Last edited, 13 April 2020.
Polysaccharides are often associated with mushrooms. Multiple studies have been done over years, showing that mushrooms are exceptionally rich in polysaccharides and each mushroom has different types of polysaccharides.
Polysaccharides work to help directly influence our immune system so that we can defend ourselves against cancer, and viral or bacterial infections. It helps enhance our immune cells by helping them work or by helping them regenerate a little bit faster.
The amount and combination of polysaccharides used are important; only a suitable amount and combination will produce optimal effects. Consuming a concentrated extract of a variety of polysaccharides is more beneficial than consuming dried mushroom powder.
As early as the 1980s, the Japanese Pharmaceutical Council has recognized and approved lentinan, a polysaccharide found in shiitake mushrooms, as an adjunct for chemotherapy. It is used as a biological response modifier for the treatment of stomach cancer.
ABM Mushroom (Agaricus blazel murill)
ABM is rich in two polysaccharides – the beta-1,3 D-glucan and beta-1, 6 D-glucan. They aid in the production of cancer-fighting immune cells, interferon and interleukin, plus prevent the reproduction, spread and relapse of cancer cells.
Research at the King Drew Medical Center of UCLA found that ABM mushroom increases the total amount of immune cells in the body, and also boosts the function of individual natural killer (NK) cells. Research done in Japan, Hong Kong, and the United States suggests that polysaccharides in ABM mushrooms stimulate lymphocyte T-cell and helper T-cell production in the experimental animals.
Research done at the Medical Department of Tokyo University, the National Cancer Center Laboratory, and the Tokyo College of Pharmacy suggests that ABM has powerful antitumor properties. Research was done with mice known to have cancerous tumors. When these mice were fed ABM mushroom powder, the tumors were eliminated in about 90% of the mice.
ABM mushrooms boost the immune system so that it can better help prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells.
Maitake Mushroom (Grifola frondosa)
Maitake mushroom can promote the activity of the different cells of the immune system as well as their chemical secretions. By doing this, it helps boost the immune system against viral and bacterial infections; assists in cancer treatment, and helps prevent cancer relapse.
Maitake mushroom promotes the activity of immune cells, such as macrophages—the leukocytes that identify and engulf foreign invaders in the body; natural killer (NK) cells, which identify and kill tumor cells; and cytotoxic T cells. Maitake mushroom also activates cytokines, such as interleukin-1, interleukin-2, and lymphokines, which support the body’s fight against infections, AIDS, and cancer. Therefore, the maitake mushroom not only boosts the immune system against viral and bacterial infections, it also assists in cancer treatment, and in helping to prevent cancer relapse.
D-fraction, a part of the polysaccharides in maitake mushroom, can stop normal cells from becoming cancerous. Maitake mushroom also has promising potential in lowering blood pressure and preventing diabetes. It has promising antihypertensive and antidiabetic effects as well!
Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum)
Reishi mushroom is used to improve the quality of life of cancer patients and help prolong their life span. It has been scientifically proven to have a healing effect on the lungs and is particulary beneficial for individuals with asthma and other respiratory problems.
It can be used together with chemotherapy to help reduce the latter’s unpleasant side effects, such as fatigue, weight loss, poor appetite, hair loss, and bone marrow suppression that could lead to a greater risk of dangerous infections.
In addition to boosting the immune system and helping to protect you from cancer, reishi mushrooms have also demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory effects, which may help with diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinus edodes)
Shiitake mushroom has been used for centuries in Oriental folk medicine to treat colds, flu, poor blood circulation, stomach upset and fatigue. The polysaccharides Lentinan and LEM have many immunity strengthening effects, including the enhancement of natural killer cells and increased production of gamma interferon. Tests prove that LEM may recharge the immune system when it has been weakened by chronic illnesses, long periods of stress, medical treatments and aging. Research indicates that Lentinan offers protection from reduced white blood cell counts due to radiation treatment.
In Japan, lentinan has been used for adjunctive treatment, from HIV to various types of cancer, such as skin, breast, colorectal, cervical and others. Lentinan has also demonstrated some antibacterial properties.
Research published in the IN VIVO: International Journal of Experimental and Clinical Pathophysiology and Drug Research shows that LEM, likely through antioxidant-like actions, has a protective effect against liver injury.
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