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Candida and Reishi

Reishi Mushroom Extract and other Medicinal Mushrooms Benefit Candida Sufferers!

Reishi Mushroom Extract is a Beneficial Candida Treatment!

There seems to be a constant babble about whether people with candida overgrowth should avoid mushrooms for the sake of their health. Most people, including “experts” will tell you not to consume mushrooms of any kind.

Let’s set the record straight.

Although they fall under the same general category of fungi: Mushrooms are not mold. Mushrooms are not yeast.

Not all mushrooms need be avoided.

The ones you do want to enjoy include shiitake, maitake (both culinary delights) and reishi mushrooms (not so delicious, usually taken as reishi mushroom extract). In fact, reishi mushrooms can help your immune system to regain balance over the invasive form of candida. Remember, candida is a natural element in the human body, it only becomes invasive and detrimental when it is given an opportunity to grow out of control, which happens when the immune system is weakened.

“Candida and Mushrooms? I’ve heard to avoid mushrooms if my health is suffering due to candida overgrowth.”

I know, me too! But for many years I’ve known about the healing effects of shiitake and reishi mushrooms. I ate shiitakes while I was doing my cleanse diet, and never felt any ill effects.

Finally I’ve been taking the time to research it more for myself and my results are really pleasing! Here is some of the encouraging information I’ve been gathering about reishi mushroom extract, maitake and shiitake mushrooms:

Did you know that some fungi are more closely related to animals than plants are to those same animals? And that some diseases which affect fungi can affect humans as well? I didn’t until recently. Weird, but true.

For instance, three pathenogenic microorganisms which cause diseases common to fungi and humans (these are ones I know of, I’m sure there are more):

Escherichia coli (E Coli)
Staphylococcus aureus (the most common cause of staph infections)
Pseudomonas aeruginosa (a bacteria which causes the common “hot tub rash, or “hot tub folliculitis”)

One of medicinal mushrooms’ natural defenses is to produce antibiotics to fight infection from microorganisms. In fact, antibiotics commonly prescribed at the doctor’s office are often derived from fungi.

There is an increasingly accepted hypothesis in modern medicine that polypore mushrooms like reishi mushroom extract and maitake mushrooms can help provide a immune “shield” against a number of infectious diseases, including candida. Shiitake mushrooms, while not polypores, are also known for their immune enhancing properties.

One of the beneficial elements in these medicinal mushrooms are certain polysaccharides, which are a form of complex carbohydrates. Cellulose (plant fiber) and pectin (found in fruits such as citrus, apples and pears) are two other well known forms of polysaccharides.

Okay, once again, let me reiterate that I’m no scientist, but I am an avid reader and always poking around for new and interesting information. Here’s some more information I’ve dug up on reishi mushrooms and other healing mushrooms – some of which even I wouldn’t attempt to explain scientifically, but nonetheless I find it compelling because there is an abundance of scientific and medicinal research coming back with positive results.

Reishi Mushrom Extract and other Medicinal Mushrooms Are Beneficial For Numerous Reasons
Reishi mushrooms and the other healing mushrooms contain an abundance of not only “polysaccharides” but also “protein-bound polysaccharides”, including the much touted beta-D-glucans, which is one reason they all possess such potent immune-strengthening properties (beta-D-glucans is primarily used for immune enhancing properties as well as its ability to help lower cholesterol).

Other medicinal herbs and plants including Aloe Vera, Echinacea and Astragalus contain polysaccharides, which are believed to be a major part of their immune-enhancing actions. Protein-bound polysaccharides found in the medicinal mushrooms have been shown to be even more effective for immune responses than individual polysaccharides.

Thus, it’s hypothesized that the protein-bound polysaccharides found in mushrooms such as reishi mushroom extract, maitake mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms are extra-beneficial for people whose health is compromised by candida overgrowth.

Animal and human trials demonstrate that mushrooms like reishi, maitake and shiitake enhance the production of T-cells, helper T-cells, natural killer cells and macrophages.

They also contain sterols and triterpenes which have been demonstrated to help lower blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels as well as reduce inflammatory responses.

They’ve also been shown to protect and enhance liver function, which is great news for candida sufferers, since the liver is working overtime to process the toxins produced by the candida yeasts.

All mushrooms are surprisingly rich in protein and B vitamins (which help to relieve stress, depression and fatigue commonly associated with candida and poor health in general).

