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Mushrooms Protect Against Prostate Cancer

[Edible Fungi Chart from The New Student’s Reference Work, 1914. Source: Wikimedia Commons]

I love mushrooms. They are one of the most underrated foods, in my opinion. Mushrooms are flavorful and versatile. They can be grilled, sautéed, roasted, and eaten raw.  And on the nutritional side, they are packed with many vital nutrients.

This is why I was particularly interested in a recent study that suggested mushrooms may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. 

Mushroom Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk

The study, published online Sept. 4, 2019, by the International Journal of Cancer, got much buzz because of its simple message: more mushrooms equals less prostate cancer. 

Here is a look at what the study showed and what it means in the context of prostate cancer prevention. 

Japanese researchers recruited more than 36,000 men ages 40 to 79. They collected detailed health information, including physical activity, smoking and drinking habits, family and medical history, and diet. For the diet information, the researchers recorded how much and how often they consumed 39 specific foods and beverages. The men were then followed for a period ranging from 13 to almost 25 years. 

Afterward, the researchers found that men who consumed mushrooms once or twice a week—an average of about 3 ounces per serving—had an 8% lower risk of prostate cancer compared with those who ate no mushrooms. When men ate mushrooms three or more times per week, their risk dropped to 17%. 

The researchers noted that mushrooms contain high levels of an amino acid called ergothioneine, which works as a powerful antioxidant and may play a factor in fighting cancer. 

The study only showed an association and not cause and effect, yet the findings still stand out because they included such a high number of men that were studied for up to 25 years.

White mushrooms Reduce Prostate Cancer Recurrence.

Also, this is not the first study to show a connection between mushrooms and prostate cancer. Research in the September 2015 issue of Cancer found that taking white mushroom powder helped men reduce the risk of PSA recurrence after treatment for prostate cancer.  

So what does this mean? I’d argue that it appears mushrooms may play an essential role in prostate cancer prevention and co-management.

My advice is to enjoy mushrooms both in food and in quality dietary supplements whenever you can. Shitake, oyster, maitake, and king oyster mushrooms have the highest concentrations of ergothioneine, according to the Japanese study. 

Ganoderma or Reishi Mushroom

I frequently prescribe reishi mushrooms to my patients with prostate cancer. One meta-analysis found that people who added reishi extract to their regular anti-cancer regimen were 1.27 times more likely to respond to chemotherapy or radiotherapy than those who did not take the extract. The scientists believed that reishi may stimulate immune cells and help create a powerful microenvironment that is more hostile to cancer.

Another popular anti-cancer therapy in Japan for immune strengthening is the fermented mushroom extract active hexose correlated compound or AHCC*

Dietary Supplements with Medicinal Mushrooms

A dietary supplement with Reishi mushroom I formulated and recommend is ImmunoPCTN*.

I also recommend AHCC *for many patients.

Lastly, a plant protein I use made from pea and brown rice protein is ImmunoProtein*, which also contains a variety of mixed mushrooms in powder form.

[Disclosure: I am co-founder and Chief Medical Officer at XY Wellness.]


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