Turkey Tail: 5 Science backed Health Benefits

What Is The Turkey Tail Mushroom?

The turkey tail mushroom is a type of bracket fungi and is one of 100 species of mushrooms studied for medicinal properties. Turkey tail is located on tree stumps and decaying wood, contributing to the process of breaking down the deciduous tree logs and enriching the soil with nutrients. Because of its structure with small pores that release spores, the turkey tail mushroom can thrive almost anywhere as long as trees are nearby, and it grows all year round.

It is known by several names. Scientifically, the turkey tail is known as Trametes versicolor, Coriolus versicolor, and Polyporus versicolor. The common names for turkey tail mushroom are Cloud mushroom, Kawaratake (Japan), Krestin, Polysaccharide peptide, Polysaccharide-K, PSK, PSP, and Fun chi (China).

In China, the Coriolus versicolor has been used for respiratory conditions and brewed as a medicinal tea for thousands of years. The turkey tail mushroom is easily identified by its striking bands of brown and tan colors. For centuries, the turkey tail mushroom has been used worldwide to treat various health issues.


5 Health Benefits of Turkey Tail

1. Packed With Antioxidants

Antioxidants help to inhibit and lessen the damage, such as cellular damage or chronic inflammation, caused by oxidative stress. This imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants is linked to a risk of heart disease and cancer. Turkey tail contains many antioxidants which balance out the free radicals. Turkey tail mushroom even enhances the liver's ability to detoxify. The National Institute of Health at the US National Library of Medicine shows a study where 35 phenolic compounds were detected from the extract of turkey tail mushroom, as well as flavonoid antioxidants, quercetin, and baicalein. 


2. Immune-Boosting Polysaccharopeptides

Known as polysaccharopeptides, these protein-bound carbohydrates, or polysaccharides, are present in turkey tail mushroom extract. There are two types found in the turkey tail mushroom: Polysaccharide Peptide (PSP) and Krestin (PSK). Both contain immune-boosting properties that activate and inhibit specific immune cells and reduce inflammation.

A test-tube study listed on pubmed.gov shows that Polysaccharide Peptide (PSP) increases a type of white blood cells known as monocytes. White blood cells boost our immunity and fight infection within our bodies. 

Another study highlighting Krestin (PSK) benefit reveals that they boost immunity to toxins by stimulating dendritic cells. PSK also activates a type of white blood cells known as macrophages. Macrophages protect our bodies from substances such as harmful bacteria.

3. Improve Immune Function In People With Certain Cancers

Since chemotherapy suppresses our immune system and PSP and PSK strengthen our immune system, countries like China and Japan use Coriolus versicolor, or turkey tail mushroom, as cancer-fighting agents in combination with more conventional treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. In fact, using turkey tail mushroom in combination with more traditional cancer therapy, has gained popularity in western societies over the years. 

Turkey tail mushrooms contain a polysaccharide called Coriolus versicolor gluten (CVG), which studies have shown may inhibit some tumors. A test-tube study on pubmed.gov found that polysaccharopeptide (PSK) inhibits the spread and growth of colon cancer. 

Due to an enhanced immune response derived from the Coriolus versicolor gluten (CVG), another study revealed that the polysaccharide in turkey tail mushrooms reduced the tumor size in tumor-bearing mice. 

Enhances The Efficacy Of Certain Cancer Treatments

According to healthline.com, patients that were given 1-3.6 grams per day of Coriolus versicolor (turkey tail mushrooms) were shown to have a higher survival rate. This information is based on a review of 13 studies. One shows a 9% difference in 5-year mortality as compared to chemotherapy exclusively.

Astonishingly, healthline.com told us about eight more studies involving over 8,000 individuals with stomach cancers and were given PSK in combination with chemotherapy who lived longer after surgery than those who didn't receive the PSK.

Another study of 11 breast cancer patients who took 6-9 grams per day of turkey tail after radiation therapy, showed an increase of cancer-fighting cells in their immune system, including lymphocytes. Find out more about these fascinating cancer treatment findings.

Enhances Gut Health

Our digestive system requires good bacteria to fight the bad bacteria, which can play a part in many diseases. Furthermore, a balance of the two bacteria's is also a crucial element in overall health and wellbeing.

There are several recommendations to help improve our gut health, such as; eating a wide range of foods - fermented foods, fruits and vegetables, legumes, beans, and whole grains, as well as staying away from artificial sweeteners. Another recommendation is to include foods that feed fiber to the beneficial microbes in our guts and foods that contain live microorganisms or probiotics.

Turkey tail mushroom contains prebiotics, which nourishes the good bacteria and promotes a healthy gut balance. 

Healthy levels of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium bacteria can improve digestion and intestinal issues such as diarrhea and leaky gut syndrome. Other benefits of a healthy gut is a healthy immune system, are lower risk of cancer, and reduced cholesterol levels. 

What Is The Recommended Dosage?

The recommended dosage for turkey tail mushroom powder is 5 grams daily. This may be spread out into two or three doses throughout the day, but with a total daily intake of 5 grams.


How To Use the Turkey Tail Mushroom

- In a capsule form for daily convenience

- In powder form to add to coffee, smoothies, smoothie bowls, soups, salad dressings, and more

- A delicious coffee recipe.


Turkey Tail Mushroom Benefits For Dogs

Just like the benefits that turkey tail mushrooms provide for humans, our pets can benefit as well. Here are a few of the benefits for dogs.

- Boosts immunity

- Fights yeast

- Suppresses the effects of chemotherapy

- Slows the spread of Hemangiosarcoma

- Increases the life span of cancer patients

- Protects the liver

- Reduces inflammation in digestive, respiratory, and urinary tracts

- Provides phytonutrients that help prevent cancer, pulmonary disease, heart disease, and diabetes

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