Even ordinary white button mushrooms have health benefits for your dog. But certain medicinal mushrooms have some special cancer-fighting properties you need to know about.
With over half of adult dogs getting cancer, mushrooms are an important part of your dog’s cancer prevention plan. So let’s take a closer look at medicinal mushrooms for cancer in dogs.
Why Use Mushrooms To Fight Cancer?
Medicinal mushrooms contain unique polysaccharides called beta-glucans (β-glucan).
Every edible mushroom has beta-glucans. They’re in the stalk, caps, gills, and even the underground parts (called mycelium). And beta-glucans have an important role in preventing and treating cancer.
Beta-glucans are also valuable prebiotics. That means they feed the good bacteria in your dog’s gut. The good bacteria strengthen your dog’s immune system and help control inflammation.
But this post is about cancer …
5 Medicinal Mushrooms For Cancer
Here are the top 5 medicinal mushrooms to help your dog fight cancer.
#1 Maitake (Grifolia frondosa)
The maitake mushroom may be the most potent of all mushrooms in slowing tumor growth. Its anti-cancer properties come from a bioactive extract called D-fraction.
- CF33- Mammary cancer cells
- CF21-Connective tissue cancer cells
- CL1- Lymphoma cancer cells
The study showed that D-fraction concentration had a strong impact on cancer cells … and had an especially powerful effect on the lymphoma cells (1). The researchers found that 90% of the cancer cells died within 24 hours!
They also found that D-fraction could control the growth of the mammary and connective tissue cancer cells.
Again … this study was done on cancer cells from dogs. Future studies will be done on dogs who actually have these cancers. So far, the results are very impressive.
And it’s a safe option. Another study found no toxicity after giving the D-fraction extract to healthy Beagles for 10 weeks. In mice, testing has shown that even using extreme doses of D-fraction has no toxic effects on the body.
Another study found that maitake could potentially replace chemotherapy in treating breast cancer (2).
#2 Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
Reishi is one of the most effective immune tonics in the world. It’s one of the most popular mushrooms in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Reishi is especially powerful as a liver tonic and immune tonic. Even occasional use builds strong immunity and can reduce the risk of cancer. Most reishi research shows that it supports cancer patients by boosting the immune system (3).
The polysaccharides (Gl-PS) in reishi provide anti-tumor support by activating lymphocytes (4). Lymphocytes are white blood cells in the immune system.
Reishi can kill certain types of cancers. Studies have shown they have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects on melanoma and certain breast cancers (5). So reishi mushrooms can provide valuable immune support for your dog in fighting cancer.
Consider using reishi with shiitake as well. The two work synergistically, becoming more effective when you combine them.
#3 Shiitake (Lentinus edodes)
Shiitake is another potent medicinal mushroom. Regular use can increase the production of cancer-fighting alpha interferon.
Shiitake mushrooms produce lentinan, a β-glucan. It can suppress and treat gastric cancer cells in humans. It can also boost the effect of conventional chemotherapies.
Researchers believe that lentinan works by boosting the immune system … increasing production of both killer T cells and NK cells (6).
Shiitake can also help control inflammation throughout the body. Chronic inflammation can lead to cancer and other long term disease in your dog.
#4 Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)
Often considered the ugly mushroom, chaga is a hard-to-find fungus found on birch trees. It’s prized by Russian herbalists. That’s because chaga nourishes the immune system to support whole health.
A study on mice found that long term use slowed cancer growth … and even helped maintain healthy body weight (7). Long term use in humans has shown chaga is effective against Walker 256 carcinosarcoma cells and mammary adenocarcinoma cells. Inotodiol, a constituent in chaga, provides its anti-cancer effects (8).
Chaga is also high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help control free radical damage that causes long term inflammation in your dog. Free radicals are damaged cells that steal from other cells, harming the DNA of other cells in your dog.
#5 Turkey Tail (Coriolus versicolor)
Turkey tail is a powerhouse mushroom that helps maintain, protect and restore immune health.
It’s one of the world’s most researched medicinal mushrooms … in both people and animals. Many studies show its potential in cancer treatments.
Turkey tail mushrooms have two types of beta-glucans … Polysaccharide-K (PSK) and Polysaccharide-P (PSP). They’re part of the mushroom cell wall that gives the cell its structure. PSK and PSP can trigger immune changes that increase immune cell activity.
In fact, in Japan and China, PSP is available as an anti-cancer drug. And PSK is the main component in an anti-cancer drug called Krestin in Japan.
Turkey Tail Studies
There are more than 400 animal studies showing turkey tail mushrooms’ impact on immune support. One 2012 study on dogs with hemangiosarcoma showed some remarkable results (9).
