- Cogumelo do Sol
- Sun mushroom
For Patients & Caregivers
How It Works
Although it is used to treat some conditions, human studies of agaricus extract are limited.
Agaricus blazei is an edible mushroom grown in Brazil and Japan. In traditional medicine, it has been used to treat arteriosclerosis, hepatitis, high cholesterol, diabetes, and cancer.
Lab studies suggest that agaricus may stimulate the immune system or have some anticancer effects, such as preventing blood vessels that tumors need from forming. However, studies in humans are quite limited. Some data suggest it may improve quality of life in cancer patients, but larger well-designed studies are needed to determine safety and efficacy.
There are no clinical data to support this use.
Small studies suggest improved quality of life with agaricus extract, but it has not been shown to treat cancer.
Agaricus is used in traditional medicine to treat hepatitis. A small clinical study showed that agaricus helps improve liver function in patients with hepatitis B.
Limited laboratory data suggest that agaricus has antidiabetic effects. One small clinical study showed that agaricus reduced blood glucose levels in healthy subjects.
One small clinical study showed that agaricus reduced cholesterol levels in healthy subjects.
Do Not Take If
- You are allergic to agaricus or other mushrooms.
- You have cancer: Lab studies suggest potential estrogen-like activity, and some samples of agaricus have been shown to have high levels of inorganic arsenic. Therefore, patients with cancers should discuss its use with their physician.
- You are taking drugs that are substrates of Cytochrome P450 3A4: Lab studies suggest agaricus may increase the risk of side effects of these drugs.
For Healthcare Professionals
Agaricus blazei is an edible mushroom native to Brazil and is cultivated in Japan for medicinal uses. It has been used to treat arteriosclerosis, hepatitis, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, dermatitis, and cancer. Preclinical studies suggest antidiabetic (8) (9), antiangiogenic, apoptotic, and antiproliferative effects (3) (4) (6) (21) (22) (24).
Studies in humans are limited. A few suggest that agaricus extracts improved insulin resistance in diabetic patients (10) (11), reduced weight, body fat, glucose, and cholesterol levels in healthy individuals (12), and improved quality of life in patients with ulcerative colitis (30). An oral agaricus extract improved natural killer cell activity and quality of life in gynecological cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy (7). Other preliminary data show that daily intake of agaricus powder improves quality of life among cancer patients in remission (26). Although no survival improvements were reported with an agaricus extract in multiple myeloma patients, immunomodulatory effects were observed (29). However, agaricus extract did not confer any benefits in elderly women (25). Larger studies are needed to resolve the ambiguity.
Whereas a small study reported that agaricus extract may improve liver function in patients with hepatitis B (13), liver damage and deaths (14) along with cheilitis (15) have been reported following consumption. In addition, laboratory samples of agaricus had high levels of inorganic arsenic (31). Brefeldin A, a compound isolated from agaricus, was shown to have estrogenic activity, but did not stimulate growth of breast cancer cells (27).
Mechanism of Action
Agaricus extract was shown to exert estrogen-like activity and may help prevent atherosclerosis via dual roles in cell signaling, macrophage development suppression and endothelial cell recovery from vascular damage (16). Both aqueous and organic extracts of agaricus offered protection to cells exposed to methyl methanesulphonate, a mutagenic agent. The stimulus produced by linoleic acid on beta-DNA polymerase, an enzyme involved in repair mechanism following exposure of DNA to alkylating agents, is thought responsible for such an effect (19).
Ergosterol, a major constituent of agaricus, was found to inhibit tumor growth in mice via direct inhibition of tumor-induced angiogenesis (6). Other studies demonstrated that polysaccharides present in agaricus extract caused activation of macrophages (5) or natural killer cells (17) and induced cytotoxic T-lymphocyte activity in tumor-bearing mice. Specifically, activation of natural killer cells was mediated through IL-12-induced IFN-gamma expression (18). Agaricus extract stimulates caspase 3 activation and reduces telomerase activity (19) possibly through regulation of Akt signaling (20) thereby inducing apoptosis in cancer cell lines. Blazeispirol A, produced by agaricus fermentation, causes both caspase-dependent and -independent cell death in human Hep 3B cells (21). Agaritine, a hydrazine-containing constituent also exhibits antitumor activity toward U937 leukemic cells mediated through apoptosis (22). In another study, polysaccharides isolated from agaricus were shown to induce apoptosis in HL-60 cells through a signaling cascade of mitochondrial caspase-3-dependent pathway (28).
- Hypersensitivity to mushrooms such as agaricus.
- In vitro, agaricus extract has estrogen-like activity (16). Therefore, patients with hormone-sensitive cancers should discuss its use with their physician.