ColDeKa INGREDIENTS FACTS
Shiitake mushroom (Lentinula edodes)
For hundreds of years, shiitake mushrooms have been a popular food source in Asia. They’re the second most popular and the third most widely cultivated edible mushroom in the world. Today, shiitakes can be found in most grocery stores because of their meaty and versatile flavor, but did you know that they’re packed with B vitamins and have the power to fight cancer cells, cardiovascular disease and infections? That’s just a few of shiitake mushroom nutrition benefits.
Why are these small fungi so powerful? It’s because shiitake mushrooms have antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. They also help to control blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation within the body.
That’s right — all of these health benefits come from eating a mushroom. And there are a ton of easy ways to incorporate shiitake mushrooms into your diet.
Shiitake Mushroom Benefits
Shiitake mushrooms contain many chemical compounds that protect your DNA from oxidative damage, which is partly why they’re so beneficial. Lentinan, for example, heals chromosome damage caused by anticancer treatments. Eritadenine substances help reduce cholesterol levels and support cardiovascular health. Researchers at Shizuoka University in Japan found that eritadenine supplementation significantly decreased plasma cholesterol concentration. (1) Shiitakes are also unique for a plant because they contain all eight essential amino acids, along with a type of essential fatty acid called linoleic acid. Linoleic acid helps with weight loss and building muscle. It also has bone-building benefits, improves digestion, and reduces food allergies and sensitivities.
- Fight Obesity
Certain components of the shiitake mushroom have hypolipidaemic (fat-reducing) effects, such as eritadenine and b-glucan, a soluble dietary fiber that’s also found in barley, rye and oats. Studies have reported that b-glucan can increase satiety, reduce food intake, delay nutrition absorption and reduce plasma lipid (fat) levels.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Obesity examined the effects of shiitake mushrooms on plasma lipid profiles, fat dispositions, energy efficiency and body fat index. Rats were fed a high-fat diet for a six-week period. Researchers found significant effects of dietary intervention on body weight gain. Rats on a high dose of shiitake mushroom diet (which involved adding mushroom powder to a high-fat diet) had 35 percent lower body weight gains than rats on low and medium shiitake mushroom diets. Rats on the high dose shiitake mushroom diet also had significantly lower total fat masses and had a trend of lower fat accumulation.
The researchers concluded by suggesting that shiitake mushrooms can help prevent body weight gain, fat deposition and plasma triacylglycerol when added to a high-fat diet. This encourages an effort to pursue human studies that examine the efficacy of shiitake mushrooms for the prevention and treatment of obesity and related metabolic disorders. (2)
- Support Immune Function
Mushrooms have the ability to boost the immune system and combat many diseases by way of providing important vitamins, minerals and enzymes. A 2015 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition evaluated 52 healthy males and females, aged 21–41 years, to determine if shiitake mushrooms could improve human immune function. The study involved a four-week parallel group trial that involved participants consuming either five or 10 grams of mushrooms daily.
The results suggest that consuming mushrooms improved cell effector function and improved gut immunity. There was also a reduction of inflammation due to mushroom consumption. (3)
- Destroy Cancer Cells
Research suggests that shiitake mushrooms help fight cancer cells and the lentinan in shiitakes help heal chromosome damage caused by anticancer treatments. This suggests shiitakes could be used as a potential natural cancer treatment. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine investigated the potential roles of an ethyl acetate fraction from shiitake mushrooms. The study involved two human breast carcinoma cell lines, one human nonmalignant breast epithelial cell line and two myeloma cell lines. The results suggest that shiitake mushrooms were able to inhibit growth in tumor cells with their mycochemical value. Shiitake mushroom successfully inducted apoptosis, the process of programmed cell death. (4)
- Support Cardiovascular Health
Shiitake mushrooms have sterol compounds that interfere with the production of cholesterol in the liver. They also contain potent phytonutrients that help keep cells from sticking to blood vessel walls and forming plaque buildup, which maintains healthy blood pressure and improves circulation. A study conducted at Tohoku University in Japan found that shiitake mushrooms prevented blood pressure increase in hypertensive rats. Shiitake feeding resulted in a decrease in VLDL and HDL cholesterol, whereas maitake mushroom feeding caused a decrease in VLDL cholesterol only. (5)
- Contain Antimicrobial Properties
A 2011 study at the UCL Eastman Dental Institute in London tested shiitake’s antimicrobial effects on gingivitis, a preventable disease that involves inflammation of the gums due to the buildup of a microbial biofilm at the gingival margin. The effectiveness of shiitake mushrooms was compared to that of the active component in the leading gingivitis mouthwash, containing chlorhexidine. The total bacterial numbers as well as the numbers of eight key organisms in the oral community were investigated after treatment. The results indicated that shiitake mushroom extract lowered the numbers of some pathogenic organisms without affecting the organisms associated with health, unlike chlorhexidine, which had a limited effect on all organisms. (6)
- Boost Energy and Brain Function
Shiitake mushrooms are a great source of B vitamins, which help support adrenal function and turn nutrients from food into useable energy. They also help balance hormones naturally and break through the brain fog to maintain focus all day long – even improving cognitive performance. Millions of Americans come up short on one or more of the B vitamins, and that causes energy slumps, unhealthy blood cell and adrenal effects, and foggy thinking. Adding shiitake mushrooms to your diet can give you the extra boost of B vitamins that you need to avoid a deficiency. (7)
- Provide Vitamin D
Although vitamin D is best obtained from the sun, shiitake mushrooms can also provide a decent source of this essential vitamin. Vitamin D is important for bone health as well as reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and some types of cancer. It’s vital for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus, too.
