6 Potential Side Effects of Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Updated September 20, 2023.
Like many functional mushrooms, Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) is often hailed for the list of health benefits it seems to present. On the other hand, the potential adverse effects of Turkey Tail mushrooms are rarely spoken about. Are there any, and what should you be wary of?
How Likely Are Negative Side Effects of Turkey Tail?
Despite the lack of research on the adverse effects of Turkey Tail mushrooms, they appear quite safe.
It should also be noted that Turkey Tail mushrooms are not psychedelics like psilocybin mushrooms.
As for dosage, you shouldn't be very concerned about how much Turkey Tail to take. Even at high doses, the side effects of Turkey Tail mushroom supplements are reportedly low. It's unlikely you'd take too much Turkey Tail unless that was your intended goal. (One study noted that even at 100-fold above the normal clinical dose, the mushrooms caused no adverse reactions in mice).
The individuals who should be concerned are those with pre-existing health concerns and mushroom allergies. Turkey Tail is a fungus, which means that if you have a mushroom or mold allergy, you will likely be affected.
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Potential Adverse Reactions from Turkey Tail Mushrooms
After stating all of the above, it's important to note that nothing is set in stone. You might still experience some negative side effects and contraindications from Turkey Tail, particularly if you have a mushroom allergy.
Although the risk is low, those who do report experiencing adverse effects after taking Turkey Tail mushrooms note any of these 6 symptoms:
- Cold and flu symptoms
- Constipation and stomach pain
- Darkened nail pigmentation
If you do experience any side effects after taking Turkey Tail mushroom supplements, Turkey Tail tea, or any other form, stop immediately and consult a doctor.
However, even in the worst-case scenarios, there has never been a documented case of someone suffering irreversible side effects or death from Turkey Tail Mushrooms.
Is Turkey Tail Mushroom FDA Approved?
No, Turkey Tail mushrooms aren't FDA-approved. But that doesn't mean they're unsafe, just that FDA doesn't regard them as an effective medication for any medical conditions.
What contradicts this is that in 2012, FDA did approve a clinical trial to test the effectiveness of Turkey Tail mushroom extract on women with breast cancer—and got potentially great results. Compared to those who received chemotherapy alone, patients who received Turkey Tail extract had a better survival rate and improved quality of life. In Japan and China, Turkey Tail has been used alongside conventional medicine in the treatment of cancer for more than 30 years.
The truth is that Turkey Tail fungus is not poisonous and doesn't need to be specifically prepared in order to be safe, unlike some other mushroom supplements.
However, the lack of FDA approval means that there are no regulations governing the growth and manufacture of Turkey Tail mushrooms and their extracts. It is up to the companies producing them to verify the claims they make, and up to consumers to purchase from reputable companies.
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Drug Interactions Between Turkey Tail and Prescription Medication
Currently, there are no reported interactions between Turkey Tail mushrooms and prescription medication. This doesn't necessarily mean that there aren't any, just that they haven't been observed if they do exist.
As for the potential interactions between Turkey Tail and Reishi, Lion's Mane, or any other functional mushroom, there simply isn't enough research. Some people suggest that using functional mushrooms together could compound the more specific benefits of each. Others believe that it could lower the efficacy of both. Keep in mind that these results might change from person to person, as everyone is different.
How Safe Are Turkey Tail Mushrooms?
Even though there are some reported side effects from Turkey Tail mushrooms, they are rare and almost never seen in healthy individuals without mushroom allergies. As stated above, even high doses well above clinical recommendations don't cause severe adverse reactions.
Though it needs to be said that if you are unsure about your own predispositions and potential allergies, you should consult a doctor before implementing new supplements, including functional mushrooms.