Medicinal mushrooms for your immune system: What you need to know
Medicinal mushrooms are distinguished for containing various polysaccharides, which are compounds that have been shown to have a direct impact on the human immune system. Polysaccharides are found in animal products as well as in plant foods, however polysaccharides in plant foods, especially certain kinds of mushrooms — often called medicinal mushrooms — are more pure and abundant than those found in animal products.
Most medicinal mushroom products in the market may not provide the optimal benefits of polysaccharides to your immune system, because they usually contain powdered form of whole mushrooms or mushroom extracts without precise dosage and synergistic combination of different polysaccharides, which are the important beneficial compounds of these medicinal mushrooms.
In this post I’m going to share more about polysaccharides in medicinal mushrooms and what you need to know before buying any medicinal mushroom products with health benefits claims.
Why medicinal mushrooms are said to be beneficial for your health
In order to nourish your immune system, we need to consume polysaccharides in addition to a wide variety of phytochemicals and antioxidants from fruit and vegetables daily.
The beneficial effects of polysaccharides and their ability to have a direct impact on your immune system have been widely studied and its evidence well established over the past several decades.
You probably know that it’s good to eat mushrooms as part of your daily diet. Mushrooms are distinguished as plant foods that contain abundant polysaccharides. Each type of mushroom contains different kinds of polysaccharides, so as with all plant foods, variety is key.
Specific types of mushrooms that contain beneficial polysaccharides are often called medicinal mushrooms.
How polysaccharides can impact your immune system directly
Polysaccharides can increase the activity of your own Natural Killer (NK) cells in order to destroy tumour and cancer cells before they become full blown cancer.
Polysaccharides enable your body to produce interferons in order to more effectively fight off infectious agents, virus and bacteria.
Polysaccharides also help enhance your entire immune function and immune response in order to protect you against cancer and infection.
Certain polysaccharides are able to balance your immune response by activating a sluggish immune system and calming it when it’s overactive.
Scientific evidence on polysaccharides for the human immune system
The benefits of polysaccharides to complement conventional cancer treatments have been well studied for many years.
Consuming polysaccharides from mushrooms during cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation have been shown to improve the effectiveness of the treatments, reduce the damages to healthy cells, lessen the side effects, and help destroy further formation of cancer cells.
A systematic review published in the US National Library of Medicine looked at 62 publications which reported significant effects of orally ingested polysaccharides, and 15 controlled studies on humans.
A number of studies in healthy human adults demonstrated immune stimulating effects of oral polysaccharides. Additional controlled human and animal studies showed anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy effects of some polysaccharide products.
Trametes versicolor (turkey tail mushroom) glucans demonstrated anti-cancer effects in humans. “Dietary polysaccharides included in this review have been shown to elicit diverse immunomodulatory effects in animal tissues, including the blood, GI tract, and spleen.”
However, it is important to note that the results were obtained from well characterised, isolated polysaccharides that have been analysed for their compositions. These studies were not to suggest that any medicinal mushrooms products would provide the same effects.
Polysaccharides from medicinal mushrooms in medical treatment
Agaricus Blazei Mushroom (also known as Brazilian Mushroom or ABM), for example, contain two specific polysaccharides that are not largely found in other types of mushrooms like shiitake and ganoderma. These polysaccharides have an exceptional ability to boost our body’s Natural Killer (NK) cells by 34 to 49 times, or 3,400 to 4,900%. This ability equips our body with ability to better fight off and prevent cancer cells from developing. Studies on lab rats that had been injected with Sarcoma 180 cancer cells, when given the polysaccharides from Brazilian or Agaricus Blazei Mushroom, showed that 90% of the cancers were destroyed.
Even though their effectiveness is well proven, polysaccharides from medicinal mushrooms haven’t been introduced more widely to the public. They have not been produced as drugs, and therefore, are not available as treatment for patients in hospitals. The effectiveness of polysaccharides from medicinal mushrooms has remained in scientific labs for years, but it hasn’t made its way to the hands of patients.
Japan, however, is the first and only country in the world that has manufactured polysaccharide lentinan from shiitake mushrooms into a cancer treatment drug used to complement conventional cancer treatment in hospitals. They are also used to aid in the treatment of Hepatitis B and AIDS patients.
