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The power of the turkey tail in fighting fatigue

Have you ever had one of those mornings where you wake up, and you feel like you didn’t sleep at all? How about those days where the usual cup of coffee doesn’t seem to work? Or maybe a workweek filled with meetings leaves you drained of energy, making it difficult to accomplish tasks on the weekend that previously would have been easy for you. 

Maybe it's just a long day, or a short one--whatever the reason, fatigue is something that happens to everyone at some point.


What if there was a way to get rid of or at least reduce your fatigue so that it doesn't get the best of you? Fortunately, there is, and it comes from an unlikely source: mushrooms

Turkey Tail Mushrooms and Fatigue

The turkey tail mushroom has been used in traditional medicine to help fight fatigue. With the advances we’ve made in health science and supplementation over the last decade, the mushroom’s medicinal benefits have developed a deeper, much more scientific understanding of the various cellular processes involved when consuming the mushroom and how they work together to increase and balance energy levels.


What is Turkey Tail?

Turkey Tail, also sometimes called Trametes Versicolor, derives its name from its appearance. It grows in a fan-like shape on decaying logs or tree stumps. The color of this fungus ranges from reddish-brown to dark brown, but it generally has a wood-colored edge with white pores underneath. 


What makes this fungus a potent medicinal mushroom are the presence of active compounds Polysaccharide Krestin (PSK) and Polysaccharide peptide (PSP). 


Turkey tail and fatigue: A scientific explanation:

PSK and PSP are known as immune modulators. Immune modulators have effects that can be attributed to how they essentially stimulate the body’s immune system, making it more active, resulting in a stronger immunity. [1]


Turkey Tail has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. In modern times, scientists have studied the mushroom to understand how it can fight fatigue. 


They've found that a person's white blood cell count rises when taking these supplements, which indicates the mushroom is capable of actively stimulating a specific part of your immune system. With a rise in white blood cells, these supplements also stimulate macrophages, or "big eaters" that devour foreign cells and other substances. [1]


Having immune-modulating properties allows Turkey Tail also to have anti-fatigue properties, as fatigue at its root is an unhealthy immune system. [2]


A study conducted at the University of Toyama in Japan found that PSK was more effective than placebo in patients experiencing fatigue. This randomized, double-blind study tested two groups of men who were experiencing fatigue; one group received PSK daily for five weeks, while the other just received a simple sugar pill. 


At the end of the five weeks, those who received PSK reported that their fatigue symptoms had decreased significantly. What's more, these reductions continued into the two weeks after treatment had ended. 


In another study, scientists have found that PSP increases the body's production of interferon. Interferon helps cells communicate with one another, so when their numbers are high in your body you feel more energized. It also stimulates your lymphocytes, or white blood cells so that they can circulate throughout your body at a more frequent rate. [3]


Conclusion:

Fatigue can happen to anyone regardless of social status or health. The secret lies in treating fatigue at its core, which is in most cases weak immunity. 


The turkey tail fungus has many medicinal properties that mainly focus on immunity. The remarkable thing about turkey tail is how the same compounds responsible for strengthening our immune system are also the ones that can indirectly help relieve us of fatigue. 


Those who have chronic fatigue should really consider supplementation with the turkey tail mushroom. There are benefits beyond just decreasing fatigue, so it is definitely worth exploring.


References:


1. Saleh MH, Rashedi I, Keating A. Immunomodulatory Properties of Coriolus versicolor: The Role of Polysaccharopeptide. Front Immunol. 2017;8:1087. Published 2017 Sep 6. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2017.01087


2. Silverman MN, Heim CM, Nater UM, Marques AH, Sternberg EM. Neuroendocrine and immune contributors to fatigue. PM R. 2010;2(5):338-346. doi:10.1016/j.pmrj.2010.04.008


3. Li XY, Wang JF, Zhu PP, Liu L, Ge JB, Yang SX. Immune enhancement of a polysaccharides peptides isolated from Coriolus versicolor. Zhongguo Yao Li Xue Bao. 1990 Nov;11(6):542-5. PMID: 1718146.