Allergic rhinitis in children: natural immunomodulators can help

Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) in children is a common condition, present more often during certain times of the year, when allergens such as pollen, mould, and dust are in excess. Immunologically it is  characterized by a Th2 polarized immune response and Ig-E antibody production. 

1 in 5 people in the UK experience symptoms of allergic rhinitis which is characterised by the inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane and can also involve the eyes, ears, sinuses, and throat. Commonly linked to conjunctivitis and asthma, allergic rhinitis is a long-standing condition frequently undetected in primary care settings. 

The classic symptoms of the disorder are frequently confused with other respiratory or rhinitis-based symptoms, such as congestion, rhinorrhoea, sneezing, and itching. Thorough physical examinations and allergen testing are recommended for the detection of the condition. Unfortunately, the mainstay treatment of second-generation antihistamines and intranasal corticosteroids are frequently inefficient as a long-term solution. 

Increasing Prevalence of Allergic Rhinitis

Research indicates that up to 40% of the population may already be influenced by rhinitis in some way, characterised by inflammation of the nasal mucosa. Studies also indicate that the prevalence of the disorder is increasing and may be responsible for numerous significant long-term impairments. 

One study into children with allergic rhinitis demonstrated significant learning impairment influenced by the acute symptoms of the condition. Symptoms, including inflammation of the eyes, sinuses, nose, pharynx, larynx, and various areas of the respiratory system, impact concentration. Systematic reviews indicate that frequent exposure to these conditions can be detrimental to sleep, quality of life, and performance in work or school. 

Unfortunately, concentration and quality of life impairments appear to be exacerbated by the use of traditional antihistamine-based treatments. One study found a negative impact on clerical accounting, visual attention, auditory and visual memory, and mathematical skills when taking antihistamine substances. 

Previously, allergic rhinitis was considered a disorder localized specifically to the nasal passages, but further study indicates it may be a component of a systematic airway condition, involving the entire respiratory system. Evidence further shows that inflammation in the upper airway caused by allergic rhinitis may also lead to inflammatory processes in the lower airways, supporting the connection between rhinitis and asthma. 

The Importance of Immunomodulation

Where traditional treatments of allergic rhinitis may have lasting side-effects, natural solutions in the form of medicinal mushrooms could offer a risk-free alternative. Allergic responses stem from hypersensitivity to substances that would otherwise pose no danger to an individual in the environment. 

Common allergic disorders, like allergic rhinitis in children, are influenced fundamentally by the immune system and the body’s production of histamine. Mycomedicine, or the use of medicinal mushrooms, provides timely support for seasonal and year-round rhinitis issues. The Royal Sun Agaricus (Agaricus Blazei Murill) offers proven antihistaminic and immunomodulatory effects as a nutraceutical for allergy treatment. 

The Agaricus blazei mushroom stimulates weakened immune system and brings balance to the Th1 and Th2 responses in the body, which is predominantly Th2 in an allergic rhinitis.  Therefore, its supplementation is useful as an immunomodulator that acts as a natural anti-histaminic remedy. Further biocomponents in the mushroom reduce the release of histamine release in mast cells, lowering allergic response. A clinical study in 2019 showed a reduction of general allergy, asthmatic symptoms and even permitted a reduction in the use of the medication when supplemented with a concentrated mushroom extract based on Agaricus blazei. 

Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) further reduces inflammation and reduces the release of histamine release by mast cells. Reishi is also an adaptogen, capable of adapting to various sources of stress by adjusting altered bodily states. Reishi is further suitable for reducing feelings of stress, which can further exacerbate allergic conditions. 

Addressing Inflammation and Microbiota balance

Inflammation is a significant side effect and symptom of allergic rhinitis in children. When exposed to allergens, the body releases substances like histamine which influence swelling. There are various natural approaches to treating inflammation, like eating more foods with anti-inflammatory qualities such as flaxseed and fish. Natural extracts like Reishi mushroom can modulate the immune system response and reduce inflammation simultaneously. 

The high content of anti-inflammatory bioactive compounds in Reishi, triterpenes, gives Ganoderma lucidum an anti-inflammatory action comparable to hydrocortisone without the side effects.  Triterpens, or commonly known as terpens, work alongside other beneficial substances to address the underlying issues of allergic rhinitis in children. 

The consumption of vitamin C alongside mushroom solutions for allergic rhinitis will increase the absorption of some of the bioactive compounds in the substance, such as beta-glucans. Supplemental substances that combine medicinal mushrooms with vitamin C can therefore enhance the natural response of the protocol. Including prebiotics like medicinal mushrooms within the treatment strategy further promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the microbiota. 

The development of beneficial bacteria can balance the intestinal microbiota which has a long-term impact on children’s health, and their ability to identify viruses and bacteria and differentiate between dangerous and safe entities more effectively. 

Medicinal mushrooms, which are natural prebiotics, together with vitamin C could deliver a long-term solution for allergic rhinitis in children that has none of the dangerous side-effects of traditional treatment routes. These solutions can further be combined with other natural products which offer supportive flavonoids (antioxidants) for helping with inflammation in this condition. 

When dealing with natural products such as medicinal mushrooms, however, it is crucial to ensure the synergised blend of products used in the treatment are concentrated in high quality nutraceuticals, without chemical additives, being as natural as possible and which have been standardized in their active compounds. Preference for organic extracts and quality seals like gluten free or vegan will always indicate that the product has been made with maximum care. 

Agaricus Blazei Murill As A Hay Fever Treatment

In the UK, 44% of adults suffer from an allergy. Around half of sufferers have multiple allergies, which accounts for approximately 10 million people [1]. One of the most common is hay fever, clinically known as allergic rhinitis. Characterised by cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion, sneezing and sinus pressure, effective hay fever treatment and prevention is still struggling to cope for clinicians.

