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Raw Shiitake: 

 Shiitake flagellate dermatitis, also known as flagellate erythema or toxicoderma, is correlated with the ingestion of raw or undercooked shiitake mushrooms. It presents as a linear, erythematous eruption resembling scratch or whiplash marks. The condition was first described in Japan by Nakamura1 and has since been recorded all over the world, likely in accordance with the increase in Asian agricultural exports. We present here a case of shiitake mushroom-induced flagellate dermatitis in an otherwise healthy 42-year-old woman.

Fang S, et al. Shiitake mushroom-induced flagellate dermatitis. University of Utah School of Medicine, 119(5):462-463.

Best amount of Shiitake to consume daily is 100mg, per KG:

Lentinus edodes is an edible mushroom studied for use, or as an adjunct, in the prevention of illnesses such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, and cancer. Despite the functional properties of L. edodes, the doses commonly reported in experimental studies are much higher than those actually consumed. Thus, we aimed to establish the optimum intake levels of L. edodes in vivo. Four groups of male Wistar rats received dry and powdered L. edodes reconstituted in water for 30 days: control (water only), L. edodes 100 mg/kg, L. edodes 400 mg/kg, and L. edodes 800 mg/kg. Biochemical and hematological parameters were assessed using commercial kits. Antioxidant parameters were quantified spectrophotometrically. Neither cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, nor transaminase activity was different among any of the L. edodes concentrations. However, fructosamine concentrations were significantly decreased in groups consuming L. edodes at 100 or 400 mg/kg. A significant decrease in hemoglobin concentration was found in the 400 and 800 mg/kg/day L. edodes groups, and leukopenia occurred in rats that consumed L. edodes 800 mg/kg/day compared with the control group. L. edodes at 100 and 400 mg/kg increased amounts of reduced glutathione compared with the control group. L. edodes was effective as an antioxidant at 100 and 400 mg/kg, but at 400 and 800 mg/kg some disturbances were observed, such as reductions in hemoglobin and leukocytes. In summary, this study has potential benefits for scientific development because the safe daily intake of L. edodes (at 100 mg/kg) is, to our knowledge, reported for the first time in a preclinical study.

Bueno DC, et al. 2016. Assessment of the Safety of the Shiitake Culinary-Medicinal Mushroom, Lentinus edodes (Agaricomycetes), in Rats: Biochemical, Hematological, and Antioxidative Parameters. Laboratory of Toxicological Research, 18(10):861-870.

Increased Fat Metabolism 


We previously reported that dietary intake of shiitake mushroom (SM; Lentinus edodes) decreased serum concentrations of polar lipids in male rats.


This study evaluated the dietary effects of SM on serum cholesterol-related and serum antioxidant indexes in rats of both sexes.


Sprague-Dawley rats [38 dams and their offspring (20 males and 20 females/diet)] were fed diets containing 0 (control), 1%, 4%, or 10% (wt:wt) SM powder from gestation day 4 through to postnatal day (PND) 126. Biochemical indexes were monitored during the midgrowth phase (PNDs 50-66).


The food consumption by offspring fed the control diet and diets supplemented with SM was not different when measured on PND 65. However, the 4% and 10% SM diets resulted in male rats with 7% lower body weights than those of the other 2 groups on PND 66. SM consumption dose-dependently decreased the concentrations of lipidemia-related factors in sera, irrespective of sex. At PND 50, serum concentrations of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and non-HDL cholesterol in SM-fed male and female rats were generally lower (3-27%) than those in the corresponding control groups. Consumption of the 10% SM diet resulted in significantly decreased (55%) serum triglyceride concentrations relative to the control groups for both sexes. The 10% SM diet elicited a 62% reduction of serum leptin concentrations in females but not in males, and this same diet increased serum insulin (137%) and decreased serum glucose (15%) in males compared with controls. Serum lipophilic antioxidant capacity in males and females fed SM diets was generally lower (31-86%) than that in the control groups.


SM decreased the concentrations of lipidemia-related factors in rat sera irrespective of sex. The SM-elicited reduction of lipophilic antioxidant capacity irrespective of sex may reflect a lower pro-oxidative state and, hence, improved metabolic profile.

Yu S, et al. 2016. Diets Containing Shiitake Mushroom Reduce Serum Lipids and Serum Lipophilic Antioxidant Capacity in RatsArkansas Children's Nutrition Center, 146(12):2491-2496.

