2015 APR

Agaricus Blazei Antitumor Effects

Agaricus BlazeiA miracle drug for cancer has not yet been developed, but we have received feedback by people who have actually taken agaricus, saying "There is no relapse after surgery," "There was a reduction in cancer cells," "I started drinking agaricus and my hay fever symptoms went away," and the like. Thus, agaricus has a variety of medicinal effects. However, people have particularly high hopes for its anticancer action, which attacks cancer cells by activating the immune system. When considering the relationship between agaricus mushrooms and cancer, we need to look at three separate effects:

  1. anti-tumor action that attacks cancer cells after the onset of the disease when those cells have already developed.
  2. cancer suppressing action that inhibits the growth of cancer cells.
  3. the protective effect by which cancer-causing substances are taken up and excreted, preventing formation of cancer cells before it happens.

Stated differently, the agaricus mushroom possesses all three of these effects at the same time. The components of agaricus mushrooms that are understood to provide the antitumor effects are polysaccharides, lectin, and the like, contained in the sporocarp. Polysaccharides include β-D-glucans, α-glucans, β-galactoglucans, nucleic acids (RNA), peptidoglycans, and xyloglucans. Comparing the antitumor effects of polysaccharides obtained from the sporocarp of agaricus mushrooms in experiments using mice (conducted by Shizuoka University Professor Emeritus Takashi Mizuno), the tumor-suppressing effects of these substances exhibited a high maximum suppression rate of 99%, and they also showed a high rate of complete tumor regression. The death rate was also extremely low, and these mice showed a high probability of surviving even with cancer cells inside their bodies. In other words, it was possible to stay alive while suppressing the growth of cancer cells or reducing their number or, in a manner of speaking, to prolong life while coexisting with cancer cells. In addition to experimentation via injection, they conducted experiments administering α-glucans and nucleic acids orally, demonstrating high probabilities at tumor suppression rates of 68% and 74%, respectively, and the death rates also remained extremely low at 1 and 0 out of 6 mice. Lectin is a protein containing 11% sugar that is obtained from the sporocarp of the agaricus mushroom. It operates to identify biological cells such as red blood cells and prevent agglutination. Although in experiments with mice it has host-mediating antitumor effects, those effects are not strong compared to β-glucans. However, it is expected to be applied in cancer cell identification, cancer missile therapy, and as a cancer diagnosis reagent. Considering that where cancer cells develop in a body with various components that fight against cancer those cancer cells will still take 10-30 long years of growth to get to the onset of cancer, the onset would not occur if we could hold this growth back. It is usually impossible to completely remove advanced cancer even with surgical extirpation. It is often said that, "If five years go by without a relapse then you are safe," but today most patients receiving cancer treatments live with the fear of relapse. If cancer cells remain then those cells will continue to proliferate, and they will attack the body once again. However, even where cancer cells are left over, if one can blunt the activity of those cancer cells and maintain a state in which they do not proliferate, then there should not be a relapse. Steroids are among the substances contained in the agaricus mushroom that directly suppress cancer cell proliferation. Six types of steroids are obtained from the sporocarp of the agaricus mushroom, and three of those are known to be effective in preventing cancer cell proliferation.
Dietary fiber also functions as a prophylactic against cancer. Dietary fiber that is ingested and yet not digested and absorbed plays a big role in the cancer prophylactic effects exhibited by the agaricus mushroom. Agaricus mushrooms contain large amounts of dietary fiber in the form of β-glucans, chitin, heteropolysaccharides (pectin, hemicellulose, polyuronides), etc. It is well known that dietary fiber is good for bowel movements, and the dietary fiber in agaricus mushrooms adsorbs cancer-causing substances such as dioxins in the intestinal tract and prevents them from being absorbed in the body as well as neutralizing reactive oxygen species and speeding up their elimination. In that way, it provides protective benefits with respect to rectal cancer and colon cancer. It is well-known that bowel movements, as part of the body’s metabolism, are an important factor in maintaining good health, and the agaricus mushroom is rich in substances that promote this. Get even greater benefits when used with immunotherapy drugs. Today, anticancer drugs made from mushrooms, such as Krestin made from the mycelium of Trametes versicolor of the family Polyporaceae, lentinan made from the sporocarp of the shiitake mushroom, and schizophyllan made from liquid-cultured Schizophyllum commune, are playing a role as immunostimulants in actual medical treatments, and these are showing big results when administered in conjunction with other chemotherapy drugs and when used with radiation therapy. The agaricus mushroom, like these immunostimulants, is used more effectively when taken as a drink. While not often reported, it has provided significant benefits in some instances when used with other treatments, as noted by Dr. Shigenori Goto who performs cancer immunotherapy at the Sato Clinic in Yokohama, who says, "In some patients who drank agaricus mushroom while undergoing immunotherapy, metastasized cancer cells disappeared completely." According to Dr. Goto, "Cancer is by no means an incurable illness. It is important that you do not give up just because you have been diagnosed with cancer." He also says, "While the β-D glucans contained in agaricus mushrooms reportedly have significant antitumor activity, the other substances in the mushroom should increase those benefits by working synergistically." It cannot be asserted that the agaricus mushroom alone is a complete cure for cancer. But it seems certain, as Dr. Goto says, that it has the power to raise a patient’s immune function for doctors taking the immunotherapy approach.

Summary of early academic research publications:

Mar. 1980 53rd General Meeting of the Japanese Society for Bacteriology (Niigata). Presentation of anticancer effects. Demonstrated existence of activity that increases an organism's natural healing ability.
Nov. 1980 39th General Meeting of the Japanese Cancer Association (Tokyo) Presentation of extract’s antitumor properties. Demonstrated existence of effects on solid tumor sarcoma 180. Also demonstrated existence of effects on ascites cancer.
Mar. 1981 54th General Meeting of the Japanese Pharmacological Society presentation. (Fukuoka)
Research on antitumor polysaccharides. Mannan extract fraction antitumor properties and bioactivity.
Mar. 1983 56th General Meeting of the Japanese Pharmacological Society presentation. (Osaka)
On the antitumor activity and antitumor mechanism of ATOM obtained from the agaricus mushroom.
Mar. 1984 57th General Meeting of the Japanese Pharmacological Society presentation. (Kyoto)
On the action and mechanism of antitumor polysaccharides obtained from the agaricus mushroom.
Oct. 1985 44th General Meeting of the Japanese Cancer Association. (Tokyo)
Effects of oral administration of the antitumor polysaccharides ATSO and ATOM in abdominal macrophages in mice.
Oct. 1992 Successful large-scale harvest via greenhouse cultivation in Japan.

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