Obesity is defined as having excess weight or increased fat accumulation that makes you susceptible to developing many diseases and sometimes can be fatal. Unfortunately, obesity doesn’t discriminate, it affects people of varying ages, races, and countries of origin.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated the obesity prevalence to be 39.8% among adults aged 20 to 39 years, 44.3% among adults aged 40 to 59 years, and 41.5% among adults aged 60 and older.1 According to the National Health Institute (NHS) “Obesity is generally caused by consuming more calories, particularly those in fatty and sugary foods than you burn off through physical activity. The excess energy is stored by the body as fat. Obesity is an increasingly common problem because for many people modern living involves eating excessive amounts of cheap high-calorie food and spending a lot of time sitting down at desks, on sofas, or in cars.”
Therefore, one of the optimal ways to tackle obesity and promote weight loss is to consume healthier foods, eat a low-calorie diet, and exercise regularly. The reishi mushroom is a prime candidate to induce weight loss among other health benefits like treating depression, boosting immunity, fighting high blood pressure, improving liver health, and managing blood sugar levels.
In this article, we’ll present you with the current data linking the reishi mushroom to fighting obesity and promoting weight loss directly or indirectly.
- Reishi Mushroom and Weight loss
- Anti-Obesity Effects of Reishi Mushrooms on Experimentally Induced Obese Rat — Modern Medical College Journal
- Reishi Mushrooms Reduce Obesity in Mice through the Gut Microbiota — Journal of Nature Communications
- Anti-Obesity Effects of Reishi Mushrooms — Journal of Molecules
- Role of Reishi Mushrooms in Losing Weight
- The Bottom Line
Reishi Mushroom and Weight loss
Reishi is an ancient medicinal mushroom that’s been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. It’s full of antioxidants and compounds that can help improve your health—and it may also help you lose weight. But does that mean eating reishi mushrooms will make you lose weight? Here’s what you need to know about the connection between reishi mushrooms and weight loss:2–11
1. Low Calories Content
Reishi mushrooms are a great food to eat if you’re trying to lose weight. A 100-gram serving has only 64 calories, making it a lower-calorie option than most other foods. They also contain very little fat and high amounts of fiber and protein (1 gram per 100 grams). This means they’ll fill you up while keeping your calorie count low—and they won’t make your stomachache as greasy takeout would!
To put it into perspective: one cup of mushrooms contains exactly the same number of calories as one large egg (64) but has about twice as much protein and three times more fiber. Reishi mushrooms have almost no sugar or sodium either, which makes them safe for diabetics or anyone who’s worried about their blood pressure staying healthy over time. 12–18
2. Rich Fiber Content
One of the most important benefits of reishi mushrooms is their high fiber content. Fiber helps you feel full and satisfied, so you’re less likely to overeat. It also helps promote healthy digestion and keeps your blood sugar levels stable, which prevents spikes in hunger that can lead to cravings for unhealthy foods.
3. Reducing Stress-Eating
We are all guilty of snacking when we’re depressed, anxious, or stressed. Whether it’s a bag of chips, a box of chocolate, or high-calorie bottles of wine. Whatever your vice is — reishi mushroom comes to the rescue!
Reishi mushrooms have been associated with alleviating depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms and managing emotional disturbances various times in the scientific literature. Therefore, by switching your comfort snacks from unhealthy, high-calorie foods to nutritious and healthy reishi mushrooms; you’re protecting yourself from gaining weight and at the same time improving your mood with a healthy snack.
What you should know: reishi mushrooms are part of a plant-based diet, they are not a way to lose weight on their own. Reishi mushrooms are high in fiber, low in calories, and rich in protein. Reishi is also rich in antioxidants that can help improve your immune system and lower inflammation throughout the body. However, if you’re trying to lose weight it’s important to remember that these tasty fungi don’t contain any fat or sugar so they won’t help curb cravings as much as other foods might.
5. Reducing Fatigue
One of the first things you’ll hear when you ask about ways to lose weight is to start exercising and going to the gym or even start exercising at home. However, many people are too tired after work or doing their chores at home that they postpone it until they have the energy — they eventually ignore it completely.
Reishi mushrooms can help with losing weight in this sense — by alleviating fatigue symptoms so that you have the energy to start exercising and be in great shape. There’s extensive scientific data on the beneficial effects reishi mushroom has on improving the quality of life of many people who suffer from fatigue symptoms.
