Ganoderma lucidum is a mushroom more commonly called lingzhi or reishi, and has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. Researchers in Taiwan are now attributing slowed down weight gain to these potent mushrooms.
In Chinese the name lingzhi represents a combination of potency and immortality. The mushroom, called the “herb of spiritual potency” is a symbol of success, well-being, divine power, and longevity. This bodes well.
Herb of Spiritual Potency
Ganoderma lucidum grows in Eastern Hemlock forests, as well as in tropical and temperate forests. It typically grows at the base or stumps of trees, especially maple. Forms of Ganoderma mushrooms have been found in the Amazon, but it isn’t so easily found.
The “herb of spiritual potency” is usually found on 2 or 3 in 10,000 trees in nature and is therefore extremely rare. Nowadays it is grown indoors on logs or woodchip beds and cultivated for its medical properties. It has been used for over 2,000 years for medicinal purposes and is one of the oldest mushrooms used as medicine.
Normalizing The Process
Researchers in Taiwan are now claiming the mushroom reduces weight gain in animals. The study published in Nature Communications, suggests the mushroom alters gut bacteria in a good way, normalizing the metabolic process and reducing weight gain.
The researchers say that eventually an extract from the mushroom could be used to treat obesity. But simply giving people the extract won’t fight against a bad diet. Adding Ganoderma lucidum to cola will not help people lose weight, as seen in tests.
Researchers at Chang Gung University analyzed the impact of feeding the fungus to mice being fed a high-fat diet. Those mice that didn’t receive the mushroom extract reached 42g after two months, whereas mice that were fed the high-fat diet as well as a high dose of the mushroom extract reached only 35 g in the same timespan.
The thing is, mice who were fed a normal diet were still slimmer and healthier.
In their report, the team defined the mushroom extract as “pre-biotics to reduce weight gain, chronic inflammation and insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes) in obese individuals.” The test needs further study on humans, but the hypothesis is solid.
Why Does Ganoderma lucidum Work?
The Taiwan team showed that adding the mushroom to the mice’s meals altered the bacteria living in the gut. These “gut bugs” are super involved in the digestion and energy release of food, and some species are more associated with slim people. Others, with obese people.
The scientists were able to transplant the mushroom-fed mice’s gut bugs to the other mice’s guts using a process called horizontal faeces transfer. The recipient mice’s guts were then able to slow weight gain and keep the pounds off.
Traditional Is Back
The pounds may be staying away, but traditional Chinese medicine is coming back.
“The microbiome is certainly a key player in weight gain and weight loss, it’s certainly involved in extracting energy from our food,” says Prof. Colin Hill, a microbiologist at University College Cork in Ireland. “But no intervention will overcome someone drinking lots of fizzy drinks, there won’t be a magic pill.”
Yes, using traditional medicine has benefits and yes, much of those benefits are still relevant today. If not moreso, due to the rise of diabetes and obesity. The end result is that you should eat well and take care of your body, but if you’re looking to lose weight you can use Ganoderma lucidum in combination with a healthy diet and exercise, to keep your weight gain down.
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