Before going further, it is useful to outline the nature of allergies. Essentially, an allergy is an unnatural immune response. The reaction occurs when the presence of foreign peptides in the mucous membranes triggers a Th2 dominant pro-inflammatory state. In the case of hay fever, these foreign peptides could be pollen, dust mites, or particles of skin or saliva shed by pets.

In either context, hay fever is primarily an immunological issue. Therefore, hay fever treatment – and ultimately prevention – should be addressed via immunomodulation. This is what makes medicinal mushroom nutraceuticals such an interesting proposition, which we will explore here.

The Benefits of Agaricus blazei Murill for Hay Fever Sufferers

Agaricus blazei Murill (AbM), or Royal Sun Agaricus, is an edible, medicinal mushroom originating in Brazil. Traditionally, it was used against a range of diseases, including cancer and hepatitis. However, AbM researchers have recently discovered its powerful immunomodulatory properties, which has led to increasing interest [2].

Studies have shown that AbM brings the Th1 and Th2 response into balance, which in regard to hay fever treatment, acts as an anti-histaminic remedy. Achieving this equilibrium due to the specific bio components that inhibit histamine release by mast cells and reduce IgE specific allergy antibodies. The health benefits that arise are both in preventative and therapeutic applications [3]. 

For instance, a clinical study in 2019 showed that, alongside common medical treatment, AbM supplementation yielded a significant reduction of general allergy and asthma symptoms in birch pollen allergic participants [4].

Anti-allergic activities of other Medicinal Mushrooms 

Ganoderma lucidum, or Reishi mushroom, also has been shown to have immune-modulating and immune-potentiating capabilities [5]. Reishi extract contains triterpenes, which generate antioxidant, antihistamine and significant anti-inflammatory activity. In fact, it’s suggested that Ganoderma lucidum has an anti-inflammatory action comparable to hydrocortisone without the negative side effects.

Moreover, in regard to a holistic approach to hay fever treatment, medicinal mushrooms have many benefits. For example, the polysaccharide content of both mushroom species mentioned precipitates a substantial prebiotic effect, which is beneficial for immune function [6].

A Holistic Approach to Hay Fever Treatment   

A holistic, well-being oriented approach to managing hay fever addresses the issue at its root. By supplementing common medical treatments with lifestyle changes, clinicians can seek to prevent allergies as well as treat the symptoms. This could include changes in diet, such as the introduction of therapeutic whole foods like nettles, cleavers, and elderflowers. Equally, onions and apples contain quercetin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. 

However, research is increasingly showing that mushroom nutraceuticals could be one of the most effective lifestyle changes for hay fever treatment. By modulating the immune response and histamine levels, we can address both long-term functional support and current symptoms. Ideally, healthcare professionals should recommend high quality concentrated extracts, preferably organic and standardized in its bioactive compounds. Regarding dosage, it is advisable to adjust it depending on the patient’s evaluation and symptomatology.


  2. Hetland G, Johnson E, Lyberg T, Bernardshaw S, Tryggestad AM, Grinde B. Effects of the medicinal mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill on immunity, infection and cancer. Scand J Immunol. 2008 Oct;68(4):363-70.
  3. Ellertsen LK, Hetland G. An extract of the medicinal mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill can protect against allergy. Clin Mol Allergy. 2009;7:6. Published 2009 May 5.
  4. Mahmood F, Hetland G, Nentwich I, Mirlashari MR, Ghiasvand R, Nissen-Meyer LSH. Agaricus blazei-Based Mushroom Extract Supplementation to Birch Allergic Blood Donors: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Nutrients. 2019 Oct 2;11(10):2339.
  5. Bhardwaj N, Katyal P, Sharma AK. Suppression of inflammatory and allergic responses by pharmacologically potent fungus Ganoderma lucidum. Recent Pat Inflamm Allergy Drug Discov. 2014;8(2):104-17.
  6. Wu, H. J., & Wu, E. (2012). The role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis and autoimmunity. Gut microbes, 3(1), 4–14.

Understanding immune support supplement: much more than activating your defenses

Immune support supplement works as a complement to our immune system. Immunity is a complex system that comprises of several key processes such as activation of macrophages, antigen presentation, and response from lymphocytes. Our body has to create just enough amount of immunity to tackle the pathogens. Too few or too many of them lead to uncontrolled illness and damage to the body systems.

Therefore, immunomodulation works by either boosting or suppressing the immune response towards infections and undesirable conditions. Immunomodulatory agents are often used for treating infections, preventing immunodeficiency, and tumors. Immunomodulators can regulate the immune system to combat infections effectively. In the gut, they stabilize the composition of the gut microbiota by inhibiting harmful microbiota and stimulating health-promoting gut microbiota. 

In an infection, immunomodulators don’t work directly by targeting the pathogens; instead, they modulate the innate and adaptive immune system to combat the condition effectively. This will avoid the development of microbial resistance and can be helpful to immunocompromised patients who cannot take antimicrobial and antiviral drugs.

They are especially critical in oncology cases as they can enhance immunological response to tumor cells. Very recently, immunomodulators are also included in Covid-19 therapy to attenuate the cytokine storm that leads to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Mycomedicine in Immune Support Supplement

In the effort of developing natural sources as immunomodulatory agents, medicinal mushrooms are found to be suitable reservoirs of immune-enhancing compounds, experts say. These components have been extensively studied for their ability to modulate the immune system:

  1. β-glucans
  2. Triterpenoids
  3. Lectins

β-glucans work by activating various immune system components such as macrophages, neutrophils, NK cells, and lymphocytes. Combined with oncological treatments, β-glucans can enhance the immune response by binding to pattern recognition receptors that can improve resistance to infections and promote antitumor activity.