6. Controlling Blood Sugar Levels
When your blood sugar levels are out of control, you start to have food cravings, your body is resistant to insulin, and you gain weight. For this, reishi mushrooms have been reported to help many patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus manage their blood sugar levels and regulate their insulin release after meals.
7. Decreases Hunger
Many forms of reishi mushrooms are available for consumption, these include the following:
- Fresh mushrooms
Although each of these has its associated risks and benefits, eating fresh mushrooms can make you feel full and reduce your hunger owing to their rich nutritional profile which includes beta-glucan fibers. Moreover, reishi mushrooms also have a high protein content which makes them the perfect choice for vegans as well as reduces hunger when compared to foods with high carbohydrate content.
A whole-food diet that emphasizes plants is healthy. Eating a diet of mostly whole plant foods can help you lose weight and keep it off.
But What is the Scientific Evidence Behind all these Claims? One might ask — this evidence is backed up by pre-clinical research done on laboratory animals in the past few years. However, it’s important to note that just because reishi mushrooms are effective in animals thus far, it doesn’t mean that they are validated as safe and effective in fighting obesity in humans as well — for that, clinical trials need to be done first.24–27
Anti-Obesity Effects of Reishi Mushrooms on Experimentally Induced Obese Rat — Modern Medical College Journal
A study conducted on laboratory rats and published in 2012 in the journal of Modern Medical College, determined whether reishi mushrooms affected the body of obese rats (their obesity was induced through diet). In this study, the researchers divided a total of 36 obese rats into 3 groups:
- Group 1: included the control group which received a normal diet
- Group 2: included the experimental groups which received a fatty mixture diet
- Group 3: included the mushroom group which received 5% reishi mushrooms along with a fatty mixture
This study lasted for 28 days, and at the end, results were analyzed, and it was revealed that reishi mushrooms had a significantly positive impact on reducing induced weight in the 3rd group (mushroom group) as compared to the first two groups (control and experimental groups). Thus, proving the potential of reishi mushrooms in reducing obesity and inducing weight loss.
Reishi Mushrooms Reduce Obesity in Mice through the Gut Microbiota — Journal of Nature Communications
This study was published in the Journal of Nature Communications in 2015 and was renowned for linking the effect of the gut microbiota/microbiome and their related mechanisms to the induction of obesity and weight loss.
The results of this study revealed that reishi mushrooms play an important role as a prebiotic agent in inhibiting gut dysbiosis (a condition referring to the imbalance of the gut microbiota leading to unwanted complications) and diseases that may be induced by obesity like diabetes and heart problems.
Anti-Obesity Effects of Reishi Mushrooms — Journal of Molecules
According to this study, which was published in the journal of Molecules, in 2018, reishi mushrooms among other medicinal mushrooms protect the body and have favorable health benefits especially in inhibiting obesity and managing obesity-related complications. These include inflammatory responses as a result of affecting the immune system or conditions that affect heart health.
The researchers of this study conclude “Mushrooms are highly nutritive species containing enormous amounts of bioactive compounds (polysaccharides, fibers, terpenes, polyphenols, sterols, flavonoids, and alkaloids) that are potentially antioxidant-rich constituents with effects on numerous cardiac biomarkers to treat obesity-related cardiovascular system illnesses.”
However, they also speak about the importance of physical exercise besides a good diet saying “Nevertheless, this practice ought to be combined with regular physical exercise, as well as dietary and lifestyle alterations. The practice of regular consumption of mushrooms might however result in synergistic and improved effects.”
Role of Reishi Mushrooms in Losing Weight
Reishi mushrooms are part of a plant-based diet, they are not a way to lose weight on their own. A plant-based diet has been shown to help people lose weight and improve their overall health. This can be due in part to the high fiber content of reishi mushrooms (over 16 grams per cup), which increases satiety and reduces appetite, making you feel full longer.
Additionally, reishi mushrooms contain only about 66 calories per cup—far fewer than other types of meat or dairy products—making them an excellent food choice for those trying to maintain a healthy weight while also eating delicious meals that won’t leave them feeling deprived.
The Bottom Line
Reishi mushrooms are a good way to add variety to your diet, and they’re full of nutrients. But don’t let them be the only thing you eat! On their own, reishi mushrooms won’t help you lose weight—in fact, they can even lead to weight gain if you eat too much of them or rely on them exclusively for nutrition.
