Agaricus blazei is a medicinal mushroom that contains a special class of polysaccharides known as "beta glucans". Studies show beta glucans stimulate activity of natural killer (NK) cells, which are an important part of the immune system. The Agaricus blazei in Doctor's Best Best Agaricus blazei is extracted with the preferred hot water/alcohol method to increase its digestibility and enhance bioavailability of the polysaccharides. Originally discovered in Brazil, Agaricus blazei is widely consumed in many countries, where it is regarded as a health food, due to its medicinal properties.
- Science-based nutrition
- Dietary supplement
- Supplies Beta 1,6 Glucans for immune system support
- Helps maintain the immune system
- Supports health and vitality
The folk use of this mushroom encompasses a broad profile of reported effects, including on blood sugar and some blood lipids, bone health, support for the liver and for the immune and digestive systems, and for fighting physical and emotional stress. Among these properties attributed to Agaricus, immune support is the major focus of scientific research to date. Like other "medicinal mushrooms," Agaricus contains complex polysaccharides that stimulate the immune system. In 2001, it was reported that Agaricus is utilized for this purpose by 300,000 to 500,000 people in Japan annually.
Agaricus extracts have demonstrated an ability to help maintain cellular health through the actions of ergosterol and newly discovered substances that are only beginning to be studied in determining how they contribute to supporting healthy cell growth. Ergosterol, a precursor to vitamin D, becomes ergocalciferol; researchers believe both may contribute to the healthy formation of blood vessels.
Supports Immune Function
Agaricus blazei has been the subject of research most often in Japan, where investigations have focused on the role of mushroom polysaccharides as "biological response modifiers" that can stimulate immune function. Studies have shown that beta-glucans extracted from Agaricus are active polysaccharides, having the ability to stimulate the release of cytokines from macrophages (white blood cells), thereby supporting a healthy immune response. Additional experiments have shown that Agaricus blazei activates the alternative complement pathway, which is an important part of the body's immune defense.
A study conducted in mice illustrated the multi-faceted actions of Agaricus on the immune system in mammals.10 In this study, the mice fed Agaricus had significantly more serum IgG antibodies after 8 weeks, greater T-cell production, and greater phagocytic activity (the ability of defense cells to engulf foreign material). In an even more recent study using mice and Agaricus, the mice were immunized with model allergen ovalbumin (OVA). The results were surprising in that compared to the mice who were not given Agaricus extract, those that were given the extract had a stronger immune reaction to the OVA when the extract was given before, with, or even weeks after the allergen immunization. Together, these results point to an overall capacity of Agaricus to support immune function in mammals.
Enhances liver health and promotes normal detoxification
In mice given Agaricus extract prepared by the hot water/alcohol method, a decline in the activity of the cytochrome P450 liver enzyme was reported; in effect, this slowed down the rate of chemical reactions in the liver producing harmful byproducts. In another study, a water extract of Agaricus blazei was tested on rat liver cells exposed to the toxic chemical diethylnitrosamine (DEN). Rats were administered the mushroom extract for two weeks and then injected with the toxin. Compared to control rats that did not receive the extract, the rats given Agaricus showed an enhanced liver reaction to the toxin and a better outcome. No adverse effects were seen. Similar to the liver of the mammals in these studies, the human liver functions as the key organ to rid the body of everyday toxins.
Helps maintain healthy, normal blood sugar levels when used as a part of the diet.
In an animal model it was found that oligosaccharides derived from the beta-glucans in Agaricus blazei were even more efficient at regulating healthy blood sugar levels than extract of Agaricus blazei alone. This study found that rats fed either the beta-glucans prepared from Agaricus or the oligosaccharides isolated from these beta-glucans both were able to maintain healthier blood lipid and blood sugar levels than rats fed neither. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, Agaricus blazei extract was more effective than placebo in promoting biomarkers that describe the maintenance of healthy blood sugar levels in the human subjects. A hypothesis behind the results is that the beneficial effects seen were due to adiponectin levels being elevated in the group receiving Agaricus. Adiponectin is a hormone secreted by fat cells that is involved in the metabolism of blood sugar and fats.
While the health-promoting actions of Agaricus remain only partially understood, the research is mounting in its favor, proving the validity of some of the traditional uses of this immune-supportive mushroom.
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