According to some studies, extracts of anticancer mushrooms are able to stop the growth of cancerous cells and strengthen body anticancer immunity. Some anticancer mushrooms are already included in cancer treatment protocols in Japan and China.
First publications about anticancer mushrooms were published by Japanese professor Tetsuro Ikekava from Purdue University and colleagues from the National Cancer Research Center in Tokyo. In 1969 scientists extracted the specific substance from mushroom Shiitake – this extract was injected to experimental mice with cancer. Long-term investigation noted decreased activities of cancerous cells in 72-92% of cases. Increased doses of mushroom extract were able to resolve mice tumors. Extract isolated from mushroom Shiitake is a polysaccharide (betaglyukanom) – it was named “Lentinan” (from the latin name Shiitake – Lentinus).
Another interesting experiment was conducted by scientists from University of Gunma in Japan – they tested the inhibitory effect of various mushrooms on bladder cancer cells. Experimental mice received extracts of different mushrooms – shiitake, maitake and oyster mushroom. After eight weeks all mice which received placebo (nothing) had developed bladder cancer. In group of mice which received maitake extract about 46-47% of animals had bladder cancer, in group with shiitake extract about 52-53% of animals develop bladder cancer and in group with oyster mushroom extract more animals develop the similar cancer (about 65%). Actually this experiment demonstrated anticancer ability of different types of mushrooms.
Some scientists were interested in anticancer ability of mushrooms in metastatic cases of cancer. Experiment included three groups of mice liver metastatic cancer. First group of animals did not receive any treatment, second group received 20% extract from maitake mushroom and third group received 40% extract of same mushroom. Results of the experiment were very interesting:
- All animals from first group had metastatic liver cancer;
- In the second group metastases were reduced by 81.3%;
- In the third group metastases were reduced by 91.2%.
This experiment demonstrates that regular use of anti-fungal extracts could increase the possibility to reduce metastases up to 90% cases. It also confirmed the suggestion about including certain mushrooms extract in routine anticancer treatment protocols.
During several years scientists from few medical institutions (Hospital at the Medical University of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province People’s Hospital, Cancer Hospital of Zhejiang Province) conducted number of clinical studies on the effect of anti-cancer mushroom extracts on human body. In 2007 the final conclusions were made. It was noted that extracts from certain mushrooms are able to stop the development of cancerous cells and, at the same time, they are able to strengthen body natural anticancer immunity.
How anticancer mushrooms work? How mushroom extracts damage cancerous cells? How mushrooms affect cancer processes?
It was highlighted that mushroom extracts are effective even in cases of weak immune system. In clients with cancer the mushroom extracts block the growth of tumor blood vessels and trigger apoptosis (suicide of cancerous cells). At the same time, mushroom extracts strengthen body immune system. It was also noted that mushroom extracts can also strengthen the effectiveness of anticancer chemotherapy by 30%. It is recommended to include mushrooms in daily diet during chemotherapy and radiation. According to scientists, the sensitivity of cancer cells to radiation increased 4 times during daily consumption of mushrooms (thanks to mushroom’s beta-glucans activity). Fungal beta-glucans activate antitumor immunity by activating T- limfosits and macrophages.
The most well-known anticancer mushrooms are Shiitake, Maitake, Reishi, Agaricus Blazei, Cordyceps and Veselka. Each mushroom has its own unique mechanism of destruction of the cancerous tumor.
Agaricus Blazei has very specific property that deprives the tumor of blood supply – these mushrooms produce sodium pyroglutamate which block blood vessel growth. It is well known that tumor cannot grow more than 1mm in absence of vessels’ feeding. This is why tumors produce so called “Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)” – it is a protein which stimulates vasculogenesis (development of new vessels for tumor feeding). So, cancerous tumor is becoming a parasite fed by human body. Actually Agaricus Blazei blocks the release of “vascular growth factor” and deprives tumors from feeding – tumor does not receive new vessel and gradually shrinks.
Maitake mushrooms work similarly – these mushrooms produce so called “Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (TNF)” which blocks tumor vasculogenesis. At the same time, Maitake mushrooms trigger apoptosis (self-suicide) of cancerous cells. These mushrooms have cytotoxic effect on tumor cells.
Shiitake mushrooms contains “virus-like particles” which trigger the synthesis of antineoplastic interferons which block development of metastasis.
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