Reishi mushroom is a fungus that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, especially in Asia. It is also known as lingzhi, Ganoderma lucidum, or the mushroom of immortality. According to some scientific research, reishi mushroom may have various health benefits, such as:
- Reishi mushroom may reduce inflammation by affecting the genes and pathways of immune cells, such as white blood cells. This may help with conditions like arthritis, asthma, and allergies12.
- Reishi mushroom may have antioxidant properties that can protect cells from damage caused by free radicals or oxidative stress. Antioxidants may also prevent or slow down aging and chronic diseases13.
- Reishi mushroom may have antitumor effects by inducing apoptosis (cell death) or inhibiting proliferation (cell growth) of cancer cells. It may also prevent the formation of blood vessels that feed tumors (angiogenesis) and modulate the expression of genes involved in cancer development15.
- Reishi mushroom may have antimicrobial effects against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It may do so by binding to the surface of microbes and preventing them from attaching or entering healthy cells. It may also interfere with the replication or metabolism of microbes67.
- Reishi mushroom may have antidiabetic effects by lowering blood sugar levels and improving insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition where the body does not respond well to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Reishi mushroom may also protect the pancreas, the organ that produces insulin, from damage89.
- Reishi mushroom may have hepatoprotective effects by preventing or reversing liver injury caused by toxins, drugs, alcohol, or infections. It may do so by enhancing the antioxidant enzymes and reducing the lipid peroxidation in the liver. Lipid peroxidation is a process where fats in the cell membranes are damaged by free radicals1011.
Reishi mushroom is a fascinating fungus that may offer many health benefits. However, more human studies are needed to confirm its safety and efficacy. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a healthcare provider before taking reishi mushroom supplements or products, especially for people with diabetes, liver problems, bleeding disorders, or those taking certain medications12.
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