How Reishi Mushrooms Can Help Fight Scleroderma

June 29 is World Scleroderma Day.

Scleroderma is a rare, chronic autoimmune disease that causes the body’s connective tissue to harden and form scar tissue. Scleroderma can affect any part of the body, including skin, blood vessels, muscles, nerves, and internal organs.

Scleroderma can cause joint pain due to fibrosis (scarring) of the tissue around joints. This can lead to a limited range of motion in affected joints as well as muscle weakness or atrophy. In some cases, scleroderma can cause permanent disability due to its effects on multiple organs throughout the body.

While there is no cure yet for scleroderma, there are treatments available that can help manage symptoms, reduce their severity, slow the progression, and in some cases, help put the disease into remission.

Taking Reishi for Scleroderma

Reishi is an incredible mushroom that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. It’s been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, but it also has some surprising health benefits that you might not have heard of before.

Reishi is a powerful immune system regulator, which makes it great for people who are struggling with autoimmune disorders like scleroderma.

Here are some of the benefits of taking reishi for scleroderma:

Reduce inflammation: Reishi contains triterpenes and other bioactive compounds that have been shown to have beneficial effects on the immune system. It can help fight inflammation by reducing cytokine production (cytokines are small proteins that send messages between cells). Reishi contains antioxidants that fight free radicals – unstable molecules that can damage cells – which may also contribute to its anti-inflammatory effects.

Balance immune system activity: Reishi also has immunomodulatory effects, which means it helps regulate your immune system. Autoimmune disorders occur when the immune system overreacts to something like an allergen or mistakenly attacks its own tissues and organs. But reishi doesn’t just suppress the immune system, which could lead one susceptible to infections. A healthy immune system should still react to pathogens like viruses and bacteria to fight off infections like colds and flu, so having a supplement that creates a balanced immune response is helpful, especially for those living with scleroderma because their immune systems may be compromised.

Improve circulation: Sclerosis means “hardening” or “tightening.” The main cause of this condition is poor circulation due to reduced elasticity in blood vessels caused by inflammation. This results in restricted blood flow through veins and arteries, causing them to become weak and fragile.

Reishi contains many different compounds, including triterpenes, polysaccharides, and fatty acids. These compounds can improve circulation and help people with scleroderma.

Reduce pain and stiffness in joints: One of the benefits of taking reishi for scleroderma is that it reduces pain and stiffness in joints. Scleroderma is a condition that causes your skin to become thickened, which can make moving your joints more difficult, especially if you have arthritis.

Slow down the progress of the disease: Reishi mushroom is one of the most potent medicinal mushrooms for scleroderma. It can help slow down the progress of this disease and may even be able to reverse some of the symptoms.

When you’re suffering from scleroderma, it can be difficult to control your symptoms on your own. Luckily, there are natural remedies like reishi that can help you reduce these symptoms and make living with this disease much easier.

Ultimately, scleroderma is a difficult disease to live with. It can impact the quality of many peoples’ lives, but there is help. Reishi mushroom is a useful supplement for many people diagnosed with scleroderma. It can not only help relieve current symptoms but protect against future ones as well. Make sure to talk to a qualified professional and your doctor if you are taking medication to ensure reishi is a good fit for you.

Understanding Celiac Disease and How to Live With It

May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month, a time for celiacs worldwide to come together and highlight the struggles and issues surrounding this autoimmune disease and its management. That’s why we’ve created this blog to spread awareness around celiac disease and give you tips on how to live with it.

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition. If you have celiac disease, eating gluten — a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley — will trigger your immune system to attack the lining of your small intestine. When this happens, it can make it difficult for your body to absorb the nutrients from food.

If you think you may have celiac disease, you might be considering a gluten-free diet. If you try this and feel an improvement in your symptoms, but want to get tested, know that you’ll need to eat gluten again before you get the test. Otherwise, you may not get an accurate result. Also, if you’re considering starting a gluten-free diet, you may want to speak to a health professional to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs.

What are the symptoms of celiac disease?

The symptoms of celiac disease vary from person to person. Some people may experience none at all, while others may experience severe symptoms. These include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Fatigue and weakness

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a health professional for assessment. Even if you don’t have celiac disease, you may be gluten-sensitive and feel better with reduced or no gluten in your diet. It’s also possible that you don’t feel better with a gluten-free diet, so it’s not a panacea.