They’re also the only non-animal source of vitamin D that I know of. The USDA’s recommended daily intake of Vitamin D is 200 IU (international units), which is considered a very low estimate by numerous health experts. All mushrooms synthesize vitamin D from natural sunlight (or even artificial light), but look at the comparison between regular button mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms:

100 grams of white button mushrooms contain an average of 18 IU of vitamin D.

100 grams of shiitake mushrooms contain an average of 96 IU of vitamin D!!

Vitamin D deficiency is being linked to many health problems, so make sure you’re getting enough every day. Remember, vitamin D is synthesized by the body from sunlight, or obtained from food sources like cod liver oil, salmon, eggs, milk.

Or… from the shiitakes in your stir fry… Yum!!

I could go on, but I hope instead that these notes will encourage more readers to consider the benefits of Reishi mushroom, as well as cooking with maitake and shiitake mushrooms for candida, health and overall wellness.

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Reishi Overview

Reishi

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum [Latin]), also known as ling-zhi, ling chih, and ling chi mushroom, is a type of mushroom that grows wild on plum trees in Japan. The Japanese call reishi the “phantom mushroom” because there are so few of them to be found-fewer than 10 mushrooms are found on every 100,000 trees. This medicinal mushroom has been used in Asia to increase energy, stimulate the immune system, and promote longevity for thousands of years.

In Western countries reishi is thought to act as an adaptogen, or a substance that adapts itself to correct any imbalances in the body. Herbalists recommend reishi for strengthening the immune system against allergies, asthma, mushroom poisoning, and the immunosuppressant side effects of chemotherapy. Reishi reduces the amount of inflammatory histamines in the body. Studies have also shown that reishi may protect the body against some types of cancer as well. It contains compounds called ganoderic acids, which act against liver cancer, and blocks production of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), a substance that can lead to the formation of fibroids of the breast and uterus.

Research performed at Oral Roberts University found that compounds in reishi help reduce emotional stress by inhibiting the flow of nerve impulses though the central nervous system. For hundreds of years, Eastern physicians have recommended reishi to treat chronic stress. In Japan, reishi’s dulling effect on the central nervous system has lead to its use as a treatment for severe physical pain symptoms experienced by patients with shingles and neuralgia. In addition, reishi has a long history of use to help prevent memory loss.

Laboratory studies have demonstrated reishi’s ability to lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels in humans and animals. In one study, subjects with high blood pressure that did not respond to mainstream prescription medication did show significant improvement when treated with reishi. Reishi is also a natural detoxifier, and can help prevent cirrhosis of the liver in alcoholics that are in the early stages of this disease.

-Vitamin Stuff

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The King of the Herbs

History of Ganoderma (AKA. The “King of Herbs”)
Ganoderma Lucidium (AKA Reishi Mushroom) has more than 5,000 years of history. Since the ancient period, it had been called the miraculous herb, precious herb, and an herb on behalf of life. It was and treated as a “panacea” tribute on behalf of emperors and later earned the nickname “supernatural eastern mushroom” from citizens of the west.

Ancient records showed that Ganoderma Lucidum grew in the imperial palace, which is thought to tally for quiet throughout the Handi-Wudi Epoch. A man named Pengzu who was from Wuyi Mountain was thought to contain lived for hundreds of years, with the face of a immature person, in no way looking old, and allocated it to ganoderma lucidum. He understood, he kept back himself in gain vigor by taking Ganoderma Lucidum, drinking the chute and living in reclusion.

The virtues of Ganoderma (Lingshi, Reishi) have been famous since ancient time in China and principal renowned through the reign of Fu Xi (2952-2836 BC).The Infamous Seng Nong is said to have discovered teh beneficial virtues of plants by trying hundreds of spcies. “Seng Nong’s Herbal Classic” is considered to be the most primitive manuscript on Chinese Materia Medica and is still in our day the foundation of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Oriental medicine in broad-spectrum. The record describes Ganoderma Lucidum in fact: In the company of 365 specieis of plants, roots, wood, fur, animals and stones, separated into three grades, Ganoderma is listed as the highest rank- No.1 of the first of “Superior Herbs.”

