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The Role Of Reishi Mushroom In Weight Loss
Jan 30, 22
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Author: Sony Sherpa

The Role Of Reishi Mushroom In Weight Loss


Obesity is now recognized as one of the most important public health issues. RecentWHO global (1) estimates show that more than 1.9 billion people over the age of 18 were overweight. The worldwide prevalence of obesity is increasing at an alarming rate and has nearly tripled between 1975 and 2016.

The weight loss industry is filled with programs and products that promise weight loss. Several magical to extreme diets assure that you will reach your target weight. There is no fast and easy way to shed that extra fat, however, mushrooms like Reishi have been found to tackle obesity. And we have science-backed evidence!

This article details the role of Reishi in weight loss and also explains how do Reishi mushrooms help with weight loss. Read on!

What is Reishi Mushroom?

Reishi,polyonymousLingzhi, Ganoderma lucidum, mushroom of immortality, phantom mushroom, and mushroom of spiritual potency is an edible superfood fungus. These mushrooms, native to the humid parts of Asia, are now found in temperate and subtropical locations around the world. Reishi mushroom is one of the oldest medical mushrooms that has been in use for over40 centuries (2) in Chinese traditional medicine.

Reishi mushroom is composed of polysaccharides, beta-glucans, and triterpenes. These compounds are responsible for theirbiological benefits (3) like antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiviral, antiulcer, blood pressure, and sugar-lowering effects. They are also known to increase the good cholesterol in our body and reduce the bad ones.  

Reishi mushrooms can be eaten fresh or used as a health supplement in the form of mushroom powder, tinctures, and extracts. Fresh mushrooms can be eaten raw or used in soups. As an extract or powder, Reishi can be mixed with your morning cup of tea or coffee, in your post-workout smoothies and shakes.

How Does Reishi Mushroom Help With Weight Loss?

The weight-lowering potential of Reishi has been tested in new research by an international group of scientists. The2015 Taiwanese study (4), has suggested the benefits of Reishi for weight loss. The study analyzed the effects of Reishi mushroom on mouse models that were given a high-fat diet for 8 weeks. One group of mice, in addition to the high-fat diet, was also given Ganoderma mushroom supplements. Both the groups of mice became obese following the fat diet.  However, the following differences between the study groups were noted:

  • A 20-29% decrease in the amount of fat deposited in the body cavity
  • A 44 to 59% decrease in the fat deposited underneath the skin
  • A 17% decrease in the weight of the liver and the sites of fat deposition
  • An 8 to16% decline in total body weight

Ganoderma lucidum weight loss property has mainly been attributed to the fungal polysaccharide. The polysaccharide has been shown to produce a significant anti-obesity effect on body weight. Let’s take a closer look at the Ganoderma weight loss mechanisms.

Reishi mushroom decreases obesity-related inflammation

Lingzhi mushrooms can slow down the weight gain process by altering the bacteria in our digestive tract. One of the study areas of the research was the possible role of gut bacteria in obesity-induced inflammation. The gut bacteria release endotoxins known as Lipopolysaccharides (LPS). Endotoxins are toxins present inside the cell of the bacteria that are released when they disintegrate. The levels of these LPS are increased in the blood following ingestion of a high-fat diet. LPS then plays a direct and indirectrole (5) in the inflammatory reaction in the fat cells of the body in obesity.

Reishi mushrooms are also found to have directanti-inflammatory properties (6). The mushroom reduced the levels of inflammation in the study models which generally increases after a high-fat diet.

Reishi alters gut bacteria

The study showed that when the mushroom was added to the mouse diet, it altered the composition of the bacteria living in the gut. The gut bacteria are a major component of our digestive system and the species of the bacteria vary between slim and fat people. The researchers showed that transplanting the feces from the mice fed on mushrooms to other mice, helped the recipient mice to lose bodyweight and reduced fat accumulation beneath the skin.