Is there a cure for celiac disease?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for celiac disease. The only treatment for celiac disease is a lifelong gluten-free diet. The goal of this diet is to eliminate all traces of gluten from your diet and allow your small intestine to heal completely so it can absorb nutrients properly again.

What foods can I eat if I have celiac disease?

Celiac disease is a lifelong condition, so it’s important to be aware of what you can and cannot eat. A dietitian, nutritionist, or other qualified health professional can help you learn about your options for a healthy diet that includes foods that are safe for your body.

Here are some gluten-free foods that you can eat:

  • Gluten-free grains: rice, corn, quinoa, and buckwheat (note that the latter two are actually seeds, but are cooked like grains)
  • Gluten-free flours: almond flour, coconut flour, potato starch, and arrowroot powder
  • Gluten-free oats (make sure they aren’t processed in the same equipment that processes wheat products)
  • Beans: black beans, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, and edamame beans

If you have celiac disease, it’s important that you follow a strict gluten-free diet for life. You may also find it helpful to carefully select where you eat out. Ask restaurants if they can accommodate your gluten-free requests, including not using the same utensils and cooking tools for your gluten-free meal as they use for other gluten-containing foods.

Can reishi mushrooms help treat celiac disease?

Reishi mushrooms have long been used in Chinese medicine to improve health and treat various ailments. They contain many active compounds including triterpenoids, polysaccharides, and ergosterols that help improve immune function.

Some studies show that reishi mushrooms may help improve symptoms of patients with celiac disease by reducing inflammation caused by an autoimmune response triggered by gluten ingestion. If you’ve been “glutened,” taking reishi mushrooms may help you suffer less and recover more quickly.

The more that awareness is created around celiac disease, the more it can help give those diagnosed with it a chance at living a happier and healthier life because people won’t just assume that those asking for “gluten-free” are doing it to follow a health trend. The month of May is dedicated to raising as much public awareness as possible and giving those with celiac disease a chance to embrace a brighter future.

Celebrate World Health Day with Reishi

Did you know that April 7 is World Health Day? This day is a time to raise awareness for global health issues, recognize the efforts and achievements made to improve health internationally, and focus on policies that are needed to overcome these health challenges.

As a way to celebrate World Health Day, here is a list of things you can do to promote healthy living for yourself, your family, and your community.

  1. Be physically active. You don’t need to spend hours at the gym. In fact, for most people, that simply isn’t possible. A simple approach is to just move your body more. That might mean a regular at-home or outdoor exercise routine, organized sporting activities, or actively playing with your kids or pets. It can also mean taking the stairs instead of the elevator, when possible. And, if you can, then walk or cycle to work or to run errands. Not only is it better for your body, but it’s a great way to save some money on gas!
  2. Eat healthy food. It’s not enough to just exercise regularly — you also have to watch what you eat if you want to be healthier, but there is no one way to eat right. In fact, what works great for one person may make another feel awful. In general, however, more whole foods and fewer processed foods is key. Make sure you eat lots of vegetables, get enough fibre, choose healthy fats, and select high-quality proteins. While variety and moderation are words that come up often when talking about eating well, that doesn’t make it has to taste bland. Use herbs and spices to add flavour and you’ll also get their added health benefits.
  3. Reduce stress. Stress is a global health epidemic, but it’s not something that has to continue to break you down. While stressors will happen, it’s important to find ways to manage your stress response. Make time each day for things you enjoy, and make sure to get enough sleep every night. There are also many stress management techniques that can help you relax and unwind, including, yoga, meditation, exercise, and deep breathing.
  4. Take care of your mental health. No matter how busy you are, always remember that your mental health is a major priority. Don’t forget to take care of your mind as well as your body. If you feel like you may not be mentally well, do not ignore it. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to get professional help as soon as possible.
  5. Volunteer in your community. Join efforts that promote health in your community. Volunteering has physical and mental health benefits. It helps you feel happier, more connected with others, and improves self-esteem and confidence. There are numerous opportunities to volunteer to help others in need. From your local food bank to your local hospital, there are many ways you can lend a helping hand.
  6. Plant a tree, tend to plants. Trees are good for our health as they remove air pollution and cool down urban areas in summer. They also provide a habitat for wildlife, and people can enjoy being close to trees in green spaces.