How to get the health benefits of polysaccharides from medicinal mushrooms
Polysaccharides MUST be extracted from mushrooms and carefully analysed in exact dosage in order to have an effect on the immune system.
Dosage and variety are key when it comes to polysaccharides in order for them to have an impact on your immune system.
1. Dosage or specific amount of polysaccharides
When the dosage is not right, there is no effect.
By extracting the compounds out of mushrooms, scientists are able to formulate and control the amount and combination of different polysaccharides precisely in order to target the immune system.
Most medicinal mushrooms products in the market do not contain specified amount or dosage of the beneficial polysaccharides.
2. Synergistic combination of different varieties of polysaccharides
Different polysaccharides have different functions on different areas of your immune system.
Consuming a combination of these different polysaccharides is very important in order to ensure that you nourish all the different aspects of your amazingly complex immune functions.
For example, certain polysaccharides strengthen the functions of your immune response, but merely strengthening the immune response could create problems such as allergies and autoimmune diseases. Therefore, you’ll also need polysaccharides that can balance your immune response.
A polysaccharides product must include a combination of specific types of polysaccharides that have been studied for not only their individual functions, but also for how they work in synergy with other polysaccharides inside our immune system.
What you need to know before you buy any medicinal mushrooms products
Most medicinal mushrooms products in the market are simply made of dried whole mushrooms that have been turned into powder, or extracts of these mushrooms.
When you consume mushrooms, whether in their fresh, dried whole, or powdered whole forms, there is no way of knowing exactly how much polysaccharides you are consuming.
Each variety and each harvest batch of mushrooms also contains different amounts of polysaccharides, depending on many factors such as its DNA, soil, water, sunlight, and other conditions under which the plant grows.
There are many types of polysaccharides, and some are not digestible by our body. Therefore, a combination of only specific polysaccharides in the precise amount is crucial in order to deliver beneficial impact on your immune system.
Most medicinal mushrooms products in the market do not deliver this combination and precision.
Without the precise amount and combination, you can’t know if these products would have an effect on your immune system.
Any scientist, doctor, or professor can tell you that the process of extracting specific polysaccharides from mushrooms and then formulating them in precise amount in a combination for their synergistic effects on your immune system is a truly advanced and expensive scientific process.
This explains why most medicinal mushrooms products in the market are simply dried mushrooms crushed into powder or extracts of these mushrooms.
E-MUNITY : A Nutritional Immunology polysaccharides formulation
E-MUNITY contains a combination of different synergistic polysaccharides obtained from several medicinal mushrooms, namely Agaricus Blazei Mushroom (Brazilian Mushroom or ABM), Maitake Mushroom, Shiitake Mushroom, and Cordyceps Mycelium, in addition to high-antioxidant blueberries and cassia seeds.
The high antioxidants in blueberries help your body better absorb and utilise these polysaccharides and phytonutrients.
Why use Cordyceps Mycelium in E-MUNITY?
E-MUNITY uses the mycelium of Cordyceps instead of wild grown Cordyceps Sinensis.
When research was conducted on wild grown Cordyceps Sinensis, it was found to be widely contaminated, especially with heavy metals, and therefore did not meet the purity and quality standards desired in E-MUNITY.
The mycelium used in E-MUNITY is grown in carefully controlled environment, and is free of contamination.
There are over 400 species of Cordyceps, but only about 10 species have the nutritional values that would benefit our immune system. E-MUNITY only uses carefully selected species of Cordyceps that have been analysed to contain just the right nutritional values for our immune system.
RHAPSODY: Pure cactus pad liquid to complement the polysaccharides in E-MUNITY
The effects of E-MUNITY will be greatly enhanced if consumed along with RHAPSODY.
The key ingredient in RHAPSODY is cactus, which contains abundant phytonutrients (or phytochemicals), more than any other plant food on earth. Phytonutrients from plant foods like cactus help to prevent the development of cancer cells, help fight free radicals, and help prevent gene mutation.
In order to resolve a chronic condition, we need to consume not only polysaccharides, but also abundant phytonutrients and antioxidants.
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