Hemangiosarcoma is a deadly cancer in dogs. It metastasizes quickly … and prognosis is poor, even after removal of the spleen. The researchers found that PSP from turkey tail mushrooms slowed metastasis and lengthened the dogs’ lives. Median survival times without PSP were 86 days. But with PSP dogs survived time was longer: 117 or 199 days, depending on the size of dose.
A 2012 study in Hong Kong linked turkey tail to longer survival times in breast, gastric and colorectal cancers (10). And in 2012, an NIH-funded breast cancer clinical study showed reduced tumor size in women with breast cancer … without any adverse effects (11).
The FDA approved human trials for turkey tail as an anti-cancer agent in 2012. Since then, studies into its immune-boosting benefits show great promise.
Bonus: Mushrooms Are Great Prebiotics!
High fiber mushrooms play a strong role in gut health. Mushroom terpenoids are antimicrobial against pathogenic bacteria in your dog’s gut. And mushrooms are prebiotics. Prebiotics are indigestible, soluble fiber that feeds the good bacteria (probiotics) in your dog’s gut.
A 2013 study found that polysaccharides found in the stem of shiitake and other mushrooms increased the survival rate of probiotics (12).
About 90% of your dog’s immune system is in her gut. That means the prebiotics in mushrooms can improve her gut health … and boost her immune system.
Choosing Mushrooms For Your Dog
There are many brands of medicinal mushrooms for dogs. Finding the best one for your dog can be challenging. Your holistic vet may recommend a certain mushroom for your dog’s specific cancer. But often, vets prefer a mushroom blend … so your dog can gain the benefits of a variety of mushrooms.
DNM RECOMMENDS: Four Leaf Rover offers Immunity, a veterinary-formulated blend of 7 organic mushrooms chosen for the immune boosting properties. Buy Immunity Now >>
When you choose a mushroom supplement … look for one that contains whole fruiting mushroom bodies. Avoid mycelium only products. Mycelium is only part of the mushroom … and it’s grown in a lab on sterilized grains.
This means mycelium has more starch … and less beta-glucans than whole mushrooms. Remember, beta-glucans are the active medicinal compound in mushrooms. So you want maximum beta-glucans in your mushroom supplement.
Look at the ingredient panel. Mycelium products will say something like “mushroom mycelial biomass powder cultured on organic oats.”
Caution: You can also give your dog whole mushrooms. But if you do, be sure to cook them. Raw mushrooms are indigestible and can be toxic.
It’s heartbreaking when your dog has cancer. Medicinal mushrooms may help her fight it … or could even help her avoid it in the first place.
- Konno, S.. “Potential growth inhibitory effect of maitake D-fraction on canine cancer cells.” Veterinary therapeutics : research in applied veterinary medicine 5 4 (2004): 263-71.
- Braico DA, Deamicis AR, Brie B, Balogh GA (2017) Comparative Effect of Maitake Pro4x with Chemotherapy Breast Cancer Treatment. Biol Med (Aligarh) 9: 394.
- Sohretoglu D, Huang S. Ganoderma lucidum Polysaccharides as An Anti-cancer Agent. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2018;18(5):667-674.
- Lin ZB, Zhang HN. Anti-tumor and immunoregulatory activities of Ganoderma lucidum and its possible mechanisms. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2004 Nov;25(11):1387-95.
- Barbieri A, Quagliariello V, Del Vecchio V, et al. Anticancer and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Ganoderma lucidum Extract Effects on Melanoma and Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Treatment. Nutrients. 2017;9(3):210. Published 2017 Feb 28.
- Ina K, Kataoka T, Ando T. The use of lentinan for treating gastric cancer. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2013;13(5):681-688.
- Arata S, Watanabe J, Maeda M, et al. Continuous intake of the Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) aqueous extract suppresses cancer progression and maintains body temperature in mice. Heliyon. 2016;2(5):e00111. Published 2016 May 12.
- Nomura, Masaaki et al. “Inotodiol, a lanostane triterpenoid, from Inonotus obliquus inhibits cell proliferation through caspase-3-dependent apoptosis.” Anticancer research 28 5A (2008): 2691-6.
- Brown DC, Reetz J. Single agent polysaccharopeptide delays metastases and improves survival in naturally occurring hemangiosarcoma. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:384301.
- Eliza WL, Fai CK, Chung LP. Efficacy of Yun Zhi (Coriolus versicolor) on survival in cancer patients: systematic review and meta-analysis. Recent Pat Inflamm Allergy Drug Discov. 2012 Jan;6(1):78-87.
- Carolyn J. Torkelson,1 Erin Sweet et al. Phase 1 Clinical Trial of Trametes versicolor in Women with Breast Cancer. ISRN Oncology. Volume 2012.
- Chou WT, Sheih IC, Fang TJ. The applications of polysaccharides from various mushroom wastes as prebiotics in different systems. J Food Sci. 2013 Jul;78(7):M1041-8.