Other than having immunomodulatory effects, β-glucans are also known as prebiotics.  β-glucans can induce the growth of Prevotella and Roseburia, the gut microbiota that play critical roles in maintaining health equilibrium. Gut microbiota can boost the immune system, prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, and protect the epithelial integrity. A report shows that unbalanced gut microbiota is often linked with various diseases such as gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, cardiovascular disorders, allergy, and neural diseases. Other studies are highlighting the importance of microbiota modulation in cancer. Even a recent Nature publication states that “gut microbiota modulation, with the aim to reverse established microbial dysbiosis, is a novel strategy for prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer. Different strategies including probiotics, prebiotics, postbiotics, antibiotics, and fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) have been employed.”

Triterpenoids and lectins have both antiviral and anti-inflammatory activity. These compounds showed a potent inhibitory activity against numerous human patho-genic viruses such as HIV, herpes simplex virus type 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and influenza virus. Lectins can also stop the replication of the SARS-CoV virus that causes severe lower respiratory tract infections, as in the Covid-19 disease. Triterpenoids themselves have anti-inflammatory effects by suppressing NF-κB release, blocking DR4 and DR5 pathways, and inhibiting active caspases which all contribute to inflammation process.

Numerous Medicinal Mushroom Species Have Immunomodulatory Effects

Medicinal mushrooms such as Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi), Lentinula edodes (Shiitake), and Grifola frondosa (Maitake), and Inonotus obliquus (Chaga) are well known to exert immunomodulatory effects. Their polysaccharides and protein contents stimulate the activity of the immune components such as B and T lymphocytes, dendritic cells, macrophages, cytokines, and NK cells.

By enabling the immune system, these mushrooms are also able to inhibit tumor growth. Reishi has been proven significant as an adjunctive treatment for lung, leukemia, and prostate tumor. In a 2014 article, Maitake demonstrated its antitumor ability for breast and colon cancer, and Chaga is well-known to be a promising therapeutic agent for hepatocellular carcinoma.


There’s no denying that compounds derived from natural products such as mushrooms are proven to be safe, affordable, and accessible. Medicinal mushrooms are a significant source of nutrients that can be found in an immune support supplement. Immunomodulation is one of the best known health benefits that medicinal mushrooms have to offer. With its abundant bioactive compounds and various health-promoting actions, myco-medicine can help our immune system to combat infections, tumors, and autoimmune diseases. 


Mycotherapy: An innovative tool for healthcare practice

Mycotherapy is an integrative healthcare practice that uses plants from the fungus family and their derivatives – or, in simple terms, medicinal mushrooms. This term was coined by researchers at biotech Hifas da Terra in 2006, and since, it has become the recognised term for mushroom therapies globally. These fungi and their fractions have various preventative and integrative therapeutic applications, providing support for various pathologies.

Medicinal mushrooms have been prized for their benefits by diverse cultures for centuries. For instance, Ganoderma has been used as a tonic and treatment for various pathologies, including chronic hepatopathy, hypertension, neurasthenia, anxiety, insomnia, bronchitis, gastric ulcer, diabetes, and cancer in China, Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries for over 2,000 years [1]. Meanwhile, Ayurvedic practices similarly revere mushrooms for their holistic nutrition and health benefits.

Today, an increasing amount of scientific evidence is emerging about the efficacy of these traditional medicines which are, in fact, natural nutrients. These studies are demonstrating that mushrooms are indeed potent producers of bioactive substances that can support health and well-being. A single species of medicinal fungus can contain hundreds of bioactive compounds, with hypolipidemic, immunomodulatory and even antitumor activities. 

Certainly, mycotherapy presents exciting prospects for a move towards patient-centred, preventative healthcare. Here, we give an overview of the evidence and discuss why mycotherapy is one of the most innovative tools in integrative therapy today.

Integrative and Innovative Protocols are Changing Healthcare   

Until relatively recently, many healthcare professionals in the Western world subscribed to a reductive view of the body. That is, medicine focussed on disease in its constituent parts, as opposed to the health of the whole. Now, healthcare practitioners are increasingly recognising the benefits of a holistic approach to health, which focus on preventative care and well-being as much as treatment. Taking inspiration from ancient disciplines such as Traditional and Ayurveda, this shift signals a more pluralistic, patient-centred approach to care.

Equally, these disciplines can help to alleviate the side effects triggered by conventional medical treatments. These approaches – captured under the term integrative medicine – neither reject conventional medicine nor adopt alternative methods uncritically. Instead, it acknowledges that medicine should always be open to new research, no matter its biological, cultural, or philosophical basis. This opens healthcare practice to new paradigms of wellness, improving patients’ quality of life.

Broadly speaking, integrative therapy is divided into two main disciplines: mind-body therapies and natural products. Mind-body therapies include manipulative techniques like massage and chiropractors and spiritual practices like yoga or tai chi. Meanwhile, natural products are dietary supplements and nutritional programmes. Mycotherapy falls into this second category to promote overall health and well-being. 

In contrast to traditional phytotherapy or vitamin-mineral supplementation, mycotherapy offers naturally-occurring phytochemicals and vitamins and minerals from a sole source. This is especially beneficial for patients undergoing intensive medical treatments such as chemo- or radiotherapy, who need non-toxic, inert solutions for managing secondarisms.

Emerging Evidence for the Efficacy of Mycotherapy

Now, an increasing amount of research is emerging to support the case for Mycotherapy. This is particularly relevant to patients living with chronic conditions. For example, scientists at the Beijing Normal and Hong Kong Baptist Universities conducted a large scale study on the effect of Ganoderma, Chaga, Coriolus and Maitake mushrooms on patients with chronic bowel complaints. The results were remarkable: there was a marked increase in microbial diversity in the gut and a localised anti-inflammatory response [2].

Furthermore, these benefits extend far beyond the digestive tract. For example, a recent study presented compelling evidence that Mycotherapy has significant benefits for patients living with chronic fatigue. In a study related to athletic performance, Cordyceps and Reishi mushrooms were shown to protect athletes from nonfunctional overreaching (NFO) and overtraining syndrome (OTS). This was measured via salivary cortisol and testosterone levels in cyclists [3].

