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Ganoderma lucidum

Ganoderma lucidum is a potent immune system regulator, promising anti-cancer agent, and stress reducer. This mushroom is frequently used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Our evidence-based analysis on ganoderma lucidum features 227 unique references to scientific papers.

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Summary of Ganoderma lucidum

Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details

Ganoderma lucidum, commonly known as the lingzi mushroom, is frequently used in traditional Chinese medicine. Its popularity extends to Japanese and Korean medicine, and it has been making its way west.

Ganoderma lucidum has anti-oxidative effects when supplemented. It also has a therapeutic effect on insulin resistance, reduces the risk of prostate cancer, and can help treat a variety of conditions associated with metabolic syndrome.

The lingzi mushroom is well known for its anti-cancer effects. It is able to activate natural killer cells, increasing their activity and the body’s ability to fight tumors. Supplementing Ganoderma lucidum reduces the chances of metastasis, which is when cancer spreads to another part of the body.

Ganoderma lucidum has a variety of mechanisms, but they are focused on moderating the immune system. The lingzi mushroom is able to reduce immune system activity when the system is overstimulated, and bolster the immune system when it is weakened. In general, Ganoderma lucidum increases the amount of active immune system cells.

Though further research is needed to confirm these effects, Ganoderma lucidum shows promise for a wide variety of cancer-related therapies. It has been shown to be an effective adjunct therapy, which means it improves health when taken alongside other medications, for breast cancer, hepatitis, fatigue syndrome, and prostate cancer. There are not many promising supplements with anti-cancer properties available over-the-counter but Ganoderma lucidum appears to be one of them.

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How to Take

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

The standard dose of Ganoderma lucidum depends on the form of the supplement.

A general Ganoderma lucidum extract does not separate the triterpenoids and the polysaccharides present in the mushroom, which make up the ethanolic and water-soluble extracts, respectively. The standard dose for the basic extract is 1.44g – 5.2g. The most popular dose is 5.2g, taken in three doses of 1,800mg.

The standard dosage for the ethanolic extract is 6mg.

The water-soluble extract should be dosed similarly to the basic extract.

The basic extract is essentially dehydrated mushroom powder, which makes it about 10 times as potent as the actual mushroom. This means that 5g of extract is similar to about 50g of whole mushroom.

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Human Effect Matrix

Unlocked for Examine members

The Human Effect Matrix summarizes human studies to tell you what effects Ganoderma lucidum has on your body, how much evidence there is, and how strong these effects are.

Full details are available to Examine members.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
grade-b Minor Very High See all 3 studies
Subjective well being increases in disease states where other symptoms (seen as adverse) are decreased; an inherent increase of well being is uncertain.
grade-c Notable Moderate See 2 studies
There may be an increase in HDL-C in persons with hyperlipidemia that doesn't occur in otherwise healthy adults, but this is not certain due to lack of evidence. The degree of increase was fairly strong (24%).
grade-c Minor - See study
Some possible anti-anxiety effects secondary to reducing symptoms of cancer related fatigue
grade-c Minor - See study
Reishi appears to directly stimulate production of CD3+ T-cells at a dosage of 5,000mg of the water soluble polysaccharides in otherwise healthy athletes
grade-c Minor - See study
The decrease in the CD4:CD8 ratio seen with altitude training is attenuated with 2,500-5,000mg of the water soluble polysaccharides
grade-c Minor - See study
There appears to be a suppressive effect of reishi ingestion of colorectal adenocarcinomas with prolonged ingestion
grade-c Minor - See study
Depression as a symptom of cancer-related fatigue was reduced, may not hold inherent antidepressive effects
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
A decrease in fatigue has been noted, but secondary to disease states characterized by fatigue. Usage of Reishi to reduce fatigue outright or to aid exercise is unexplored
grade-c Minor - See all 4 studies
There appears to be proliferative effects on T-lymphocytes and natural killer cells and no significant alteration in a CD4:CD8 lymphocytic ratio following ingestion of Ganoderma polysaccharides.
grade-c Minor - See study
Appears to slightly reduce the symptoms of neurasthenia, although this needs to be replicated
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
Total symptoms scores (IPSS) appear to be decreased following ingestion of the ethanolic extract of reishi, although not to a remarkable degree (peak urine flow and residual urine seem unaffected)
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
A reduction in TNF-alpha levels have been noted in persons with elevated baseline TNF-alpha levels
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
There may be a small decrease in triglycerides (8% or so) in unhealthy persons, but this has not been observed in otherwise healthy individuals
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on serum adrenaline
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No significant influences on superoxide dismutase or glutathione peroxidase are noted with ganoderma polysaccharide ingestion
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on blood flow noted with reishi ingestion
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on blood pressure noted with reishi
grade-c - - See study
No significant interactions with C-reactive protein have been detected
grade-c - - See study
DNA damage in lymphocytes of volunteers given the polysaccharides appear unchanged
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on serum dopamine
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No significant alterations in whole-body oxidation are apparent
grade-c - - See study
No significant reducing effects on LDL cholesterol have been noted with ganoderma supplementation
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No significant changes in lipid peroxidation biomarkers (such as MDA) are present following ingestion of Reishi
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on liver enzymes has been noted in toxicological testing with ganoderma
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
At an oral dose that can reduce symptoms of prostatic hyperplasia, there is no apparent effect on prostatic hypertrophy
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
The ethanolic extract has failed to alter serum levels of PSA
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on testosterone levels following ingestion of Reishi
grade-c - - See study
No significant alterations in total cholesterol observed with reishi ingestion
grade-c - - See study
No changes in serum uric acid seem apparent
grade-c - - See study
No significant alterations in body weight seen with ganoderma ingestion
grade-d Notable - See study
Up to a 50% increase in NK cell activity relative to control has been noted with reishi, and this may be independent of a basic stimulatory action (which would lead into possible supplement combinations)
grade-d Minor - See study
A decrease in urinary protein has been noted, indicative of kidney protective effects

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Things to Note

Primary Function:

Also Known As

Reishi, Lingzhi, Yeongji, Mannamtake, 10, 000 years mushroom, Mushroom of Immortality, Antlered Reishi, Rokkaku-Reishi, Ganoderma spores

Caution Notice

If you suffer from an autoimmune disease (a disease in which your own immune system causes dysfunction in the body) do not use Ganoderma Lucidum; increasing the potency of your immune system is a bad idea if your immune system is attacking you

Do not use Ganoderma Lucidum if on immunosuppressant therapy in accordance with an autoimmune disease, it is possible Ganoderma Lucidum could negate or hinder the immunosuppressant therapy

Talk to your MD or Chemotherapist if you decide you want to use Ganoderma Lucidum as an adjunct therapy

  • Ganoderma has a large amount of bioactive molecules, and there is no single 'one' molecule in this mushroom that can be said to be the main bioactive

  • Polysaccharide compounds (carbohydrates and fiber) tend to be found in the water-soluble fragment, or the hot-water extracts; triterpenoids are found in ethanolic extracts as they are fat soluble

  • Polysaccharides, or water-soluble extracts, do not need to be taken with food; it would be prudent to take any ethanolic extract with food however

  • Some effects, such as improving sleep and decreasing symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, are not acute; sleep improvements are seen after 3 days whereas aid in chronic fatigue may take more than 4 weeks

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