How Does Agaricus Blazei Work in the Body?
Agaricus blazei is an edible mushroom that has been rigorously studied both in vitro and in vivo concerning its possible therapeutic value in various health issues. Several human clinical studies are showing promising results.
What exactly did researchers learn about how Agaricus blazei works in fighting against unhealthy mutated cells? Well, Agaricus blazei contains various active metabolites that have been scientifically studied for their diverse biological effects.
The β-glucan compounds for inducing apoptosis and inhibiting metastasis
One of the most well-known groups of compounds isolated from the Agaricus blazei mushroom are the β-glucan compounds. Through their interaction with other enzymes and signaling molecules in the cell, these β-glucan molecules have been demonstrated to inhibit cell proliferation and unhealthy cell growth, induce apoptosis (i.e. cell death), and inhibit metastasis (i.e. the spreading of unhealthy cells to other sites). For example, one study demonstrated that β-(1-3)-D-glucan (a specific type of β-glucan) has an anti-metastatic effect, at least partly through its activation of the metastasis suppressor genes, such as nm23-H1.2 Metastasis suppressor genes are the genes that encode proteins that slow or prevent metastasis.
The β-glucan compounds for strengthening NK cell activity
Unhealthy cells grow and divide at an unregulated pace. It will impose more severe health issues when the immune cells (such as NK cells) fail to recognize and destroy them. Researchers have found that the β-glucan compounds in the Agaricus blazei mushroom increase the production of NK cells and strengthens NK cell activity3,4. In other words, Agaricus blazei can empower your body’s ability to clean up unhealthy cells.
Agaritine and Blazeispirol for activating cell apoptosis
In addition to the β-glucan molecules, other possible phytonutrients , such as Agaritine and Blazeispirol, have also been found in the Agaricus blazei mushroom. Studies have shown that Agaritine and Blazeispirol both activate the caspase-3 and caspase-9 enzymes.5,6 Caspase-3 and caspase-9 are enzymes that play an important role in cell apoptosis. Scientists are interested in finding compounds, like Agaritine and Blazeispirol, which can activate cell apoptosis in unhealthy mutated cells.⁶
Besides the β-glucans, Agaritine and Blazeispirol, there are several other compounds found in Agaricus blazei mushroom with known health-promoting effects demonstrated in laboratory and animal studies. It is, therefore, possible that Agaricus blazei offers more than a few mechanisms of actions in support your health.
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1 Jiang WG, Sanders AJ, Katoh M, Ungefroren H, et al. Tissue invasion and metastasis: Molecular, biological and clinical perspectives. Semin Cancer Biol. 2015 Dec;35 Suppl:S244-75.
2Niu YC, Liu JC, Zhao XM, Wu XX. A low molecular weight polysaccharide isolated from Agaricus blazei suppresses tumor growth and angiogenesis in vivo. Oncol Rep 2009; 21:145–52.
3Yuminamochi E1, Koike T, Takeda K, Horiuchi I, Okumura K. Interleukin-12- and interferon-gamma-mediated natural killer cell activation by Agaricus blazei Murill. Immunology. 2007 Jun;121(2):197-206.
4Ahn WS1, Kim DJ, Chae GT, Lee JM, Bae SM, Sin JI, Kim YW, Namkoong SE, Lee IP. Natural killer cell activity and quality of life were improved by consumption of a mushroom extract, Agaricus blazei Murill Kyowa, in gynecological cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2004 Jul-Aug;14(4):589-94.
5Su ZY, Tung YC, Hwang LS, Sheen LY. Blazeispirol A from Agaricus blazei fermentation product induces cell death in human hepatoma Hep 3B cells through caspase-dependent and caspase-independent pathways. J Agric Food Chem 2011; 59:5109–16.
6Akiyama H, Endo M, Matsui T, Katsuda I, Emi N, Kawamoto Y, et al. Agaritine from Agaricus blazei Murrill induces apoptosis in the leukemic cell line U937.Biochim Biophys Acta 2011;1810:519–25.