Immune Assist Research Summary

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Medicinal Mushroom Polysaccharide Blend – Immune Enhancing Complex
Research Summary

September 19, 2009


Medicinal Mushroom Extracts: One Of The Most Powerful Immune Modulators Known

Recent scientific research has shown that medicinal mushrooms grown on vegetable sources (such as millet, rice bran, buckwheat, barley, etc.) enzymatically activate a process whereby complex cross-linked polysaccharides from the vegetable sources are converted to biologically active immunomodulators (also known as biological response modifiers). As you will see from the discussion below, the polysaccharides produced by this process are effective and safe immune stimulants.

Medicinal mushroom research has focused on discovering compounds that can modulate positively or negatively the biological response of immune cells. Certain mushroom derived-glucans and polysaccharide-bound proteins have been shown to act as immunomodulators or biological response modifiers (BRMs), where these polymers interact with the immune system to upregulate or downregulate specific aspects of the responses of the host and this may result in various therapeutic effects. Whether certain compounds enhance or suppress immune responses can depend on a number of factors including dosage, route of administration, timing and frequency of administration, mechanism of action or the site of activity. Many mushroom-derived polysaccharides appear to fit the accepted criteria for BRM compounds. They cause no harm and place no additional stress on the body, they assist the body to adapt to the various environmental and psychological stresses, and they have a non-specific action on the body, supporting all the major systems, including nervous, hormonal, and immune systems, as well as regulatory functions.

The anti-tumor polysaccharides isolated from mushrooms (fruit-body, submerged, cultured mycelial biomass or liquid culture broth) are either water-soluble β-D-glucans, β-D-glucans with heterosaccharide chains of xylose, mannose, galactose, or uronic acid or β-D-glucan-protein complexes – proteoglycans.

While the role of medicinal mushrooms in immunomodulation and anti-cancer activities represents the central theme of much of the conducted research, it is pertinent to observe that many of the medicinal mushrooms have been highly valued for other medicinal properties including hypercholesterolemia, high blood pressure, diabetes, anti-viral, anti-bacteria, and antioxidant and free radical scavenging.

The safety criteria for mushroom-derived β-glucans have been exhaustively carried out in pre-clinical experiments. Acute, subacute, and chronic toxicity tests have been carried out together with administration during pregnancy and lactation with no adverse effects. There were no anaphylactic reactions and no effects in mutagenicity and haemolysis tests, blood coagulation and a wide range of other regulatory tests. There was no evidence of genotoxicity. Similar results have been obtained with other β-glucans. When applied to humans in Phase 1 clinical tests, the β-glucans demonstrate remarkably few adverse clinical reactions.

In the 2001 report Medicinal Mushrooms: Their Therapeutic Properties and Current Medical Usage with Special Emphasis on Cancer Treatments, a wide variety of mushroom polysaccharides, including Lentinan (from L. edodes), Schizophyllan (from S. commune), PSK and PSP (from Trametes versicolor), and Grifron-D (from the Maitake mushroom G. frondosa) and others are described, and their properties are shown to satisfy the criteria for BRMs. Many of these mushroom-derived polymers potentiate the host’s innate (non-specific) and acquired (specific) immune responses in a similar manner, where they activate many kinds of immune cells that are vitally important for the maintenance of homeostasis. Key innate responses that are stimulated by these mushroom derived-β-glucans or polysaccharide-protein complexes include host T-cells (such as cytotoxic macrophages, monocytes, neutrophils, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells) and chemical messengers (cytokines such as interleukins, interferon and colony stimulating factors) that trigger complement and acute phase responses. Moreover, mushroom polysaccharides or polysaccharide-protein complexes are considered as multi-cytokine inducers that are able to induce gene expression of various immunomodulatory cytokines and cytokine receptors. In addition, acquired responses are also enlisted, where lymphocytes that govern antibody production (B cells) and cell-mediated cytotoxicity (T-cells) are stimulated. While the immune system is shrouded in tremendous complexity, our current understanding shows that it is regulated in an orchestrated dynamic manner.

Mushroom-derived polysaccharides have shown anti-tumour activities in both pre-clinical models and in clinical trials. Although the mechanism of their anti-tumour action is still not completely clear, Lentinan, Schizophyllan, PSP, PSK and other mushroom polysaccharides appear to mediate their anti-tumour activity by activation or augmentation of the host’s immune system (via stimulated cytotoxic macrophages, cytotoxic T-cells and antibody-mediated cytoxicity of targeted cancer cells), rather than direct cytotoxicity. Thus, both cell-mediated immune responses against the target T-cells initiated by macrophage-lymphocyte interactions and cytoxicity induced by antibodies to target T-cells are believed to contribute to the elimination of targeted tumour cells. Recent evidence suggests that several mushroom polysaccharides may also possess cytotoxic properties. Grifron-D from G. fondosa mushroom was reported to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in human prostate cancer cell-lines.