    If you don’t have a place to plant a tree outdoors, bring smaller plants into your home. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, easy-to-care-for plants like spider plants, English ivy, mother-in-law’s tongue, and peace lily can help improve your indoor air quality and make you feel better.

    If you have space to grow your own herbs or food, even better! Getting your hands in the dirt is therapeutic—and having the fresh food you grow can’t be beat.
  7. Donate items you no longer use. Support organizations that provide basic necessities like food and clothing to help people who are affected by poverty or natural disasters. For example, you could donate gently used clothing or household goods to help the less fortunate.
  8. Give blood. Did you know that giving blood just once can save three lives? Your local blood donation centre is always looking for new donors. Not only does it help save lives, but it also makes you feel great knowing you’re helping people in your community!
  9. Recycle. The number of plastics that end up in our oceans and landfills is causing serious problems for our environment, our wildlife, and our health. Recycling not only saves the environment but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions. We can all do our part by minimizing our use of plastic and by recycling plastic bottles, paper bags, glass jars, and aluminum cans — which are all prime examples of recyclable products we use every day.
  10. Incorporating reishi mushrooms into your life. If you want to mark the occasion with something that will help you take care of your own health, I recommend taking reishi mushrooms. These fabulous fungi have been used for thousands of years as something of a panacea for everything from cancer to heart disease, and many modern studies support these claims. Reishi mushrooms are said to help strengthen a balanced immune response, fighting off viruses that cause colds and flus, and well as taming an over-responsive immune system that causes allergies or autoimmune disorders. They also help your body adapt to stressors, calming your nervous system and providing you more energy.

In order to take care of the health of our world, it’s important you also take the time to make your own health a priority. A healthy mind and healthy body are crucial to living a fulfilled life. These tips will help you get started in your journey to more health and happiness, so don’t wait another day, get started this World Health Day.

Making Your Own Luck with Reishi

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner! While its origin is a religious holiday in Ireland—a day when Christians would take a break from Lent prohibitions to dance, drink, and feast—it’s now celebrated by people of all backgrounds, around the world.

You can’t go wrong with a little extra luck on St. Patrick’s Day! But what if the luck isn’t really luck at all? What if you can make your own health luck, or at least improve your odds?

In Ireland, the shamrock, or three-leaf clover, is considered a sacred plant. It represents the Holy Trinity and is believed to possess mystical healing powers. Just as the shamrock is considered a sacred plant in Ireland, reishi is named the “holy herb” in Asia. Chinese herbalists thought that reishi had so many healing properties that they considered it sacred. It was considered so important that it’s carved into royal furniture as a sign of good luck and health!

Reishi has been used to treat everything from minor health conditions like coughs and colds to more serious problems like high blood pressure and even cancer. Today, this medicinal mushroom is still widely used for a variety of ailments.

Reishi mushrooms has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years as a natural remedy to boost health and support longevity.

Some of the key benefits of reishi are:

  • Helping you feel calmer and sleep better
  • Improving your focus and mental clarity
  • Reducing your blood sugar levels
  • Decreasing inflammation in your body
  • Strengthening and modulating your immune system
  • Supporting your heart, liver, and kidneys

Live a Long and Happy Life!

Reishi can help you live a long and happy life. And let’s be real, living a long and happy life sounds pretty lucky! As an adaptogen, it helps your body adapt to stressors of all kinds—physical, mental, and emotional. Reishi calms the nervous system and helps to promote a deep restful sleep. This can help you feel more balanced and less anxious, which in turn can make you feel happier and healthier.

Reishi contains polysaccharides that have been shown to have immune supporting effects. Reishi also contains triterpenes that are thought to help in modulating inflammation. And for those who do celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a bit too much green beer or too many Irish mules or cocktails, reishi can support the health of your liver, supporting your recovery. You can certainly make sure to take a reishi capsule before and after partying, but taking it regularly is a better bet.

For many, St. Patrick’s Day is about celebrating luck and good fortune. But when it comes to health, you can’t always leave things to chance. Taking reishi regularly is a great way to take the reins and get “lucky” when it comes to your health.

