1. Boost Immunity One of the most important effects of the reishi mushroom is that it can boost your immune system. While some details are still uncertain, test-tube studies have shown that reishi can affect the genes in white blood cells, which are critical parts of your immune system. What’s more, these studies have found that some forms of reishi may alter inflammation pathways in white blood cells. Although most immune system benefits of reishi mushroom have been seen in those who are ill, some evidence has shown that it can help healthy people, too. In one study, the fungus improved lymphocyte function, which helps fight infections, cancer, and in athletes exposed to stressful conditions. Overall, it is clear that reishi impacts white blood cells and immune function.
2. Anti-Cancer Properties Many people consume this fungus due to its potential cancer-fighting properties. In fact, one study of over 4,000 breast cancer survivors found that around 59% consumed reishi mushroom and had positive effects. Additionally, several test-tube studies have shown that it can lead to the death of cancer cells. Some research has investigated if reishi could be beneficial for prostate cancer due to its effects on the hormone testosterone. While one case study showed that molecules found in this mushroom may reverse prostate cancer in humans. Reishi mushroom has also been studied for its role in preventing or fighting colorectal cancer. Some research showed that one year of treatment with reishi decreased the number and size of tumors in the large intestine. What’s more, a detailed report of multiple studies indicated that the mushroom can beneficially affect cancer patients. These benefits included increasing the activity of the body’s white blood cells, which help fight cancer, and improving quality of life in cancer patients. However, researchers state that reishi should be administered in combination with traditional treatment rather than replacing it.
SUMMARY: Although reishi mushroom appears to hold some promise for cancer prevention or treatment, more information is needed before it becomes part of standard therapy. However, it may be appropriate to use in addition to normal care in some cases.
3. Could Fight Fatigue and Depression Reishi’s effects on the immune system are often most emphasized, but it has other potential advantages as well. These include reduced fatigue and depression, as well as improved quality of life. One study examined its effects in 132 people with neurasthenia, a poorly defined condition associated with aches, pains, dizziness, headaches and irritability. The researchers found that fatigue was reduced and well-being was improved after 8 weeks of taking the supplements. Another study found that fatigue was reduced and quality of life was improved after 4 weeks of taking reishi powder in a group of 48 breast cancer survivors. What’s more, the people in the study also experienced less anxiety and depression. While reishi mushroom may hold promise for people with certain diseases or illnesses, it is not clear if it would benefit those who are otherwise healthy.
4. Heart Health One 12-week study of 26 people showed that reishi mushroom may increase “good” HDL cholesterol and decrease triglycerides. However, other research in healthy adults showed no improvement in these heart disease risk factors. Moreover, a large analysis demonstrated no beneficial effects for heart health after examining five different studies containing around 400 people. The researchers found that consuming reishi mushroom for up to 16 weeks did not improve cholesterol. Overall, more research is needed in regard to reishi mushrooms and heart health.
5. Antioxidant Status Antioxidants are molecules that can help prevent damage to your cells. Because of this important function, there is substantial interest in foods and supplements that can enhance antioxidant status in the body. Many claim that reishi mushroom is effective for this purpose. However, several studies have found no change in the levels of two important antioxidant enzymes in the blood after consuming the fungus for 4 to 12 weeks.
Dosage Recommendations Vary Based on the Form Used The highest doses are seen when someone consumes the mushroom itself. In these cases, doses may range from 25 to 100 grams, depending on the size of the mushroom. Commonly, a dried extract of the mushroom is used instead. In these cases, the dose is approximately 10 times less than when the mushroom itself is consumed. For example, 50 grams of reishi mushroom itself may be comparable to approximately 5 grams of the mushroom extract. Doses of the mushroom extract vary but typically range from approximately 1.5 to 9 grams per day. Additionally, some supplements use only certain portions of the extract. In these cases, the recommended doses may be much lower than the values reported above. Because the suggested dose can vary widely based on which form of the mushroom is used, it is very important to know which type you are taking.