IMMUNE-ASSIST™ Daily Formula Incorporates Polysaccharide Extracts from Six Medicinal Mushrooms

In China , Japan , Korea and more recently in the USA hundreds of mushroom species have been studied during the past 20 years.  Extracts from most of the medicinal mushrooms show a common property of enhancing immune function by modulating cell-mediated immunity.  Simply put, such mushroom extracts seem to turn on cells in the immune system, which appear to have significant disease-fighting properties.  In fact, three different anticancer drugs extracted from mushrooms have been approved by the Japanese equivalent of FDA (that is, the Japanese Health and Welfare Ministry). These three are lentinan, derived from shiitake; PSK, derived from coriolus versicolor; and schizophyllan, derived from suehirotake.

Based on the latest research a USA-based company (Aloha Medicinals, Inc.) has formulated IMMUNE-ASSIST™ Daily Formula — a combination of more than 200 different polysaccharides, derived from the enzymatic breakdown of complex organic plant material from six different species of medicinal mushrooms. These include Agaricus blazei, Cordyceps sinensis hybrid, Lentinula edodes (shiitake), Grifola frondosa (maitake), Ganoderma lucidum (reshi), and Coriolus versicolor. IMMUNE-ASSIST™ Daily Formula contains simple polysaccharides similar to many other products on the market, but it also contains much more complex polysaccharides like the cross-linked beta mannans and beta-glucans, as well as hetero-polysaccharides which combine both alpha- and beta-bound monosaccharides into the same molecule. This is why Immune-Assist™ shows such a greater range of immuno-modulation bioactivity than other bran based supplements. Included among the important substances in Immune-Assist™ are Arabinoxylane, Lentinan, Grifolan (Dr. Nanba’s original Maitake D-Fraction), PSK and PSP, and Active Hemicellulose Correlated Compound (AHCC).

Below we provide a brief summary of the research and clinical studies for each of the mushrooms contained in IMMUNE-ASSIST™ Daily Formula:

Shiitake is now the most popular and most cultivated exotic mushroom in the world. In China, shiitake has a history that dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 ACE).  The mushroom was used not only as a food but was taken as a remedy for upper respiratory diseases, poor blood circulation, liver trouble, exhaustion and weakness, and to boost chi, or life energy.  It was also believed to prevent premature aging.  Today the shiitake is recognized for its antitumor action and has been extensively researched in regard to its immunologic activity.  The initial antitumor research was performed in 1969 by Tetsuro Ikekawa at Purdue University, along with colleagues at the National Cancer Center Research Institute in Tokyo.  The researchers found that water extracts of shiitake produced high rates of tumor inhibition in mice (72 percent to 92 percent).  Ikekawa later identified a polysaccharide in shiitake called lentinan as having powerful antitumor activity.

Coriolus (or Trametes) versicolor is the most thoroughly clinically researched mushroom. An extract of Coriolus versicolor known as PSK is sold in Europe and Japan. It is the best-selling cancer drug in the world and recently accounted for more than 25% of Japan’s total national expenditure for anticancer agents. In addition to possessing many different antitumor properties, it is also an immunostimulant; demonstrates anti-viral activity; enhances T-cell proliferation; and has been shown to improve both disease-free and survival rates in cancer patients. In an 8-year clinical test of breast cancer patients, and in another 5-year study, it was shown that the polysaccharide compounds contained within Coriolus versicolor work particularly well as an adjuvant for cancer therapies, exhibiting diverse biological activities.

Maitake may be even more potent than any of the other mushrooms previously studied. This legendary giant mushroom has been studied for its anticancer, anti-diabetic, anti-hypertensive and anti-hyperlipemic effects since the mid-1980s. Its anti-HIV activity in vitro was demonstrated in tests conducted by the Japan Institute of Health and the U.S. National Cancer Institute in early 1992.  Among various extracts obtained from the Maitake mushroom, a specific extracted fraction named Maitake D-fraction is the active constituent. This extract contains beta-1, 3-glucans and beta-1, 6-glucans protein-bound polysaccharides. It has demonstrated remarkable antitumor activity by activating the immune system through oral administration.