So, this St. Patrick’s Day, whether you do or don’t skip out on the green beer, try out some reishi supplements and you might just be the luckiest person at the party!

Year of the Tiger – Getting Strong and Resilient with Reishi

Happy Lunar New Year! The Lunar New Year is one of the biggest holidays in Asia. And this year, people all over the world are celebrating the Year of the Tiger. The tiger is a symbol of strength, power, and endurance. So, we thought it be the perfect time to discuss how you can get stronger with reishi to bring out the (calm) tiger in you!

Unleashing the awesome affects of adaptogens

Reishi has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It was believed to have mystical properties that could help people achieve immortality. While we now know it can’t magically cause you to live forever, it’s clear that this amazing herb is a powerful tool to improving many lives. Today, it’s used as an adaptogen — a natural remedy that can help the body cope with stress and improve overall health.

Adaptogens are natural substances that help the body adapt to stress and promote resistance to a wide range of physical, chemical, and biological stressors. Just like the terms “antioxidant” and “anti-inflammatory,” the term “adaptogen” has become an important buzz world in the wellness world, so it’s no surprise that reishi is one of the most popular fungi around.

Offering a wealth of health benefits

Speaking of those well-recognized terms, modern scientific research has shown that reishi mushrooms contain a wealth of antioxidants and compounds with anti-inflammatory and immune-supporting properties. In fact, reishi is so powerful that it’s sometimes nicknamed the “king of mushrooms.”

Reishi mushrooms are rich in many different plant compounds and nutrients that are responsible for their health benefits. These include polysaccharides, triterpenes, and ganoderic acids. Polysaccharides are a type of carbohydrate that have been shown to help protect against cancer, diabetes, infectious diseases, and digestive disorders. Triterpenes have antioxidant properties that may help reduce inflammation, improve blood flow, lower cholesterol, and enhance liver function. Lastly, ganoderic acids may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, protect the liver from toxins, and enhance immune function.

Packing a powerful health punch

As you just read, reishi mushrooms offer up a powerhouse of mighty health benefits. In TCM, they are considered “Qi tonics,” particularly for the heart and lungs, and their recognized title of adaptogen supports this. Reishi provides a plethora of hearty health advantages, and it supports energy and endurance by increasing oxygen uptake via the lungs.

At the same time as we love the idea of more energy, most of us don’t want to feel jittery, anxious, or overstimulated. One of the best things about reishi is that it can help calm the nervous system while supplying more get up and go when we need it. After a couple of stressful and exhausting years, feeling calm and focused for the Year of the Tiger sounds like a great plan! If the start to the new lunar year is having you reflect on how you can improve your health in the year ahead, why not add reishi to your routine?

Happy Year of the Tiger!

Keep Your New Year’s Resolution and Lose Weight with Reishi

New Year’s resolutions have a bad reputation for being tough to keep, and weight loss is one of the most common (and high failure) resolutions. So, if you’re already feeling disappointed in your attempts to start to lose weight this year, don’t let that discourage you because we’re here to keep you motivated and on track to accomplish your weight-loss goals this year.

Why is excess weight hard to lose?

There are many reasons why loss of excess weight can be so difficult. Like most health issues, there can be a combination of nature (genetics) and nurture (lifestyle) issues contributing to health challenges. Some of the more common medical reasons for weight gain include insulin resistance (poor blood sugar metabolism) and diabetes, dysbiosis (imbalance of gut bacteria) and other digestive disorders, hypothyroidism, depression, and hormonal imbalance and menopause.

Further to that, chronic stress can cause too much cortisol production. Made by the adrenal glands, cortisol is a steroid hormone that can increase appetite and the amount of sugar in the bloodstream, causing weight gain, particularly around the middle. Insufficient sleep time, including that caused by simply not allotting enough time for rest, insomnia, and sleep apnea can also contribute to weight gain.

Reishi can support healthy weight loss

Wild mushrooms called “lingzhi” in China and “reishi” in Japan are found growing on dead trees in forests throughout the world. But herbologists have been cultivating this incredible mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) for over 2000 years because of its medicinal properties. Used to treat everything from asthma to heart palpitations, this mushroom has also been found to have anti-diabetic compounds.