Reishi mushrooms are best when combined with other plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Nevertheless, this doesn’t negate the fact that you must consult your doctor or dietitian before commencing a diet with reishi mushrooms!
1. Ward ZJ, Bleich SN, Long MW, Gortmaker SL. Association of body mass index with health care expenditures in the United States by age and sex. PLoS ONE [Internet]. 2022 Mar 1 [cited 2022 Aug 14];16(3 March). Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33760880/
2. Batra P, Sharma AK, Khajuria R. Probing lingzhi or reishi medicinal mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (higher basidiomycetes): A bitter mushroom with amazing health benefits. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 2013;15(2):127–43. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23557365/#:~:text=lucidum%20mushroom%20have%20numerous%20health,diabetes%2C%20anorexia%2C%20and%20cancer.
3. Hennicke F, Cheikh-Ali Z, Liebisch T, MacIá-Vicente JG, Bode HB, Piepenbring M. Distinguishing commercially grown Ganoderma lucidum from Ganoderma lingzhi from Europe and East Asia on the basis of morphology, molecular phylogeny, and triterpenic acid profiles. Phytochemistry. 2016 Jul 1;127:29–37. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27044336/
4. Wachtel-Galor S, Tomlinson B, Benzie IFF. Ganoderma lucidum (‘Lingzhi’), a Chinese medicinal mushroom: biomarker responses in a controlled human supplementation study . British Journal of Nutrition. 2004 Feb;91(2):263–9. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14756912/
5. Loyd AL, Richter BS, Jusino MA, Truong C, Smith ME, Blanchette RA, et al. Identifying the “Mushroom of immortality.” Front Microbiol. 2018 Jul 16;9(JUL). Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6055023/
6. Bishop KS, Kao CHJ, Xu Y, Glucina MP, Paterson RRM, Ferguson LR. From 2000 years of Ganoderma lucidum to recent developments in nutraceuticals. Phytochemistry. 2015 May 26;114:56–65. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25794896/
7. Li Y, Tang J, Gao H, Xu Y, Han Y, Shang H, et al. Ganoderma lucidum triterpenoids and polysaccharides attenuate atherosclerotic plaque in high-fat diet rabbits. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis [Internet]. 2021 Jun 7 [cited 2022 Aug 14];31(6):1929–38. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33992512/
8. Guo WL, Guo J bin, Liu BY, Lu JQ, Chen M, Liu B, et al. Ganoderic acid A from Ganoderma lucidum ameliorates lipid metabolism and alters gut microbiota composition in hyperlipidemic mice fed a high-fat diet. Food Funct [Internet]. 2020 Aug 1 [cited 2022 Aug 14];11(8):6818–33. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32686808/
9. Chang CJ, Lin CS, Lu CC, Martel J, Ko YF, Ojcius DM, et al. Ganoderma lucidum reduces obesity in mice by modulating the composition of the gut microbiota. Nat Commun [Internet]. 2015 Jun 23 [cited 2022 Aug 14];6. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26102296/
10. Rahman MA, Abdullah N, Aminudin N. Evaluation of the Antioxidative and Hypo-cholesterolemic Effects of Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (Agaricomycetes), in Ameliorating Cardiovascular Disease. Int J Med Mushrooms [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2022 Aug 14];20(10):961–9. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30806268/
11. Meng J, Yang B. Protective Effect of Ganoderma (Lingzhi) on Cardiovascular System. Adv Exp Med Biol [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2022 Aug 14];1182:181–99. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31777019/
12. Li F, Zhang Y, Zhong Z. Antihyperglycemic effect of ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides on streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice. Int J Mol Sci [Internet]. 2011 Sep [cited 2022 Aug 14];12(9):6135–45. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22016649/
13. Pazzi F, Adsuar JC, Domínguez-Muñoz FJ, García-Gordillo M, Gusi N, Collado-Mateo D. Effects of Ganoderma lucidum and Ceratonia siliqua on blood glucose, lipid profile, and body composition in women with fibromyalgia. Nutricion hospitalaria [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2022 Aug 14];38(1):139–45. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33319566/
