Digestive complaints are a common complaint in the offices of various healthcare professionals, from GPs to nutritionists. As many as 11% of people globally are affected by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) , with two out of every three sufferers being female. Other disorders that cause gut inflammation include SIBO, leaky gut, IBD, dysbiosis, gastritis, dyspepsia, and stomach ulcers, all of which are also relatively commonplace with varying severity and levels of discomfort.
A key challenge with these conditions is that they can be difficult to diagnose. For example, IBS is defined as a functional gastrointestinal disorder, which is an abnormal bowel function without identifiable anatomic cause. These disorders share their symptoms with various other conditions, including some cancers. Equally, the various subgroups of IBS can be difficult to pin down. In fact, about a third of patients with IBS switch between IBS-C (characterised by constipation) and IBS-D (characterised by diarrhoea) as the condition progresses.
The multifactorial nature of intestinal disorders (including stress, toxins exposition, nutritional issues etc..) means that healthcare professionals should assess all their options, including holistic methods. Considering the goalposts keep moving, an approach that promotes overall well-being instead of targeting discrete symptoms has unique benefits. Mycomedicine is a compelling solution, and here, we outline why.
Using Medicinal Mushrooms to Treat Gut Inflammation
When it comes to treating gut inflammation, one of the most interesting benefits of medicinal mushrooms is their prebiotic effect. Take dysbiosis as an example; characterised by gut inflammation, this condition is caused by a microbial imbalance inside the gut as a result of an impaired microbiota. Traditionally, dysbiosis is managed with probiotics and/or prebiotic fibers. However, natural, holistic methods are becoming more mainstream.
For instance, researchers at the Beijing Normal University and the Hong Kong Baptist University recently found that even commonplace gastronomic mushroom varieties such as the Pleurotus or oyster mushroom can increase microbial diversity and stimulate local anti-inflammatory response. Equally, Coriolus Versicolor, or the Chaga mushroom, were found to have various gut health benefits, including positively impacting bacterial flora .
For patients suffering from aggressive, acid-associated conditions like gastritis, ulcers, gastric reflux disease, and leaky gut syndrome, certain mushroom varieties have marked benefits. For example, Hericium Erinaceus or Lion’s mane mushroom can inhibit Helicobacter pylori and aid in the regeneration of gastric and intestinal mucosa . Furthermore, the natural, gentle character of this supplementation avoids additional gut inflammation caused by conventional medicine.
Far-reaching Benefits of Mycomedicine
Considering the complex nature of digestive disorders, a multi-systemic approach offers various benefits. As an alternative to or in conjunction with allopathic treatments, Pleutorus, Lion’s Mane, or Chaga supplements can alleviate symptoms including gut inflammation. Meanwhile, they can stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria, restoring balance in the gut microbiota, which in turn, promotes overall well-being.
Finally, it’s important to note that medicinal mushrooms are a natural source of a range of essential nutrients. As a safe, gentle whole food that patients can take every day, mushroom supplements present minimal risk associated with allergies or interaction with other medications. This makes them an ideal integrative therapy for a variety of conditions associated with gut inflammation, enhancing well-being and quality of life.
- Canavan C, West J, Card T. The epidemiology of irritable bowel syndrome. Clin Epidemiol. 2014;6:71-80. Published 2014 Feb 4.
- Jayachandran M, Xiao J, Xu B. A Critical Review on Health Promoting Benefits of Edible Mushrooms through Gut Microbiota. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18(9):1934. Published 2017 Sep 8. doi:10.3390/ijms18091934
- Chin Med J (Engl). 1985 Jun;98(6):455-6. A double-blind study of effectiveness of Hericium erinaceus pers therapy on chronic atrophic gastritis. A preliminary report. Xu CP, Liu WW, Liu FX, Chen SS, Liao FQ, Xu Z, Jiang LG, Wang CA, Lu XH.