What Is Shiitake Good For?

What Is Shiitake Good For?

Recently, on the Health Insiders Blog, we have put quite a lot of focus on the topic of medicinal mushrooms; what they are good for, how to take them safely and highlighting those who might not find them suitable based on pre-existing health conditions. Today's post will be very similar to the previous posts in this ‘mini-series’ although this time we want to divert your attention to a new type of mushroom.  We have already focused, recently, on Maitake and Reishi mushrooms. Now it’s time to take a deep dive into another popular mushroom called Shiitake. Similar to maitake mushrooms, shiitake are also rich in various polysaccharides and other beta-glucans! Now, as you may remember from our recent post (What Is Maitake Good For) we mentioned how the beta-glucan in the mushroom, is believed, to help stimulate the immune system. This is also believed to be a benefit of shiitake mushrooms, due to the beta-glucan and other various nutrients and compounds. Shiitake mushrooms are said to protect against cell damage, increase white blood cell production, and help support the immune system. These are not the only benefits that shiitake mushrooms are thought to offer as there is talk that they can aid in weight loss and improve our skin amongst a list of other potential benefits. Lets, 's see if these claims have any truth behind them…

Is shiitake good for the liver?

There is a long list of benefits that have been attached to shiitake mushrooms, as well as many other varieties, however, substantiating their ‘claims’ can (in many cases) be difficult due to a severe lack of scientific-based study and testing. Fortunately, some types of mushrooms have been studied much more in-depth than others which can affect the overall plausibility of their claims. Shiitake mushrooms have been studied more than other mushrooms, which has led to the mushroom being deemed effective (in many cases) in protecting our liver cells from toxins! The liver in itself is one of, if not, our most important detoxifying organs as it plays a vital part in keeping us safe and protected against harmful bacteria, microbes and toxins. Results from studies, generally, support the belief that shiitake mushrooms can be very beneficial for the liver as a means of supporting its detoxifying capabilities; so that the liver is not overworked all the time. So, to clarify, shiitake mushrooms are said to be able to help support the liver in its detoxifying function (against toxins)  to ensure the organ does not get overworked. 

Is shiitake mushroom good for weight loss?

Another potential benefit of shiitake mushrooms that we noticed to be very popular to discuss is the belief that they can help aid in weight loss. Now, believe it or not, shiitake mushroom is suspected to be able to help you lose weight. How? Well, shiitake mushrooms are said to be full of far-reducing properties and b-glucans; they are also said to be loaded with Vitamin B that can help increase energy levels. Now, consuming a mushroom on its own with a varied diet or any exercise will not cause weight loss; the body still needs to be active and healthy for things like shiitake mushrooms to aid in the natural weight loss process. Shiitake can help increase your energy when working out as well as help shrink ‘fat cells.’ Healthy weight loss is also depending on diet as well as activity levels; no mushroom will do all the hard work for you! What's more, this is only a believed benefit of shiitake mushrooms as more testing and research are still needed to completely support this belief! However, that does not mean that it’s not accurate, it just is not always recognised the same as medical drugs and medications (that go through rigorous testing and studies as well as extensively researched). 

Is shiitake good for the skin?

We’ve talked about some of the believed ‘internal’ benefits that shiitake mushrooms can offer for our body (live aiding our liver as well as potentially helping with weight loss) but now it's time to turn your attention to the external benefits. Can shiitake mushrooms improve or be good for our skin? Shiitake mushrooms are praised for their ability to help improve skin appearance and texture. Here is how…

  • Shiitake mushrooms are believed to help fade acne scarring as well as hyperpigmentation. 
  • Their skin healing properties are also said to improve the skin barrier in both strength and appearance. 
  • Shiitake mushrooms can also, supposedly, help to boost the skin's overall elasticity.

The compounds (nutrients) that shiitake mushrooms are loaded with are said to be highly beneficial for our skin health as well as to aid internal organ support (liver) and boost our immune system. This is all said to be related to the mushrooms being loaded with essential antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds; that can all help in the recovery process - especially for our skin! Our skin goes through many changes and states based largely on external factors (as well as diet etc) therefore our skin can need more barrier support in some months than others. Pollutants in the air can be a huge trigger for our skin- something beyond our control most of the time. Therefore for shiitake mushrooms to potentially be able to help keep our skin battier both supported and strong is going to be very beneficial for our overall skin health! Shiitake mushrooms are an increasingly popular mushroom and even based on just the said benefits above - we can understand why!

That's it for today's post, once again focusing on mushrooms but this time Shiitake. We hope you find these posts helpful if you are thinking or have been advised (by your GP) to consider adding mushroom extracts or supplements to your diet.  If you still have a few questions then check out other Health Insider Blog posts for more information or you can send us a  DM on Instagram where we aim to get back to you as soon as possible!