How Reishi Combats AgingFebruary 2013
By Emily Steiner
Reishi Safeguards Liver Function
Your liver is the direct recipient of toxic threats both from the environment and from destructive molecules produced within your body. While it is well protected with its own antioxidant and detoxification systems, oxidation and inflammation eventually take their toll, leaving the aging liver at risk for decreased function, increased accumulation of toxic injury, fibrosis, and cancer. Fortunately, Reishi mushrooms offer direct protection against such threats.27
Studies show, for instance, that pre-treating animals with Reishi spores can protect them when they’re exposed to cadmium, a highly toxic metal capable of causing massive liver failure.28 Researchers found the spores decreased the cadmium accumulation in liver, while “pushing” the toxic metal into the liquid matrix of the cells. Once there, the mushroom spores increased the production of a cadmium-binding protein that removes the toxin from the body.28
Reishi mushroom extracts similarly protect liver tissue from the toxic effects of certain bacterial infections. In animals with such infections, Reishi polysaccharides inhibit inflammation in liver cells.29 Other studies reveal that Reishi polysaccharides restore natural liver antioxidant systems to normal function following an infection, while inhibiting liver enzymes that produce excessive oxidative stress.30,31 Reishi mushrooms limit the activity of beta-glucuronidase, an enzyme that is elevated in many liver conditions, including inflammation, cirrhosis, and jaundice.31,32
One of the most exciting potential applications for Reishi mushrooms in liver disease is in the condition called liver fibrosis, which is the final stage of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Statistics have shown that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common form of liver disease, ultimately affecting 20 to 30% of the population.32-35 In an animal model of toxin-induced liver fibrosis, treatment with Reishi extract reversed the fibrosis even after it was well-established.36 This is an exceptional result, because in most cases, liver disease that has advanced to the stage of fibrosis is considered irreversible.
Reishi mushrooms provide a broad-spectrum approach to the treatment and prevention of many of today’s age-related diseases. With their diverse molecular makeup, they offer a broad spectrum of actions that attack aging at its root.
This is seen clearly in research demonstrating Reishi’s ability to prolong the life spans of laboratory mice by 9% to more than 20% —the equivalent of 7 to nearly 16 years in human terms.
This is further demonstrated in research that has uncovered its powerful anti-cancer activity. Reishi mushrooms contribute to enhanced immune surveillance that can seek and destroy cancer cells before they can form threatening tumors.
Finally, studies have shown that Reishi extracts have a role in the prevention or mitigation of asthma, allergies, and autoimmune disorders, while offering protection against neurodegeneration, obesity and diabetes, and liver diseases of many kinds.
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