Update 3/20/20. Are Reishi mushrooms healthy? Maybe you know it by its other name, Ganoderma lucidum? Mushrooms are one of the most popular superfoods on Earth. So whats the research on reishi mushroom health benefits? In this reishi mushroom review, I'll break down the research to help figure out if its right for you. Does reishi mushroom work? In some cases, yes. Do they have any side effects you should know about? Yes. Let's go to the science and see if it's right for you. See the Black Seed Oil Review too.
1 What Is Reishi Mushroom?
Reishi mushroom – Ganoderma lucidum is a type of mushroom. There are over 5000 types of mushrooms, Another name for reishi is Lingzhi mushroom. Reishi mushroom has a variety of compounds that might seem to work in many different ways.
Let's now summarize the reishi research and focus on human research. Human research is most important for us because we are humans.
2 Reishi And Blood Pressure
Can Reishi mushroom help lower blood pressure? Researchers in Hong Kong gave 1.44 g of reishi to 26 people with hypertension for 12 weeks. They saw no change in blood pressure or body mass index (BMI) in either placebo or Ganoderma groups. They did notice a small decrease in insulin resistance and triglyceride levels. An increase in good (HDL) cholesterol was also noted.
3 Reishi And Dementia
Research hints reishi mushrooms may reduce the development of beta-amyloid plaques which form in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. Sounds promising. So can reishi help people preserve memory? Researchers in China tested reishi mushroom powder in 42 people with Alzheimer's disease for 6 weeks. These researchers saw no improvement in peoples memory. This is contrary to lab animal evidence which suggests the mushroom can bolster memory.
Also, see these memory supplement reviews too:
4 Reishi And Arthritis
Researchers in Hong Kong, gave the mushroom or a placebo to 65 people with rheumatoid arthritis. for 24 weeks. The amount of used was 2.4 grams per day. Those taking the supplement were also given 2.4 grams of an herb called San Miao San (SMS).
After 24 weeks, those taking the reishi/ San Miao San combination reported a significant reduction in arthritis pain. However, there was no decrease in any immune system cells – which is odd since an over-aggressive immune system often can contribute to arthritis. This study did not prove reishi helped arthritis pain because the mushroom was used in combination with another herb.
5 Reishi And Viruses
There is evidence reishi, plus another mushroom called Trametes versicolor may help clear the HPV virus from the body after 2 months of use. These French investigators noted an 88% clearance of the virus. Other research also suggests a combination of reishi and other mushrooms might be effective against herpes virus too.
What about HIV/AIDS? See the black seed oil review.
6 Reishi And Diabetes
Test tube and lab mice evidence suggest reishi mushroom can reduce blood sugar. But what about people?
Researchers in Hong Kong noted reishi might have “mild anti-diabetic effects.” These researchers used 1.44 grams of Ganoderma per day for 12 weeks.
Based on this, more research is needed.
7 Reishi And Cancer
Can Reishi mushrooms help people with cancer? To check, researchers in China, have noted reishi extracts can stimulate natural killer cells (NK cells) and other parts of the immune system in mice. The extract seemed to slow the growth of lung cancer cells but did not kill off the lung cancer cells. Other studies involving lab animals also suggest immune-stimulating effects.
But what about people?
When researchers in China gave the mushroom to 48 women with breast cancer, Ganoderma reduced their fatigue. Researchers in New Zealand gave 30 patients with advanced lung cancer an extract of reishi called Ganopoly for 12 weeks. They noted the immune systems of some of the people improved. Test tube evidence suggests reishi may help reduce the spread of colon cancer cells.
In a review of previous research, it was concluded while the Ganoderma could be used alongside conventional cancer therapies, it should not be used in place of them. Most importantly, they say, “It remains uncertain whether Ganoderma lucidum helps prolong long-term cancer survival”.
8 Reishi And The Prostate
Can this mushroom help the prostate? One study involved 88 men with lower urinary tract infections. They were given reishi mushroom (6 mg/ day) or a placebo for 12 weeks. The men taking reishi mushrooms reported better improvement in urinary symptoms. No changes in testosterone, PSA, or prostate size were noted.
9 Reishi And Weight Loss
No studies have looked at whether the mushroom helps people lose weight. Researchers looking at the heart health effects of Ganoderma saw no changes in body mass index when people took it for 12 weeks.
10 Reishi Supplements
There are many mushroom supplements. Which one is the best? While various websites tout reishi benefits, very few supplements have been clinically tested. So, I don't think the price has to matter when it comes to picking a supplement. Less expensive brands may be just as good as more expensive. As long as it's quality-made, all brands should all work about the same.
How do you know if you are getting a quality mushroom supplement? That answer may be hard to figure out. When researchers tested 19 different brands of reishi mushroom supplements, only 5 contained any reishi. Unfortunately, this study did not disclose which supplements failed. Regardless, it appears to show very poor quality when it comes to reishi supplements.
When evaluating supplements here are a couple of tricks:
- Google the address of the company. What do you see? If you see a building with the company name, that's good. If you see a strip mall or a PO Box then this might not be so good.
- Search google results for the company name and see if anything else shares that address. Is it the Fed Ex Store? If yes, that might not be so good.
