How does Trametes versicolor PSK work
The answer appears to lie in our immune system. The immune system defends against anything that goes wrong anywhere in the body. The immune system is comprised with many types of cells that circulate in the blood or populate the body tissues including the spleen, thymus, bone marrow, lung and gut. The function of these cells is to detect and eliminate any threats to the body, known collectively as ‘The Immune Response.’
When functioning optimally, the immune system detects and destroys any invaders such as viruses or bacteria and also does important ‘housekeeping’ by disposing of any dead or dying or abnormal cells before they become a problem. Furthermore, the immune system protects the body when under stress and from injury caused by exposure to environmental agents such as chemicals and allergens. How the immune system goes about its task to defend the body everywhere is highly complex and co-ordinated. However, it is vulnerable to physical, chemical and emotional stresses that plague our daily life. A less than optimal immune function may reflect these insults.
For decades, Trametes versicolor PSK has been investigated for its mechanisms of action on key cell types known to be involved in optimum immune system functions necessary for maintaining good health.3 The research revealed that, as Trametes PSK is taken orally, it is absorbed in the gut to be processed by tissue ‘gatekeeper’ cells called dendritic cells. These cells then alert the immune system by passing on the processed polysaccharide material of PSK to killer cells, leukocytes and other immune cells in the vicinity. The effector cells in turn become ‘primed’ and ‘educated’ for immune vigilance to be ever better ready against the body’s enemies. This way an ongoing stimulation by Trametes PSK keeps the cell types of the immune system more vigilant and alert so that they respond more rapidly and intensely to any threat to the body’s health.
Of all the commercially available mushrooms that claimed to support immune health, Trametes PSK is the only one that has been most extensively researched and has the best documented evidence of benefit supported by a large body of peer-reviewed independent clinical studies including double blind human trials.3,6 The researchers found the beneficial effects of Trametes PSK were statistically significant and were probably due to an improved immune function.
The studies have also found that Trametes PSK was an effective radio- and chemo-protective dietary supplement supporting and protecting immune health in those people receiving treatments known to be harmful to the immune system. In these clinical settings, an impaired cellular immunity is the most common feature attributable to the treatments used.
Trametes PSK probably acts by boosting the body’s immunity by re-balancing the immune system. It is believed that the immune system comprises two immune responses, cellular and humoral (the body fluid surrounding the cells). The balance between the two responses determines how well our body deals with disease and infection (bacteria and virus). Keeping the balance between the body’s cellular and humoral responses is a vitally important process for immune health and is controlled by cells called TH1 and TH2. When imbalance occurs, the immune system shifts to a high TH2 state. Consequently, the body’s major natural defence against infection is compromised when fewer natural killer cells or NK cells are produced to combat the offending pathogen.
The ability to mobilise other immune mechanisms to combat the pathogen decisively is also defective when the body’s cellular and humoral processes are not in balance: where the body shifts to a TH2 state. A TH2 dominant state is normally associated with a chronic virus infection (e.g. hepatitis, HIV). Hence, higher levels of TH1 are needed in order to produce natural killer cells to eliminate the offending pathogen. Researchers have found that Trametes PSK promotes a TH1 response3, a state critically important for producing natural killer cells to support immune health.
Who can benefit from taking Trametes versicolor?
The active ingredient responsible for the complete immune enhancing effect of Trametes versicolor is polysaccharide-K (PSK). Trametes PSK is formulated as a freeze-dried mycelial powder extract and encapsulated for effective delivery of the PSK immune nutrient.
Based on the available evidence from a huge body of research,3 the key reasons to take Trametes PSK would include typically those people who are: regular smokers, low in energy, exposed to radiation and toxic drugs, catch a common cold easily, recovering from injury/surgery, advancing in age, leading a highly stressful life, work in a health-challenging environment and those who have laboratory-confirmed impaired immunity.
In these settings, ability to boost the efficiency of the immune system without a downside suggests that Trametes versicolor proteoglycan extract is the most powerful immunoceutical available anywhere.