Table of Contents
- Turkey Tail Mushrooms May Stimulate Cognitive Function
- Turkey Tail Mushrooms May Inhibit Cancer Production
- Turkey Tail Mushrooms May Boost the Immune System
- Gut Health
- Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Properties
- Athletic Performance
- Diabetes and Insulin Resistance
1. Turkey Tail Mushrooms May Stimulate Cognitive FunctionThere are 2 main reasons that Turkey Tail seems to benefit cognitive health:
Firstly, they appear to slow the degenerative process of neurotransmitters in the brain due to the accumulation of Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and free radicals. Steady production of AChE and the presence of free radicals leads to cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's and dementia. A study published by the Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry found that H2O extracts of Turkey Tail mushroom had the benefit of inhibiting AChE and exhibiting anti-radical properties.
medicinal mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine for well over 2000 years
Additionally, Turkey Tail mushrooms are a good source of polysaccharides, which are believed to be good for cognitive health and memory. Many studies have noted the ability of polysaccharides to enhance cell proliferation and prevent neuroblast differentiation in the brain. They effectively stimulate neurogenesis (the forming of new neurons) in the hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in memory and learning.
2. Turkey Tail Mushrooms May Inhibit Cancer ProductionAs it turns out, there is a growing body of research on Turkey Tail mushroom's cancer benefits.
Firstly, studies have shown that Turkey Tail's polysaccharides appear to inhibit cancer cell growth in vitro by stimulating cytokine response, as well as having direct anti-tumour properties outside of the immune system effects. Furthermore, another study found that Turkey Tail mushrooms activated and increased the lymphocyte count, natural killer cells, and specific T cells against breast cancer.
One of the most important points about Turkey Tail mushrooms is that they can potentially enhance the efficacy of other cancer treatments. Research has found that breast and colorectal cancer patients utilising Turkey Tail extracts in addition to other cancer treatments had increased survival rates in comparison to those only implementing one of the treatment options. More research is needed to determine if the same benefits will be observed for using Turkey Tail with other cancers, like lung and prostate cancer.
3. Turkey Tail Mushrooms May Boost the Immune SystemAlthough this benefit is only listed as one, it actually contains several sub-benefits that contribute to an overall increase in immune response capabilities. Caution needs to be exercised by those wanting to use Turkey Tail with autoimmune diseases as it is unclear whether the fungus is immunomodulatory or immunostimulatory.
Gut HealthSeeing as the majority of the immune system is contained within the gut, it is a no-brainer that having healthy gut bacteria would benefit the overall immune system. This study concluded that Turkey Tail mushrooms benefit gut health as they act as a prebiotic that can stimulate the production of good bacteria in the gut, not only assisting the immune system but also cancelling out a major side effect of antibiotics.
The same study also concluded that Turkey Tail mushrooms appear to be anti-bacterial as they suppressed the growth of E. coli and Shigella.
Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant PropertiesBuild up of oxidative stress can lead to several health conditions such as cellular damage and certain cancers. This study suggests strong evidence for the ability of Turkey Tail mushrooms to reduce oxidative stress and, as a result, inflammation.
Not only is this good for better immune response, but lower levels of oxidative stress and inflammation from Turkey Tail can also potentially lead to a reduction in chronic pain as a result of inflammatory conditions, improved sleep quality, and reduction in symptoms of inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis.
4. Turkey Tail Mushrooms May Lower Blood-Sugar LevelsLike the previous health benefit of Turkey Tail mushrooms, this one has several further points related to it.
This study found that one of the medicinal benefits of Turkey Tail mushroom extract was to lower glucose levels in the blood. This alone presents several further benefits.
Athletic PerformanceHigh blood glucose (a common symptom of diabetes) can contribute to feelings of fatigue and lethargy. The same study found that a consequential result of lower blood glucose levels in mice as a result of Turkey Tail improved their athletic performance.
Diabetes and Insulin ResistanceThe same study listed above also noted that Turkey Tail mushroom extracts "may promote the glucose utilization to peripheral tissues and has a glucose-lowering action," which could be particularly beneficial to diabetes patients and those who suffer from insulin resistance.'
5. Turkey Tail Mushroom May Benefit SleepOne of the primary factors that contribute to better sleep quality is maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm. Research has noted the relationship between sleep issues and fatigue. Generally speaking, fatigue is a symptom of insufficient sleep or poor sleep quality. However, studies have also found that people who suffer from fatigue have lowered cortisol levels throughout the day and a flatter slope towards the evening than non-fatigued individuals.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that is vital for the normal function of your circadian rhythm. In healthy individuals, your sleep-wake cycle is modulated by cortisol release upon waking, followed by a rapid decline in cortisol levels in the evening and preceding the release of melatonin. A flattened slope of cortisol in the evening results in less melatonin release, which impacts sleep quality and increases sleep latency.
It stands to reason that reducing symptoms of fatigue during wakefulness (as discussed by the aforementioned study) will help your body modulate your circadian rhythm and stimulate better sleep quality.
Are Turkey Tail Mushrooms Safe?In addition to the discovered benefits, the above-listed study found that even at outrageously high doses (100-fold above the normal clinical therapeutic dosage), Turkey Tail mushrooms are an effective superfood and appear very safe. Although some people have experienced minor digestive issues such as gas and bloating, they seem relatively minor compared to the proposed medicinal uses and benefits of Turkey Tail mushrooms.
The form of Turkey Tail appears not to matter much. Whether you are taking Turkey Tail supplements, cold drinks, teas, or other forms, the benefits are largely the same.
It seems that the only individuals who might experience serious side effects from Turkey Tail are those who have preexisting mushroom allergies. If you are unsure whether you are predisposed to this or not, or if you simply would like more advice for your particular situation, chat to a doctor before supplementing your diet. Not only can they recommend dosages, but they can also explain the best ways to take Turkey Tail mushrooms.