Getting ample supply of vitamin D also helps regulate and support the immune system, maintain healthy body weight, maintain brain function as you age, reduce the severity of asthma symptoms, reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis in women, and reduce the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. Mushrooms, as well as wild-caught salmon, raw dairy and eggs, are the best vitamin D-rich foods. (8)
- Promote Skin health
When selenium is taken with vitamins A and E, it can help reduce the severity of acne and the scarring that can occur afterward. A hundred grams of shiitake mushrooms contain 5.7 milligrams of selenium, which is 8 percent of your daily value. That means shiitake mushrooms act as a natural acne treatment. In an open trial, 29 patients were given 0.2 milligram of selenium and 10 milligrams of tocopheryl succinate for their acne twice daily for six to 12 weeks. After treatment, the patients noticed positive results. The zinc in shiitake mushrooms also promotes immune function and reduces buildup of DHT to improve skin healing. (9)
- Sport – prolonged exercise
Study on healthy men exposed to exercise-induced skeletal muscles damage. The results show that shiitake extract ingested daily for 10 days does not affect the inflammatory response, but demonstrates the antioxidant action through the regulation of nitric oxide concentration and thiol redox status. However, potential recommendation of dried shiitake mushrooms and introduction to the athletes diet as a source of ergothioneine requires further studies.(10)
- Hepatoprotective effect
An increasing chorus of research is finding that some edible and medicinal mushrooms can help the liver heal and protect the liver against many of the toxins that are now bombarding our livers.
When the liver is damaged by toxins such as alcohol, pharmaceuticals, preservatives, pesticides and other toxins, liver cells begin to produce enzymes such as aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) in an attempt to heal and remove the toxins. As liver cells become more damaged, fibrosis can occur, which can progress to a complete shutting down of the liver.
A number of studies have shown that extracts from a number of medicinal and edible mushrooms reduce the levels of these enzymes in liver damage situations, and help bring about a healthier liver.(11), (12)
Shiitake Mushrooms vs. Other Mushrooms
How does the shiitake stack up with other mushrooms? .
Shiitake: Fights cancer cells and infectious disease, boosts the immune system, promotes brain function, and serves as a source of B vitamins.
Maitake: Improves the health of AIDS patients and regulates blood sugar levels of diabetics. May reduce hypertension and boosts the immune system.
Reishi: Fights inflammation, liver disease, fatigue, tumor growth and cancer. Improves skin disorders and soothes digestive problems, stomach ulcers and leaky gut syndrome.
Cordyceps: Has anti-aging effects and boosts immune function. Improves stamina and athletic performance, acts as a natural aphrodisiac, fights diabetes and improves liver function.
Below are some of the most common questions regarding Beta Glucan.
- Are glucans from barley, oats, or other grains as effective as the beta glucan derived from yeast?
There are a lot of different types of compounds that are referred to as Glucan that come from many different sources: Grains are a good example. Over 10 or 12 years ago, the FDA actually gave oat glucan the permission to make a healthy heart claim. It’s an entirely different molecule, but it is still called Glucan. There are glucans from mushrooms, seaweed, oats, barley, certain bacteria and other sources as well. Of all these, being researched side-by-side; it was found that the glucans, purified from the cell wall of Yeast, are the most biologically active when it comes to the immune system. Some healthy benefits from cereal grain glucan is lowering cholesterol; if you are looking to support and maintain a good healthy immune system, based on the scientific research, then it is best to be taking beta glucan derived from the cell wall of Yeast. Being derived from Yeast, helps with the affordability of the product. ColDeKa is economically affordable, it contains superior immune stimulation per mg when compared to glucans from other sources.