Reishi prevents fat accumulation

The data, although preliminary, has found that Reishi mushrooms and their extracts, can prevent fat accumulation in the body. They can reduce body weight and prevent weight gain on study models. The mouse models who were fed a high-fat diet only reached 42g in the first two months whereas mice that were also fed a high dose of Reishi extract reached 35g in the same duration.

A larger mass of fat tissue in obesity is associated with higher levels of free fatty acid (FFA). Reishi mushroom extract has been shown to reduce levels of FFA in the blood thereby preventing fat accumulation in the body.

Reishi has prebiotic potential

Prebiotics and antibiotics are amongst the many treatments that are beingevaluated (7) for obesity and its associated inflammation. The water extract of Ganoderma lucidum was found to be a potential prebiotic agent that could be used as a treatment for obesity and its complications in the future. Supplementation of the obese mouse models with extracts of Reishi decreased weight gain and fat accumulation in a dose-dependent manner. In other words, the Reishi mushroom offers prebiotic support that feeds the beneficial organisms.

Reishi maintains the gut integrity

A high-fat diet can make the gut, releasing the LPS into the bloodstream. Thisstudy (9) noted that Ganoderma extracts improved the integrity of the intestinal barrier, even in the mice that were fed a high-fat diet.

Reishi decreases obesity-associated immune dysfunction

A high-fat diet is also associated with a gradualdecline (10) in Regulatory T cells (Treg). These cells regulate and modulate the immune system maintaining homeostasis in the body. The water extract of Reishi was found to enhance the Treg cells in the liver and fatty tissue of mice.

Reishi decreases insulin resistance

Obesity is also associated withan increased risk (11) of developing insulin resistance and diabetes. Insulin resistance is when the muscles, fat cells, and liver do not respond to the action of blood sugar lowering insulin hormone. The cells in our body will not take up glucose from the blood, thereby causing blood sugar levels to rise. Ganoderma mushroomreduces (12) the likelihood of insulin resistance in the mouse. Reishi mushrooms are also known todecrease blood glucose levels (13). High sugar in the blood can lead to food cravings leading to weight gain.

Reishi reduces fatigue

Reishi mushroom helps fight fatigue. They reducebody ache (14) and pain while improving energy and muscle endurance following exercise. One of the main reasons people skip their workout is tiredness and muscle fatigue. Taking medicinal mushrooms will boost your energy helping you get back on your fitness routine.

Reishi combats stress

A stressful lifestyle is also one of the triggers of obesity. We tend to cope with stress by eating “comfort food” rich in calories and fats or a glass of liquor. Reishi mushrooms are adaptogen mushrooms. They help the body cope with a stressful situation and adapt to it. Consuming Reishi mushrooms willcalm the overactive mind (15). Lingzhi will help you relax and loosen up, thereby reducing mindless eating that contributes to obesity.

Reishi is low on calories

Reishi mushroom is abundant in essential micro and macronutrients. The mushroom contains a high amount of dietary fibers and water and is low in calories. Apart from that, it is also a good source of proteins. Replacing your dietary meat products with Reishi mushrooms will help you on your weight loss journey.

Is Reishi Good For The Stomach?

The active ingredient in Reishi mushroom alters the gut microbiota for good. Reishi mushroom promotes stomach health in people with obesity by supporting healthy gut bacteria. This will lead to better functionality of your stomach as it will prevent the formation of negative bacteria.

Final Thoughts

The key to preventing obesity is regular exercise and a calorie balanced diet. The addition of medical mushrooms and their supplements in your daily life will enhance their positive results. 

The research on Reishi mushroom and weight loss has not yet been tested on humans, but the benefits are intriguing and promising. The mushroom may be used as a pre-biotic supplement that helps to decrease weight gain, inflammation, and insulin resistance in obesity. Ganoderma weight loss benefits may be a potential foundation for the treatment of obesity in the future. A mushroom a day might help keep the doctor away!