Does Eating Mushrooms Worsen Fungal Infections?

 antifungal activities of medicinal mushrooms

Yeast and fungal infections can be persistent and discomforting, leading many to adopt restrictive diets in an attempt to alleviate symptoms. However, contrary to popular belief, not all fungi are harmful, and researchers reported some functional mushrooms have shown potent antifungal properties that suggest some functional mushrooms would not promote yeast and fungal infections. This article will explore the fascinating research findings of functional mushrooms and shed light on their remarkable health benefit.

The Fungi Paradox

It's a common misconception that individuals dealing with yeast and fungal infections should steer clear of all fungi, including mushrooms. In reality, not all fungi are created equal. Functional mushrooms, such as Agaricus blazei,  Reishi, and Cordyceps, have been revered in traditional medicine for centuries for their immune-boosting and antifungal activities.

Agaricus blazei Murill (Agaricus subrufescens): God's Mushroom or Mushroom of life

Researchers found that six natural compounds, including Linolic acid, 1,1’-oxybis(2,4-di-tert-butylbenzene), glycerol monolinoleate, volemolide (17R)-17-methylincisterol, (24s)-ergosta-7-en-3-ol (5), and dibutyl phthalate, extracted from Agaricus blazei Murill fruit bodies showed significant antifungal activities against four fungal strains(2):

  1. Trichophyton mentagrophyte: This is a type of fungus that can cause skin infections. It's often involved in conditions like athlete's foot and ringworm.
  2. Trichophyton rubrum: It is another fungus that can cause skin infections, particularly athlete's foot and nail infections. It's like a sneaky intruder that affects your skin and nails, leading to discomfort.
  3. Candida. albicans: It is a type of yeast that usually lives in small amounts in our bodies, but it can overgrow and cause infections, commonly in the mouth (thrush) or genital area.
  4. Cryptococcus neoformans: This fungus is known for causing infections in the lungs and central nervous system, especially in individuals with weakened immune systems.

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum): Mushroom of Immortality

Researchers found that Phenolic acids, Ganodermim, and Polysaccharides in Reishi showed antifungal activities to the following fungal strains(1):

  1. Aspergillus fumigatus: This fungus is commonly found in the environment, especially in soil and decaying plant matter.
  2. Aspergillus niger: It is known for its dark color. It's often used in the production of certain foods and industrial processes.
  3. Aspergillus versicolor: It is known for producing mycotoxins and is often found in damp indoor environments. Exposure to its spores may lead to respiratory issues.
  4. Aspergillus ochraceus: This fungus can produce toxins. It's commonly found in stored grains and may lead to contamination.
  5. Penicillium funiculosum: This fungus is part of the Penicillium family, like the one that gave us penicillin. However, Penicillium funiculosum itself is not known for producing antibiotics.
  6. Penicillium ochrochloron: Another member of the Penicillium family, this fungus is known for its greenish color. It's found in various environments and doesn't have the same antibiotic properties as the classic Penicillium that gave us penicillin.
  7. Penicillium verrucosum: This fungus is known for its ability to produce mycotoxins and is commonly found in grains. It can potentially lead to food contamination.
  8. Trichophyton mentagrophytes: As mentioned earlier.
Cordyceps (Codyceps militaris): Anti-aging Mushroom

Cordyceps is unique in its ability to support overall health, including fungal management. It also helps support the immune systems and stamina. Researchers found Cordymin, one of the bioactive compounds in Cordyceps militaris, offers excellent antifungal activities to the following microorganisms(1)(3):

  1. Bipolaris maydis: This fungus is known for causing a disease in corn plants called southern corn leaf blight.
  2. Candida albicans: As mentioned earlier. 
  3. Mycosphaerella arachidicola: This fungus is known for causing diseases in peanut plants.
  4. Rhizoctonia solani: It is a fungus that can cause diseases in various plants, including vegetables and ornamental crops. 

Dispelling the Myth

While it's essential to be mindful of individual sensitivities and allergies, avoiding all mushrooms due to fungal infections may be an unnecessary restriction. Medicinal mushrooms offer a natural and holistic approach to supporting the body's defenses against unwanted fungus. Rather than avoiding mushrooms altogether, consider embracing the potential health benefits of these extraordinary fungi. By incorporating them into your diet responsibly, you can enjoy your life even more while fostering a resilient and balanced immune system. As always, consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice tailored to your health needs.


  1. Alves, M. J., Ferreira, I. C., Dias, J., Teixeira, V., Martins, A., & Pintado, M. (2013). A Review on Antifungal Activity of Mushroom (Basidiomycetes) Extracts and Isolated Compounds. Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry, 13(No. 21), 2648-2659.
  2. Yu, R. et al. (2023). Isolation and Identification of Chemical Compounds from Agaricus blazei Murrill and Their In Vitro Antifungal Activities. Molecules, 28(21).
  3. Hong, J. al. (2011). Cordymin, an antifungal peptide from the medicinal fungus Cordyceps militaris. Phytomedicine.
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