What Are the Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushrooms? Does It Include Weight Loss?
Turkey Tail Mushrooms are a kind of mushroom that has become more popular in the health and fitness community for its medicinal properties. It gets its name from how it looks. They are flat and fan-shaped and have different colored rings which give it the appearance of a turkey’s tail feathers. They have colors in the middle like yellow, brown, and red and they really do resemble turkey tail feathers with whites at the very edge.
It is a mushroom that grows in different climates. It is a very common fungal species that grows in the wild, on logs, stumps, or dead trunks of trees. It subsists on the dead trees that it grows on as it breaks down its cellulose.
What does it contain?
There are many turkey tail mushroom benefits known to humans. These health benefits come from the many different compounds it possesses. Researchers have identified a number of different phenolic compounds. It also has polysaccharopeptides (PSPs) which are naturally occurring. In addition to that, it has a host of flavonoids and terpenoids. A study found 35 different phenolic compounds. It is loaded with phenols and flavonoids which have antioxidant and anti-aging effects. It has YZP proteins from its fruiting bodies which have anti-inflammatory effects. It has protein-bound beta-glucans which have been through to reduce obesity. (1)
How are they prepared?
They are available in the wild all over the world, which makes them a virtually cost-less food supplement. Medicinal mushrooms are often looked at with suspicion because some of them are quite lethal. Luckily, unlike other mushrooms, they are not poisonous. They aren’t also any poisonous mushrooms that look like them so you are fairly safe in foraging for them.
To be honest, they are difficult to eat on their own when picked in the wild. If you manage to harvest some on your own, you won’t be able to eat them if you tried, they are thick and woody. Unlike other kinds of mushrooms, they are not something you might chop up and put into a dish. They need to be prepared in a certain way if you are dealing with the mushrooms themselves. The alternative is to find Turkey Tail Mushroom Food supplements which can be purchased over the counter.
They can be prepared as tea. But unlike other mushrooms or teas, it is a very tough, woody mushroom. It takes longer to produce turkey tail extracts and keep all its healthy compounds. Start with a five-to-one ratio of water to mushroom. Boil it for an hour and then simply strain the mushrooms out and drink the tea. You can speed up the process a bit by chopping up fresh mushrooms and boiling them just the same.
Of course, you can’t just pick up these mushrooms in the wild, stick them in a pot and drink the boiled water in them. There are some things you need to do to prepare it for boiling.
Once picked, ensure that there are no insects, molds, or other problems. These grow on living or dead trees. They may not be as dirty since they don’t live on the ground but it doesn’t hurt to clean them. You can use a toothbrush to get rid of most of the dirt or debris. The part of the mushroom which grows and connects to the log is better left out so cut it out with a pair of cutters.
For particularly dirty mushrooms, wash them and give them a quick rinse in a running faucet, you don’t want to submerge them as they will absorb any water.
If you are not able to boil them into a tea in a reasonable amount of time, try to dry them out by using a food dehydrator or silica desiccant packet that is food-safe to keep them dry and fresh, ready to be used the next time you should need to have tea. Store them in a cool, dry, and dark place inside an airtight container to avoid spoilage.
Turkey Tail Mushroom supplements are easily available online or wherever health supplements are sold. Some are sold as mushroom powder, others sell it in capsule form. They can be conveniently added to any person’s diet, some people mix the powder and add water, and others find the capsule form convenient to digest together with other vitamins or supplements.
What are its health benefits?
Practitioners of traditional medicine in Asia have used Turkey Tail Mushrooms for a very long time. It has been used for many purposes, it is believed to be beneficial to the immune system, liver, lung, and spleen functions. It is also believed to be very beneficial for those suffering from coughs, respiratory issues, hemorrhoids, and joint pain.
In this article, we’ll go through the nutrients found in these mushrooms and the benefits that come from taking Turkey Tail Mushrooms which are backed by scientific studies from trials, double-blind or placebo tests, or meta-analyses of these studies.
It contains Polysaccharides that help provide immune support. These are essential sugars in the body that can help in activating the T cells which are a part of the white blood cells that fight off infection. Two of the Polysaccharopeptides are Krestin and Polysaccharide Peptides, which are found in the Turkey Tail mushroom. They are known for activating specific types of immune cells like T cells and helping suppress inflammation in the body.
The effect of polysaccharides on the immune system has been explored by many studies, particularly ones done in relation to cancer cells, tumor sizes, and immune systems of immuno-compromised individuals. Some studies have found it to inhibit or prevent the further growth and spread of curatively resected colorectal cancer. They can even prevent or suppress certain kinds of tumors. (2) Polysaccharides can help increase monocytes in your system which are white blood cells that the body needs in order to fight infections and improve immunity. It even helps with fighting against certain kinds of bacteria. (3)
Several studies have expanded the research on its immune-boosting effect. In an animal test in mice, treatment with the polysaccharides found in turkey tail mushrooms yielded a significant decrease in tumor size in mice which the researchers attributed to the improved immune response. (4) It has been found to improve immune response in breast cancer, colorectal cancer or gastric cancer patients. They had a reduction in their mortality rates compared to those who had chemotherapy only.
