Can Turkey Tail Mushroom Cure Cancer?
Updated September 21, 2023.
With the rise of alternative medicine in western culture, many more people are turning to functional mushrooms to treat a variety of illnesses. One of these mushrooms is Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor), and it seems to present a number of immune-boosting health benefits.
But, how effective are these benefits, and can they cure cancer?
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Does Turkey Tail Kill Cancer Cells?
As to whether Turkey Tail can directly inhibit or kill cancer cells, the research we have on the topic turns out to be quite promising.
Inhibit Cancer Cell Growth This study found that Turkey Tail mushroom extracts contain a number of polysaccharides and their derivatives that were effective at inhibiting cancer cell growth in vitro by stimulating cytokine response in the immune system, as well as exhibiting direct anti-tumour activity outside of its effect on the immune system. The study makes note that these mushrooms (and many others) could be effective in assisting with other cancer treatments.
Stimulated the Cytokine Response Additionally, this study notes that Turkey Tail mushrooms stimulated the cytokine response against breast cancer cells in vitro, as well as activating and increasing the lymphocyte count, natural killer cells, and specific T cells against breast cancer in vivo. The same study also found that patients with stage 2 colorectal cancer that were administered Turkey Tail mushroom extracts in conjunction with pharmaceutical cancer medication had a 26.7% higher survival rate than the control group who received only traditional cancer treatments.
How Else Can Turkey Tail Mushrooms Help Cancer?
Aside from the direct effect on cancer cells, Turkey Tail mushrooms may be able to assist cancer patients in other ways to contribute to a more holistic treatment.
Boost the Immune System As referenced above, it appears that one of the health benefits of Turkey Tail mushrooms is a boost to the immune system by stimulating cytokine modulation in response to various cancer cells. However, these mushrooms are also good for promoting healthy gut bacteria that inevitably leads to a stronger immune system overall, since most of the body's immune response capabilities are located in the gut.
Benefit From Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties Studies have shown that Turkey Tail mushrooms can also offer a certain degree of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Though there is debate over whether these properties actually help prevent, or potentially aggravate, the spread of cancer, they are important for reducing the risk for a number of other diseases. Without the risk of other disease formations, individuals who are at risk of cancer can hopefully have less to worry about.
How Much Turkey Tail Should You Take for Cancer?
Turkey Tail mushrooms, like all functional mushrooms, are adaptogenic and don't exhibit a host of benefits immediately. Instead, these benefits need to accumulate over time, which makes the proper dosage of Turkey Tail mushroom for cancer difficult to calculate.
Take Capsules or Turkey Tail Extracts
However, some studies have used between 1-3g daily in the form of capsules or extracts when looking specifically at cancer treatment and in conjunction with chemotherapy and had successful results with minimal reported side effects.
Drink Turkey Tail Tea
Additionally, you can also steep chopped turkey tail mushrooms in tea if you are averse to capsules. There isn't really a "best Turkey Tail supplement for cancer," so long as whatever you decide to choose is properly manufactured and high quality.
These numbers are only a basic suggestion formulated from past research and not a guide or recommendation.
Truthfully, it's impossible to know how much Turkey Tail you should take as everyone's body is different and will react to the substance differently. However, even over the long term, Turkey Tail mushroom doesn't appear harmful and likely won't cause liver toxicity, so you have some experimental room to figure out your optimal dose.
What Other Mushrooms Are Good For Cancer?
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests the efficacy of using functional mushrooms to assist in the treatment of various cancers. Each mushroom has its own list of benefits and potential risks that you will have to weigh up for yourself before deciding which to settle on. Additionally, some people suggest that you might be able to combine multiple types of functional mushrooms together and have benefits similar to CBD's entourage effect, but there isn't conclusive evidence to confirm or deny this.
You might very well experience the functional benefits of Turkey Tail mushroom with little to no side effects, but if you're ever unsure, then it's recommended that you consult with a doctor to get a more accurate recommendation depending on your personal situation and any potential risk factors (such as a mushroom allergy) that you may have.