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Agaricus Brasiliensis (aka Blazei) Murill - Natural Cancer Treatment Par Excellence


Agaricus brasiliensis (aka blazei) murill – natural cancer treatment par excellence

History – Agaricus brasiliensis murill (ABM) is native to Brazil, where it is known as Cogumelo do sol. In Japan it is called Himematsutake, Agarikusutake or Kawarihiratake and in China Ji Song Rong.[1] It was discovered in 1960 by a Japanese researcher, Takatoshi Furumoto and sent to Japan for investigation.[2] It has been studied as a functional food and medicinal product. Its use as a medicinal product was first described around the 4th century A.D. as a treatment for malignant ulcers of the larynx.[3] In modern times it is used as anti-oxidant[4], anti-diabetic[5], cholesterol-lowering [6] anti-cancer[7,8], immunomodulatory[9], anti-allergic[10], kidney protective[11], and anti-microbial agent[12].
The anti-tumor effects, more specifically, include reactive oxygen species inducer[13], anti-mitotic [14] angiogenesis inhibitor[15], topoisomerase inhibitor[16], leading to apoptosis[17], and eventually checking cancer proliferation.

Extracts of ABM appear to exert a significant effect on the immune system.[18] They activate white blood cells, macrophages, neutrophils and lymphocytes – cells which are crucial in recognition and destruction of circulating tumor cells. These are all part of our general defense system – the guards at the gate, which we call the innate immune system.

For all that Agaricus brasiliensis has so many health effects, it is a fastidious and demanding species, and must be picked within a few hours of the fruiting body maturing. The glucan content increases as the fruiting body matures, so the time of harvest is of great importance, and explains (in part) the cost of the best supplements of the mushroom.[19]

The quality of the mushrooms themselves is another important consideration. In 2006 the Japanese ministry of health decided to recall products containing Agaricus brasiliensis because of a suspicion that the mushroom could induce the development of liver failure and cancer.[20] After extensive testing, it was determined that those mushrooms which grew in polluted urban areas of China did indeed induce liver cancer in mice[21], but that the mushrooms grown in non-polluted areas had no such effect. In fact, the agaricus species that were tested had such high mercury concentrations, one wonders whether that species is attempting to protect the environment by absorbing the toxic mercury.

The quantity of beta-d-glucan in a mushroom product depends on the quality and grade of the mushroom. Most ABM mushrooms grown outside of Brazil range from 3 to 4%. In its natural environment, the ABM mushroom can contain up to 7% d-glucan on average. Ultra Gold quality ranges above 4.8%. Companies selling ABM mushrooms claiming to contain 45% or more beta-D-Glucan are selling a manufactured standardized product, where Beta-D-Glucan has been added because 45% in nature does not exist.

Both alpha and beta glucans enhance the immune system, both have anti-tumor activity, and both appear in larger quantities as the fruiting body matures.[22]

The beta glucans from Agaricus brasiliensis are known as biologic response modifiers – they stimulate the immune response, and also have tumoricidal activity. Only those polysaccharides which consist of a (1!3)-linked b-glucan backbone with (l!6)-linked b-D-glucopyranosyl units as branches produce complete inhibition of tumor growth.[23]

We are fortunate that in the United States we have a producer of extremely high quality Agaricus brasiliensis in both powder and extract form. Desert Forest Nutritionals produces top quality Agaricus brasiliensis supplements, manufactured from organically produced mushrooms in Brazil. We recommend Agaricus brasiliensis to all our patients with cancer, and with many other immune-related diseases as well, because of its extraordinary immune-enhancing properties. Yes, it is expensive… but so is illness. And health is priceless.

The innate immune system is present at birth. It responds to foreign invaders – mainly microbial – in a relatively non-specific fashion. It does not make specific antibodies. Rather it recognizes certain patterns present in bacteria, leading the macrophages to surround and destroy the bacteria. The innate immune system is also crucial in the recognition of abnormal cells – cancer cells – which it normally engulfs and destroys.

Once a virus or bacterium penetrates the skin (or the mucus membranes) a local infection results, causing tissue damage which, in turn, causes the tissue macrophages to call for help by secreting specific cytokines. These cytokines call for more immune cells which then surround the pathogens and destroy them.

The Complement cascade is activated, manufacturing C3a and C5a to attract yet more white cells to the area, along with fluid from the capillaries. The cytokines, when they reach the liver, cause the manufacture of acute phase proteins (sometimes called heat shock protein). Body temperature is raised, and NK (Natural Killer) cells are activated to destroy virus-infected cells. Interferon alpha and beta are secreted to make nearby cells more resistant to viral infection.