In clinical trials, it has been established to promote gut health. It has been used to help treat and manage gastric cancer, colon cancer, and colorectal cancer as well as late-stage lung cancer. (5)
Some studies conducted in Korea and Japan showed that in addition to a patient’s cancer treatment regimen such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, Turkey Tail mushroom helps recidivism rates of different kinds of cancer such as gastric, breast, colorectal, and lung cancers by helping boost the overall strength of the patient’s immune system during the ongoing traditional treatment. Since chemotherapy suppresses the immune system, many believe that the turkey tail mushroom helps restore and build up the immune system in order to offset the weakness that the chemotherapy causes, which makes it an effective combination to add to the traditional treatment. (2)
Clinical trials in patients with lung cancer also found that patients receiving PSK, the most active compound found in Turkey Tail Mushroom improved in many ways such as body weight, well-being, immune function, and tumor-size-related symptoms and survived for longer. (6)
Because of its immune-boosting properties, it can help your immune system become more resilient against germs that cause ill effects such as those associated with the common cold or the flu.
Phenols, Flavonoids, and YZP Proteins
Turkey tail benefits include antioxidant and anti-aging effects due to its phenols and flavonoids content. It has YZP proteins from its fruiting bodies which have anti-inflammatory effects. (5) Flavonoids and different phenolic compounds that are found in the mushroom have protective effects against cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, Alzheimer’s epilepsy, and other pathologic conditions. (7) It also prevents inflammation which has a number of negative health consequences. This kind of inflammation has been linked to chronic diseases such as diabetes, eye disorders, arthritis, obesity, autoimmune diseases, and some kinds of cancers. (8)
It has protein-bound beta-glucans which have been used to reduce obesity. Beta-glucans that are derived from turkey tails helped support a healthier gut microbiome that reduced obesity in animals. (9). Keeping a balance of healthy bacteria is important in order to maintain a strong immune system because of the interactions the gut has with immune cells which therefore give it a significant impact on our body’s immune response. The prebiotics contained in turkey tail mushrooms were found to be very helpful in nourishing the good kind of bacteria. It also improves intestinal symptoms like diarrhea, enhances the immune system through its interactions with immune cells, lowers the risk of certain types of cancers, and improves digestion. (10) This improved digestion can really help improve the absorption of nutrients, help remove toxins from the body as well as alleviate leaky gut syndrome or precursors to other diseases such as Crohn’s, IBS, and Autism.
In short, this mushroom has a lot of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer effects which are helpful particularly with cancers in the digestive system.
Other Benefits Attributed to Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Weight Loss has been attributed because this mushroom can provide your body with many essential nutrients for your body, when consumed as a tea, it can be satiating and nourishing which can lead to a more controlled diet and can curb the appetites of those who tend to over-eat and eat too much food. Because it is often consumed as a Tea, it can help those who tend to “drink” their calories as well by substituting the occasional frappe or sweet juice drink with something more balanced and healthy like Turkey Tail Mushroom Tea.
It is believed to help diabetics Diabetics control their blood sugar levels. Because individuals suffering from diabetes have problems controlling their blood sugar levels due to their insulin resistance, Turkey Tail can actually help diabetics as it can level sugar levels in the blood
It could also be seen as a cure for HPV or Human Papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the US, and though there are about 150 types of HPV, it can be classified into two different types: High Risk and Low Risk. Low-risk HPV is generally considered harmless because it does not cause cancer. It does, however, cause genital warts. These warts can appear in your sensitive area and while benign or not really harmful, it is something that can cause many people discomfort, anxiety, and self-esteem issues. High-risk variants of HPV are termed as such because they have been linked to several forms of cancer like cervical, penile, vaginal, and anal cancers.
A study was conducted on 61 patients that had HPV and they were given Turkey Tail Mushrooms as part of the cure, those that received the mushroom had an 88% clearance compared to others. Of course, the sample size is not particularly large, however it does beg the question of whether Turkey Tail Mushroom can be an effective treatment for this kind of infection. And though some people feel the results of studies are not popular enough, they may prove efficient in curing and managing HPV especially when combined with traditional treatments and therapies. (11)
Depending on the dosage of any turkey tail supplements or the quality of the turkey tail mushroom you forage in the wild, it could take your body three weeks to manifest the health benefits.
Turkey Tail Mushrooms are widely available in the wild and grow in many different places and climates all over the world. Its health benefits are widely popular in Eastern medicine and it is only now that science is catching up and looking into its health benefits. Many see its value in helping cancer patients in conjunction with traditional cancer treatments by helping boost the immune system. However, it is helpful not only for those with compromised and weakened immune systems but also for everyone who is looking to try and strengthen their immune systems.
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, people also see it as a good way to manage inflammation caused by diseases in the human body. It may not be a wonder drug that can cure all illnesses, however, this mushroom certainly has a place for helping those looking to strengthen their immune system response, reduce inflammation, improve the health of their gut biome and reap all the health benefits that come with that.