In a study published by MDPI, a publisher of peer-reviewed open access journals, a team of researchers found that extracts from reishi mushroom can reduce obesity in mice. Mice fed a diet that included Ganoderma lucidum were found to have a better ability to metabolize glucose, had less accumulation of fat in the liver, and had smaller fat cells, all of which resulted in weight loss.

Another group of researchers investigated reishi’s ability to help with preventing obesity associated with chronic low-grade inflammation and imbalance in the gut bacteria. They found that a water extract of reishi mushroom helped reduce body weight, inflammation, and insulin-resistance. At least part of the reason was that reishi helped restore the gut’s microbiome—a healthy foundation of good bacteria in the digestive system.

Because chronic stress and sleep disorders can also contribute to weight gain and make it harder to lose excess weight, anything that can help manage these issues can assist with reaching a healthy weight. Reishi is most recognized for its adaptogenic properties, helping the body to better deal with stressors, and in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is classified as an herb that helps to calm the mind.

If you’re looking for ways to keep your New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and get healthier, in addition to watching what you eat, exercising regularly, and sleeping soundly, supplementing with reishi mushroom can help reach your health goals for 2022 and beyond.

12 Days of Christmas Health with Reishi

The holiday season is upon us! During this time of year, people can find it challenging to prioritize their health. With all the celebrations, treats, and prepping for the festivities, it can be easy to let good habits slide. Check out the following 12 benefits of reishi and how this miracle mushroom can keep your well-being on track over the Christmas holidays and beyond.

On the first day of Christmas, a TCM practitioner said to me, reishi mushrooms can…

1. Strengthen the immune system

A tonic with over 200 polysaccharides, reishi helps enhance an appropriate immune system response. This is called immune system modulation, meaning it fortifies the body’s defences when called to fight a flu or cold and calms an over-reactive response as occurs for allergies and other autoimmune imbalances.

2. Slow or prevents cancer

The traditional use of reishi in the treatment of cancer dates back thousands of years. Its immune-supporting polysaccharides, specifically beta-glucans and triterpenes, have been shown to inhibit and slow tumour growth from cancer cell lines, as well as lower inflammation. Additionally, studies have shown that reishi can help reduce the side effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

3. Reduce stress

Perhaps one of the most recognized aspects of reishi’s health benefits is its ability to calm and reduce feelings of stress. Over the busy holiday season, reishi is a valuable ally for keeping our mental health strong. Reishi mushroom is revered in TCM as a leading calm the spirit and mind herb that can help enhance restful sleep, manage stress, reduce anxiety, and improve mood.

4. Boost energy

Reishi mushroom is also a powerful energy booster, though it is not a stimulant. Taking reishi helps the body stay balanced and function optimally, which results in an increased sense of vitality. For those who often feel tired, especially if they are “wired but tired”—exhausted, but unable to sleep or rest—reishi can provide a solution.

5. Reduce inflammation

Part of the body’s adaptive response to infection is inflammation, protecting it against foreign invading organisms such as bacteria and viruses. The immune system and the healing process rely on it. Prolonged or chronic inflammation, however, can cause a wide range of symptoms, including redness, swelling, joint pain, and more serious autoimmune conditions like type I diabetes and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

There are a host of anti-inflammatory compounds in reishi, such as immune-modulating polysaccharides, triterpenes, and phenolics. As an immune modulator and anti-inflammatory, reishi could be used to treat autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

6. Support the heart

In the developing world, heart disease is among the leading causes of death. Reishi has been shown by scientific research to benefit heart health. As a result of its high antioxidant, sterol, ganoderic acid (triterpene), coumarin, mannitol, and polysaccharide content, reishi offers great cardiovascular support. These compounds offer valuable protection against many risk factors that contribute to heart disease and stroke.

7. Promote liver health

The liver is the body’s second largest organ, and it has hundreds of functions, including being closely involved in digestion and detoxification. Stress, junk food, drinking, smoking, and drugs all negatively impact the liver, decreasing the toxic overload on your liver allows your body to detoxify, methylate, regenerate, and produce energy more efficiently.

Reishi has been used for thousands of years for its liver-supporting properties. In studies, triterpenes—compounds found only in the cap and stem (whole mushroom)—seem to be the main compounds involved in these benefits.