Anticarietic(Dental Health) Properties of Shiitake Mushrooms

Keeping an eye the escalating costs of dental services, the treatment cost of the consequences of dental caries can be reduced to manageable proportions by preventive measures aimed at decreasing the prevalence. One such measure is by increasing the consumption of caries preventive foods. Recently, there has been an upsurge of interest in mushrooms not only as a healthy food but also as a caries preventive food. The most common type of mushroom, Lentinula edodes also called as shiitake, is studied in-depth for its oral health benefits. The cultivation of shiitake dates way back to 1100 A.D. during the rule of Sung dynasty which is replaced by more modern and efficient sawdust substrate log cultures lately. Shiitake mushroom extract can be isolated in various forms such as freeze dried, oil, and ethyl acetate extracts. Various biologically active compounds such as erythritol, copalic acid, adenosine, carvacrol, and many more are responsible for this mushroom's antimicrobial activity. Anticariogenicity can be attributed to the induction of the detachment of cariogenic microorganisms from hydroxyapatite, changes in cell surface hydrophobicity, bactericidal activity, and disruption of signal transduction in Streptococcus mutans as proved through various in vivo and in vitro studies. Apart from these benefits, it has tremendous potential to be used as an antioxidant, anticancer, antigingivitis, antifungal, and antiviral agent. The one and only known adverse reaction due to shiitake mushroom consumption is the eruption of pruritic erythematous papules termed as shiitake dermatitis. This review highlights the unexplored anticaries potential of one such useful bioactive metabolite-shiitake mushroom.

Das D, et al. 2016. The Unexplored Anticaries Potential of Shiitake Mushroom. Department of Public Health Dentistry, 10(20):100-104.  

Antiosteoporotic Properties of Shiitake Mushrooms

In recent years, the number of patients with osteoporosis has risen with the increase in average longevity. Therefore, the chemoprevention of osteoporosis using food materials or food components has become an increasingly important target. Syringic acid (SA) is a phenolic compound present in the fruit of the açaí palm Euterpe oleracea and the mycelium of the shiitake mushroom Lentinula edodes. This compound has no affinity for estrogen receptors and is potentially useful for disease prevention. However, little is known about the effects of a SA diet on bone metabolism, particularly bone resorption in vivo. Here, we demonstrated the effects of a SA diet on bone loss and uterine weight loss in ovariectomized (OVX) mice. Ten-week-old OVX mice were fed SA-containing diets (100 mg/kg body weight/day) for 10 weeks. After 10 weeks of dietary SA, the body weight, food intake, and uterine weight of the OVX mice were unaffected; however, femoral bone mineral density (cortical bone density, cancellous bone density, and total bone density) was higher in the SA-fed groups than in the OVX-control group. Furthermore, histomorphometric analysis revealed that the number of osteoclasts and osteoblasts was decreased and increased, respectively, in the SA-fed groups. These results suggest that a SA diet suppresses bone loss by downregulating bone resorption and upregulating bone formation without affecting the uterus in OVX mice. Although further studies are needed, SA may be a compound that can be used to prevent or retard osteoporosis.

Tanaka T, et al. 2017. Antiosteoporotic activity of a syringic acid diet in ovariectomized mice. Fukushima Medical University School of Medicine, 71(4):632-641.

Anti-Cancer Properties of Shiitake Mushrooms

Because cancer is associated with aging, immunological features in the aged should be considered in anticancer immunotherapy. In this study, we investigated antitumor immunity in aged mice using a CT26 colon carcinoma model. The tumor growth of CT26 was accelerated in aged mice compared with that in young mice, but this difference was not observed in nude mice. The serum levels of IL-6 and TNF-α were higher in aged mice than those in young mice, irrespective of the CT26-bearing state. The in vitro induction of CT26-specific CTLs from aged mice that were vaccinated with doxorubicin (DTX)-treated CT26 cells was impaired. In vivo neutralization of IL-6, but not TNF-α, showed a tendency to restore the in vitro induction of CT26-specific CTLs from vaccinated aged mice. Analyses on tumor-infiltrating immune cells as early as day 5 after CT26 inoculation revealed that monocytic and granulocytic MDSCs preferentially infiltrated into tumor sites in aged mice compared with young mice. Alternatively, oral administration of Lentinula edodes mycelia (L.E.M.) extract, which has the potential to suppress inflammation in tumor-bearing hosts, decreased the serum levels of IL-6 in aged mice. When administration of L.E.M. extract was started 1 week earlier, CT26 growth was retarded in aged mice and the in vivo priming of tumor-specific CTLs was improved in CT26-vaccinated aged mice. These results indicate early infiltration of MDSCs is related to impaired immunity of aged hosts and that oral administration of L.E.M. extract can mitigate the impairment.

