Chapter

Cures for Mortality?

Nicholas P. Money

in Mushroom

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199732562
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918515 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732562.003.0008
Cures for Mortality?

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The final chapter addresses the value of mushroom extracts in treating varied illnesses. Marketers maintain that mushroom extracts are powerful agents in the treatment of cancer, AIDS, and other serious conditions. Few, if any, of these claims are supported by evidence from clinical trials. Extracts from mushrooms, including soluble carbohydrates called beta-glucans from the fungal cell wall, have measurable effects upon the immune system. The relationship between these effects and the treatment of illnesses is not established. Similarly, mushrooms are a source of antioxidants, but the clinical value of these compounds is not known. A handful of critical studies have investigated these claims and provide clear suggestions for future research. Mushroom extracts are also used in cosmetic products, called cosmeceuticals, and marketed for their anti-aging properties. There is no evidence for the efficacy of these additives. Nevertheless, the biology of mushrooms suggests that they offer tremendous potential for drug discovery.

Keywords: mushroom extracts; cancers; aids; clinical trials; beta-glucans; cell wall; immune system; antioxidants; cosmeceuticals; interdisciplinary study

Chapter.  5601 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biological Sciences

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