However, perhaps the most compelling evidence for the holistic health benefits of mycotherapy is its immunomodulatory action provided by medicinal mushrooms and their bioactive immunoregulatory products [4]. Unlike other immunological strategies, immunomodulation consists of providing “soldiers and generals” to our immune system so that it can organize to fight against viruses or cancer cells. In this sense, nutritional supplements based on medicinal mushrooms are different from drugs because they help the body give an orderly response. In addition, the bioactive potential of these compounds has been demonstrated in some remarkable contexts, including oncology.

One such example is a phase 1 clinical trial conducted on women with breast cancer. In the study, researchers applied a fraction of Trametes versicolor, or the Turkey Tail mushroom. After, researchers recorded increased lymphocyte counts, increased natural killer cell functional activity and dose-related increases in CD8(+) T cells and CD19(+) B cells, suggesting this mycotherapy protocol could have significant benefits for immunocompromised breast cancer patients [5].

However, perhaps most relevant to our current moment is research on the immunomodulatory action of mycotherapy in COVID-19. In an ongoing study conducted by Hifas da Terra at a Madrid care home on residents with an average age of 87.2 years diagnosed with COVID-19, fatality rates plummeted from 24.1% to 1.4% after receiving a supplementation based on mushroom nutraceuticals. Equally, more than 88% of the patients who followed the prescribed protocol did not manifest complications associated with COVID-19 and none required admission to the ICU (hospital admission dropped from 27% to 12.3%). These are the first results of a study which is now being extended to other nursing care homes to confirm the efficacy of mycotherapy in a wider population [6].

The Overall Mind and Body Benefits

These immunological properties of medicinal mushrooms mean that Mycotherapy isn’t only useful for supporting treatment – it also has substantial benefits for overall health. For instance, varieties such as Royal Sun Agaricus are rich in proteoglycans, a type of protein important for immune health. Along with beta-glucans and lipids, including linoleic acid and phospholipids, this variety has anti-allergic and immunostimulatory properties [7].

A further example is the Ganoderma or Reishi mushroom. Referred to as ‘the mushroom of immortality’ in Eastern medicinal practices, certain unique compounds of Reishi have impressive anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, they are thought to be one of the most powerful natural antioxidants in existence, acting on the primary cause of cellular oxidation and ageing [8]. Equally, they are known to have significant antidepressant effects, with various studies demonstrating mood-lifting action [9].

The mental and emotional health benefits of mycotherapy have also been demonstrated with other species. For instance, Hericium erinaceus, a well known edible mushroom, has various biological activities. In a recent study on female patients with depression and sleep disorders, an extract of H. erinaceus was shown to stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) synthesis, which affects brain function and the nervous system. Results showed that H. erinaceus intake had the possibility to reduce depression and anxiety via its NGF-enhancing action [10].

Selecting Quality Mycotherapy Products

Certainly, there is a wealth of compelling evidence emerging to support the use of mycotherapy in mainstream medicine. However, it is essential that healthcare professionals select quality products. Practitioners should choose ecological, safe and effective supplements developed by experts that are invested in research. As mycotherapy is primarily evidence-based, professionals should trust biotechs that are constantly innovating. 

Biotechs should select strains for their quality, which are further optimised via ecological, organic farming methods. The formulas should contain all of their natural active compounds in their purest form, concentrated and unchanged. Equally, professionals should look for brands with quality assurance standards, where production is uniform, controlled, and regulated by an external organisation such as Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) for pharmaceuticals.

Third party verification is critical across a number of factors; this is especially the case regarding supplements interaction with other medications. Healthcare professionals should preferably look for biotechnology centers that collaborate with external laboratories to verify their safety. Equally, patented formulas and endorsements from regulatory bodies are a hallmark of quality.

Perhaps the most important thing to look for in a mycotherapy product is the manufacturer’s commitment to R&D. As new developments emerge, products should be continually tested and optimised via controlled, clinical trials – this is, after all, the best practice for any medicinal substance. Before selecting a mycotherapy product, explore the biotech’s portfolio of research projects – this will be a good indicator as to their investment in innovation.  

The Future of Mycotherapy

Evidence about the benefits of Mycotherapy is proliferating. Now, there is growing acceptance in the medical community that integrative protocols like mycotherapy have substantial benefits. This is reflected in the growing availability of training in medical schools; according to a survey conducted in 2013, there were 13 American medical schools offering fellowships in integrative medicine.

This is because the evidence is undoubtedly compelling. When it comes to managing the effects of chronic conditions and secondarisms, research has shown that mycotherapy protocols can improve patients’ quality of life. Moreover, patients appreciate this renewed attention to overall well-being; instead of being treated merely as a symptom, integrative therapies position the body as a whole system. In this context, patients feel their unique needs are addressed.

As interest in the field grows, researchers are continuing to innovate. New discoveries are emerging all the time, with far-reaching R&D projects covering everything from anti-ageing ingredients to antiproliferative action on tumours. Looking to the future, mycotherapy could form the basis of innovative bio-pharmaceutical treatments – signalling a natural, integrative, and pluralistic future for modern medicine and complementary therapy. 