The Chinese have long used Cordyceps sinensis to promote overall good health, and modern research indicates that it does indeed support liver, kidney, heart, and immune system function. Cordyceps sinensis has been used to protect the bone marrow and digestive systems of mice from whole body irradiation. One experiment noted that Cordyceps may protect the liver from damage. An experiment with mice indicated the mushroom may have an anti-depressant effect. Researchers have observed that Cordyceps has a hypoglycemic effect and may be beneficial for people with insulin resistance. Cordyceps mushroom extracts have been shown to stimulate the number of T helper cells, prolong the survival of lymphocytes, enhance TNF-alpha and interleukin 1 production, and increase the activity of natural killer cells. One study indicates that cordyceps can stimulate progesterone production in animal cells. Another study has shown that cordyceps may be effective against tumor cells by down-regulating MHC class II antigen expression. In addition, historical use data suggests that cordyceps can cause a reduction of cyclosporin and aminoglycoside-induced renal toxicity.

Reishi possess anti-tumor, immunomodulary, and immunotherapeutic activities, supported by studies on polysaccharides, terpene, and other bioactive compounds isolated from fruiting bodies and mycelia of this fungus. It has also been found to inhibit platelet aggregation, and to lower blood pressure (via inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme), cholesterol and blood sugar. Laboratory studies have shown anti-neoplastic effects of fungal extracts or isolated compounds against some types of cancer. In an animal model, Reishi has been reported to prevent cancer metastasis, with potency comparable to Lentinan from shiitake mushrooms. The mechanisms by which Reishi affect cancer may target different stages of cancer development include: 1) inhibition of angiogenesis (formation of new, tumor-induced blood vessels created to supply nutrients to the tumor) mediated by cytokines, 2) cytotoxicity, 3) inhibition of migration of the cancer cells and metastasis, and 4) inducing and enhancing apoptosis of tumor cells. Besides effects on mammalian physiology, Reishiis reported to have anti-bacterial and anti-viral activities. Reishi is reported to exhibit direct anti-viral effects with the following viruses: HSV-1, HSV-2, and influenza.

Agaricus blazei is an edible mushroom native to Brazil and cultivated in Japan and the USA for its medicinal uses. It has been used to treat arteriosclerosis, hepatitis, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, dermatitis, and cancer. In vitro experiments and studies done in mice have shown that Agaricus has immunomodulatory, antitumor, and antimutagenic properties. The polysaccharides and anti-angiogenic compounds present in Agaricus are thought to be responsible for its antitumor properties. Such effects are believed to be exerted by immunopotentiation or direct inhibition of angiogenesis. A recent randomized study showed that oral administration of Agaricus extract improved the natural killer cell activity and quality of life in gynecological cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Agaricus was also shown to have antidiabetic effects in vitro and in animal studies. In addition, results from a study done in human subjects with type 2 diabetes suggest benefits of Agaricus extract in improving insulin resistance, and a pilot study indicates that Agaricus extract may reduce weight, BMI, body fat, and serum glucose and cholesterol levels in healthy individuals.

AHCC as a Component of Immune-Assist™ Daily Formula

AHCC is produced by from the enzymatic action of vegetable sources with mycelial extracts from several different mushrooms. There is about four times more AHCC in each dose of Immune-Assist™ than there is in other AHCC products on the market.

AHCC is a food substance that contains a broad range of polysaccharides. It is believed that a special polysaccharide with a molecular weight of about 5,000 and an alpha 1,4 glucan linkage in this mushroom extract is primarily responsible for the powerful immune enhancing effects on natural killer cells. A heavier polysaccharide in the extract appears to have a powerful stimulating effect on macrophages which, in turn, further stimulates the immune system including a number of cytokines (Interleukin-2, Interleukin-12, Tumor Necrosis Factor [TNF], and Interferon).  Furthermore, some research has indicated that components of AHCC may have direct cytotoxic effects on cancer cells and prevent metastases from occurring.

Natural Killer Cells

The human immune system is comprised of more than 130 subsets of white blood cells. Natural Killer (NK) cells make up roughly 15% of all human white blood cells. They provide the first line of defense for dealing with any form of invasion to the body. Each NK cell contains several small granules that act as chemical destroyers. Once an NK cell has recognized a cancer cell, for example, it attaches itself to the cell’s outer membrane and injects these granules directly into the interior of the cell. The granules then destroy the cancer cell within five minutes. The undamaged NK cell then moves on to other cancer cells and repeats the process. When the immune system is particularly strong, active NK cells will often take on more than one cancer cells or other infected cells at the same time.

