Testing a Mushroom Drink's Effect on Immune Health in Adults

Jim Crocker
8th April, 2024

Testing a Mushroom Drink's Effect on Immune Health in Adults

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In Thailand, a drink made from Cordyceps fungus increased immune cell activity in men after 4 weeks and in women after 8 weeks
  • The Cordyceps drink reduced inflammation-related molecules in both men and women
  • The study confirmed the drink's safety, showing no toxicity to liver, kidneys, or blood
Understanding how our immune system functions and responds to threats is a cornerstone of medical science. The immune system is our body's defense force, distinguishing between our own cells and harmful invaders like pathogens, toxins, or allergens[2]. However, our lifestyle choices and environment can sometimes lead to chronic inflammation, which is linked to a host of diseases[3]. In this context, finding natural substances that can support the immune system without harmful side effects is of great interest. One such natural substance is derived from Cordyceps militaris, a type of fungus with a history of medicinal use. Studies have shown that compounds from Cordyceps, such as cordycepin, have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties[4][5]. Building on this knowledge, researchers from the University of Phayao have conducted a study to explore the immunostimulant effects of a functional beverage made from the submerged fermentation of C. militaris (FCM)[1]. The study involved healthy male and female volunteers from Phayao Province, Thailand, who were given either the FCM beverage containing 2.85 mg of cordycepin or a placebo over 8 weeks. The researchers monitored immune cell markers, immunoglobulins (antibodies produced by the immune system to fight infections), and safety parameters before the trial began and then at 4 and 8 weeks into the study. Results showed that in men, the activity of natural killer (NK) cells, which are part of the body's innate immune system, significantly increased after 4 weeks of consuming FCM. In women, NK cell activity showed a significant increase after 8 weeks when compared to the placebo group. This suggests that FCM may enhance the body's immediate response to infections or cancerous cells. Additionally, the study found that levels of IL-1β, a pro-inflammatory molecule, decreased in the male FCM group, while IL-6, another molecule involved in inflammation, decreased in the female FCM group. These findings align with the need to control inflammation for overall health[3]. Importantly, the study also confirmed that the FCM beverage did not cause any toxicity to the liver, kidneys, or blood components, indicating that it could be a safe supplement to boost the immune system. This aligns with the known safety profile of traditional Cordyceps use and its constituents, like cordycepin, which have been previously reported to have various health benefits without significant side effects[4][5]. The significance of this study lies not only in its potential to offer a natural and safe immune-boosting product but also in its contribution to the broader understanding of how natural substances can be harnessed in support of human health. It adds to the evidence that certain natural compounds can modulate the immune system and reduce inflammation, potentially helping to prevent or manage the chronic diseases that are a leading cause of disability and mortality worldwide[3]. In conclusion, the study by the University of Phayao provides promising evidence that FCM could be developed into a health drink with immune-boosting properties. These findings contribute to the growing body of research on natural substances like Cordyceps militaris and their role in supporting the immune system and controlling inflammation, offering potential strategies for the early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases associated with systemic chronic inflammation[3].



Main Study

1) A randomized controlled clinical trial examining the effects of Cordyceps militaris beverage on the immune response in healthy adults.

Published 5th April, 2024


Related Studies

2) Overview of the immune response.


3) Chronic inflammation in the etiology of disease across the life span.


4) Pharmacological and therapeutic potential of Cordyceps with special reference to Cordycepin.


5) Pharmacological actions of Cordyceps, a prized folk medicine.

Journal: The Journal of pharmacy and pharmacology, Issue: Vol 57, Issue 12, Dec 2005

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