  1. Sanodiya B.S., Thakur G.S., Baghel R.K., Prasad G.B., Bisen P.S. Ganoderma lucidum: a potent pharmacological macrofungus. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2009;10:717–742.
  2. Jayachandran, Muthukumaran & Xiao, Jianbo & Xu, Baojun. (2017). A Critical Review on Health Promoting Benefits of Edible Mushrooms through Gut Microbiota. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 
  3. Paola Rossi, Daniela Buonocore, Elisa Altobelli, Federico Brandalise, Valentina Cesaroni, Davide Iozzi, Elena Savino, Fulvio Marzatico, “Improving Training Condition Assessment in Endurance Cyclists: Effects of Ganoderma lucidum and Ophiocordyceps sinensis Dietary Supplementation”, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2014, Article ID 979613, 11 pages, 2014.
  4. Zhao S, Gao Q, Rong C, et al. Immunomodulatory Effects of Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms and Their Bioactive Immunoregulatory Products. J Fungi (Basel). 2020;6(4):269. Published 2020 Nov 8.
  5. Torkelson CJ, Sweet E, Martzen MR, Sasagawa M, Wenner CA, Gay J, Putiri A, Standish LJ. Phase 1 Clinical Trial of Trametes versicolor in Women with Breast Cancer. ISRN Oncol. 2012;2012:251632.
  7. Wang, Hang & Fu, Zhiming & Han, Chunchao. (2013). The Medicinal Values of Culinary-Medicinal Royal Sun Mushroom (Agaricus blazei Murrill). Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM. 2013. 842619. 10.1155/2013/842619.
  8. Mohsin M, Negi P, Ahmed Z. Determination of the antioxidant activity and polyphenol contents of wild Lingzhi or Reishi medicinal mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (W.Curt. Fr.) P. Karst. (higher Basidiomycetes) from central Himalayan hills of India. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2011;13(6):535-44.
  9. Matsuzaki H et al., (2013) Antidepressant-like effects of a water-soluble extract from the culture medium of Ganoderma lucidum mycelia in rats. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 13, 370.
  10. Anderson KO, Getto CJ, Mendoza TR, Palmer SN, Wang XS, Reyes-Gibby CC, Cleeland CS. Fatigue and sleep disturbance in patients with cancer, patients with clinical depression, and community-dwelling adults. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2003 Apr;25(4):307-18.


Reishi Mushroom Benefits Everyone Should Know

Reishi are a unique type of fungi that grows at the base of certain deciduous trees.

In Eastern medicine, Reishi mushroom benefits are well-known. Countless traditional and ancestral groups still rely on these mushrooms for things like boosting the immune system. However, Reishi mushrooms aren’t tied exclusively to traditional healing. 

The modern world has quickly begun to embrace Reishi mushrooms as the perfect protection against our current lifestyle. We’re living in a world where we’re constantly exposed to inflammation, oxidation, and stress. Today’s nutritionists and medical practitioners believe that Reishi mushrooms are one of the best supplemental ingredients required for good health (prevention, maintenance and as an adjunct to medical treatments).

As human beings strive to bring more positive components into their routine, Reishi mushrooms represent an excellent source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory elements

The Best Reishi Mushroom Benefits 

Reishi mushrooms, or “Lingzhi” in Chinese, are gradually being valued in Western culture. The incredible fungus is one of the oldest symbols of longevity and wellbeing in the Eastern world, and they’re often referred to as “mushrooms of immortality.”

Originally, Reishi mushroom benefits were reserved for only the rich and the royal. In the second half of the 20th century, researchers began to study the medicinal benefits of these mushrooms more closely. Today, Reishi mushrooms can potentially:

  • Boost the immune system: Reishi mushrooms have been a potent solution for boosting the immune system throughout history.  Both beta-glucans and terpens within the mushroom stimulate the immune system to fight back against infection and ward off disease. 
  • Improve longevity: One lab-based study conducted in 2009 found that the polysaccharides within Reishi mushrooms have the capacity to extend lifespan. These molecules prevent abnormal blood vessel formations and improve immune system performance. 
  • Reduce fatigue: Because Reishi mushrooms are adaptogens, they help the body to combat stress. In one study with patients experiencing neurasthenia, consumption of a Reishi mushroom compound improved feelings of energy, and reduced aches and pains. 
  • Improve brain performance: Reishi mushrooms may have the potential to fight back against neurodegenerative disorders and protect the brain from seizures. Studies have found that Reishi extracts support the production of certain nerve growth factors in the body. This enables stronger neurological functioning. 
  • Fight allergies: Some studies indicate that Reishi mushrooms may have effects that allow them to fight back against allergens and improve the body’s oxygen supply. This could be beneficial for people with chronic asthma
  • Improve mood: Studies are still ongoing into the impact that Reishi mushrooms can have on feelings of depression and anxiety. One study on 132 patients ingesting Reishi mushrooms for eight weeks found improved reports of dizziness, and fewer feelings of irritability. 

Further Reishi Mushroom Benefits Appear All the Time

Scientists frequently discover new Reishi mushroom benefits the more we experiment with this substance and its extracts. Some researchers already believe that the beta-glucans and triterpenes in Reishi mushroom may be helpful for reducing LDL-cholesterol in the human body. 

Reishi mushrooms may also be useful for diabetics, as they help to control hyperglycaemia, according to one double-blind controlled study. The research states that Reishi may be able to inhibit an enzyme responsible for producing glucose. The scientists also found that these mushrooms might reduce or prevent kidney complications in patients too. Further study also indicates that Reishi mushrooms might be capable of promoting liver cell regeneration, so as to help remove toxins from the body. 

Among all these scientific Reishi mushroom benefits, it’s also worth noting that these fungi are an excellent source of antioxidants. Their antioxidant properties could help to reduce important issues like premature aging, and the onset of chronic disease. 

How Do You Add Reishi Mushrooms to a Diet?

Reishi mushrooms are safe and well tolerated for most people, both from a medical and digestive perspective.  Ideally, Reishi mushrooms are best taken in supplemental form, where natural extracts can be combined with a simple delivery system to ensure the best results and the maximum potency for the mushroom. Taking a supplement instead of eating the entire mushroom will allow patients to access the highest number of benefits without extra calories. This will also be beneficial to people who don’t like the bitter and woody taste of Reishi. 

Reishi mushroom benefits are best discovered as part of a comprehensive strategy for health and wellbeing. They can supplement a good nutritional diet, and regular activity, to boost the immune system, increase energy, and fight against the stresses of modern life. 

