The immune system is that group of biological structures and processes inside an organism that protects it against pathogens and cancerous agents.
To date, different substances from reishi with immunomodulatory properties have been isolated. These ones include polysaccharides (in particular B-D-glucans), proteins (in particular LZ-8) and triterpenoids1. These compounds are capable of modulating the regulatory mechanisms involved in the activation, differentiation and proliferation of T and B lymphocytes.
This has been confirmed in a study carried out in soccer players 2. The suppressive effects in the immune system caused by overtraining, were inhibited by the consumption of pure reishi. Thus the group of players who took a larger amount of reishi mushroom had a CD4 / CD8 lymphocyte ratio, higher than those who had not taken reishi or took a lower quantity ofit. The lower CD4 / CD8 ratio is an indicator of immune suppression.
This case has confirmed the ability of pure reishi (know the differences between pure reishi and reishi extracts here) to inhibit immune suppression caused by high level overtraining, typical of numerous sports activities. However, there is scientific evidence about how it can help in processes where the defenses decrease to a greater extent, such as during chemo and radiotherapy treatments, but we will discuss that later in another article of the blog.
1. Gao Y, Zhou S. The Immunomodulating Effects of Ganoderma lucidum (Curt.: Fr.) P. Karst. (Ling Zhi, Reishi Mushroom) (Aphyllophoromycetideae). 2002; 4(1): 11.
2. Zhang, Y., Z. Lin, Y. Hu and F. Wang (2008). “Effect of Ganoderma lucidum capsules on T lymphocyte subsets in football players on “living high-training low”.” British Journal of Sports Medicine 42(10): 519-522.
You can find many other research articles on reishi and defense modulation in this link.