Six species of Ganoderma, differentiated by color, are mentioned in the Seng Nong,classic. Li Shi Zhen, a famous medicinal scholoar duriing the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), fully researched and concretely documented the indications of the six species. The creation of Li was republished in 1956, and translated into several foreign launguages with Japanese, English, French, German, Russian and Latin. This hardback is regarded as the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

To uncover Ganoderma in ancient time, citizens had to reach in height up on the mountains and deep into forrests to harvest this a good number valuable herb. The discovery of Ganoderma led to wide-spread celebration. Ganoderma was so valued it was used almost exclusively by Emperors and by highly ranked courtesans.

– Markus

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Ganoderma Lucidium

Studies on Bioactive Substances and Medical Effects of REISHI

Reishi, the fruiting body of Mannentake, Ganoderma lucidum has been known in Japan, China, and other countries as a food and raw material for the development of drugs.  Recent studies have shown that that carcinostatic substance in Reishi is a polysaccharide, beta (1-3)- D – glucan. This polysaccharide seems to have promise as a new type of carcinostatic agent which might be useful in immunotherapy. Unlike chemicals used in chemotherapy, it has few toxic side effects because its effect is based on immunological enhancement in the host. Reishi also seems to contain other substances which reduce blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels; and inhibit platelet aggregation, etc.

Recently, in vitro immunomodulating effects of Reishi extracts, and clinical study of micronized Reishi in Thai HIV and AIDS patients were attempted in Thailand. Some lanostane tri-terpenoids have been isolated from G. lucidum. These are highly oxidized compounds which show interesting biological activities.

Takashi Mizuno, Shizuoka University, Japan

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The Role of Reishi in Cancer Management.

red reishi

The Role of Reishi Supplements in Cancer Management

Ganoderma has been used as folk medicine since ancient times and it is a popular health food frequently promoted as a cancer cure. It is now well established from in vitro and animal studies that the polyshaccharide fraction of Ganoderma is largely responsible for its anti-tumor efficacy. Although there is yet no controlled clinical trials in humans for Ganoderma against cancer to date, the indications for its supplemental use can be indirectly supported with clinical trial data from comparable fungal polysaccharides because of a common final pathway of action mediated via beta-glucan receptor. Based on such indirect data, indications for Ganoderma use in cancer include supplementation a) to reduce side-effects during chemotherapy or radiotherapy, b) to prolonging survival and minimize metastasis, c) to improve quality of life, and d) to prevent occurrence or recurrence. In sum, although the cure of any cancer with Ganoderma alone is unlikely, it is probably beneficial under defined circumstances in most cases of malignancy.

Introduction

Ganoderma has been recognized traditionally and scientifically as potentially useful in the treatment of cancer, but there is a notable discrepancy with the publics frequent impression that ganoderma may be a cure for cancer and the lack of clinical trials demonstrating such efficacy. We intend to summarize the extent of available theoretical, experimental and clinical data for the use of Ganoderma Supplementation in cancer and outline its indications, especially in the context of clinical results from bioactively similar polysaccharide derived biological response modifiers (BRMs) from other fungi (Mizuno 1996).

Experimental Evidence of Ganodermas Potential in Cancer Treatment

Ikekawa et al. (1968) first reported on the efficacy of soluble extracts from Ganoderma in inhibiting transplanted sarcoma 180 in mice. This host-dependent anti-tumor activity has been subsequently confirmed to be from the polysaccharide fractions of Ganoderma (Sasaki et al., 1971). Multiple similar studies subsequently confirms this observation and anti-tumor efficacy of Ganoderma has been demonstrated from various species, at different stages of growth and using different solvents for extraction and different routes of administration. Anti-tumor activity has been demonstrated in vitro as well as in syngeneic tumor systems in animals. However, no human trials of Ganoderma against cancer in peer reviewed journals nor any controlled clinical trials in humans have yet been conducted or published.

From a theoretical point of view, it is important to note that other fungal polysaccharides of comparable structure and function as those found in Ganoderma have undergone rigorous clinical trials, including Lentinan, Sizofilan, PSK (Krestin), PSP. Since it is now increasingly clear that immunostimulatory bioactivity from most beta-glucan based compounds function via a similar beta-glucan receptor (Czop 1985), it has been possible to hypothesize that Ganoderma polysaccharides should function similarly (Chang, 1996). Clinical effects of various glucan based BRMs should therefore be comparable. Results from Lentinan, Sizofilan, PSK and PSP human trials demonstrated the efficacy of these glucan BRMs in prolonging survival in recurrent or advanced gastric and colon cancer, lung cancer and gynecological cancers, Data from such bioactively comparable compounds all suggest improved quality of life or survival for cancer patients may be possible with Ganoderma supplementation.