Practitioners interested in using Reishi mushroom as a supplementary health solution for their patients must take into account the quality of the chosen nutraceutical seeking organic extracts, well-characterized bioactive substances and guidance for an appropriate dosing in each particular case.

Dietary changes that can prevent atrial enlargement

The left atrium is just one of the crucial chambers of the heart, located in the upper half of the heart on the left side (as the name might suggest). 

Like all parts of the heart, the left atrium plays an important role in ensuring good health. This segment receives oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it through the aortic valve to distribute throughout the body in the circulatory system. 

Most of the time, the left atrium does its job well throughout a person’s entire life. However, when people fail to care for the heart properly, the left atrium can become enlarged. This can sometimes lead to significant health problems.

What Causes Left Atrium Enlargement

There are various factors that affect the size of the left atrium throughout a person’s life. For instance, a patient’s age will naturally have an impact on their heart’s performance, though age alone isn’t a cause of left atrium enlargement. Instead, the changes happening to the body as an individual begins to age may contribute to the changing size of the left atrium. 

Men also often have bigger left atriums than women, and like most things in heart health, the bigger someone is (weight wise) the more the size of the atrium will increase. 

Left atrium enlargement is also a common concern for people with high blood pressure. Reviews of studies taken over the last 12 years or so found that left atrial enlargement is present in around 16 to 83% of people with untreated or treated high blood pressure. 

How Dietary Changes Affect Atrial Enlargement

There are various steps that you can take to reduce the risk of heart issues, and potentially minimize the chances of left atrial enlargement. Getting more exercise (particularly cardio) into the daily routine is a good start. Reducing a patient’s exposure to stress is another step in the right direction. 

One of the easiest ways to start making a positive change, however, is to make dietary changes

Dietary changes will reduce things like high blood pressure and obesity, which strengthen the chances of heart issues. At the same time, a dietary change also makes it easier to give the heart the nutrients it needs to thrive. 

  • Cut back on Salt and Cholesterol

The first dietary change to make when you want to protect the heart, is to cut back on salt. Too much salt contributes to an increased risk of high blood pressure, which increases the risk of left atrial enlargement, among other heart conditions. Experts should encourage a reduction of salt intake. The AHA (American Heart Association) recommends less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day – the equivalent of about 1 teaspoon of salt – and ideally, no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults. On average, we consume more than 3,400 mg of sodium each day.

Another substance that patients with heart issues may need to cut down on is cholesterol. To ensure good health, individuals must control their cholesterol intake. 

  • Replace meat and dairy with fish, whole grains and plant proteins

Unfortunately, the saturated fats in animal foods like milk, meat, and cheese just aren’t great for heart health. These are the kinds of fats that are more likely to contribute to heart disease and strokes. Saturated fat needs to have a minimal place in any diet. 

A good way to switch things up is to replace saturated fats with unsaturated options. The unsaturated fats in fish, grains and plant proteins reduce the risk of heart disease, protect you from abnormal heart conditions, and more. This makes fish a valuable food choice for those protecting against left atrium enlargement. Avoid any trans-fats and trans fatty acids too, these are common problems in processed foods. 

  • Discover more heart-healthy recipes

For a healthy heart and a better weight, it’s usually a good idea to pack meals full of as many fruits and vegetables as possible. These nutrients provide large amounts of vitamins, minerals and fiber for the lowest number of calories. Moreover, they are packed with antioxidants that reduce risk of developing heart disease, such as left atrium enlargement.

Aim for about five servings of fruit and vegetables a day and stay away from anything loaded with sugar and saturated or trans fat. At the same time, different methods of food preparation may be more effective for protecting the heart. Steaming veggies can maximize their flavors without covering them in fat or salt.

Using Mushrooms for Heart Health

Transforming a heart-healthy diet could even involve the use of supplements. Mushrooms, for instance, are some of the best products for reducing heart concerns. However, not all people like the taste of mushrooms, and many have a hard time getting the right quantity into their diet. 

For instance, shiitake mushrooms are extremely good for heart health. They’re proven to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) in vivo models, and they also inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the liver too. 

Shiitake mushrooms are also packed full of phytonutrients, which help to improve circulation and blood sugar. Other medicinal mushrooms like Maitake can also help to reduce cholesterol and overweight, which directly influence cardiovascualr health. Others like Reishi, Royal Sun Agaricus and Coprinus can help too in the control of blood lipids and sugars.

Accessing mushrooms in the form of concentrated supplements will boost the impact that these fungi can have on heart performance. Plus, supplements don’t cause issues for people who don’t like the taste of mushroom. 

Protecting the Heart

Protecting the heart is easier than you think.

To defend against left atrium enlargement, patients should consider not just a more mindful diet, but the use of powerful supplements to improve their nutritional approach to good health.

Overweight? Mushrooms Could be the answer

Helping an overweight individual to reach their weight loss goals requires a careful strategy. The weight of each person doesn’t just rely on what they eat, or how often they exercise, but a delicate culmination of different facts. 

People with weight management problems often go through rigorous regimens of constant workout routines and calorie counting to fight off the increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure that obesity can bring. 

It’s enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed. Indeed, around 90% of people who lose weight end up regaining some, or all of it, because they can’t stick to their routine.

A weight loss strategy that focuses on making one simple lifestyle change could be the solution. 

How Mushrooms Help Overweight People

It sounds too good to be true, but a mushroom diet could actually make a significant difference to a person’s weight. For those who don’t like the flavour of mushroom, there’s even the option to explore supplements and pills that deliver the benefits of mushrooms in a unique way. In food supplements, the concentration of bioactive compounds is even higher, which could lead to faster results. 

Scientists know that obesity and weight issues are caused by a host of complex factors – not just overeating. Even an imbalance of bacteria in your gut’s microbiome could be influential to your weight. 