Ishikawa S, et al. 2016. Age-associated impairment of antitumor immunity in carcinoma-bearing mice and restoration by oral administration of Lentinula edodes mycelia extract. Department of Immunology, 65(8):961-72.

In this study, a high yield of crude polysaccharide (16.73 ± 0.756%) was extracted from the spent mushroom substrate of Lentinus edodes using a hot alkali extraction method. Two groups of polysaccharides (designated as LSMS-1 and LSMS-2) were obtained from the crude extract by size exclusion chromatography (SEC), and their molecular characteristics were examined by a multiangle laser-light scattering (MALLS) and refractive index detector system. The weight-average molar masses of LSMS-1 and LSMS-2 were determined to be 6.842 × 106 and 2.154 × 106 g/mol, respectively. The SEC/MALLS analysis revealed that the molecular shapes of LSMS-1 and LSMS-2 were sphere-like forms in aqueous solution. Carbohydrate composition analysis using chromatography--mass spectrometry revealed that they were both acid heteropolysaccharides. LSMS-1 comprised mainly glucose and galacturonic acid, whereas LSMS-2 mainly consisted of xylose and glucuronic acid. Fourier transform infrared spectral analysis of the purified fractions revealed typical characteristic polysaccharide groups. In addition, MTT assays with refined polysaccharide doses of 25, 50, 100, 200, and 400 µg/mL suggested that both of the polysaccharide fractions exhibited antiproliferative activity against 6 tested human tumor cell lines in a concentration-dependent manner, and LSMS-2 had better anticancer capacity in vitro than LSMS-1. The inhibition ratio of LSMS-2 against A549 human lung cancer cells, the SGC7901 gastric cancer cell line, MCF-7 breast cancer cells, the U937 histiocytic lymphoma cell line, and the MG-63 human osteosarcoma cell line reached 43.55%, 29.97%, 19.63%, 18.24%, and 17.93%, respectively, at a concentration of 400 µg/mL.

Zhang Y, et al. 2017. Characterization and Antiproliferative Effect of Novel Acid Polysaccharides from the Spent Substrate of Shiitake Culinary-Medicinal Mushroom Lentinus edodes (Agaricomycetes) Cultivation. School of Food and Biological Engineering, 19(5):395-403.

Immunomodulatory Properties of Shiitake Mushrooms

Hypovitaminosis D is associated with many features of the metabolic syndrome, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Vitamin D-enriched mushrooms extracts exert a synergistic anti-inflammatory effect. The aim of the present study is to determine the immunomodulatory effect of oral administration of vitamin D-enriched mushrooms extracts on high-fat diet (HFD) animal model of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).


C57BL/6 mice on HFD were orally administered with vitamin D supplement, Lentinula edodes (LE) mushrooms extract, or vitamin D-enriched mushrooms extract for 25 weeks. Mice were studied for the effect of the treatment on the immune system, liver functions and histology, insulin resistance and lipid profile.


Treatment with vitamin D-enriched LE extracts was associated with significant attenuation of the rate of total body fat accumulation, along with a decrease in hepatic fat content as measured by an EchoMRI. Significant alleviation of liver damage manifested by a marked decrease in ALT, and AST serum levels (from 900 and 1021 U/L in the control group to 313 and 340; 294 and 292; and 366 and 321 U/L for ALT and AST, in Vit D, LE and LE + Vit D treated groups, respectively). A corresponding effect on hepatocyte ballooning were also noted. A significant decrease in serum triglycerides (from 103 to 75, 69 and 72 mg/dL), total cholesterol (from 267 to 160, 157 and 184 mg/dL), and LDL cholesterol (from 193 mg/dL to 133, 115 and 124 mg/dL) along with an increase in the HDL/LDL ratio, and improved glucose levels were documented. These beneficial effects were associated with a systemic immunomodulatory effect associated with an increased CD4/CD8 lymphocyte ratio (from 1.38 in the control group to 1.69, 1.71 and 1.63), and a pro- to an anti-inflammatory cytokine shift.


