Six Remarkable Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms for Autoimmune Disorders

Autoimmune disorders are a group of chronic conditions in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own healthy cells and tissues. These disorders can cause a wide range of symptoms and can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. In Canada, May is awareness month for a number of these diseases, including ankylosing spondylitis, Celiac disease, lupus, and multiple sclerosis. World Spodyloarthritis Day is May 4, World Lupus Day is May 10, World Inflammatory Bowel Disease Day is May 19, and World Multiple Sclerosis Day is May 30th.

In addition to pharmaceuticals, dietary changes, or therapeutic treatments, one natural remedy gaining popularity to help balance the immune system’s response is reishi mushrooms. In this article, we will delve into the remarkable benefits of reishi mushrooms for autoimmune disorders.

  1. Immune System Regulation
    The immune system plays a vital role in defending the body against harmful invaders. In the case of autoimmune disorders, however, the immune system turns against the body’s own cells. While some people already recognize that reishi mushrooms help boost immune function, their bioactive compounds also help calm and regulate the immune system’s response. These polysaccharides and other compounds have immunomodulatory effects, meaning they can tone down an overactive immune response. By restoring balance to the immune system, reishi mushrooms may help reduce the severity of autoimmune symptoms.
  2. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
    In many autoimmune disorders, chronic inflammation is a significant contributor to the progression of the disease and its associated symptoms. Reishi mushrooms are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. They contain compounds known as triterpenoids, ganoderic acids in particular, as well as polysaccharides that can inhibit the production of inflammatory molecules in the body. By reducing inflammation, reishi mushrooms may alleviate symptoms and slow down the disease’s progression.
  3. Immune Cell Activation
    While those with an autoimmune disease must be careful about taking things that stimulate the immune system, those same people, especially when taking immunosuppressants, are left immunocompromised and more susceptible to getting sick. Because herbs like reishi are immunomodulators, regulating the immune response rather than simply boosting or suppressing, they may be suitable options. Of course, because every person’s case if specific, it’s important to discuss this with a qualified health professional.
  4. Antioxidant Powerhouse
    Oxidative stress, characterized by an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body, is a common feature of autoimmune disorders. This oxidative stress can lead to cellular damage and worsen the disease’s progression. Reishi mushrooms contain potent antioxidants, such as triterpenes and polyphenols, which help neutralize free radicals and protect cells from damage. By reducing oxidative stress, reishi mushrooms may play a crucial role in mitigating the impact of autoimmune disorders.
  5. Stress Management and Mental Wellbeing
    Living with an autoimmune disorder can be incredibly stressful, both physically and mentally. Stress can worsen symptoms and contribute to disease flares. Reishi mushrooms have adaptogenic properties, meaning they can help the body adapt to stressors, thus promoting overall wellbeing. Research suggests that reishi mushrooms can reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and calm the mind, and it’s partially for this reason that reishi has long been revered in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). By managing stress levels and supporting mental health, reishi mushrooms can indirectly contribute to better management of autoimmune disorders.
  6. Potential Anti-Cancer Effects
    Autoimmune disorders are known to increase the risk of certain types of cancer. While more research is needed in the context of autoimmune disorders specifically, reishi mushrooms have been found to inhibit tumour growth, activate immune cells against cancer cells, and enhance the body’s natural defense mechanisms. These properties make reishi mushrooms a valuable addition to the treatment of autoimmune disorders, potentially addressing both the autoimmune components and the associated cancer risks.

The Bottom Line

Reishi mushrooms hold remarkable benefits for individuals with autoimmune disorders. From immune system regulation and anti-inflammatory effects to immune cell activation, antioxidant properties, stress reduction, and potential anti-cancer effects, reishi mushrooms offer a multifaceted approach to managing these complex conditions. It is important to note, however, that reishi mushrooms should not replace medical treatments recommended by healthcare professionals and that patients should let their healthcare providers know about all the supplements or remedies they are taking.

With ongoing research exploring the benefits of reishi mushrooms, there is much optimism that these natural remedies will continue to provide relief and improve the lives of those suffering from autoimmune disorders. Incorporating reishi mushrooms into a comprehensive wellness approach may offer individuals new possibilities for managing their condition and enhancing their overall wellbeing.

Can Reishi Help with Rheumatoid Arthritis?

September is Arthritis Awareness Month, and we’re here to help you get the support you need.

Arthritis can affect anyone at any age, but most forms of arthritis are more common in older adults. Even though it’s a common condition, there are still many people who don’t understand what arthritis is or how it can impact your life. If you’re one of them, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered!

What is Arthritis? 

Arthritis isn’t just about pain—it’s about the physical limitations that come with having a chronic health condition like arthritis. It’s about being unable to do things you love because of the pain, discomfort, or limitations in your ability to move your body. It’s about the emotional toll that comes from feeling helpless against something as simple as walking downstairs or getting out of bed.

There are over 100 different types of arthritis, but one common type is rheumatoid arthritis (RA). 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes pain and inflammation in the joints. When people think of arthritis, they usually think of the wear-and-tear damage of osteoarthritis, but rheumatoid arthritis is caused when the immune system attacks the healthy tissue of your joints. This can eventually lead to deformities of the joints.

The joints may feel tender and warm and appear swollen. The stiffness of the joints is usually worse in the mornings and after periods of inactivity, improving with movement. RA tends to affect the smaller joints of the body first, especially in the joints where the fingers attach to the hands and the toes attach to the feet. As the disease progresses, these symptoms can spread to the wrists, elbows, shoulders, ankles, knees, and hips. The pain and dysfunction typically appear in the same joints on both sides of the body. Some people with RA also experience signs and symptoms unrelated to the joints, but affecting the skin, salivary glands, nerves, blood vessels, bone marrow, eyes, lungs, heart, or kidneys. It can also cause fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite.

There are many treatments available for rheumatoid arthritis, including medications, physical therapy, exercise, and (where appropriate) weight loss. But one effective ways to fight rheumatoid arthritis that you may not yet know about is to include reishi mushroom as part of your routine.

How Reishi Mushroom Fights Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and are you looking for a natural and effective way to treat your symptoms, this revered mushroom is worth a close look.

Reishi mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine to calm the nervous system, strengthen the body, and treat lung and heart issues. It has been called “the food of the immortals.” Reishi has now been found to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, while its ability to help regulate the immune system can help tame the overzealous immune system.

The benefits of reishi mushroom for rheumatoid arthritis include:

1) Anti-inflammatory effects: Reishi’s main active ingredient is a group of compounds called triterpenoids. Studies (1, 2) have shown that these compounds have anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce swelling in your joints and slow down the progression of your disease. 

2) Antioxidant effects: Reishi contains many antioxidants that help protect your body from free radicals which would cause damage to cells and tissues throughout your body.

3) Addressing the overactive immune system: Because rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder whereupon the body attacks its own healthy cells, getting to the root of the problem means helping to regulate the immune system. One of the main benefits of reishi is its ability to help regulate the immune system—called immunomodulation.  

In addition to doing your best to stay active, eat healthy, get enough sleep, and manage your stress, taking a premium reishi mushroom supplement can help you manage your arthritis so that you can live a better life.