- What are 1,3 / 1,6 D-glucans?
Beta 1,3 / 1,6 D-glucans are the sole active ingredient in yeast. It is derived from the cell walls of baker’s yeast (saccharomyces cerevisiae). Beta glucan are known by immunologists for its amazing immune enhancing properties.
- How does beta 1,3 / 1,6 D-glucans Work?
It fully activates macrophages in your body which are one of the primary defenses of the immune system. Macrophages act like Pac Men in your body. They trap and consume foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses and parasites. Taking beta glucans every day is like having a mechanic tweak your classic model T automobile for peak performance every morning. Beta glucans will help to give you the maximum appropriate immune response. It, also, carefully regulates this response, avoiding (and helping your body to control) any autoimmune challenges you may have.
- I am concerned about over stimulating my immune system, is this a possibility with beta glucan?
No, only the presence of nonself (virus, bacteria, fungi cancer, parasites, etc.) cause the macrophage to become alert.
- Will beta glucans cause or increase an autoimmune condition?
Beta glucans does not pose a danger for people with autoimmune problems. Considerable peer reviewed data indicates that it actually helps people’s immune systems to lessen the effects of autoimmune disorders such as diabetes, arthritis, psoriasis, etc.
- Is beta 1, 3 d glucan safe? Will I suffer any adverse reactions?
Yeast extracts have been given a G.R.A.S. Rating (Generally Regarded As safe) Rating by the FDA (USA). To achieve this rating a substance must have no known adversity or toxicity.
- Who should take beta glucan?
People with impaired immunity. People who are exposed to radiation from external sources such as UV or electromagnetic fields. People with poor nutrition or who consume food preservatives.
- Can I still take beta glucan if I am also taking NSAID’S (non steroid anti-inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin, or ibuprofen?
Absolutely, in Nov. 2008 there was a study done by the University of Louisville’s Pathology Department on this particular topic. The evidence was conclusive that “No adverse negative effects due to simultaneous treatment with glucan and non-steroidal antiinflammatory drug dose was found, despite testing two different routes of glucan administration and four different types of glucan.”
- If beta glucans are so good, why haven’t I heard about it before?
For nearly three decades, beta glucan was available only in laboratories and medical schools. To purchase 1 (one) 100mg sample of beta glucan, cost was close to $200.00US. Unfortunately, it could not be afforded by the general public.
- How do I know that beta glucan will work for me?
The only way you will know is by trying beta glucan for yourself. Within 72hrs of consistently taking beta glucan, your immune system should be enhanced and you should begin noticing the benefits.
- Chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b are natural, fat-soluble chlorophyll found in plants.
Chlorophyllin is a semi-synthetic mixture of water-soluble sodium copper salts derived from chlorophyll.
- Chlorophyllin has been used orally as an internal deodorant and topically in the treatment of slow-healing wounds for more than 50 years without any serious side effects.
- Chlorophylls and chlorophyllin form molecular complexes with some chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer, and in doing so, may block carcinogenic effects. Carefully controlled studies have not been undertaken to determine whether a similar mechanism might limit uptake of required nutrients.
- Supplementation with chlorophyllin before meals substantially decreased a urinary biomarker of aflatoxin-induced DNA damage in a Chinese population at high risk of liver cancer due to unavoidable, dietary aflatoxin exposure from moldy grains and legumes.
- Scientists are hopeful that chlorophyllin supplementation will be helpful in decreasing the risk of liver cancer in high-risk populations with unavoidable, dietary aflatoxin exposure. However, it is not yet known whether chlorophyllin or natural chlorophylls will be useful in the prevention of cancers in people who are not exposed to significant levels of dietary aflatoxin.
Chlorophyll is the pigment that gives plants and algae their green color. Plants use chlorophyll to trap light needed for photosynthesis (1). The basic structure of chlorophyll is a porphyrin ring similar to that of heme in hemoglobin, although the central atom in chlorophyll is magnesium instead of iron. The long hydrocarbon (phytol) tail attached to the porphyrin ring makes chlorophyll fat-soluble and insoluble in water. Two different types of chlorophyll (chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b) are found in plants. The small difference in one of the side chains allows each type of chlorophyll to absorb light at slightly different wavelengths. Chlorophyllin is a semi-synthetic mixture of sodium copper salts derived from chlorophyll (2, 3). During the synthesis of chlorophyllin, the magnesium atom at the center of the ring is replaced with copper and the phytol tail is lost. Unlike natural chlorophyll, chlorophyllin is water-soluble. Although the content of different chlorophyllin mixtures may vary, two compounds commonly found in commercial chlorophyllin mixtures are trisodium copper chlorin e6 and disodium copper chlorin e4.
