According to research conducted in Taiwan, one traditional Chinese mushroom could hold the key to fighting obesity.
Known for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, Ganoderma lucidum as the mushroom is called, it has been used in treating asthma, heart palpitations, diabetes. The newest research shows that it could effectively combat weight gain as well.
Dear to herbalists all over China, where it known as lingzhi, and in Japan where it is called reishi, Ganoderma lucidum grows on the trunks of dead trees all across the world. It is not specific to the Asian environment, but its hailed beneficial effects have been tested for centuries in Chinese and Japanese traditional medicine.
The research coming from Chang Gung University and published in the Nature Communications journal, was conducted on mice. Not to test the claims of longevity and health associated with Ganoderma lucidum, but to observe whether it can effectively alter weight gain thus fighting obesity.
One group of mice was assigned a high-fat diet. Another group was fed the same diet, just with an added ingredient: Ganoderma lucidum extract.
Throughout the study, the levels and interaction of gut microbiomes was kept under observation. Similar to the human microbiome, the gut bacteria in mice affects how the food is digested, how it breaks down or the health of the immune system.
Usually, the microbiome is strongly impacted by a high-fat diet, leading to abnormal functioning and weight gain.
In the case of the first group of mice the microbiome was indeed impacted, leading to a weight gain of 45 grams after two months of research.
The second group however showed no imbalance in the gut bacteria and their final weight gain was of 35 grams.
Of course, a third group which was kept on a normal diet were the slimmest in the experiment. To this extent, John D. Young, co-author of the study stated:
“Given the good safety records of Lingzhi, and the fact that it is similar in composition to other mushrooms that we consume regularly, Lingzhi may be considered by the general population as a convenient strategy to lose weight, along with other known approaches, such as calorie restriction, regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle”.
While the findings of the Taiwan team are exciting and a good sign for fighting weight gain, there is still a long way until humans will benefit from it in a medical form.
For the time being, the Ganoderma lucidum extract must undergo further testing.
Image Source: mushroomsworld.com