‘…Future studies are needed to better pinpoint the mechanisms involved and the specific cancers that may be impacted.’
Research carried out at Penn State University, Pennsylvania, US, indicates that higher mushroom consumption is associated with a lower risk of cancer.
Publishing their findings in the journal Advances in Nutrition, researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 17 cancer studies published between 1966 and 2020, exploring the relationship between mushroom consumption and cancer risk. Looking at the data from more than 19 500 cancer patients, it was noted that in the case of breast cancer ‘individuals who regularly ate mushrooms had a significantly lower risk of breast cancer.’ The researchers highlighted that most of the studies did not include other forms of cancer.
Mushrooms are rich in vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants and are the richest dietary source of ergothioneine which is a ‘unique and potent antioxidant and cellular protector,’ the researchers said. Their findings indicated that individuals who ate 18 grams of mushrooms daily had a 45% lower risk of cancer compared with those who did not eat mushrooms.
Even though shiitake, oyster, maitake and king oyster mushrooms have higher amounts of the amino acid ergothioneine, than white button or portabello mushrooms, the researchers found that people who incorporated any variety of mushrooms into their daily diets were able to benefit. Moving forward; the researchers say that the findings could be helpful in further exploring the protective effects that mushrooms have, and helping to establish healthier diets that prevent cancer.
John Richie, a Penn State Cancer Institute researcher and Professor of Public Health Sciences and Pharmacology and co-author of the study said: ‘Overall, these findings provide important evidence of the protective effects of mushrooms against cancer. Future studies are needed to better pinpoint the mechanisms involved and the specific cancers that may be impacted.’
DOI: DOI: 10.1093/advances/nmab015