Metabolism and Bioavailability
Little is known about the bioavailability and metabolism of chlorophyll or chlorophyllin. The lack of toxicity attributed to chlorophyllin led to the belief that it was poorly absorbed (4). However, significant amounts of copper chlorin e4 were measured in the plasma of humans taking chlorophyllin tablets in a controlled clinical trial, indicating that it is absorbed. More research is needed to understand the bioavailability and metabolism of natural chlorophylls and chlorin compounds in synthetic chlorophyllin.
Complex formation with other molecules
Chlorophyll and chlorophyllin are able to form tight molecular complexes with certain chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons found in tobacco smoke (5), some heterocyclic amines found in cooked meat (6), and aflatoxin-B1 (7). The binding of chlorophyll or chlorophyllin to these potential carcinogens may interfere with gastrointestinal absorption of potential carcinogens, reducing the amount that reaches susceptible tissues (8). A recently completed study by Linus Pauling Institute investigator Professor George S. Bailey showed that chlorophyllin and chlorophyll were equally effective at blocking uptake of aflatoxin-B1 in humans, using accelerator mass spectrometry to track an ultra-low dose of the carcinogen (C Jubert et al., manuscript submitted).
Chlorophyllin can neutralize several physically relevant oxidants in vitro (9, 10), and limited data from animal studies suggest that chlorophyllin supplementation may decrease oxidative damage induced by chemical carcinogens and radiation (11, 12).
Modification of the metabolism and detoxification of carcinogens
To initiate the development of cancer, some chemicals (procarcinogens) must first be metabolized to active carcinogens that are capable of damaging DNA or other critical molecules in susceptible tissues. Since enzymes in the cytochrome P450 family are required for the activation of some procarcinogens, inhibition of cytochrome P450 enzymes may decrease the risk of some types of chemically induced cancers. In vitro studies indicate that chlorophyllin may decrease the activity of cytochrome P450 enzymes (5, 13). Phase II biotransformation enzymes promote the elimination of potentially harmful toxins and carcinogens from the body. Limited data from animal studies indicate that chlorophyllin may increase the activity of the phase II enzyme, quinone reductase (14).
A recent study showed that human colon cancer cells undergo cell cycle arrest after treatment with chlorophyllin (15). The mechanism involved inhibition of ribonucleotide reductase activity. Ribonucleotide reductase plays a pivotal role in DNA synthesis and repair, and is a target of currently used cancer therapeutic agents, such as hydroxyurea (15). This provides a potential new avenue for chlorophyllin in the clinical setting, sensitizing cancer cells to DNA damaging agents.
Aflatoxin-associated liver cancer
Aflatoxin-B1 (AFB1) a liver carcinogen produced by certain species of fungus, is found in moldy grains and legumes, such as corn, peanuts, and soybeans (2, 8). In hot, humid regions of Africa and Asia with improper grain storage facilities, high levels of dietary AFB1 are associated with increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. Moreover, the combination of hepatitis B infection and high dietary AFB1 exposure increases the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma still further. In the liver, AFB1 is metabolized to a carcinogen capable of binding DNA and causing mutations. In animal models of AFB1-induced liver cancer, administration of chlorophyllin at the same time as dietary AFB1 exposure significantly reduces AFB1-induced DNA damage in the livers of rainbow trout and rats (16, 17, 18), and dose-dependently inhibits the development of liver cancer in trout (19). One rat study found that chlorophyllin did not protect against aflatoxin-induced liver damage when given after tumor initiation (20). In addition, a recent study reported that natural chlorophyll inhibited AFB1-induced liver cancer in the rat (18).
Because of the long time period between AFB1 exposure and the development of cancer in humans, an intervention trial might require as long as
20 years to determine whether chlorophyllin supplementation can reduce the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma in people exposed to high levels of dietary AFB1. However, a biomarker of AFB1-induced DNA damage (AFB1-N7-guanine) can be measured in the urine, and high urinary levels of AFB1-N7-guanine have been associated with significantly increased risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (21). In order to determine whether chlorophyllin could decrease AFB1-induced DNA damage in humans, a randomized, placebo-controlled intervention trial was conducted in 180 adults residing in a region in China where the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma is very high due to unavoidable dietary AFB1 exposure and a high prevalence of chronic hepatitis B infection (22). Participants took either 100 mg of chlorophyllin or a placebo before meals three times daily. After 16 weeks of treatment, urinary levels of AFB1-N7-guanine were 55% lower in those taking chlorophyllin than in those taking the placebo, suggesting that chlorophyllin supplementation before meals can substantially decrease AFB1-induced DNA damage. Although a reduction in hepatocellular carcinoma has not yet been demonstrated in humans taking chlorophyllin, scientists are hopeful that chlorophyllin supplementation will provide some protection to high-risk populations with unavoidable, dietary AFB1 exposure (8).