Indications and Evidence Supporting the Use of Ganoderma Supplementation in Cancer

Whilst some efficacy of Ganoderma in cancer is undoubted, it remains important to specify the various indications and cite the evidence to support its use. This can be discussed under four different circumstances:

A. As a supplement during chemotherapy or radiotherapy to reduce side-effects such as fatigue, loss of appetite, hair loss, bone marrow suppression and risk of infection. There are studies demonstrating Ganodermas efficacy against fatigue (Yang 1994), hair loss (Miyamoto et al. 1985), and bone marrow suppression (Jia et al. 1993) and the presence of similar clinical evidence for other glucan BRMs applied in the setting of cancer chemotherapy or radiotherapy (Shi 1993) lends further support to the supplementation of Ganoderma in combination with cytotoxic cancer therapies. The recommended dose should be in the range of five to ten grams of fruiting body or equivalent per day (Chang 1994).

B. As a supplement for cancer patients to enhance survival and reduce likelihood of metastasis. While only anecdotal data exists that ganoderma supplementation may enhance survival of cancer patients, this survival advantage has been demonstrated for a number of comparable glucan BRMs. Specifically, Lentinan use in advanced or recurrent gastric cancer demonstrated a significant life span prolongation advantage at 1, 2, 3 and 4 years in a randomized control trial (Taguchi 1987). Sizolan given together with chemotherapy enhanced survival of cervical cancers irrespective of stage in a prospective randomized controlled trial (Inoue et al. 1993), significantly enhanced survival (P.01) in lung cancer patients (Honma 1982) and improved five year survival of head and neck cancer from 73.4 to 86.7% was noted in another small study (Kimura et al. 1994). More appropriate for comparison to Ganoderma is perhaps PSK or PSP, which are orally administered. Mitomi et al. (1994) found significantly improved survival and disease-free survival (P=0.013) in resected colorectal cancer given PSK supplementation over three years when compared to control in a multi-center randomized controlled trial.

In an animal model, Ganoderma has been demonstrated to effectively prevent metastasis (Lee 1984), and these results are comparable to those of Lentinan (Suga 1994). Other glucan BRMs have been demonstrated to effectively prevent or suppress pulmonary metastasis of methylcholanthrene-induced sarcomas, human prostate cancer DU145M, and lymphatic metastasis of mouse leukemia P388 (Kobayashi et al. 1995). The recommended dose should be five to ten grams or more of fruiting body or equivalent per day, with a linear enhancement in efficacy expected up to 30 grams per day (Chang 1994).

C. As a supplement for cancer patients to improve quality of life. Again, only anecdotal information exists for Ganoderma in this situation but other oral glucan derivatives such as PSP has been found to be useful in improving quality of life in cancer patients (Yao 1993). Significantly, Ganoderma supplementation was noted to decrease pain in cancer patients (Kupin 1994). The recommended dose would be five to ten grams of fruiting body or equivalent per day (Chang 1994).

D. As a supplement for the prevention of occurrence or recurrence of cancer. Since immune stimulation, especially Natural Killer (NK) and Cytotoxic Lymphocyte (CTL) activation may be effective in the immune prevention of cancer by enhanced immune surveillance (Lotzova 1985), and Ganoderma has been demonstrated to enhance NK and CTL activity when administered orally (Won et al. 1989), it is thus a candidate for prevention of the occurrence or recurrence of cancer. Stavinoha et al. demonstrated the efficacy of Ganoderma in preventing the progression of microadenomatous growths in animals (Stavinoha 1993), and the efficacy of other glucan BRMs in primary and secondary cancer prevention have been similarly demonstrated in vitro, in vivo and in clinical trials.

Conclusion

Although Ganoderma and its derivatives are not pharmaceuticals and have not undergone rigorous clinical trials to be tested against cancer, there is abundant use in vitro, animal and indirect clinical evidence to support its supplemental use in cancer. Standardization in bioactive polysaccharide content and dosages will be necessary to assure its rational use, and clinical trials in select cancers with defined endpoints will confirm its efficacy.

Raymond Y. Chang, Meridian medical Group at the Institute of East-West Medicine and Department of Medicine, Cornell Medical College