Seasonal Immune Support with Mushrooms
When working effectively, the human immune system is amazing. But when the immune system is hyper-responsive it inappropriately reacts to harmless substances such as pollen, pet dander, or foods. This overactivation is a troublesome issue for many patients, so balancing the immune response becomes a key clinical goal.
Mushroom extracts have been shown to help modulate and balance an overactive immune response. Authors of a 2016 review published in the journal Molecules stated, “The ability of mushrooms to modulate immune function is mostly attributable to their bioactive compounds, including polysaccharides, proteins, proteoglycans and triterpenoids.”*
A 2014 review featured in Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal describes the immunological support roles of five major mushrooms:
- Agaricus (Agaricus blazei)
- Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis)
- Maitake (Grifola frondosa)
- Reishi (Gandoderma lucidum)
- Turkey tail (Trametes versicolor)
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) and Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) have also been shown to have immunomodulatory effects.*
A 2018 review also summarizes the various mechanisms of action associated with the immunomodulatory effects of mushrooms. The authors state that compounds in mushrooms have been shown to modulate “both innate (nonspecific) and adaptive (specific) immune systems.”*
A 2009 study evaluated the immune-modulating effects of maitake extract in particular and found that there was a balancing effect.*
A 2022 study on Agaricus blazei published in Advances in Pharmacological Sciences found that this mushroom specifically supports immune function through “amelioration of a skewed Th1/Th2 balance”.*
A balanced immune response is important for all patients and especially those who experience seasonal challenges caused by Th1/Th2 imbalance. Mushroom extracts should be considered for any seasonal immune support protocols.*
Ayeka PA. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2018;2018.
Blagodatski A, Yatsunskaya M, Mikhailova V, et al. Oncotarget. 2018;9(49):29259-29274.
Deng G, Lin H, Seidman A, et al. Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology. 2009;135(9):1215-1221.
Guggenheim AG, Wright KM, Zwickey HL. Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal. 2014;13(1):32-44.
Zhang J, Li Y, Zhou T, et al. Molecules. 2016;21(7):938.
Hetland G, Johnson E, Lyberg T, Kvalheim G. Adv Pharmacol Sci. 2011; 2011: 157015.