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Turkey Tail - 5 Immune System Benefits

Updated: Jun 10, 2022

I use Turkey Tail in my tinctures. Turkey tail is a polypore, which means that the fruiting body grows on the underside of the fungus. It grows on fallen and dead trees quite abundantly all over the world. This mushroom can also used as a tea because of its woody structure. It's used primarily to support the immune system, but also has prebiotic and antioxidant properties that can support and protect the gut.

5 Immune System Benefits Of Turkey Tail Mushroom

1. Packed with antioxidants Antioxidants are compounds that help inhibit or reduce damage caused by oxidative stress. Oxidative stress results from an imbalance between antioxidants and unstable molecules called free radicals. This can result in cell damage and chronic inflammation. This imbalance has also been linked to an increased risk of developing hygiene requirements, such as certain cancers and heart disease. Thankfully, eating foods rich in antioxidants can or supplement with these powerful compounds reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Turkey tail contains an impressive collection of antioxidants, including phenols and flavonoids. Phenol and flavonoid antioxidants promote immune system health by reducing inflammation and stimulating the release of protective compounds. For example, quercetin has been shown to promote the release of immunoprotective proteins such as interferon-γ, while inhibiting the release of the pro-inflammatory enzymes cyclooxygenase (COX) and lipoxygenase (LOX).

2. Turkey Tail contains the immune system Polysaccharopeptides Polysaccharopeptides are protein-bound polysaccharides (carbohydrates) found in, for example, turkey tail mushroom extracts. Krestin (PSK) and polysaccharide peptide (PSP) are two types of polysaccharopeptides found in turkey tails. Both PSK and PSP have powerful immune system properties. They promote immune responses both activating and inhibiting certain types of immune cells and by suppressing inflammation. For example, in vitro studies have shown that PSP increases monocytes, which are types of white blood cells that fight infections and boost immunity.

3. May improve the immune system in people with certain cancers. Research has shown that turkey tail fungus may have antitumor properties, which are believed to be related to its immune system effects. A test tube study found that PSK, the polysaccharopeptide found in turkey tail fungi, inhibited the growth and spread of human colon cancer cells. What's more, a certain type of polysaccharide found in turkey tail fungus called Coriolus versicolor glucan (CVG) can suppress certain tumors. A study in tumor-bearing mice found that treatment with 45.5 and 90.9 mg per pound (100 and 200 mg per kg) body weight of CVG extracted from turkey tail fungus daily significantly reduced tumor size. Researchers are attributed this development to increased immune response. Another study showed that daily treatment with 45.5 mg per pound (100 mg per kg) body weight of turkey tail fungus extract significantly slowed the spread of cancer cells and improved survival times in dogs with very aggressive cancer (hemangiosarcoma). However, the most impressive evidence regarding cancer benefits from turkey tail fungus when used in combination with more traditional treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation.

4. May potentiate the effects of certain cancer treatments Due to the many positive compounds it contains, turkey tail is commonly used in conjunction with traditional treatments such as chemotherapy as a natural way to fight certain cancers. A review of 13 studies found that patients given 1-3.6 grams of turkey tail mushrooms per day along with conventional treatment had a significant survival benefit. The study showed that people with breast cancer, stomach cancer or colorectal cancer treated with turkey tail and chemotherapy experienced a 5-year reduction in 5-year mortality compared with chemotherapy alone. Read more here. Another review of 8 studies in over 8000 people with stomach cancer showed that those who received chemotherapy with PSK lived longer after the operation than individuals given chemotherapy without PSK. Read more here. A study of 11 women with breast cancer found that those who received 6-9 grams of turkey tail powder per day after radiation therapy experienced an increase in cancer-fighting cells in the immune system, such as natural killer cells and lymphocytes.

5.Can increase Gut Health Maintaining a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut is crucial to maintaining a strong immune system. Your gut bacteria interact with immune cells and directly affect your immune response. Turkey tail contains prebiotics, which help nourish these beneficial bacteria. An 8-week study of 24 healthy people found that consuming 3600 mg of PSP extracted from Turkey tail fungus per day led to positive changes in intestinal bacteria and suppressed the growth of potentially problematic E. coli and Shigella bacteria. Read more here A test tube study found that turkey tail extract modified gut bacteria composition by increasing populations of beneficial bacteria such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus while reducing potentially harmful bacteria, such as Clostridium and Staphylococcus. Read more here With healthy levels of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium bacteria have been linked to improved intestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, strengthened immune system, reduced cholesterol levels, lower risk of certain cancers and improved digestion.

Other benefoits of Turkey Tail

Apart from the benefits listed above, turkey tail can promote health in other ways as well: - It can help fight HPV: A study in 61 people with HPV found that 88% of participants treated with turkey tail experienced positive results, such as clearance of HPV, compared to only 5% of the control group. Read more here

- Turkey Tail can reduce inflammation: Turkey tail is loaded with antioxidants, such as flavonoids and phenols that can reduce inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to chronic diseases, such as diabetes and certain cancers.

- It has antibacterial properties: In a test tube study, turkey tail extracts inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella enterica, bacteria that can cause disease and infection.

- Turley Tail may improve performance: A mouse study showed that turkey tail extract improved exercise performance and reduced fatigue. Plus, the mice treated with the turkey tail experienced lower blood sugar levels at rest and after exercise.

- It may improve insulin resistance: A study in rats with type 2 diabetes showed that turkey tail extract significantly reduced blood sugar levels and improved insulin resistance. Read more here

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