Is Turkey Tail Good for Immunity?

Turkey tail mushrooms (Trametes versicolor) are one of the more commonly supplemented mushrooms, even if they’re not as popular as the likes of Lion’s Mane or Reishi. There is a fair amount of research specifically on Turkey Tail, although as you’d expect, slightly less than it’s more popular counterparts.

In general, the Turkey Tail does seem to have a fair amount of evidence to suggest that it does in fact improve immune response. There are a couple of ways in which it seems to help with that, it seems to have a reasonable antioxidants and like many mushrooms contains b glucans. But is there more to it than that?

The Antioxidant Power of Turkey Tail Mushrooms

Antioxidants are compounds that help protect the body from oxidative stress which can lead to cellular damage and chronic inflammation.

Turkey tail mushrooms contain a wide variety of antioxidants including several phenols and flavonoids. These particular compounds have been shown to reduce inflammation and stimulate the immune system. [1]

To be specific, there has been a few trials that have demonstrated turkey tail mushrooms can modulate the immune system by promoting the production of immunoprotective proteins like interferon-y and inhibiting the release of pro-inflammatory enzymes. [2]

The Link Between Turkey Tail Mushrooms and Cancer Treatment

Whilst there have been some studies in relation to turkey tail mushrooms and cancer treatment. And whilst there are some compounds in turkey tail that are interesting the mushrooms themselves should not me seen as any viable options for dealing with these issues.

That said the research has shown that compounds found in turkey tail mushrooms such as polysaccharopeptides and polysaccharide peptide can stimulate the immune system and activate natural killer cells. These immune-boosting effects may help inhibit the growth and spread of certain types of cancer cells. At least that’s the theory, it should be noted that way more research is needed in this field before anything is substantiated. [3,4]

Gut Health and the Role of Turkey Tail Mushrooms

Another interesting item when it comes to turkey tail mushrooms effect on immunity is that they have been found to be quite an effective prebiotic. That means that they can provide nourishment for beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Research studies have shown that treatment with turkey tail mushrooms can positively impact the composition of gut bacteria, increasing populations of beneficial bacteria like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus while reducing potentially harmful bacteria. [5]

Other Potential Health Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushrooms

In addition to their immune-boosting properties, turkey tail mushrooms have been associated with several other potential health benefits. While further research is needed to confirm these effects, preliminary studies have suggested that turkey tail mushrooms may:

  1. Combat Human Papillomavirus (HPV): A study found that a turkey tail-based vaginal gel improved Pap smear and colposcopy results in women with HPV infections.
  2. Exhibit Antibacterial Qualities: In test-tube studies, turkey tail extract inhibited the growth of bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella enterica.
  3. Improve Athletic Performance: A mouse study showed that turkey tail extract improved exercise performance and reduced markers of fatigue.
  4. Enhance Insulin Resistance: A study in rats with type 2 diabetes found that turkey tail extract reduced blood sugar levels and improved insulin resistance.

While these preliminary findings are promising, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind these potential health benefits and to determine optimal dosage and treatment protocols.

Turkey Tail Mushrooms Side Effects

Turkey tail mushrooms are generally considered safe for consumption. And they have almost no reported side effects in research studies.

However as with all supplements some people may experience digestive symptoms such as gas or nausea.

Incorporating Turkey Tail Mushrooms into Your Wellness Routine

When selecting a turkey tail mushroom supplement, look for products that have been standardized to contain specific active compounds, such as polysaccharopeptides (PSP) or polysaccharide peptide (PSK). These compounds have been the focus of much of the research on turkey tail mushrooms and are believed to contribute to their immune-boosting effects. Generally speaking we recommend Nootrum as their turkey tail contains the equivalent to 8 grams of turkey tail, putting it above the studied minimums of 6 as well as dosing lion’s mane, reishi and shiitake similarly.

Can Turkey Tail Boost Immunity?

It seems in this case that yes, there is enough evidence to suggest Turkey Tail can boost the immune system in a number of different ways. By improving immune response, helping reduce oxidative stress and improving gut health.

References

1 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6889544/

2 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK424937/

3 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10183216/

4 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4890100/

5 - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25006989/

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