Medicinal Mushroom May Help in the Fight Against Cancer

29/07/2015 | trammune

Mushrooms have been considered as gourmet cuisine around the globe since antiquity for their subtle flavor and unique taste. Recently it has been learned that many mushroom species are miniature pharmaceutical factories producing hundreds of fresh constituents with amazing biological properties. Of late, mushrooms have been developed as a wonderful source of nutraceuticals, anti-cancer, antioxidants, prebiotic, immunomodulation, cardiovascular, anti microbial, anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory.

The latest Cancer Council Australia statistics for cancer rates in Australia have shown that 1 in 3 men and 1 in 4 women will be affected by cancer before the age of 75. Cancer is still the leading cause of death in Australia though most of them are successfully treated. The most frequent cancers in Australia (apart from non-melanoma skin cancer) are breast, prostate, melanoma, lung cancer and colorectal. Mushrooms are known to support chemotherapy and radiation therapy by countering the side-effects of cancer, such as bone marrow suppression, anemia, lowered resistance, and nausea. The Japanese Health and Welfare Ministry has approved three different anti-cancer drugs extracted from mushrooms: Schizophyllan, from Schizophyllum commune; Polysaccharide-K (PSK), from Trametes Versicolor and Lentinan, derived from Lentinus edodes.

Trametes versicolor is the world’s most thoroughly researched medicinal mushroom with the best documented evidence to support health promoting benefits.  The MD Anderson Cancer Centre stated that it is a “promising candidate for chemoprevention due to the multiple effects on the malignant process, limited side effects and safety of daily oral doses for extended periods of time”.  Research has shown that Trametes versicolor PSK may help to improve Quality of Life and cancer patient outcomes by boosting cellular immune functions in patients with intense immunosuppression due to chemotherapy and radiation.

Trametes versicolor PSK does not interact with any other drugs nor affect hepatic drug-metabolizing enzyme activities showing that drug efficiency is not harmed when it is used with other medicines.  The ability to boost the efficiency of the immune system without a downside suggests that Trametes versicolor proteoglycan extract could be the most powerful immunoceutical available, offering hope to those who need it most.