8. Support the lungs

As an energy tonic, reishi strengthens and nurtures the lungs. The triterpenes found in reishi help to reduce asthma symptoms and allergic reactions to histamine. Reishi has also been shown to benefit chronic bronchitis.

9. Boost brain health

Reishi mushroom has been known for centuries to help boost brainpower, sharpen memory, and improve concentration and focus.

Researchers have found that polysaccharides can promote neurogenesis and improve cognitive function, with the potential to help treat neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Additionally, these compounds have demonstrated their ability to protect neurons from apoptosis, reduce oxidative stress, and enhance cognitive performance. Triterpenes found in reishi are believed to stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) production.

10. Relieve allergies

The immune-modulating and anti-inflammatory properties of reishi make it a potent treatment for allergies and other inflammatory conditions.

Allergy symptoms can be relieved with reishi mushrooms. In research, reishi was found to be a natural antihistamine, modulating the body’s reaction to allergens by inhibiting the release of histamine. Additionally, the triterpenes in reishi help reduce allergic reactions and asthmatic symptoms due to histamine release.

11. Promote better sleep

Reishi mushrooms have been shown in clinical trials to improve sleep and calm the nervous system. Reishi mushrooms help reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and treat insomnia.

Terpenoids in reishi have been shown to promote sedation and soothe the nerves, which can be beneficial to those suffering from neurasthenia and insomnia. Studies have also shown that long-term use of reishi can boost deep sleep.

12. Promote gut health

Reishi mushrooms act as a prebiotic in the gut, helping to establish healthy intestinal flora. Study after study has demonstrated that mushroom polysaccharides, which are long-chain essential sugars within mushroom cell walls, have a prebiotic effect on the gut microbiome. Prebiotics are basically food for the beneficial bacteria in the gut, so they nourish the probiotics, promoting their growth and replication. Additionally, reishi has been found to prevent candida overgrowth. The mushroom is both antifungal and antibacterial.

That’s a lot to offer from one fungus. If you find yourself stuck for gift ideas, perhaps one option could be the gift of wellness.

Reishi’s Fighting Effects Against Cervical Cancer

Did you know that at least 80% of women will have been infected by the human papillomavirus (HPV) by age 50? It is estimated that more than 100 types of HPV exist and at least 14 of these are cancer-causing. While certain strains of HPV cause genital warts, others produce abnormal cells on the cervix (detected by Pap tests) that can result in cervical cancer. If it is not treated or detected in time, this disease can be fatal.

How can HPV infections lead to cancer?

About 70% of cervical cancers and pre-cancerous cervical lesions are caused by two strains of HPV. If the body’s immune system cannot effectively fight off an HPV infection, the virus can remain for years and, over time, cause normal cells to become cancerous. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women around the world, with 570,000 women newly diagnosed with it in 2018.

Fortunately, most cervical cancers can be prevented. With routine screenings, health care providers are better able to detect and remove precancerous cells before they progress. HPV vaccines are also available, but they cannot treat existing infection.

How can reishi help prevent and fight cervical cancer?

Known as the “mushroom of immortality,” while it cannot keep us alive forever, reishi has many general health benefits. It has been used for thousands of years in China and Japan to promote health and longevity. Researchers have found that reishi contains powerful adaptogens and compounds, including polysaccharides and triterpenoids like ganoderic acid, that support immune function and antibody production.

Our immune systems can become weakened by poor diet, insufficient restorative sleep, stress, age, chronic infections, and other diseases. When this happens, viral infections like HPV are able to take greater hold, multiply, and increase our risk for certain kinds of cancer.

As a result, the health community is paying more attention to medicinal mushrooms, especially their immune-supporting and antiviral benefits. In addition, scientists are studying these fantastic fungi to learn more about their cancer-fighting therapeutic potential. Research has demonstrated, for example, that fungal polysaccharides can modulate immune function. That means that these compounds help to strengthen the body’s immune response when needed, combating the growth of infection and decreasing the likelihood that it will form cancer cells. Through reishi’s ability to enhance our immune surveillance system, it can help the body identify and eliminate abnormal molecular patterns, thereby improving its protection from cancer-causing viruses, including HPV.

