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Health Benefits of Mushrooms

  • Over 3,000 enzymes, proteins and nutrients
  • Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds
    • L-Ergothioneine
    • Vitamin D2
  • "Nature's Ultimate Super Food"

Mushroom Health Benefits


Mushroom health benefits are great for overall health, including their ability to help fight cancer. Asian mushrooms in particular have been used for their medicinal powers by the Chinese for more than 6,000 years.

Asian mushrooms come in dozens of varieties, and some of the ones most recognized in the United States include shiitake, maitake, reishi, oyster, and cordyceps. Although you can benefit from eating Asian mushrooms, supplements that contain mushroom  also provide healing components.

- See more at: www.ysnutrition.com

Anticancer Properties of Mushrooms

One of those components is ergosterol peroxide, which researchers found to be effective against human prostate cancer cells. (Russo 2010) Specifically, they found that ergosterol peroxide inhibited cancer cell growth and triggered cell suicide (apoptosis), which prompted the researchers to say their findings “confirm the use of mushrooms as origin of compounds to be used as novel therapeutic agents for prostate cancer treatment.”

Cancer Research UK, the leading funder of cancer research in the United Kingdom, reports that medicinal mushrooms have the ability to restrict tumor spread (metastasis) and antitumor activity. Research shows that shiitake and cordyceps, for example, contain several active compounds that have anticancer activity and can enhance the immune system rather than attack cancer cells directly. These compounds are used to help support immune function in cancer patients during chemotherapy and radiation and can prolong survival times in some types of cancer. (Cancer Research UK)

 From another Asian fungus, reishi mushrooms, are used to stimulate the immune system in cancer patients. The active substances in reishi mushrooms have both antitumor and immune stimulating properties. (Mao 1999)

A mushroom compound called polysaccharopeptide (PSP), which is found from the turkey tail mushroom, demonstrated an ability to target prostate cancer stem cells and suppress the formation of prostate tumors in a mouse study. According to the senior research fellow Dr. Patrick Ling at Queensland University of Technology, “In the past, other inhibitors tested in research trials have been shown to be up to 70 percent effective, but we’re seeing 100 percent of this tumour prevented from developing with PSP.”  While conventional therapies are effective in targeting certain cancer cells, PSP was shown to focus on cancer stem cells, which initiate cancer and cause its progression.

A review article in the journal Clinical and Experimental Metastasis recently identified and reported on the specific mechanisms responsible for reishi mushroom’s ability to suppress cancer invasion and metastasis. The authors noted that more in vitro and in vivo tests as well as clinical trials are necessary to better understand these effects. (Weng 2010)

Shiitake, maitake, oyster and reishi mushrooms also contain a powerful antioxidant called L-ergothioneine. Scientists at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reported that ergothioneine has a role in protecting cells from damage from toxins and other substances that could result in the development of cancer. (Paul 2009)

Mushrooms and BPH

Reishi also seem to have another benefit. In the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, researchers reported that  of reishi may be useful for the treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy. (Fujita 2005) In the study, the mushroom extract significantly inhibited hormone-driven growth of the prostate in lab animals.

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study using reishi mushroom extract, 88 men who had lower urinary tract symptoms, characteristic of BPH, were assigned to take either 6 mg of mushroom or placebo daily for 12 weeks. Men in the treatment group had a significant improvement in the International Prostate Symptom Score and variables of uroflowmetry. (Nogushi 2008)

In a recent study published in Chemistry and Biodiversity, treatment with reishi extract significantly inhibited the testosterone-induced growth of the prostate in rats. This finding indicated that reishi mushroom health benefits may be helpful in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia or prostate cancer. (Liu 2009)

Performance-D: A Promising Natural Therapy for Prostate Cancer


PERFORMANCE-D, is a hybridized extract of medicinal mushrooms — specifically the mycelia (or underground portion) of shiitake mushrooms.  The subject of 30 PubMed-listed published studies confirming its immuno-modulating capabilities. Unlike conventional cancer treatments, PERFORMANCE-D has a strong safety profile, with no side effects. This is not surprising, as mushroom mycelia have been consumed as food since antiquity and have a long tradition of medicinal use in Japan.

PERFORMANCE-D is unique in that while most mushrooms contain primarily betaglucans, PERFORMANCE-D is very rich in alpha-glucans, a different type of polysaccharide with very potent immunomodulating properties.   Due to a patented manufacturing process, PERFORMANCE-D has a low molecular weight (under 5,000 daltons, as compared to 200,000 daltons for most medical mushrooms).  The small size of PERFORMANCE-D molecules translates to increased absorption and increased efficacy compared to traditional shiitake, maitake, and reishi .

PERFORMANCE-D and Immune Function

The job of the immune system is to protect the body from foreign organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and cancer cells. Therefore, cancer is ultimately a failure of the immune system. PERFORMANCE-D enhances immune function by increasing numbers of several key types of cells and molecules.

  • Cytokines are messengers that allow the immune system to organize a response to an infection or another threat to the body, such as cancer. A study in healthy elderly people demonstrated that PERFORMANCE-D increases the production of cytokines, such as INF-γ and TNF-α.
  • Natural killer (NK) cells are white blood cells that serve as the body’s first line of defense. They recognize and destroy infected or cancerous cells by injecting material into them that causes them to swell and explode. Human studies have shown that PERFORMANCE-D can increase the activity of NK cells by 200-300 percent. Specifically, PERFORMANCE-D makes NK cells more effective by increasing their ability to bind to tumor cells.
  • Macrophages engulf and destroy bacteria. PERFORMANCE-D has been demonstrated to increase populations of these cells by up to 100 percent.
  • Dendritic cells are white blood cells that present foreign substances to B and T cells, which then destroy them. PERFORMANCE-D significantly increases numbers of dendritic cells.

PERFORMANCE-D and Quality of Life

PERFORMANCE-D has no side effects and can even help ameliorate the side effects of cancer treatments. Using both physical and mental criteria after three months of PERFORMANCE-D treatment, researchers found that the quality of life of liver cancer patients was significantly improved. Another study found PERFORMANCE-D helped ease the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy for patients with late-stage head and neck cancers.  The subjects had better appetites, felt stronger, and reported less nausea and vomiting when they took PERFORMANCE-D. Their white blood cell counts also improved and they suffered less constipation.

How to Take Mushroom Extract

Mushroom extract supplements are available as liquid extract, tablets, and capsules and can be purchased either as individual mushroom supplements or those containing a combination of two or more mushroom varieties. Consult a knowledgeable healthcare provider to determine the best mushroom supplement and dose for your needs.