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31603475/
- Insomnia is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the clinical setting, (16)https://drc.bmj.com/content/6/1/e000604
- Exploration of the anti-insomnia mechanism of Ganoderma by central-peripheral multi-level interaction network analysis, (17)https://bmcmicrobiol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12866-021-02361-5
- Prevalence of hypertension among type 2 diabetes mellitus patients in Ethiopia: a systematic review and meta-analysis, (18)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36055967/
- Hypotensive Effects and Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitory Peptides of Reishi (Ganoderma lingzhi) Auto-Digested Extract, (19)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6271714/
- Hypotensive and neurometabolic effects of intragastric Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) administration in hypertensive ISIAH rat strain, (20)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29519314/
- A national observation study of cancer incidence and mortality risks in type 2 diabetes compared to the background population over time, (21)https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73668-y
- Is diabetes mellitus an independent risk factor for colon cancer and rectal cancer? (22)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21912438/
- Epidemiology of depression and diabetes: a systematic review, (23)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23062861/
- Prevalence of Depression among Type-II Diabetic Patients Attending the Diabetic Clinic at Arar National Guard Primary Health Care Center, Saudi Arabia, (24)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7322613/
- Antidepressant-Like Activity of Ethanol Extract of Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) in Mice, (25)https://www.ijmrhs.com/abstract/antidepressantlike-activity-of-ethanol-extract-of-ganoderma-lucidum-reishi-in-mice-12351.html
- Reishi Mushroom - Promising in treatment of Depression, (26)https://journals.indexcopernicus.com/api/file/viewByFileId/1020631.pdf
- Prevalence and Associated Factors of Diabetes Distress, Depression and Anxiety Among Primary Care Patients With Type 2 Diabetes During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Egypt: A Cross-Sectional Study, (27)https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2022.937973/full
- Depression and Anxiety among Patients with Type II Diabetes Mellitus in Chitwan Medical College Teaching Hospital, Nepal, (28)https://www.hindawi.com/journals/nrp/2021/8846915/
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