Supplements containing components from Reishi mushrooms could alter the bacteria in the digestive system, improving the way that the body processes food and fat. Reishi mushrooms help the stomach to work more effectively at breaking down food. 

Most mushrooms are loaded with zinc and B vitamins, substances that are necessary to activate metabolism and can fight possible fatigue associated with losing weight. They’re also full of antioxidants too. 

Mushrooms have fewer calories than meats, but they deliver a comparable level of hunger satisfaction. In fact, studie show that mushrooms could be even better than meat at helping people to feel fuller for longer. 

They also contribute to better digestion and gut health. 

The 5 Best Mushrooms for a Weight Management Diet

There’s no guarantee that switching to a more mushroom-heavy diet will work for everyone. Most professionals will not only suggest mushrooms as part of a comprehensive strategy for weight loss, but also include regular exercise and other convenient health interventions.

  • Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms are an excellent meat replacement because they contain almost all of the same amino acids as your standard meat-based meal. The beta glucans, sterols, and eritadenine in Shiitake mushrooms can also help to lower blood sugar levels and fight back against high cholesterol. 

  • Portobello mushrooms

Another excellent meat substitute, Portobello mushrooms are huge and satisfying as part of a delicious plate of food. What’s more, studies show that they contain CLA, which helps with reducing weight gain in overweight individuals. These mushrooms are extremely low in carbs, and they’re packed with fiber, which helps people to feel fuller for longer, so they’re less likely to seek extra food. Fiber is also helpful for balancing the gut microbiome, so that it can work more effectively at processing food. 

  • Reishi mushrooms

Reishi mushrooms change the way your body absorbs and stores fats. As mentioned above, Reishi mushrooms are some of the most scientifically proven mushrooms to consider if you’re overweight. These mushrooms contain ganoderic acids, beta-glucans and other properties that support heart health, promote better sleep and improve the functioning of the immune system.

  • Maitake mushrooms

Maitake mushrooms are loaded with beta-glucans, which make them an excellent choice for improving immune system function. These mushrooms are also surprisingly good at reducing blood sugar levels, which means they help to fight against diabetes. Maitake can help users to lose weight by reducing hunger pangs too. 

  • Cordyceps mushrooms

Known for its stimulating properties, the Cordyceps mushroom is excellent for delivering a boost of energy. If you need help finding the motivation to work out and lose more weight, Cordyceps can help. These mushrooms improve oxygen use and enhance blood flow. 

Are Mushroom Supplements a Good Idea?

Thanks to high levels of powerful nutrients, anti-oxidants, and vitamins, virtually any kind of mushroom can be an excellent addition to your diet. These foods are particularly beneficial when they replace less healthy alternatives in your routine, like fatty meats and sugars. 

For anyone suffering from weight issues, mushrooms can be a powerful addition to a weight loss routine. Supplements offer the ideal way to access large portions of mushrooms to specifically target fat storage, satiety, and other factors affecting a person’s weight. The best part is that the people using these mushroom supplements don’t need to enjoy the taste to get the benefits. 

Maitake (Grifola frondosa) mushroom benefits: This mushroom transforms health

Mushrooms are an excellent source of nutrition. Packed full of vitamins and valuable compounds, mushrooms support the human body in a multitude of ways. However, with over 50,000 species of fungi to choose from, some options are more impressive than others. 

Maitake mushrooms might not be as well-known as the shiitake or Portobello, but they could be the answer to many health problems. Known as the “dancing” mushroom or Grifola Frondosa in Japan, this highly valuable product has had an impact on health and medicine for over 3,000 years. 

Now available in the form of supplements, it’s easier than ever to access the benefits of Maitake mushroom, without huge dietary changes. 

What is a Maitake Mushroom?

The Maitake mushroom is one of the most beneficial types of fungi in the world, offering everything from improved immune system performance, to enhanced blood sugar management. The Maitake is native to northern eastern Japan, China, and North America, and it often grows around the base of oak, elm, and maple trees. 

Regarded “king of the mushrooms”, Maitake fungi appear in a huge range of traditional Chinese remedies. Science considers this mushroom as one of the most bioactive and safe

Maitake contains an impressive quantity of triterpenes, polysaccharides, and other bioactive chemicals crucial for supporting good health. The beta-glucan content of the mushroom has immunomodulatory and antiviral properties to ward off pathogens, and the fungus is great for strengthening the immune system. As an adaptogen, Maitake helps to promote natural balance in the body too, reducing blood sugar levels and improving weight management. 

Other nutritional benefits in the Maitake mushroom include:

  • Vitamins B (especially B12) and C for immune system support
  • Enzymes like amylase, pectinases, and lectins
  • Antioxidants for improving detoxification
  • Bioactive proteins – responsible for various bodily functions
  • Ergosterol – the precursor for vitamin D
  • Minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium
  • Essential amino acids like threonine, alanine, and glutamine

Maitake Mushroom Benefits

There are plenty of Maitake mushroom benefits to explore, from the fact that the fungus is practically fat-free, to the ability to stock up on plenty of healthy fiber when adding this substance to a meal. For thousands of years, Japan and China have turned to the Maitake mushroom for longevity, health, and vitality, and scientists in the US are beginning to take notice too. 

