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Can Oyster Mushrooms Lower Cholesterol?

Updated on July 3, 2012

There are some studies that suggest that oyster mushrooms may be able to lower cholesterol because they contain natural phytochemicals that acts similar to statins. Statin drugs (such as lovastatin) are pharmaceuticals that are used to lower cholesterol in people with high cholesterol levels.

The evidence for this is not overwhelming, however. The cholesterol lowering effect of oyster mushroom were done primarily on animal studies. And a small human study did not show a LDL or an HDL cholesterol lowering effect.

Of course, do not abandon your statin prescription medication without consulting with your doctor. If you do eat oyster mushrooms in addition to your statin, let your doctor know so that they can monitor your cholesterol and adjust your statin dosage if the mushroom is contributing to lowering cholesterol.

Animal Study of Oyster Mushroom and Cholesterol

Linked here is study titled "Cholesterol-lowering effect of the mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus in hereditary hypercholesterolemic rats" where they fed oyster mushrooms to rats that have a hereditary form of high cholesterol.

After 7 weeks, these rats had lower cholesterol than the control rats which did not get the oyster-mushroom diet. And it was found that it was the bad LDL and VLDL cholesterol that was lowered.

Note that this study uses rats that has hereditary hypercholesterolemia. Not all humans with high cholesterol have the hereditary form of hypercholesterolemia.

Human Study of Oyster Mushrooms

One human study with a small subject size of 20 which found that oyster mushrooms lowered the triacylglycerol concentration and lowered the "oxidized LDL". However, it did not affect the LDL nor the HDL cholesterol. LDL being the "low density lipoprotein" sometimes popularly known as the "bad cholesterol". And HDL being the good "high density lipoprotein".

The study referenced here gave this result in its abstract as follows...

"Treatment with oyster mushroom soup decreased triacylglycerol concentrations ... and oxidized low density lipoprotein levels ... significantly, and showed a significant tendency in lowering total cholesterol values ... . No effects on low density lipoprotein and high density lipoprotein levels were found."

The title of this study is "Lipid lowering effects of oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) in humans". Note that they say "lipid lowering effects" rather than "cholesterol lowering effects". Nevertheless, the result of oyster mushrooms lowering triglycergides and lowering oxidized LDL is good news, since lowering both those measures would suggest a decrease in cardiovascular disease risk.

Mushrooms are Healthy Nevertheless

In any case, mushrooms are a healthy food and should be eaten by people on a regular basis even if they do not have high cholesterol.

Mushrooms have properties that protect against cancer.

Some health advisers even say that people should eat some mushrooms everyday. However, you should only eat cooked mushrooms.

Oyster Mushrooms contain natural statins

Do oyster mushrooms contain natural statin?

Yes, they do. In PubMed, there is an article linked here that says ...

"In the fruiting bodies of the fungus Pleurotus ostreatus, also called the oyster mushroom, we found a competitive inhibitor of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase - lovastatin. The appearance of the inhibitor during the development of fruiting bodies was followed and lovastatin determined in the vegetative mycelium, in the primordia, as well as in different parts of sporocarps of different sizes"

The scientific term for oyster mushroom is Pleurotus ostreatus. Statins work by inhibiting an enzyme that plays a role in producing cholesterol. This enyzme is "HMG-CoA reductase", also known as "3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoenzymeA reductase".[reference]

The study is saying that they found an inhibitor of this reductase enzyme in oyster mushrooms.

References on Oyster Mushroom and Cholesterol


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