Candidiasis / Thrush

Mushrooms are seen to exhibit both direct and indirect anti-fungal activity in-vitro and in-vivo1. The widely held belief that mushrooms somehow exacerbate candidal overgrowth runs contrary to scientific research, clinical experience and theoretical understanding. Not only do mushrooms stimulate the bodies anti-fungal immune response but in nature they need to compete for resources with other fungi, as well as other micro-organisms, and so have evolved a range of anti-fungal defences.

Lentinus edodes extracts and juice show strong anti-fungal action, as do aqueous extracts of Pleurotus ostreatus with 50.0% inhibition against C. albicans2-6. In addition triterpenes from Ganoderma species show anti-fungal activity1, while mice given a polysacchariderich extract of A. brasiliensis showed enhanced candidacidal activity characterized by higher levels of H2O2 and increased mannose receptor expression by peritoneal macrophages (involved in the attachment and phagocytosis of non-opsonized microorganisms)7. It has also been suggested that chitin present in mushroom cell walls may help prevent colonisation of the intestinal mucosa by candida species8.

Trametes versicolor has traditionally been used in Mexico to treat thrush and clinically is seen to reduce candidal overgrowth. PSK has also been shown to have a pronounced protective effect against lethal infection with C. albicans in mice. An injection of 250mg/kg 24 hours before inoculation of 1 x 106 C. albicans increased the 30 day survival rate by 60% and mean survival time by 209%9. Oral supplementation of tumour bearing mice challenged with C. albicans was also increased by oral administration of PSK, together with a significant reduction in fungal counts10.

1. Antifungal secondary metabolites from fungal fruiting bodies. Dunek C, Volk T.J. Int J Med Mushr. 2007;9(3):227-228
2. An examination of antibacterial and antifungal properties of constituents of Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) and oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) mushrooms. Hearst R, Nelson D, McCollum G, Millar B.C, Maeda Y, Goldsmith C.E, Rooney P.J, Loughrey A, Rao J.R, Moore J.E. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2009;15(1):5-7.
3. Antimicrobial properties of shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes). Rao J.R, Smyth T.J, Millar B.C, Moore J.E. Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2009;33(6):591-2.
4. Antagonistic effect of edible mushroom extract on Candia albicans growth. Paccola E, Maki C.S, Nobrega G.M.A, Paccola-Meirelles L.D. Braz J Microbiol. 2001;32:3.
5. Antimicrobial and antineoplasic activity of Pleurotus ostreatus. Wolff E.R, Wisbeck E, Silveira M.L, Gern R.M, Pinho M.S, Furlan S.A. Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2008;151(2-3):402-12.
6. Antimicrobial action of Lentinus edodes juice on human microflora. Kuznetsov O.I, Mil’kova E.V, Sosnina A.E, Sotnikova N.I. Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol. 2005;1:80-2.
7. Polysaccharide-rich fraction of Agaricus brasiliensis enhances the candidacidal activity of murine macrophages. Martins P.R, Gameiro M.C, Castoldi L, Romagnoli G.G, Lopes F.C, Pinto A.V, Loyola W, Kaneno R. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2008;103(3):244-50.
8. Fungal Chitin in medicine: prospects for its application. Ludmila I.B, Leontij F.G. Int J Med Mushr. 2001;3(2-3)126- 127
9. Protective effects of a protein-bound polysaccharide, PSK, on Candida albicans infection in mice via tumor necrosis factor-alpha induction. Ohmura Y, Matsunaga K, Motokawa I, Sakurai K, Ando T. Int Immunopharmacol. 2001;1:1797- 1811
10. Protective effects of a protein-bound polysaccharide, PSK, against Candida albicans infection in syngeneic tumorbearing mice via Th1 cell functions. Ohmura Y, Matsunaga K, Motokawa I, Sakurai K, Ando T. Cancer Biother Radiopharm. 2003;18(5):769-80.

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