NK Cell Activity, Not Number, Determines the Strength of the Immune System

Unlike other white blood cells, inadequate numbers of NK cells are very rarely a problem. Instead, it is the activity of the cells that generally determines whether one is sick or healthy. As long as the NK cells are active, everything remains under control. If NK cells lose their ability to either recognize or destroy the invader, however, the situation can deteriorate rapidly. In AIDS and cancer patients, NK cell activity is probably the primary criteria for estimating the chances of survival. It’s commonly accepted that when NK cells cease to function, the end is near.

In addition, research has now confirmed that individuals with low NK cell activity are significantly more susceptible to autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome, viral infections and the development of cancerous tumors.

Doctors can test NK cell activity with a test called the NK cell function test. Basically, a blood sample is taken from the patient and placed in a vial containing live tumor cells. After four hours, a count is taken to determine what percentage of the cancer cells have been destroyed by the NK cells. The higher the percentage, the more active the cells. This test is referred to as the 4 hour Chromium-release assay. Your doctor can order the test from Immune Sciences Lab in Beverly Hills, CA at 310-657-1077.

How IMMUNE-ASSIST™ Daily Formula Increases NK Cell Activity and Immunity

The capacity of Immune-Assist™ to boost NK activity and overall immunity appears to stem from the following:

1) Immune-Assist™ increases the number of explosive granules in NK cells. The more granules an NK cell carries, the more cancer and virus-infected cells it can destroy,

2) Oral ingestion of Immune-Assist™ can increase NK activity as much as 300% (or even higher),

3) It increases interferon (IFN) levels. Interferon is another potent compound produced by the body that both inhibits the replication of viruses and other parasites and increases NK cell activity,

4) Immune-Assist™ increases the formation of Tumor Necrosis Factors (TNFs). TNFs are a group of proteins that help destroy cancer cells,

5) It increases number and the activity of other lymphocytes, especially T-cells (up to 200%) and macrophages,

6) It stimulates cytokine (IL-2, IL-12, TNF, and IFN) production, which stimulates immune function.


Unlike most forms of cancer treatment, Immune-Assist™ is totally non-toxic.  After years of use and continued toxicity tests, there has never been any indication of toxicity or side effects whatsoever.  Most likely, this is because Immune-Assist’s primary function is to enhance the activity of the immune system rather than to attack cancer cells directly. This also helps explain why it seems to work well for all types of cancer.

Immune-Assist™ Helps Cancers That Are Unaffected by Angiogenesis Inhibitors

Immune-Assist™ fills a gap left by many of the other natural therapies, in particular, the class of therapies known as angiogenesis inhibitors.  Angiogenesis inhibitors work by cutting off the blood supply to tumors. Whether they are natural products like shark cartilage or pharmaceutical ones like endostatin and angiostatin, these angiogenesis inhibitors aren’t very effective at treating blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphatic cancer or lung cancer.

Because leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells themselves, cutting off the blood supply to these cells is impossible. With lymphatic cancer, it’s the lymphatic fluids, not blood vessels, that supply lymph cells with all of their necessary nutrients, so again, cutting off the blood supply is useless. Also, because the lungs have such a rich and complex supply of blood vessels, there is no effective way to restrict blood flow to that area.

None of these factors prevent Immune-Assist™ from doing its job. By increasing the activity of NK cells, which naturally reside and circulate in the blood and lymph systems, Immune-Assist™ can be used effectively for all of these cancers. The NK cells don’t have to penetrate deep into massive hard tumors to get to active cancer cells—they simply identify and eliminate the cancer cells they “encounter” in the blood or lymph.

Immune-Assist brand Dietary Supplement as an Adjunct for Chemo and Radiation Therapy in Cancer.

A clinical trial conducted between August 2000 and April 2001 at the People’s Hospital of Lishui City, Zhejiang Province, People’s Republic of China, showing the clinical manifestations of a mixture of six Medicinal Mushroom extracts as an adjunct therapy to improve the immune function of cancer patients undergoing other therapies. Methods: the Zhejiang Qingyuan Fungi Medicinal & Health Products Co., Ltd produced the experimental mixture used in this clinical trial. This mixture was formulated and is marketed in the United States of America under the trade name Immune-Assist where it has shown good results in cancer treatment. This mixture includes Alpha and Beta-Glucans and other polysaccharides, extracted from the following well-known species of medicinal mushrooms: Agaricus blazei (polysaccharide >40%), Lentinus edodes (polysaccharide >25%), Grifola frondosa (polysaccharide >28%), Ganoderma lucidum (polysaccharide >20%), Coriolus versicolor (polysaccharide >30%), and Cordyceps sinensis mycelium (polysaccharide >30%).