Maitake mushrooms are low in sodium and calories, and they’re a great way to reduce exposure to cholesterol too. At the same time, maitake mushrooms can:

  • Support immune system functioning: As mentioned above, the unique makeup of Maitake mushrooms make them an excellent partner for the immune system, great for reducing the chances of disease and long-term ailments. The Maitake mushroom can improve the functioning of the immune system and encourage balance in the body too. 
  • Control blood sugar: Modern people use Maitake to assist in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. Studies using a fraction of this mushroom support its hypoglycemic activity helping maintenance of health blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. A clinical study showed that all seven diabetic patients demonstrated over 30% (30% – 63%) decline in their fasting blood glucose levels under a particular Maitake fraction regimen of 2-4 weeks. 
  • Reduce the risk of cancer: Maitake mushrooms are beginning to play a part in the treatment and prevention of cancer. In combination with chemotherapy, studies and health professionals evidence tumour regression, enhanced immune response, less secondary effects and improvements in life quality of cancer patients.
  • Manage cholesterol: Maitake mushrooms are adaptogens that improve balance within the body. This makes them great for weight control, but it also means that they can help with lowering things like cholesterol too. Researchers found that powdered extract could reduce cholesterol levels in vivo models. It could also improve blood pressure by keeping arteries healthy. 

On top of all that, further study into Maitake mushrooms suggests that this fungus could be helpful for supporting the metabolic system, reducing the risk of obesity and weight control problems. 

Adding Maitake mushrooms to a routine

Maitake mushroom benefits make them an ideal addition to any healthy nutrition diet. However, these products aren’t particularly easy to get fresh. The flavour is very deep and earthy, which won’t appeal to all clients in search of a nutritional transformation. 

The best way to get Maitake mushrooms into a healthy routine, is in the form of supplements. Nutraceuticals or functional food supplements based on one or more mushrooms are the ones that offer higher concentrations of the unique benefits and nutrients that each fungi species can offer. Additionally, these products don’t add any extra calories or fat to the diet.

Integrative Oncology and medicinal mushrooms for quality of life

Integrative oncology and coadjuvant oncology are gaining more attention for the management of various forms of cancer. The complexity of cancerous ailments means that most patients respond best to a personalised treatment strategy. Precision and Personalized medicine (PPM) for cancer treatment allows clinicians to better predict the potential outcome of different therapeutic remedies for each patient. This approach to “PPM” treatment requires a more holistic view of natural options. 

Integrative oncology therapies using medicinal mushrooms have already proven to be a valuable addition to many treatment plans in the oncology landscape. Medicinal mushrooms are equipped with a variety of bioactive compounds and nutrients  which can strengthen the performance of the immune system, encourage homeostasis and improve healing

Unlike other coadjacent integrative oncology therapies, medicinal mushrooms also benefit from low potential side effects. Tolerance for most medical mushroom supplements is high, and the risk of negative interaction with other medications is low. 

Medicinal Mushrooms Can Strengthen Cancer Treatments

Medicinal mushrooms have been used for hundreds of years in traditional treatments for various ailments, including cancer. Beta-glucans in mushrooms have been approved as adjunctive therapies for cancer treatments in some parts of the world already. 

Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma Lucidum) has proven to be a powerful tool in fighting against inflammatory breast cancer. When given to breast cancer patients, the Reishi mushroom actively suppressed protein synthesis and tumour growth in cancer patients. Reishi mushrooms are also well-known for their immunomodulating abilities, which assist in maintaining the performance of the immune system during cancer treatment. 

Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) has been found to inhibit growth of cancerous cells in various forms of lung carcinoma, breast adenocarcinoma MCF-7 cells, and cervical adenocarcinoma. Chaga mushrooms can further combat oxidative stress, improving the overall health and resiliency of the human body. 

Polysaccharide-K (PSK) known for stimulating the immune system, is available in high levels within the Turkey Tail (Coriolus Versicolor) mushroom. In studies in patients with gastric cancer, PSK improved the 5-year disease free rating significantly for cancer survivors. 

Medicinal mushrooms are high in nutritional benefits, and rich in bioactive compounds capable of strengthening the immune system. Many mushrooms, such as Reishi, can also have a positive impact on the balance of the gut microbiota, which is proven to be responsible for influencing the performance of the immune system. The balance of the microbiota, combined with the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidation effects of the mushroom can strengthen the performance of traditional treatments. 

Medicinal Mushrooms in Integrative Oncology

As a tool for coadjacent integrative oncology, medicinal mushrooms represent a safe way to improve the performance of most oncology treatment paths. On a basic level, medicinal mushrooms can address some of the common nutritional deficiencies during cancer treatments. The immunomodulation abilities of medicinal  mushrooms also help to reduce the risk of opportunistic infections and side effects. 

Further studies demonstrate the ability of medical mushrooms to not only enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy,  but also reduce pain and other side effects like fatigue, loss of appetite, among others . Medicinal mushrooms can slow cancer progression and reduce the risk of recurrence, but they’re also of vital importance for improving the quality of life of patients. 

In a Cochrane review (one of the most strict and high quality international scientific reviews) researchers conclude that taking Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) extract alongside traditional treatment can significantly improve the response to standard oncological treatments.  As biological response modifiers, medicinal mushrooms interrupt cancer pathways, supporting healthy cellular replication and removing dangerous cancer cells. 

By reducing inflammation and disrupted apoptosis, the medicinal mushroom can improve the quality of life for patients by minimizing stress, sleep disorders, nausea, leukopenia, low energy, skin lesions, neuropathy, and even hepatotoxicity. One study into patients with cancer found that Agaricus brasiliensis Murrill could improve emotional stability, appetite, alopecia, and general weakness. 

Safe and Effective Treatments

Supplementation of medicinal mushrooms, unlike other forms of integrative oncology treatment, provide a safe and reliable way for practitioners to support their patients with improved clinical results, and higher ratings in quality of life. A high quality blend of medicinal mushrooms can improve the nutritional status of the patient, while providing the immune support required to fight back against cancerous cells. 

Additionally, the mushrooms formulated in the correct supplemental products will not use the CYP450 metabolism pathway common among most drugs. Therefore, practitioners are recommended to look for brands that have tested safety of medicinal mushrooms at this level. In this way, mushrooms can be safely used under the supervision of medical professionals to support the body’s biological responses, maintain microenvironments on a cellular level, and enhance conventional on logical treatments.