When considering a supplement, consider whether it provides an extractor is derived from the whole mushroom. Personally, I think whole mushroom supplements would better because it would provide a wide spectrum of nutrients rather than an isolated extract.
11 Reishi Mushroom Side Effects
What is the toxicity of mushrooms? Are they safe? While people have been eating mushrooms for thousands of years, there are still some things you should consider when it comes to supplements. This list is not complete:
- Start with less than the recommended amount for the first week to see how you respond
- Some have reported diarrhea and GI problems
- Don't take if you are allergic to mushrooms
- Reishi might have a blood pressure-lowering effect.
- The mushrooms may be a natural blood thinner. Talk to your doctor if you use blood thinner medicine.
- Stop taking reishi supplements at least 2 weeks before having surgery
- Speak to your doctor first if you have cancer
- Speak to your doctor first if you have liver problems
- Speak to your doctor/pharmacist/dietitian if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- When in doubt, if you take any medicine, speak to your doctor/pharmacist first
Researchers in Thailand have reported a case of liver failure from reishi supplements. Here, a 47-year-old woman with a history of schizophrenia had used reishi mushrooms for years without issues. Two months after switching to a powdered supplement (400 mg/day) she was admitted to the hospital with liver failure, where she died. The name of the supplement was not mentioned.
See the supplements and liver failure review.
Researchers in Canada, noted at higher levels, extracts of the mushroom might have a toxic effect on human cells. On the last page of the study researches make the following statements I feel are worth reading —especially for those who currently have cancer:
1. ” We believe that it cannot be concluded with certainty that G. lucidum causes immunostimulation. Given that there were consistent significant decreases in cell viability demonstrated, this suggests that G. lucidum does cause toxicity in cells of the immune system.”
2. “Therefore, if patients are willing to use G. lucidum as an adjunctive to chemotherapy at lower concentrations, caution should be used, as the potential for toxicity does appear to exist.”
3. “Additionally, further research is required to verify plasma concentrations after oral use of G. lucidum to determine whether high toxic levels are reached.”
4. “As well, caution needs to be exercised when planning studies of the use of G. lucidum or its extracts in the therapy of patients with cancer.”
Reishi Mushroom Questions
12 Can You Get High From Reishi?
There is no evidence reishi mushrooms cause intoxication or a legal high. See the kratom review.
13 Can It Rid The Body Of Candida?
No studies have looked at ganoderma and candida yeast overgrowth.
14 Can Reishi Mushrooms Grow Hair?
Preliminary evidence suggests ganoderma can inhibit an enzyme involved in hair loss. That enzyme is called 5α-reductase. This is also how some hair growth drugs work too. While this is interesting, research on reishi growing hair is lacking. So, whether it reverse hair loss or not is open to speculation. For more on hair loss and hair color see these reviews
- Viviscal review
- Pseudocatalase review
- Amla fruit review
- Creatine and hair loss review
- Caffeine shampoo review
15 Can It Help PCOS?
Ganoderma seems to inhibit the enzyme 5α-reductase which is involved in turning testosterone in the DHT. This enzyme also plays a role in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). That said, is no conclusive proof taking reishi mushroom supplements can reverse PCOS.
16 What About Reishi And Asthma?
Ganoderma seems to have anti-inflammatory properties. In theory, this may help the airways of people with asthma. But, no studies have looked at reishi and asthma to see if it works or not.
17 Is Organic Better?
It might be especially if you are concerned with pesticides. Studies, however, don't compare organic vs. non-organic mushrooms. None of the human studies specifically said they used organic reishi. So, I think this is an individual decision.
18 Can Reishi Help The Thyroid?
There is a lack of evidence for Ganoderma lucidum reversing thyroid disease. No investigations seem to have looked at its effect on thyroid function or TSH levels or thyroid auto-antibodies. So I can't say either way. See the black seed oil review.
19 Do They Help Epilepsy?
Researchers in China gave 18 people with epilepsy Ganoderma Lucidum Powder. After 8 weeks, people reported – via answering questionnaires -that the number of seizures they had per week, decreased. Reishi mushroom powder did not seem to reduce the severity of seizures, however. Still, fewer seizures are a big deal. A drawback to this study was it was small (only 18 people) and there was not a placebo group.
20 What About Autoimmune Diseases?
21 Does It Raise Hormone Levels?
This mushroom does not seem to raise either estrogen or testosterone levels. It might reduce some other hormones but it's really hard to know for sure because of the lack of human research.
22 Does It Increase Energy?
in some online testimonials, people say this mushroom helps them power through the day but the research is less clear. One study did find reishi improved fatigue in women with breast cancer. That's interesting but there is still room for more research.
23 Does Reishi Interfere With Birth Control Pills?
There is no research or reports of women getting pregnant while taking reishi and birth control pills.
24 Do Reishi Mushrooms Work?
Mushrooms are healthy and have been eaten for thousands of years. This review summarized that in some cases reishi supplements may have benefits. Before trying reishi supplements I think it's a good idea to get a full blood test first —and do it again after about a month – to see if anything has changed. I think that's the smartest thing to do to know if reishi is right for you.