[1] F. Firenzuoli, L. Gori, and G. Lombardo. The Medicinal Mushroom Agaricus blazei Murrill: Review of Literature and Pharmaco-Toxicological Problems. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2008 March; 5(1): 3–15.[2] Firenzuoli F, Gori L, Lombardo G. The Medicinal Mushroom Agaricus blazei Murrill: Review of Literature and Pharmaco-Toxicological Problems. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2008 Mar;5(1):3-15. doi: 10.1093/ecam/nem007.[3] Ramoutsaki IA, Helidonis ES, et al. Therapeutic methods for otolaryngological problems during the bzantine period. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 2002;111:553–7.[4] Oliveira OM, Brunetti IL et al. Antioxidant activity of Agaricus blazei. Fitoterapia. 2007 Apr;78(3):263-4.[5] Hsu CH, Chou P et al. The mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill in combination with metformin and gliclazide improves insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes: A randomized, double-blinded, and placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2007 Jan-Feb;13(1):97-102.[6] Kweon MH, Park YI et al. Lowering effects in plasma cholesterol and body weight by mycelial extracts of two mushrooms: Agaricus blazai and Lentinus edodes. Korean Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology 2002;30(4):402-9.[7] Fan MJ, Chung JG, et al. Crude extracts of Agaricus brasiliensis induce apoptosis in human oral cancer CAL 27 cells through a mitochondria-dependent pathway. In Vivo. 2011 May-Jun;25(3):355-66.[8] Pinto AV, Kaneno R et al. Polysaccharide fraction of Agaricus brasiliensis avoids tumor-induced IL-10 production and changes the microenvironment of subcutaneous Ehrlich adenocarcinoma. Cell Immunol. 2009;256(1-2):27-38. doi: 10.1016/j.cellimm.2009.01.002.[9] Tang NY, Chung JG et al. Effects of Agaricus blazei Murill extract on immune responses in normal BALB/c mice. In Vivo. 2009 Sep-Oct;23(5):761-6.[10] Ellertsen LK, Hetland G. An extract of the medicinal mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill can protect against allergy. Clin Mol Allergy. 2009; 7: 6. doi: 10.1186/1476-7961-7-6[11] Dalla Santa HS, Soccol CR et al. Kidney Function Indices in Mice after Long Intake of Agaricus brasiliensis Mycelia (=Agaricus blazei, Agaricus subrufescens) Produced by Solid State Cultivation. OnLine Journal of Biological Sciences 9 (1): 21-28, 2009[12] Valadares DG, Coelho EA et al. Prophylactic or therapeutic administration of Agaricus blazei murill is effective in treatment of murine visceral leishmaniasis. Exp Parasitol. 2012 Jul 20.[13] Bernardshaw S, Johnson E et al. Effect of an extract of the mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill on expression of adhesion molecules and production of reactive oxygen species in monocytes and granulocytes in human whole blood ex vivo. APMIS. 2007 Jun;115(6):719-25.[14] Jiang SM, Xiao ZM, Xu ZH. Inhibitory activity of polysaccharide extracts from three kinds of edible fungi on proliferation of human hepatoma SMMC-7721 cell and mouse implanted S180 tumor. World J Gastroenterol. 1999 Oct;5(5):404-407.[15] Niu Y.C. Wu XX et al. A low molecular weight polysaccharide isolated from Agaricus blazei suppresses tumor growth and angiogenesis in vivo. Oncol Rep. 2009 Jan;21(1):145-52.[16] Grynberg NF, Braz-Filho R, et al. DNA topoisomerase inhibitors: biflavonoids from Ouratea species. Braz J Med Biol Res 2002; 35: 819-822.[17] Kim MO, Kim GY et al. Agaricus blazei Extract Induces Apoptosis through ROS-Dependent JNK Activation Involving the Mitochondrial Pathway and Suppression of Constitutive NF-kB in THP-1 Cells. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011:838172. doi: 10.1093/ecam/nep176.[18] Huang TT, Lai HC et al. The Anti-Tumorigenic Mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill Enhances IL-1ß Production and Activates the NLRP3 Inflammasome in Human Macrophages. PLoS One. 2012; 7(7):e41383. Epub 2012 Jul 23.[19] Camelini CM, Tavares LA et al. Structural characterization of beta-glucans of Agaricus brasiliensis in different stages of fruiting body maturity and their use in nutraceutical products. Biotechnol Lett. 2005 Sep;27(17):1295-9.[20] Mukai H, Katsumata N et al. An alternative medicine, Agaricus blazei, may have induced severe hepatic dysfunction in cancer patients. Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2006 Dec;36(12):808-10.[21] Chen XH, Qui GZ et al. Analysis of several heavy metals in wild edible mushrooms from regions of China. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 2009 Aug;83(2):280-5. doi: 10.1007/s00128-009-9767-8.[22] Camelini CM, Tavares LA et al. Structural characterization of beta-glucans of Agaricus brasiliensis in different stages of fruiting body maturity and their use in nutraceutical products. Biotechnol Lett. 2005 Sep;27(17):1295-9.[23] F. Firenzuoli, L. Gori, and G. Lombardo. The Medicinal Mushroom Agaricus blazei Murrill: Review of Literature and Pharmaco-Toxicological Problems. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2008 March; 5(1): 3–15.