Integrative Oncology and Medicinal Mushrooms

Integrative Oncology and Medicinal Mushrooms

Integrative oncology and coadjuvant oncology are gaining more attention for the management of various forms of cancer. The complexity of cancerous ailments means that most patients respond best to a personalised treatment strategy. Precision and Personalized medicine (PPM) for cancer treatment allows clinicians to better predict the potential outcome of different therapeutic remedies for each patient. This approach to “PPM” treatment requires a more holistic view of natural options. 

Integrative oncology therapies using medicinal mushrooms have already proven to be a valuable addition to many treatment plans in the oncology landscape. Medicinal mushrooms are equipped with a variety of bioactive compounds and nutrients  which can strengthen the performance of the immune system, encourage homeostasis and improve healing

Unlike other coadjacent integrative oncology therapies, medicinal mushrooms also benefit from low potential side effects. Tolerance for most medical mushroom supplements is high, and the risk of negative interaction with other medications is low. 

Medicinal Mushrooms Can Strengthen Cancer Treatments

Medicinal mushrooms have been used for hundreds of years in traditional treatments for various ailments, including cancer. Beta-glucans in mushrooms have been approved as adjunctive therapies for cancer treatments in some parts of the world already. 

Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma Lucidum) has proven to be a powerful tool in fighting against inflammatory breast cancer. When given to breast cancer patients, the Reishi mushroom actively suppressed protein synthesis and tumour growth in cancer patients. Reishi mushrooms are also well-known for their immunomodulating abilities, which assist in maintaining the performance of the immune system during cancer treatment. 

Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) has been found to inhibit growth of cancerous cells in various forms of lung carcinoma, breast adenocarcinoma MCF-7 cells, and cervical adenocarcinoma. Chaga mushrooms can further combat oxidative stress, improving the overall health and resiliency of the human body. 

Polysaccharide-K (PSK) known for stimulating the immune system, is available in high levels within the Turkey Tail (Coriolus Versicolor) mushroom. In studies in patients with gastric cancer, PSK improved the 5-year disease free rating significantly for cancer survivors. 

Medicinal mushrooms are high in nutritional benefits, and rich in bioactive compounds capable of strengthening the immune system. Many mushrooms, such as Reishi, can also have a positive impact on the balance of the gut microbiota, which is proven to be responsible for influencing the performance of the immune system. The balance of the microbiota, combined with the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidation effects of the mushroom can strengthen the performance of traditional treatments. 

Medicinal Mushrooms in Integrative Oncology

As a tool for coadjacent integrative oncology, medicinal mushrooms represent a safe way to improve the performance of most oncology treatment paths. On a basic level, medicinal mushrooms can address some of the common nutritional deficiencies during cancer treatments. The immunomodulation abilities of medicinal  mushrooms also help to reduce the risk of opportunistic infections and side effects. 

Further studies demonstrate the ability of medical mushrooms to not only enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy,  but also reduce pain and other side effects like fatigue, loss of appetite, among others . Medicinal mushrooms can slow cancer progression and reduce the risk of recurrence, but they’re also of vital importance for improving the quality of life of patients. 

In a Cochrane review (one of the most strict and high quality international scientific reviews) researchers conclude that taking Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) extract alongside traditional treatment can significantly improve the response to standard oncological treatments.  As biological response modifiers, medicinal mushrooms interrupt cancer pathways, supporting healthy cellular replication and removing dangerous cancer cells. 

By reducing inflammation and disrupted apoptosis, the medicinal mushroom can improve the quality of life for patients by minimizing stress, sleep disorders, nausea, leukopenia, low energy, skin lesions, neuropathy, and even hepatotoxicity. One study into patients with cancer found that Agaricus brasiliensis Murrill could improve emotional stability, appetite, alopecia, and general weakness. 

Safe and Effective Treatments

Supplementation of medicinal mushrooms, unlike other forms of integrative oncology treatment, provide a safe and reliable way for practitioners to support their patients with improved clinical results, and higher ratings in quality of life. A high quality blend of medicinal mushrooms can improve the nutritional status of the patient, while providing the immune support required to fight back against cancerous cells. 

Additionally, the mushrooms formulated in the correct supplemental products will not use the CYP450 metabolism pathway common among most drugs. Therefore, practitioners are recommended to look for brands that have tested safety of medicinal mushrooms at this level. In this way, mushrooms can be safely used under the supervision of medical professionals to support the body’s biological responses, maintain microenvironments on a cellular level, and enhance conventional on logical treatments.