It is not known whether chlorophyllin will be useful in the prevention of cancers in people who are not exposed to significant levels of dietary AFB1, as is the case for most people living in the US. Many questions remain to be answered regarding the exact mechanisms of cancer prevention by chlorophyllin, the implications for the prevention of other types of cancer, and the potential for natural chlorophylls in the diet to provide cancer protection. Scientists from the Linus Pauling Institute’s Cancer Chemoprotection Program (CCP) are actively pursuing these research questions.
Therapeutic Uses of Chlorophyllin
Observations in the 1940s and 1950s that topical chlorophyllin had deodorizing effects on foul-smelling wounds led clinicians to administer chlorophyllin orally to patients with colostomies and ileostomies in order to control fecal odor (23). While early case reports indicated that chlorophyllin doses of 100-200 mg/day were effective in reducing fecal odor in ostomy patients (24, 25), at least one placebo-controlled trial found that 75 mg of oral chlorophyllin three times daily was no more effective than placebo in decreasing fecal odor assessed by colostomy patients (26). Several case reports have been published indicating that oral chlorophyllin (100-300 mg/day) decreased subjective assessments of urinary and fecal odor in incontinent patients (23, 27). Trimethylaminuria is a hereditary disorder characterized by the excretion of trimethylamine, a compound with a “fishy” or foul odor. A recent study in a small number of Japanese patients with trimethylaminuria found that oral chlorophyllin (60 mg three times daily) for three weeks significantly decreased urinary trimethylamine concentrations (28).
Research in the 1940s indicating that chlorophyllin slowed the growth of certain anaerobic bacteria in the test tube and accelerated the healing of experimental wounds in animals led to the use of topical chlorophyllin solutions and ointments in the treatment of persistent open wounds in humans (29). During the late 1940s and 1950s, a series of largely uncontrolled studies in patients with slow-healing wounds, such as vascular ulcers and pressure (decubitus) ulcers, reported that the application of topical chlorophyllin promoted healing more effectively than other commonly used treatments (30, 31). In the late 1950s, chlorophyllin was added to papain and urea-containing ointments used for the chemical debridement of wounds in order to reduce local inflammation, promote healing, and control odor (23). Chlorophyllin-containing papain/urea ointments are still available in the US by prescription (32). Several studies have reported that such ointments are effective in wound healing (33). Recently, a spray formulation of the papain/urea/chlorophyllin therapy has become available (34).
Chlorophylls are the most abundant pigments in plants. Dark green, leafy vegetables like spinach are rich sources of natural chlorophylls. The chlorophyll contents of selected vegetables are presented in Table 1 (35).
|Cress, garden||1 cup||15.6|
|Green beans||1 cup||8.3|
|Sugar peas||1 cup||4.8|
|Chinese cabbage||1 cup||4.1|
Oral preparations of sodium copper chlorophyllin (also called chlorophyllin copper complex) are available in supplements and as an over-the-counter drug (Derifil) used to reduce odor from colostomies or ileostomies or to reduce fecal odor due to incontinence (36). Sodium copper chlorophyllin may also be used as a color additive in foods, drugs, and cosmetics (37). Oral doses of 100-300 mg/day in three divided doses have been used to control fecal and urinary odor (see Therapeutic Uses of Chlorophyllin).
Natural chlorophylls are not known to be toxic, and no toxic effects have been attributed to chlorophyllin despite more than 50 years of clinical use in humans (8,23, 29). When taken orally, chlorophyllin may cause green discoloration of urine or feces, or yellow or black discoloration of the tongue (38). There have also been occasional reports of diarrhea related to oral chlorophyllin use. When applied topically to wounds, chlorophyllin has been reported to cause mild burning or itching in some cases (39). Oral chlorophyllin may result in false positive results on guaiac card tests for occult blood (40). Since the safety of chlorophyll or chlorophyllin supplements has not been tested in pregnant or lactating women, they should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation
Authors and Reviewers
Originally written in 2004 by:
Jane Higdon, Ph.D.
Linus Pauling Institute
Oregon State University
Updated in December 2005 by:
Jane Higdon, Ph.D.
Linus Pauling Institute
Oregon State University
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