5 Health Benefits of
Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Over the past decade, there has been a steady pace of new natural product introductions focused on boosting a person’s immune system and increasing cognition, and one product ingredient that is gaining a lot of attention are the various types of fungi/mushrooms being added into health and wellness products.
Now, we are not talking about the kind of mushrooms referred to as “magic mushrooms” of 1960’s and 70’s “Hippie” lore. Magic mushrooms contain a substance called psilocybin that is hallucinogenic when consumed, meaning, it can make people who consume these mushrooms hallucinate.
In this blog, I am talking about functional mushrooms that hold enormous promise as alternative or adjunct therapies with the potential to address mild to serious conditions and symptoms. One of these mushrooms is called Turkey Tail, and in case you are wondering whether consuming turkey tail or other types of mushrooms is healthy for you and a potential medicine, there are hundreds maybe thousands of medical studies you can find on the National Institute of Health’s Library of Medicine website on turkey tail alone, and here is just one study.
Turkey tail is a colorful mushroom that grows on decaying or dead trees and stumps, and they have a distinct resemblance to the backside of a turkey’s tail. They are commonly found in the woods of North America throughout the seasons and around the world.
The numerous medical studies and research done on turkey tail have uncovered a versatile mushroom whose compounds may help to support the healthy functioning of several bodily processes. While there are several more benefits to including turkey tail mushrooms in your daily routine, below are 5 reasons to consider adding it to your health regiment line up.
Boosting the Immune System:
Turkey tail contains an abundance of antioxidants that support the immune system by reducing the damage caused by free radical scavengers. Overexposure to free radicals leads to cellular damage and inflammation. Two specific flavonoid antioxidants are baicalein and quercetin, and both have been shown to reduce systemic inflammation which has been linked to a variety of autoimmune diseases. Additionally, they contain compounds known as polysaccharopeptides. Polysaccharopeptides are polysaccharides (carbohydrates) found in turkey tail, and there are two types; polysaccharide peptides (PSP) and polysaccharide krestin (PSK.) These compounds activate the production of white blood cells which fight against certain bacteria.
Potential Cancer Fighting Agents:
The Polysaccharide Peptide (PSP) and Polysaccharide Krestin (PSK) found in turkey tail has been shown to slow the growth of certain tumor cells. Because the polysaccharides and flavonoid antioxidants boost the immune system, they are often used in combination with traditional cancer treatments.
May Increase the Effectiveness of Certain Cancer Therapies:
Since PSK and PSP boost the immune system by increasing the production of specific white blood cells called monocytes, and because quercetin has been shown to inhibit pro-inflammatory enzymes cyclooxygenase (COX) and lipoxygenase (LOX,) it is often used in conjunction with chemo and radiation therapy. It has been shown to improve the overall treatment due to the combination of improved immune response and a reduction of systemic inflammation.
May Improve Gastrointestinal Issues and Gut Health
Our gut microbiomes require a combination of good and bad bacteria in order to maintain optimal functioning, and gut health is directly correlated to a person’s immune system. Prebiotic and probiotic fibers in turkey tail promote a health gut biome by increasing populations of beneficial bacteria like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus while reducing potentially harmful bacteria, such as Clostridium and Staphylococcus.
May Increase and Improve Athletic Energy and Recovery:
The Polysaccharide Peptides (PSP) may possess anti-fatigue properties as shown in animal studies where mice given PSP outperformed mice who were given no PSP in a variety of exercises. And the anti-inflammatory properties can help athletic performance by speeding up recovery time and preventing muscle fatigue which typically leads to injury through overuse caused by repetitive motion.