14. Ouyang M zi, Lin L zhu, Lv W jiao, Zuo Q, Lv Z, Guan J shan, et al. Effects of the polysaccharides extracted from Ganoderma lucidum on chemotherapy-related fatigue in mice. Int J Biol Macromol [Internet]. 2016 Oct 1 [cited 2022 Aug 14];91:905–10. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27208798/
15. Li H, Chen YJ, Hsu YJ, Wu MF, Chiu CC, Tung YT, et al. Effects of Ganoderma lucidum and ‘Essence of Chicken’ on Physical Fatigue Recovery and Exercise Performance Improvement. Chin J Physiol [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2022 Aug 14];61(6):372–83. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30580507/
16. Sliva D. Cellular and physiological effects of Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi). Mini Rev Med Chem [Internet]. 2004 Nov 11 [cited 2022 Aug 14];4(8):873–9. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15544548/
17. Bhardwaj A, Gupta P, Kumar N, Mishra J, Kumar A, Rakhee, et al. Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (Agaricomycetes), Inhibits Candida Biofilms: A Metabolomic Approach. Int J Med Mushrooms [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2022 Aug 14];19(8):685–96. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29199568/
18. Chiu HF, Fu HY, Lu YY, Han YC, Shen YC, Venkatakrishnan K, et al. Triterpenoids and polysaccharide peptides-enriched Ganoderma lucidum: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study of its antioxidation and hepatoprotective efficacy in healthy volunteers. Pharm Biol [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2022 Aug 14];55(1):1041–6. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28183232/
19. Kiss A, Mirmazloum I, Naár Z, Némedi E. Supplementation of Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (Agaricomycetes) Extract Enhanced the Medicinal Values and Prebiotic Index of Hungarian Acacia Honey. Int J Med Mushrooms [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2022 Aug 14];21(12):1167–79. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32464010/
20. Lou HW, Guo XY, Zhang XC, Guo LQ, Lin JF. Optimization of Cultivation Conditions of Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (Agaricomycetes) for the Highest Antioxidant Activity and Antioxidant Content. Int J Med Mushrooms [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2022 Aug 14];21(4):353–66. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31002631/
21. Matsuzaki H, Shimizu Y, Iwata N, Kamiuchi S, Suzuki F, Iizuka H, et al. Antidepressant-like effects of a water-soluble extract from the culture medium of Ganoderma lucidum mycelia in rats. BMC Complement Altern Med [Internet]. 2013 Dec 26 [cited 2022 Aug 14];13. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24369991/
22. Socała K, Nieoczym D, Grzywnowicz K, Stefaniuk D, Wlaź P. Evaluation of Anticonvulsant, Antidepressant-, and Anxiolytic-like Effects of an Aqueous Extract from Cultured Mycelia of the Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (Higher Basidiomycetes) in Mice. Int J Med Mushrooms [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2022 Aug 14];17(3):209–18. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25954905/
23. Mi X, Zeng GR, Liu JQ, Luo ZS, Zhang L, Dai XM, et al. Ganoderma Lucidum Triterpenoids Improve Maternal Separation-Induced Anxiety- and Depression-like Behaviors in Mice by Mitigating Inflammation in the Periphery and Brain. Nutrients [Internet]. 2022 May 28 [cited 2022 Aug 14];14(11):2268. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35684068/
24. Ganesan K, Xu B. Anti-Obesity Effects of Medicinal and Edible Mushrooms. Molecules [Internet]. 2018 Nov 5 [cited 2022 Aug 14];23(11). Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30400600/
25. Holmes D. Medicinal mushroom reduces obesity by modulating microbiota. Nature Reviews Endocrinology 2015 11:9 [Internet]. 2015 Jul 14 [cited 2022 Aug 14];11(9):504–504. Available from: https://www.nature.com/articles/nrendo.2015.114
26. Chang CJ, Lin CS, Lu CC, Martel J, Ko YF, Ojcius DM, et al. Ganoderma lucidum reduces obesity in mice by modulating the composition of the gut microbiota. Nature Communications [Internet]. 2015 Jun 23 [cited 2022 Aug 14];6. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26102296/
27. Amin R, Islam MZ, Sen M, Eva SN, Jesmin S, Nahar S. Anti-Obesity Effect Of Mushroom (Ganoderma Lucidum) On Experimentally Induced Obese Rats. Anwer Khan Modern Medical College Journal. 2012 Aug 27;3(2):11–4.