Extracts of mushrooms Shiitake, Reishi and Maitake can strengthen the immune system, scientists claim based on a study

Mushrooms can strengthen your immune system: extracts of the types of shiitake, reishi and maitake & # 39; stimulate the response of white blood cells & # 39;

  • Mushrooms are rich in a type of carbohydrate called beta glucans
  • They appeared to encourage a reaction of white blood cells in the laboratory
  • & # 39; Medicinal mushrooms & # 39; have taken the health market by storm

Mushrooms can boost your immune system, a study suggests.

Scientists discovered that a special mix of shiitake, reishi and maitake can stimulate the response of white blood cells.

Griffith University, Queensland, scientists chose three commercially available types of mushrooms with many beta glucans.

Beta glucans are a type of carbohydrate found in the cell walls of fungi. They are also found in other foods such as oats. People can't make it themselves.


When taken, the immune system sees beta glucans as strange and stimulates an increased defense against pathogens, Australian scientists say.

Studies have shown that beta glucans can lower blood cholesterol and therefore reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

There are also indications that carbohydrates regulate blood sugar levels and stimulate the immune system.

Extracts of mushrooms Shiitake, Reishi and Maitake can strengthen the immune system, scientists claim based on a study

Extracts of mushrooms Shiitake, Reishi and Maitake can strengthen the immune system, scientists claim based on a study

The study, published in the journal PLOS One, mixed the three mushrooms together and tested it for human blood cells in the laboratory.

The brew stimulated macrophages, a type of white blood cell that detects and destroys bacteria and other harmful organisms.


Macrophages send signals to T cells, which perform a series of functions, including the killing of bacteria.

Macrophages also release cytokines, which promote communication between cells as part of the immune response and stimulate the movement of cells to inflammatory sites.

The team saw an increase in cytokines, indicating that the mushrooms had acted as a stimulus to the immune system.

As far as they know, this is the first time an immune-triggering reaction by mushroom extract has been reported in the medical literature.

It is not clear whether the mushroom extracts would have the same effect if they were eaten and ingested.


But the experts, led by research student Brody Mallard, said it is likely that an immune system reaction occurs in the gut tissue.

& # 39; Medicinal mushrooms & # 39; have only recently been scientifically researched – but their use dates back to 206 BC in China.

Powerful in potentially useful compounds, extracts are sold in powder form and in capsules, coffee blends and beauty products.

The products used in this study were grown, milled and sold on the market in China. But were not mentioned.

The study was funded by Integria Healthcare Australia, which owns different brands that sell herbal supplements.



Mushrooms have been used medicinally in Chinese and Japanese cultures for centuries.

But in recent years there has been an explosion of mushroom-based products, including capsules, powders, and tea.

Unlike the ones you can buy in the supermarket, & # 39; medicinal mushrooms & # 39; those compounds that may contain health properties.

There is a large variety, but the most common types are reishi. In China, it is known as the & # 39; immortality fungus & # 39; because it is thought to be anti-aging.

Shiitake, a widely used ingredient in Asian cuisine, has also become a focus of scientific research.


To date, no effect has been demonstrated with sufficient human research. A substance called lentinan extracted from shiitake is used clinically for the treatment of cancer in both China and Japan.

Maitake is often used in Japanese cuisine and is believed to fight infections by building an immune response and reducing inflammation.

Some animal studies have shown that it has the potential to reduce cholesterol and weight.

There is little evidence from clinical studies as to whether these fungi help prevent or treat human disease.

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