Shiitake Mushrooms: Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects and Interactions

Shiitake Mushrooms Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects and Interactions

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Shiitake is one of the mushrooms that are growing in popularity as a health supplement. Aside from its flavourful taste, it is known for having a variety of health benefits. What are these?

What are the Benefits of Shiitake?

  • Promotes heart health
  • May strengthen bone
  • Has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties
  • Boosts immune system
  • Potential anti-cancer effects

Among the benefits attributed to shiitake mushroom is its potential to boost heart health. This is because it has compounds that are known to decrease cholesterol, which are beta-glucans, sterols, and eritadenine. (1, 2)

Several animal studies supported this claim. For instance, one study done in rats showed that shiitake powder prevented blood pressure increase. Another study involving rats that were fed with high-fat foods revealed that shiitake helped them lower cholesterol levels, keep them artery walls from plaque, acquire fewer liver fats. (1, 2)

According to research, shiitake may also help improve your bone density with its anti-microbial properties and high vitamin D levels. When exposed to UV light, shiitake may develop higher vitamin D levels. One study showed that mice which were given UV-enhanced shiitake were more likely to have higher bone density. (1)

Shiitake also contains compounds that are anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal. Scientists are, then, considering exploring these shiitake properties as antibiotic resistance is growing. (1, 2, 3)

Eating shiitake may also improve your immunity. This mushroom contains polysaccharides, which are believed to be the source of the fungus’ immune effect. (1)

It is widely known that age is one of the factors that can weaken the immune system of humans. However, one mouse study suggested that taking shiitake supplement may aid in reversing immune function decline, which is the result of age. (1)

Another study involved giving people two dried shiitake each day for a month. In the end, it was observed that their inflammation levels decreased and their immune markers improved. (1)

Shiitake mushroom is also claimed to have anti-cancer properties. This is due to its polysaccharides content. The polysaccharide lentinan, specifically, is known to combat tumors by activating the immune system. It is also said to prevent the growth and spread of leukemia cancer cells. (1, 2, 3, 4)

In Japan and China, lentinan injectables are used to complement chemotherapy and other cancer treatments to increase the improve the immunity and well-being of gastric cancer patients. (1, 2)

All these health benefits associated with shiitake mushroom supplement are quietly remarkable. However, at present, more human research is necessary to prove its effectiveness.

What is Shiitake?

Shiitakes are mushrooms that originated in East Asia. However, now they, are cultured in Japan, China, Singapore, and Canada.

They can grow up to 4 inches and their colours vary from tan to dark brown. They are usually found growing on decaying trunks of trees.

Shiitake can be eaten like vegetables, fresh or dried. In addition, it is a popular ingredient for dietary supplements.

How Does Shiitake Work?

So, what is the reason why shiitake is becoming in-demand in the health market? Why has it become a popular supplement ingredient?

The health benefits of shiitake are attributed to its nutritional content. It contains numerous nutrients that can be helpful to keep the body strong, healthy, and revitalised.

First of all, shiitake is known to be low in calories. It is also rich in fibre, B vitamins, and other minerals. It also contains the types of amino acid that are commonly found in meat. Plus, it has sterols, polysaccharides, lipids, terpenoids, and some anti-cancer properties, which are cholesterol-lowering and immunity-boosting.

How Do I Take Shiitake?

Shiitake mushrooms can be taken as food or as a supplement.

You can cook shiitake whether fresh or dried. They can be used in soups, stir-fries, stews, and others. However, dried mushrooms are more popular. That is because dried shiitake has that umami flavour, that is stronger than when you take it fresh.

In case you do not know how umami tastes, it is usually described as meaty or savoury. It is actually considered to be the fifth taste—with salty, sweet, bitter, and sour alongside.

Shiitake can also be consumed as a supplement. Actually, this mushroom has been used as part of the medical traditions of China, Japan, Eastern Russia, and Korea.

At the moment, there is a lack of information regarding the appropriate dosages for shiitake supplements. There are several factors to be considered when determining the proper dosage for yourself. These factors include your age, health condition, and others.

Keep in mind that even if a product claims to be 100% natural, it does not guarantee complete safety. Thus, you still need to consider the proper doses. See to it that you follow the directions on the product’s label. It is also advisable that you consult a healthcare professional before you take any supplement.

Can I Take It Along with Vitamins or Medicines?

As of now, no interactions with other medicines or supplements have been reported about shiitake. However, this should not be an excuse for people taking any medication to just take this supplement as they like. It is still necessary that they consult their doctors first for proper guidance.

More research is needed to find out any shiitake interactions.

Is Shiitake Safe?

Consuming shiitake is generally safe for most people. However, just like with other supplements, there are also possible side effects.

One of the reported side effects of shiitake is developing skin rashes. However, this is a rare case and might happen due to handling or eating a raw mushroom. This is actually called shiitake dermatitis. (1)

Moreover, using powdered shiitake extract for a long time may cause side effects, like sensitivity to light and upset stomach.

Shiitake mushroom is probably unsafe for breastfeeding and pregnant women. Currently, there is not enough information that can guarantee that this fungus is safe for babies or children. For this reason, they are advised to avoid shiitake supplement.

If you want to find out if shiitake can be good for you or it can improve your health condition, then see your doctor first before taking any mushroom product.

PROSTATE PLUS™ – Ultimate Prostate Health Formula*

Saw Palmetto and Nettle Root Combination Effective for Prostate and Urinary Problems in Elderly Men

30 SCIENTIFICALLY-BACKED INGREDIENTS COMBINED IN OPTIMUM DOSE FOR MAXIMUM EFFECT FORMULATED FOR:

  • HEALTHY PROSTATE*
    Formulated with premium natural ingredients to promote prostate health and function.*
  • BLADDER DISCOMFORT*
    Helps reduce bladder discomfort.*
  • URINARY TRACT*
    Helps reduce the consistent urge “to go”.*
    Contains Saw Palmetto, Zinc and Pumpkin Seed.
PROSTATE+ ULTIMATE HEALTH FORMULA