Oral administration of vitamin-D enriched mushrooms extracts exerts an immune modulatory hepato-protective effect in NASH model.

Drori A, et al. 2017. Attenuating the rate of total body fat accumulation and alleviating liver damage by oral administration of vitamin D-enriched edible mushrooms in a diet-induced obesity murine model is mediated by an anti-inflammatory paradigm shift. Department of Medicine, 28;17(1):130.

Context • Combined treatment with an extract of Lentinula edodes mycelia (LEM) and chemotherapy has been reported to improve quality of life (QOL) and immunological function in cancer patients. However, those effects have not been elucidated for patients receiving cancer immunotherapy. Objective • The present study intended to investigate the effects of oral LEM on QOL and immunological function in cancer patients receiving immunotherapy. Design • The research team designed an open-label, single-armed pilot study. Setting • The study took place at Bio-Thera Clinic, a facility associated with Tokyo Women's Medical University in Tokyo, Japan. Participants • The participants were 10 cancer patients undergoing cancer immunotherapy at Bio-Thera Clinic. Intervention • The participants received either dendritic cell (DC)-based cancer vaccine therapy or CD3-activated T-lymphocyte (CAT) therapy as immunotherapy. They received the immunotherapy only for the first 4 wk of the study, and then oral LEM (1800 mg/d) was added for the next 4 wk. Outcome Measures • Preintervention and at 4 and 8 wk after the start of the study, participants completed a QOL survey, and immunological parameters were measured. Results • Participants' QOL symptom scores increased (ie, worsened) by 5.1 ± 1.7 during the first 4 wk of treatment when they were receiving immunotherapy only, but it decreased (ie, improved) by -2.5 ± 1.6 during the next 4 wk when the immunotherapy was combined with the LEM, P < .05. The measurement of the immunological parameters during the 4 wk of immunotherapy combined with LEM showed that the amount of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) produced in the peripheral blood tended to increase as compared with that during the first 4 wk of immunotherapy only. The rise in IFN-γ was correlated with changes in several regulatory T cells (Tregs) (ie, forkhead box P3 [FOXP3]+/cluster of differentiation 4 [CD4]+ and transforming growth factor beta [TGF-β]). Conclusions • The findings suggest that a combined treatment of LEM and immunotherapy might improve QOL and immunological function in cancer patients.

Tanigawa K, et al. 2016. Improvement of QOL and Immunological Function With Lentinula Edodes Mycelia in Patients Undergoing Cancer Immunotherapy: An Open Pilot Study. Altern Ther Health Med, 22(4):36-42.  

Effects of Shiitake on Hypercholesterolemia, Hypotension, & Hypertension

We hypothesized that AHCC; (Amino UP Chemical Co., Ltd., Sapporo, Japan), a mushroom mycelium extract obtained from liquid culture of Lentinula edodes, restores immune function in LPS-induced inflammation in the gut, especially when the nitric oxide signaling pathway is impaired. This is the first inter-disciplinary proposal to identify molecular mechanisms involved in LPS-induced immune dysfunction in the gut in conscious animals treated or non-treated with AHCC, a promoter of immune support. Specifically, we have tested the effects of AHCC on LPS-induced deleterious effects on blood pressure and gut injury in conscious rats. The time course of biological markers of innate/acquired immune responses, and inflammation/oxidative stress is fully described in the present manuscript. Rats were randomly assigned into 3 groups (N=6 per group). Group 1 received 10% of AHCC in drinking water for 5days; Group 2 received lipopolysaccharide (LPS; Escherichia coli 0111:B4 purchased from Sigma) only at 20mg/kg IV; Group 3 received combined treatments (AHCC + LPS). LPS was administered at 20mg/kg IV, 5days following AHCC treatment. We have demonstrated that AHCC decreased the LPS-deleterious effects of blood pressure and also decreased inflammatory markers e.g., cytokines, nitric oxide and edema formation. Finally, AHCC diminished lymphocyte infiltration, restoring gut architecture. Because AHCC was administered prior to LPS, our results indicate the potential impact of AHCC's prophylactic effects on LPS inflammation. Consequently, additional experiments are warrant to assess its therapeutic effects in sepsis-induced inflammation.

Doursout MF, et al. 2016. Active hexose correlated compound modulates LPS-induced hypotension and gut injury in rats. Department of Anesthesiology,  39:280-286.

Iron Chef: Japan!! Shiitake Battle!