Further to this, reishi’s antioxidant capacity helps reduce free radical damage that could result in cancer. Additionally, studies suggest that the ganoderic acids—unique to reishi mushroom—have antitumour properties by being toxic to cancer cells (cytotoxic) and causing cancer cells to undergo their own programmed cell death (aptosis). And, because reishi supports healthy liver and kidney function, it can also help with the detoxification of carcinogens and strengthen the body if chemotherapy or radiation therapies are used.

Prevention is Key

While reishi mushroom, alongside conventional medical therapies like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy can be employed to fight an existing cervical cancer, prevention is the best approach. This means getting regular Pap tests, but can also mean considering the HPV vaccine and practicing safe sex. In addition to all of its other health benefits, taking Japanese red reishi mushroom offers another layer of protection against getting cervical cancer.

Ushering In Movember with Reishi Mushrooms

Ushering Into Movember

Did you know that one in nine Canadian men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime? Each year, more than 1.4 million men are diagnosed with prostate cancer worldwide, with more than 205,000 men living with this common disease in Canada. This month, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to usher in Movember and discuss how reishi mushrooms can benefit prostate health.

About Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that plays a significant role in the reproductive system and urinary system in men. It lies just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. As with most cancers, prostate cancer occurs when cells cease to act normally in the body.

As men age, they are more likely to develop prostate cancer. The risk of prostate cancer increases after age 50, and it is most common among men over 60. The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is sometimes employed to screen for prostate cancer. Because PSA is a protein is produced by both cancerous and non-cancerous prostate tissue, a small amount of PSA does enter the bloodstream. However, cancerous prostate cells produce more PSA, so a physician will consider the age of the person, the size of the prostate, whether the person is taking certain medications that can affect PSA levels, and how quickly those PSA numbers change from test to test (if they do more than one test).

Despite this, there is some good news to be found. Caught early, prostate cancer is largely treatable. Additionally, some types of prostate cancer are extremely slow growing, so not all prostate cancers are treated. Regardless, most of us would rather try to prevent prostate cancer and safely treat even low risk cancers. This is where reishi mushrooms can help.

Reishi Mushrooms and Prostate Health

Studies (1, 2, 3, 4) have shown that compounds, including the polysaccharide beta-glucans, found in reishi mushrooms prevent cancer cell growth. The Journal of Oncology published an article that discusses three cases where tumours shrank in cancer patients who started taking reishi mushrooms.

Researchers in Israel found that reishi mushrooms contain molecules that block male hormones (androgens) from acting on cancerous cells. Unless treated, these hormones can cause cells to multiply uncontrollably into cancer tissue, particularly at the early stages of the disease.

Prostate cancer drugs, such as Flutamide, also interfere with androgen reception. According to the Israeli study, reishi extracts, on the other hand, achieve the same results at a fraction of the cost and without any significant side effects. What’s more, the study showed that reishi was even more efficient than Flutamide.

Keep in mind that current studies on reishi mushrooms and prostate cancer are still in their early stages. So, it is important follow specialist recommendations and to wait until further studies have been conducted before hailing the reishi mushroom as a cure. But they can certainly be considered for preventative use and as a supportive addition to conventional treatments. Especially as reishi mushrooms can also help alleviate chemotherapy-related and radiation-related side effects.

The Other Health Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms

Reishi mushrooms aren’t just good for your prostate – they can benefit your entire body. There are several active healing ingredients found in these medicinal mushrooms that can boost your overall health.

Triterpenes, for instance, are acidic molecules that have the ability to turn off allergic reactions in your body. Polysaccharides can prevent cancer cell growth. Phytosterols can inhibit cholesterol absorption from your intestines, thereby reducing levels of LDL cholesterol.

Numerous studies around the world have shown that reishi mushrooms can be used as treatment or prevention for an array of diseases and illnesses, including diabetes, liver disease, inflammation, flu, autoimmune disorders, cancer, stomach ulcers, sleep disorders, fatigue, heart disease, hypertension, and high cholesterol.

This Movember, whether you have struggled with prostate cancer or not, grow a mustache or not, and have a prostate or not, consider that reishi’s powerful anti-inflammatory and immune balancing properties can help to keep disease at bay.