Cancer survivors praise medicinal mushrooms for their ability to aid in cancer treatment and lessen the symptoms of chemotherapy.
We were curious about the effects of adaptogenic mushrooms on bladder cancer, in particular, so we took a closer look at available research.
We were impressed, and you will be too.
What is Bladder Cancer?
Bladder cancer is a malignant form of cancer that is caused by bladder cells growing out of control. It’s a common cancer type among adults and much less probable as a form of childhood cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, white, older, male patients are the most likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer, with the chances of men developing this cancer type in their lifetime being around 1 in 27.
Bladder Cancer Symptoms
There are a few types of cancer of the bladder, all with somewhat different symptoms. However, the following symptoms tend to manifest across all types of bladder cancer patients:
- blood in urine
- burning sensation or pain while urinating
- frequent urination, especially at night
- feeling the need to urinate without being able to do so
- extreme lower back pain without an apparent cause
Traditional Bladder Cancer Treatment Options
People with cancer generally have four traditional treatment routes, no matter the type of cancer: surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy.
Even once bladder cancer is in remission, it’s important to pay frequent visits to cancer centers for cancer screening and cancer prevention, as bladder cancer is likely to come back or move to other organs, especially if it’s a malignant type.
Can Medicinal Mushrooms Treat Bladder Cancer?
Using alternative medicine, andmedicinal mushrooms, in particular, to treat disease is nothing new. Eastern medicine has been using mushrooms for centuries to treat illness.
Western medicine has more recently started to look into the potential antitumor effect many of mushrooms can provide.
The research on medicinal mushrooms and bladder cancer is more robust for some mushrooms than others. Several mushrooms (such as cordyceps, maitake, and reishi) show potential when it comes to bladder cancer treatment and warrant more in-depth research.
Cordyceps Mushroom for Bladder Cancer
One of the many benefits of cordyceps is its ability to aid in cancer treatment. Both Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris seem to be quite beneficial in treating various forms of cancer, including bladder cancer.
For instance, a Chinese study investigated the effects of cordycepin, a compound commonly found in Cordyceps militaris and Cordyceps sinensis, on human bladder cancer cells. Results show that the cordyceps mushroom compound induces apoptosis of cancer cells by activating A3 adenosine receptors.
A Korean human study examined the effects of various adaptogenic mushrooms on metastatic bladder cancer in the lungs. One 74-year-old man, diagnosed with bladder cancer that had metastasized in the lungs, refused traditional treatment options. Instead, he was given dietary supplements of adaptogenic mushrooms, including cordyceps.
After 4 months, the man’s lung cancer was less pronounced, and the symptoms decreased significantly. Although more research is needed, this anecdotal clinical research shows great promise when it comes to cordyceps use for bladder cancer.
Reishi Mushroom for Bladder Cancer
Next to cordyceps, the reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is the most widely researched mushroom regarding its effects on bladder cancer. According to an in vitro study published in Cancer Letters, reishi inhibits the growth of bladder cancer cells.
A study on the effects of immunomodulating substances found in reishi mushrooms concluded that this mushroom has the ability to modulate cytokine production by enhancing bone marrow macrophages.
Cytokines are a type of protein that affects your body’s immune response. By enhancing the production of cytokines and bone marrow compounds (including white blood cell production), the reishi mushroom can bolster your body’s ability to fight cancer.
Maitake Mushroom for Bladder Cancer
Maitake extracts seem to be quite beneficial for bladder cancer treatment, at least according to a 2009 bladder cancer research published in the International Journal of General Medicine. This study investigated the effects of the maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa) on an 87-year-old white man with bladder cancer.
After two years, at the time the study was published, the man seemed to be in good condition. His once advanced cancer was in remission, despite his only treatment being an oral maitake mushroom extract.
Let’s refrain from making any generalized conclusions from a single-person study. Still, given that there are no drawbacks to consuming maitake, you might consider including it in your diet. While also seeking cancer care and treatment advice from healthcare professionals, of course.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom for Bladder Cancer
Although there are no studies on the effects of Hericium erinaceus on bladder cancer specifically, lion’s mane has shown promising anticancer effects in a few cancer cell and animal studies.
A 2020 study examined the effects of Hericium erinaceus on colorectal cancers. Compounds found in the lion’s mane fruit body were shown to induce apoptosis of colon cancer cells. Anecdotal evidence also suggests this shaggy-looking mushroom can also help people fight cancer, as well as lessen side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea and tiredness.
Given its antitumor activity, it’s not unreasonable to suspect lion’s mane could be beneficial in bladder cancer treatment. Still, more laboratory studies are needed to learn about the underlying mechanisms of Hericium erinaceus and its ability to treat cancer of the bladder.
Turkey Tail Mushroom for Bladder Cancer
Turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) is an adaptogenic mushroom known for its anti-cancer properties. Although there are no studies on the effects of this fungus on bladder cancer specifically, there’s a decent chance you could benefit from the turkey tail mushroom during your bladder cancer treatment.
Turkey tail can also be quite beneficial to take during chemotherapy to promote overall immune function. Immunomodulators, commonly used for cancer treatment, come with a plethora of side effects, including abdominal pain, weakness, diarrhea, and body aches.
According to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine and Complementary Therapies, using turkey tail as a complementary therapy with immunomodulators could lessen side effects of the drug, especially nausea, neuropathies, and organ damage.
What is the Best Mushroom to Fight Bladder Cancer?
There is not enough research on the topic of medicinal mushrooms and bladder cancer to make a conclusive decision about which types of mushrooms are the best to use for patients with cancer.
The cordyceps mushroom has the most research and clinical practice backing its use. If you’re looking for a single food substance to combat bladder cancer, cordyceps mushroom extracts would be a prime candidate.
You don’t need to limit yourself to one mushroom, though. When it comes to medicinal mushrooms, the whole is better than the sum of its parts.
The medicinal mushrooms listed in this post exhibit synergistic potentiation, meaning they’ll potentially work better if taken together than if you opt for using just one type of mushroom.
Are You Interested in Trying Medicinal Mushrooms for Bladder Cancer?
If you want to incorporate medicinal mushrooms into your diet, you can do so with our Forij Superfood Granola.
Our granola contains hyperconcentrated extracts of lion’s mane, chaga, and cordyceps mushrooms, which means you’ll get 10-15 times the nutrients found in these mushrooms than you would get with a regular mushroom powder.
The granola is vegan, gluten-free, packed with nutrients, and delicious. What more could you want in a morning bowl of cereal?
Medicinal Mushrooms and Bladder Cancer FAQ
Are adaptogenic mushrooms good for chemo patients?
Yes, adaptogenic mushrooms such as lion’s mane and cordyceps can be quite beneficial for chemo patients. They can alleviate certain side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea, lack of energy, and body aches.
Are mushrooms diuretics?
Yes, mushrooms can act as a natural diuretic, which means that they can help you relieve bloating symptoms and help your bladder detoxify your body.
Best mushroom for breast cancer?
Cordyceps may inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells. Cordyceps militaris, the most common type of cordyceps, has incredible antitumor potential. A 2019 study examined the efficacy of bioactive compounds found in cordyceps fruiting bodies in breast cancer treatment. Results suggest that the fungus has great potential in breast cancer prevention.
This article was written strictly for informational purposes and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the FDA advisory board, and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment information.