Boosting Immune Health With Agaricus Mushrooms
Native to Brazil and popular in Japan and Taiwan, this medicinal mushroom comes with a lot of health claims, and is rumored to treat everything from hepatitis to diabetes to cancer.1 But are these claims true, or is it all just hype?
A quick search through PubMed, the official research database for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Agaricus blazei turns up 276 published articles. That’s a lot of research for a small mushroom! The majority of research thus far has been done on mice, and this research gives us a solid understanding of how Agaricus blazei strengthens the immune system.
One of the ways in which Agaricus blazei stimulates the immune system is through the high levels of beta glucans it contains. Beta glucans are types of fiber found in cereal bran, bakers yeast and several types of mushrooms. A specific type, Beta 1,3-glucans stimulates the production of immune system cells such as macrophages, neutrophils (aka white blood cells) and natural killer (NK) cells.2 When taken regularly, Agaricus blazei stimulates the production of these immune cells too.
NK cells are part of your innate immune system, meaning they fight all foreign invaders and aren’t specific to any one disease. This is in contrast to T-cells which are developed to fight specific problematic cells. One of the reasons why Agaricus blazei is helpful in a wide variety of diseases might be because of the broad-ranging action of the NK cells it helps to stimulate.
When a cell entering the body is recognized as problematic, a nearby NK cell makes a hole in the foreign cell’s membrane. Through that hole, the NK cell sends in what are called granzymes, essentially poison for the foreign cell. The foreign cell is destroyed in a process called apoptosis. In this way, natural killer cells live up to their name, by completely destroying the problematic cells nearby.3
Macrophages are a different type of white blood cell. They fight infection by locating problematic cells, swallowing them whole and breaking them down through a process similar to digestion. Agaricus blazei also stimulates the production of dendritic cells, which are the messengers of your immune system, sending the alert to the rest of your cells that it’s time to launch an attack.
Through its high level of beta glucans, Agaricus blazei stimulates the production of healthy immune cells in several different ways, strengthening your system and preparing it to ward off any bacteria, fungi or viruses that might come your way. If you're looking for an Agaricus blazei supplement to add to your daily regimen, we highly recommend Agaricus Bio. It's made from certified organic Agaricus blazei Murill mushrooms and contains all the vital immune-enhancing compounds that you'd want in an immune support supplement.