These six extracts were mixed together into tablet form and co-administered along with chemotherapy or radiation therapy to the patients undergoing treatment as a daily regimen. This trial was conducted among 56 cancer patients, 30 chosen to receive the Medicinal Mushroom extract mix and another 26 comparable patients as a control group, receiving the accepted pharmaceutical drug Polyactin-A ™ as a control group. All patients were in the middle-late stages (Stage 3 and 4) of cancer. Polyactin-A is made by Taixing Medicine Company, Ltd. in Chengdu, PRC and the lot number used was 20000327. Results: There are significant differences between the experimental group and the control group. The experimental group of patients had improvements in the disease progression and Quality of Life measurements as compared to the control group of cancer patients. Discussion: This formulation of mixed polysaccharides, made up from the six species of Medicinal Mushrooms named, has great potential as a new health product for the improvement of immunity and showing high effectiveness and non-toxicity for use in cancer patients undergoing conventional therapy.

Clinical Trial Research on Immune–Assist ™ brand dietary supplement for the treatment of Alcoholic Liver Disease and Hyperlipidemia

A clinical trial was conducted using Immune–Assist Brand mushroom extract mixture for the treatment of Alcoholic Liver Disease and hyperlipidemia. Through this study the preparation method, the quality control standards, the medicinal function and the safety and toxicity study, it was found that this preparation was both safe and effective, and shows great potential as a preventive and health care medicine for treating and curing the disease of alcoholic liver and hyperlipidemia. We found that this polysaccharide mixture could not only restrain the alcohol-induced damage to the liver cells, but also enhances the restoration of liver function and decreases blood lipids. The results were significant and safe. This compound shows great promise for use in clinical therapy.

Alcohol is used widely throughout society, and often for medicinal purposes such as to stimulate the appetite, cure pain, and eliminate fatigue and as a disinfectant. But alcohol use is more often indicated in health problems, for example a wide range of acute and chronic diseases and behavioral dysfunction. Chronic alcoholism has become a global social problem. In America alone, an estimated 100,000 people die annually due to the abuse of alcohol. The economic burden in this one country is estimated to be about 100 billion dollars a year. Chronic alcoholism has become a familiar disease in many other countries as well. Because of this, many experts at home and abroad have been studying effective ways to restrain the damage to liver cells caused by chronic abuse of alcohol, and ways of treating or curing the fibrosis of the liver resultant of chronic alcohol abuse. In recent years, science has found that the polysaccharides extracted from edible mushrooms have various biologically active functions. The city of Lishui, which lies in the southwest of the Zhejiang province of China, has a rich resource of edible mushrooms, and a long history of the use of medicinal mushrooms. A thorough review of the literature and customs of this area has shown that these mushrooms can protect the liver, decrease blood lipids and improve immune function. According to this long history of folk-usage, a modern extraction method was developed to produce an effective medicinal mushroom polysaccharide combination. This mushroom extract combination is marketed in America under the brand name Immune-Assist Critical Care Formula by Aloha Medicinals Inc. The components of this formula are alcohol precipitated hot water extracts of Lentinula edodes, Grifola frondosa, Coriolus [Trametes] versicolor, Agaricus blazei, Ganoderma lucidum, Cordyceps sinensis, and the extra-cellular compounds derived from the spent culture broth of liquid-fermented Cordyceps sinensis. From April of 2001 to May of 2002, this research group used the Immune-Assist formula in the treatment of alcoholic liver disease and hyperlipidemia. The tablets used in this study were 500 mg each of active ingredients containing 400 mg mixture of very complex polysaccharides, mainly (d)beta-glucans of differing structures, primarily 1↔3 main chain structure with 1↔6 side branching. With more than 200 differing polysaccharide structures, there are many other polysaccharides present besides these prototypical and well-understood mushroom-derived immunomodulator compounds. The PRC government research authorization number granted to this project was 99-118. The primary research results are as follows.

