Polysaccharides isolated from mushrooms such as Ganoderma lucidum and Agaricus blazei murril have been proven to have excellent stimulating and regulating effects on our immune system. However, there is caveat: their boosting effects on the immune system are tied to regular and prolonged use of these mushrooms. The effect of these mushrooms isn’t permanent and lasts as long as their consumption is constant and regular.
The clinical study that has aroused much interest in the therapeutic value of mushrooms was conducted by the University of Oslo – and published in the specialized journal Scandinavian Journal of Immunology ( available here ). The study was conducted on Agaricus blazei murril mushrooms, and has in fact highlighted the mushroom’s boosting effects on the immune system ( immunomodulatory properties of the mushroom’s contents: β-glucans ). β-glucans increase the effectiveness of neutrophil and macrophages cells , the first line of defense against infections, and of Natural Killer cells, the first defense against cancer cells.
A study carried out on advanced cancer patients ( available here ) showed that the polysaccharides of Ganoderma lucidum mushroom (widely known as Reishi mushroom) also improved the parameters of their immune system. The study aimed to investigate the effects of polysaccharides extracted from Ganoderma lucidum on the immune system of advanced cancer patients. The total of 34 patients were enrolled in the clinical trial and took 1800mg of Ganoderma lucidum extract 3 times a day before each meal, for a period of 12 weeks.
The results of the clinical trial evidenced that immune parameters such as the cytokine level, the T cell sub-types, the mitotic response to phytohemagglutinin (PHA) and the activity of Natural Killer cells were higher than at the beginning of the clinical study (Cytokines such as IL-2, IL-6 and IFN-γ are visibly increased, as well as the number of some immune cells such as CD56, the activity of Natural Killer cells and the immune responses to phytohemagglutinin).
The study indicates that the Ganoderma lucidum extract amplifies the immune response in patients in advanced cancer stages. These two examples of clinical studies that showcase how mushrooms can help us make our immune system far more reactive and efficient. It should be noted that all non-toxic mushrooms have a beneficial effect on our immune system. However, these two mushrooms in particular (Ganoderma lucidum and Agaricus blazei murril) have been clinically and scientifically studied for their immune system boosting and regulatory capabilities.