The inflammatory response of the body is a complex immune system response to the perceived presence of harmful stimuli. Chronic, acute, and transmural inflammation can be triggered by a range of factors, including damaged cells, pathogens, and toxic compounds. Part of what makes inflammation so complex to manage, is its ability to influence all parts of the body, from the heart and brain to the lungs and reproductive system.
Typical inflammation is a defence system vital to good health, designed to protect the body against harmful substances, and initiate the healing process. Unfortunately, uncontrolled inflammation can quickly become chronic, leading to various inflammatory conditions. In the case of transmural inflammation, common conditions often include the gut and bowel, causing inflammation throughout all layers of the intestinal mucosa.
Extensive transmural inflammation prompt the progression of conditions like inflammatory bowl disease, Ulcerative Colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Medicinal mushrooms represent a safe and effective method of modulating the immune system and reducing the inflammatory response in transmural cases.
Managing the Inflammatory Response
Modulating the inflammatory processes in the body is crucial to addressing not just the symptoms of conditions like Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis, but also minimising the risk of the disease progressing further. Transmural inflammation affecting all layers of the bowel could increase the need for surgery in some cases of Crohn’s disease.
Unfortunately, common inflammatory treatments like NSAIDs and similar painkillers are rarely effective in the long term. Regular use of NSAIDs heighten the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, and throw the immune system off-balance, by decreasing antibody synthesis. Inflammatory modulation requires a more focused approach to interrupting dangerous immune responses and modulating positive immune performance.
Medicinal mushrooms offer a safe approach to inflammation modulation thanks to a unique collection of bioactive compounds. Polysaccharides like alpha, beta and D glucans, Terpenoids, peptides, phenolics, and other compounds work together to balance the immune system and promote the healthy functioning of the body.
How Medicinal Mushrooms Reduce inflammation
Inflammation is a biological response of the immune system triggered by all kinds of factors. Infectious and non-infectious agents alike, as well as cell damage, can activate inflammatory cells, and trigger inflammatory signalling pathways such as the JAK-STAT, MAPK, and NF-KB pathways.
Ganoderma Lucidum, or Reishi mushroom, is one effective example of how we can use mushrooms as anti-inflammatories. The triterpene extract of G. Lucidum in LPS-stimulated macrophages can suppress the secretion of inflammatory factors like TNF-alpha, and interleukin-6. G. Lucidum also suppresses the secretion of PGE(2), and nitric oxide from LPS-stimulated murine cells.
Studies show the anti-inflammatory effects of Ganoderma Lucidum Triterpene are mediated by the inhibition of transcription factor Nf-KappaB, demonstrated through decreased NF-KappaB-DNA binding activity, and the suppression of p65 phosphrylation in LPS-stimulated macrophages receiving treatment. Reishi can effectively interrupt the inflammatory pathways in the body, regulating the NF-KB macrophage conversion process from M2 to M1, and reducing the pain response.
Studies into Ganoderma Lucidum further suggest that the bioactive compounds of the mushroom can reduce inflammation as an antioxidant for the body, and a source of valuable nutrition. Used correctly, these extracts also reverse immunoscenescence, to improve the natural homeostasis of the body.
Similarly, medicinal mushrooms like Cordyceps are effective at suppressing the mechanisms set into motions by proteins which prompt macrophage action. In cases of inflammation caused by injury, cordyceps can aid in recovery and reduce pain, while utilizing bodily resources like oxygen more effectively.
Many medicinal mushrooms are also linked with the balance of the gut microbiota, which is necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system. As powerful sources of pro and prebiotics, medicinal mushrooms can re-establish balance in the gut system, which may play an important part in reducing the flare up of transmural inflammation and chronic conditions.
Using Medicinal Mushrooms for Inflammation
The search for an effective way of managing and modulation inflammation in the human body has been a complex one for a number of years. As old-fashioned treatments like NSAIDs continue to demonstrate inefficiencies and dangers, holistic treatments may provide a better outcome. Medicinal mushrooms are scientifically proven to offer benefits to those with inflammatory conditions.
The range of bioactive compounds in medicinal mushrooms can effectively interrupt and regulate the immune and inflammatory sequence, providing a safe and natural solution to causes of transmural inflammation. The robust evidence already available on medicinal mushroom performance warrants further investigation going forward.