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Mushrooms vs Breast Cancer

Breast cancer and mushrooms

Meghan Telpner is a Toronto-based nutritionist, Chief Love Maker at the The Love In The Kitchen Academy and director of Nourish Your Soul Holidays. Her Making Love In The Kitchen series will bring you tips on how to prepare healthful, nutritious goodness from whole foods.

Finally! A cancer fundraiser that actually sort of makes some sense. Mushrooms Canada did a fundraiser in October to help raise money for the Breast Cancer Society of Canada to support research for the prevention, early detection and treatment of breast cancer.

A fundraiser that makes sense… sort of.

Medicinal mushrooms have definitely been proven as a valuable treatment option to help people heal from cancer. It’s been known forever in Chinese medicine and in alternative health care, and now there is even some science to back it up.

Research has come out showing that mushrooms and mushroom extracts are potent cancer fighters. It seems that this is especially the case for breast and prostate cancers. This is no wonder as mushrooms have long been considered a healing and special food. The ancient Romans and Egyptians considered them a gift from the Gods while the Chinese saw them as the elixir of life.

* Mushrooms contain CLA which slows down the activity of an enzyme needed to make estrogen. Since cancers of the sex organs are fuelled by high levels of estrogen, mushroom extracts may be super important in helping us steer clear of these cancers.

* Mushrooms contain “beta-glucans”, a special type of carbohydrate (specifically found in the Maitake variety). In the lab, beta-glucan was shown to annihilate prostatic cancer cells.

* Mushrooms are a source of selenium. It has been shown that men who consume high amounts of selenium in their diets are at a decreased risk of developing prostate cancer. Selenium may also slow the rate of tumour progression in the case of prostate cancer.

* Medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi, taken in their extract form, are believed to enhance the immune responses of the body. This helps your body overcome disease making it a strong fighting-machine. Research has shown that regular consumption of medicinal mushrooms is associated with a lower death rate from cancer.

Meghan Telpner
National Post

Read more at: National Post

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The Wondrous Maitake Mushroom

The Wondrous Maitake Mushroom

Maitake Mushrooms have been shown to help treat viruses, bacterial infections, cancers, and a plethora of issues. The Japanese call it Maitake, but it goes by a variety of other names such as Hen of the Woods, Sheep’s Head, and Ram’s Head. The proper name is Grifola frondosa. These mushrooms can be found growing in clusters at the bottom of trees. It is native to both North American and Japan, but is mostly known throughout Japanese herbology as a way to take body systems that are out of balance and put them into balance. Many find this mushroom to be quite appetizing, although some individuals may experience an allergic reaction, but this is very rare.

It is actually the underground tubers that the mushroom grows out of that is used in traditional Japanese and Chinese medicine. They are used to enhance the immune system. Research has also suggested that taking in whole Maitake has the capability of regulating glucose levels, blood pressure, and insulin. It may also be useful for weight loss because of the regulation of cholesterol, liver lipids, phospholipids, and triglycerides.

What makes Maitake Mushrooms so unique is the fact that they are rich in minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium and they contain vitamins such as D2, Niacin, and B2. There are also certain fibers and amino acids that are essential for proper body function. Fortunately, just like many other mushrooms that are known to boost the immune system, Maitake contains polysaccharides, or complex sugars, that are needed to fight disease.

Deterring Cancer

Something that is particularly interesting about Maitake Mushrooms is that they are literally eaten as a food. It is their extract that is marketed in both Japan and the United States as a supplement. This is because of the beta-glucan that is included within it that is essential to sustain the immune system. This is a long chain sugar, which is called a complex sugar. It is a polysaccharide.

Tests have been conducted on lab animals that show the incredible immune boosting effects. Amongst these immune boosting effects is an impact against cancer. There has not been any thorough evidence that suggests that Maitake has a significant effect on cancer in humans, but there is human research underway. It is believed that there should not be any reason in which Maitake wouldn’t have a positive influence on someone battling cancer. It contains a plethora of other benefits that involve the introduction of vitamins and the immune boosting sugars.

It has also been suggested that the reversal of tumor growth is a possibility. There have been some cases in which this effect has been evaluated. Also, a person undergoing chemotherapy may experience less nausea, reduce pain, reduce hair loss, and feel relief from some of the other side effects of chemo. There have not been tests on humans to support these claims, but studies have been started.

Nevertheless, it is not dangerous to take in Maitake Mushrooms because there are no significant side effects except for allergic reaction in very few individuals. This is not something that is experienced by many and there may be other factors involved such as the use of certain medications while taking Maitake. There is also the fact that individuals should consult with a doctor regarding the ingestion of anything that is considered herbal to help health conditions.

As for research that has been conducted, it began in the 1980s in Japan and involved the D-fraction extract that is believed to have the biggest influence on cancer. This research has just spread to the United States. The evidence states that D-fraction contains that beta-glucan, which has already been mentioned as being a complex sugar with a lot of influence on the immune system. The beta-glucan is believed to stimulate the immune system so that it can fight off cancer and influence the growth of T-cells.

The Immunity Factor

Not only does Maitake Mushrooms possibly fight cancer, but the immune system effects are believed to fight off other diseases as well. Being that there are essential vitamins that occur naturally within the mushrooms, a person can receive some of their necessary nutrition. The immunity boost that is received can fight off many bacterial infections and anything that can interfere with the integrity of the immune system. By strengthening T-cells, the cells responsible for fighting off disease, Maitake is a great way to live a healthier lifestyle.

So if you’re looking for a way to feel better all around, improve body functions, have a positive influence on your heart, and increase your immune system, Maitake mushrooms is a great way to do that. They are readily available in both the United States and Japan. Although there is not scientific research yet available that etches the effects on cancer in stone, the nutritional benefits are worth making Maitake a part of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

The Power Within the Mushroom
By Omid Jaffari

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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.