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Mushrooms Reduces Risk of Cancer

Updated on October 9, 2013

Mushrooms are a superfood and has many micronutrients and phytochemicals that helps reduce the risk of certain types of cancers, especially hormonal related cancers such as breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Mushrooms are able to reduce cancer risk because they are aromatase inhibitors and angogenesis inhibitors as well as have many other health promoting and immune boosting phytochemicals. More on what those are later.

Many mushrooms have many other phytochemicals that boost immune function and help reduce risk of cancers. White, cremini, portobello, oyster, maitake, and reishe mushrooms all have some anticaner abilities.

Another good thing is that heating and cooking does not reduce the beneficial effects of mushrooms. In fact, you get more benefit by cooking them and all mushroom should be cooked well before eating.

Mushroom Reduces Breast Cancer Risk

Mushroom reduces breast cancer risk in women by 64%. These are women who consume a third of an ounce of fresh mushroom daily. Dry mushroom are still effective, but not as much. Dry mushrooms only reduces risk by half.[1]

Study listed in PubMed suggest that "both common and specialty mushrooms may be chemoprotective against breast cancer" and that "all test mushrooms significantly suppressed cellular proliferation"[3].

Mushrooms lower the hormone that produce breast cancer as well as lowering the hormones that produce prostate cancer.

Mushrooms are natural aromatase inhibitors. A certain class of drugs used in the treatment of breast cancer and ovarian cancer are in fact aromatase inhibitors. Certain hormonal cancers such as breast cancer depens on estrogen in order to grow. Aromatase is the enzyme which synthesizes estrogen. By inhibiting aromatase, the production of estrogen is decreased.

Not only does aromatase inhibitors reduce risk of breast cancer, it also prevents the recurrence of it. Note however, there are many types of mushrooms and not all types have the same amount of aromatase inhibitors. The good thing is that the common inexpensive white button mushroom has good aromatase inhibitor properties

Crimini mushrooms contain significant amounts of conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) which is a type of fatty acid that can bind onto aromatase enzymes, hence decreasing the production of estrogen.

Variety of Mushrooms
Variety of Mushrooms

Mushroom Are Angiogenesis Inhibitors

Mushrooms are also angiogenesis inhibitor. Angiogenesis is the production of new blood vessels. Tumors cannot grow beyond a few millimeters without a blood supply. The tumor gives off signals to cause the body to create new blood vessels to it. Angiogenesis inhibitors prevents blood vessels from being formed to fuel tumors. Mushrooms exhibit this anti-angiogenesis property.

Mushroom boosts the Immune system

Central to the body's ability to fight cancer is the immune system. Some of the phytochemical in certain mushroom includes beta-D-glucans, fucogalactans, APO (2-amino-3H-phenoxazin-3-one), p-tolyl-hydrazine, and a wide range of exotic phytonutrient that is believed to enhance the immune system.[4]

Mushrooms contains compounds that have been shown in animal experiments to enhance the activity of natural killer T cells which detects and removes damaged cells or those cells infected with virus. They also contain proteins called antigen-binding lectins (ABL) which binds to abnormal cancerous cells and interferes with the cells ability to replicate.

Mushrooms also helps prevent DNA damage.

References to Mushrooms Cancer Fighting Abilities

Dr. Joel Fuhrman writes in his book, Super Immunity...

"Consuming mushrooms regularly is associated with a significantly decreased risk of breast cancer in both pre- and postmenopausal woman. Amazingly, frequent consumption of mushrooms can decrease the incidence of breast cancer by up to 60 to 70 percent!" [page 70]

But men should eat mushrooms too. Because mushroom are protective not only against breast and ovarian cancers, but it has been shown that mushroom is protective against colon, prostate, and ovarian cancers.

Mushrooms as well as dark leafy green vegetables play an important health promoting role and can help reduce cancer risk.

Watch the video on the right where Dr. Donald Abrams talks about how nutrition can reduce risk of cancer. He references the fact that mushroom are anti-agiogenesis.

Dr. Andrew Weil have spoken and written much about mushroom and why he loves them. In fact, in his anti-inflammatory food pyramid, it says that you can have unlimited amounts of cooked Asian mushrooms.

Dr. Andrew Weil also writes about mushrooms' anti-cancer and immune-boosting effects on his website's Q&A. In particular, he mentions a medicinal mushroom in Japan known as Agaricus blazei. He also likes maitake and reishi for their cancer fighting capabilities. Although reishi is too bitter to eat, they are available in forms of tea. He mentions as a source where one can get these medicinal mushrooms.

Some of the more exotic mushrooms may look strange, and for some people thought of eating fungus may not be that appealing. But once you get past that, mushrooms can be part of a healthy diet.

Although, some say that those with candida or yeast overgrowth should avoid mushrooms, other disagree. writes ...

"Eating ordinary mushrooms is not a good idea if you have candida because you're feeding it its own kind"

while writes otherwise.

Mushrooms and B vitamins

Mushrooms are also a good source of B vitamins -- in particular Thiamine B1, Riboflavin B2, and Niacinamide B3.


Mushroom should not be used as a substitute for conventional cancer treatment. Article was written March 2012 and is opinion at the time of writing. This is not medical advice and author is not a medical professional.


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    • profile image

      wwolfs 5 years ago

      Nice hub. It is great to hear of the many health benefits of mushrooms. Interesting information and well-researched.

      Voted up and useful!

    • madmachio profile image

      Nathan K 5 years ago from Kansas

      Wow! I didn't know that about mushrooms! Thanks!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Very informative hub. We all know that cancer is one of deadly disease. I really care with herbal remedies and I am glad to know that mushroom works to reduces breast cancer risk. Thanks for writing and share with us. Take care and rated up (useful, awesome, interesting).


    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 5 years ago from Minnesota

      Great and thanks for the link on this. Mushrooms have always been a staple in my diet-I do cook them so I think It's all good.

    • BlissfulWriter profile image

      BlissfulWriter 6 years ago

      @Minnetonka Twin, there are certain mushrooms (such as the common white button mushrooms found in supermarket) that contain a small amount of natural carcinogen known as hydrazine. However, how harmful they are is unknown. That is the reason why mushroom must always be cooked (which nuetralizes the carcinogen). I wrote about it here...

      But overall, the benefits of mushroom outweighs any risk, in my opinion. And I've mostly heard good things about mushrooms.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Wonderful information!!! I love mushrooms, now even more! I knew they were good for you but I had no idea how good. I will be cooking them more often. Thank your for sharing such great information. Voted up, useful and socially sharing! Have a wonderful day! :)

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 6 years ago from Minnesota

      Thanks for the great information on the benefits of mushrooms. I had heard that mushrooms are not good for you because they are a fungus. I'm glad to hear your well researched information as I'm a cancer survivor always looking for things that help my immunity system. I love mushrooms. I usually saute' them in some butter and Worcestershire sauce. I am now craving them. LOL

    • the girls profile image

      Theresa Ventu 6 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      Interesting article. I knew that medical studies showed eating mushroom helps you sleep better. Your research showed much more medical benefits to it. Voted up :-)

    • roxanne459 profile image

      Roxanne Lewis 6 years ago from Washington

      I have heard some of the benefits of mushrooms but so many people I know haven't. Thank you for sharing the info! ;)