shitake mushroom extract
The second most popular edible mushroom worldwide, shiitake extracts define nutraceuticals - foods with positive health benefits. Polysaccharides and a compound called eritadenine are responsible for its effects. Shiitake possesses several potent immunoactive constituents. These substances stimulate the body's own immune cells to mount an attack against disease. The immune stimulating properties of shiitake has proven effective in cancer treatment.
The mushroom has been used for hundreds of years in China to treat various forms of cancer. Recent research has shown that extracts from the shiitake can indeed inhibit cancer growth. The shiitake extract, lentinan, has demonstrated the ability to cure cancer in lab mice and is approved for the treatment of gastric cancer in Japan. Unlike chemotherapy or radiation which attack the cancer cells directly, lentinan stimulates the body's own defenses to mount an attack against the cancer.
In lentinula edodes Mycelium "L. E. M. " , polysaccharides are involved, but only partly. lentinula edodes mycelium enzymatically degrades the lignins in its growing media and alters their form. The lignins in L. E. M. , called EP3, not only activate the immune system, but also have been shown to have direct antiviral activity.
Lentinan from shiitake binds to white blood cells, such as neutrophils and monocytes, and it increases host resistance to infections by viruses, bacteria and parasites. In lab animals it stimulates the production and maturation of certain immune cells. For example, early research demonstrated that lentinan activated T lymphocytes, the "generals" of the immune response. More recently, investigators administered lentinan iv to rabbits before severe exposure to pathogenic bacteria and reported this treatment prevented wide-spread infections, further demonstrating the broad immune enhancing abilities of this mushroom product.