Mushroom extracts have been found to be useful for their medicinal benefits. The medicinal mushrooms are packed with vitamin D, which plays a vital role in the immune system.
In Countries like China and Japan, certain types of medicinal mushrooms are routinely used to support cancer treatment.
There are over 2,000 studies focused on the effect of mushrooms on cancer in the last 10 years, and here are some common findings:
Medicinal mushrooms are not ordinary mushrooms. There are hundreds of different kinds of mushrooms, but the most common medicinal mushrooms include:
- Turkey tail
Most of these medicinal mushrooms are often found in powdered forms in food stores. Shiitake mushrooms, however, are the only ones that can be bought whole in grocery stores.
Mushrooms work to strengthen the immune system
What mushrooms do in cancer patients is to boost parts of their immune system that are linked to the condition. Some mushrooms stimulate compounds that are responsible for tumor suppression. Some others decrease inflammatory markers, which is useful for cancer patients.
In one study, the immune system was enhanced at one dose, and at another dose, the immune response was suppressed. So studies are still ongoing to learn more about the positive effects of mushrooms on the immune system of cancer patients.
Mushrooms may improve quality of life
Mushrooms, such as the magic mushrooms, have been liked to improvements in common quality of life indicators in cancer patients. This can include improved physical and mental competency, improved appetite, and reduced fatigue.
Although the whole cause of improved quality of life in cancer patients has not been clearly stated, studies have shown that mushrooms, which are known to lower inflammation, have an influence in reducing fatigue levels.
Mushrooms may extend survival
Many studies have shown that cancer patients who consume mushrooms are likely to live longer. Some studies link this extended survival to a positive immune response, but other factors may also play a role.
One study showed that people who took mushrooms are more able to tolerate more rounds of chemotherapy treatment, and this could be due to fewer side effects these mushrooms have, thereby indirectly improving the survival rate.
However, it is important to note that people respond differently to medical mushrooms because our metabolism differs. So people in the United States may respond differently than people in Japan and China.
Also, most studies with mushrooms are for prostate, colorectal, and breast cancer. More studies are still needed for other types of cancer.
As a cancer patient, it is important, however, that you talk to your doctor before consuming mushrooms. Mushrooms contain potent compounds and behave like drugs, so you should see them as a medication.
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