Each tablet contains 500 mg mixture of active ingredients consisting of equal parts of the following: Lentinula edodes polysaccharides (Lentinan), Grifola frondosa polysaccharides (Maitake D-Fraction), Trametes versicolor protein-bound polysaccharides (PSK and PSP), Cordyceps sinensis Polysaccharides and exo-polysaccharides, Agaricus blazei Polysaccharide and Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides. These polysaccharides were extracted from full spectrum mycoproducts grown by sterile tissue culture using a proprietary two step extraction and purification process consisting of extraction with hot water, repeated 4 times at 98-99 degrees C, concentration of the water extract portion under reduced pressure, then addition of 4 times the volume of pharmaceutical grade ethanol, which causes the purified polysaccharides, protein bound polysaccharides and heteropolysaccharides to precipitate from the solution, thus separating the alcohol soluble portion. The precipitated polysaccharide compounds are then collected and spray dried. This purified protein-polysaccharide complex is blended with pharmaceutical binders and excipients to manufacture tablets as per usual protocols used in tableting.

All the results gathered suggest that the mushroom polysaccharide combination Immune-Assist has apparent and profound function in decreasing the blood cholesterol and triglycerides, and at the same time has obvious effect for the chemical protection and repair of the damaged liver. Edible mushrooms have many good medicinal functions and bio-active compounds and can improve the patient’s overall resistance and disease dormancy period, increase the appetite, ameliorate fatigue, regulate and enhance the patient’s immunity, etc. By consuming these mushrooms the body’s nonspecific immunity is enhanced, there is a measurable improvement in the secretion of IgA, an increase in the function of mononuclear-phagocytes and in the activity of the NK cells, regulation of the immune balance, resistance to the alcoholic damage of liver cell efficiency and acceleration of the restoration and regeneration of damaged liver tissue cells. This study shows that edible fungi have certain curative effect on chemically induced liver damage and in blood fat reduction. Edible fungi can play an important role in the clinical treatment for these conditions.

Clinical Trial report on treatment of chronic Hepatitis B using Immune-Assist™ brand Dietary Supplement as adjunct with lamivudine [Epivirtm]

Presented here are the results of a study conducted on 60 patients with chronic hepatitis B over a two year period, evaluating the value of adding proprietary Immune-Assist™ brand of medicinal mushroom polysaccharide mixture as an adjunct to conventional therapy in order to achieve greater effectiveness than can be provided by the conventional therapy alone.

In recent years it has been found that the polysaccharides extracted from edible fungi have various biological activity functions, including immune enhancement. The city of Lishui, which lies in the south-west of Zhejiang province, is one of the major mushroom cultivation districts in China and has rich resources of these edible fungi. It is a long-standing tradition for the populace of this area to use the edible fungi as part of their medicine. While researching the traditional medicine and folk recipes of the people of this area, there is found a widespread belief that edible fungi can protect the liver, reduce obesity and improve overall immunity. In accordance with this traditional belief, this study was conducted using modern extraction methods in the preparation of a mushroom polysaccharide mixture according to the formula of Immune-Assist Critical Care Formula™, a proprietary health supplement developed as a joint project between the Government of Zhejiang province and a privately held American company, Aloha Medicinals Inc. This mixture is manufactured and distributed in the United States of America by Aloha Medicinals Inc. The formula is composed of alcohol precipitated hot water extracts of six species of medicinal mushrooms: Lentinula edodes, Agaricus blazei, Grifola frondosa, Coriolus [Trametes] versicolor, Ganoderma lucidum and two types of Cordyceps sinensis extracts, one from the mycelium and one from the culture broth of liquid-fermented Cordyceps sinensis. We tested this mixture concurrently with the accepted drug lamivudine in the cure of chronic hepatitis. With lamivudine therapy alone, the rate of hepatitis Be antigen converting from positive to negative is 10%-20% with a full years’ course of therapy, and this antibody sero-conversion to negative increases by continuous use of lamivudine continuously year after year. Because of this long period of treatment, there is concern that the virus will induce genetic variation, as well as some patients discontinuing the therapy after time due to economic hardship. From February 2000 to August 2001, our research group used this mushroom polysaccharide formula and lamivudine together to treat hepatitis B for 9 months. From April in 2001 to May in 2002, the research group used this mushroom polysaccharide tablet and lamivudine together to treat hepatitis B compounded with hyperlipidemia with good results. The PRC government clinical trial sanction number for this trial is 99-118. Each tablet contains 500 mg total active ingredients derived from the six species of mushrooms, of which 400 mg consists of amylase reactable polysaccharides. The primary research results are as follows: After 9 months of treatment, a comparison of the rate of hepatitis antibodies converting from positive to negative showed 20 cases of HBeAg in the experimental group convert to negative (62.5%), while only 8 cases of HbeAg in the comparison group convert to negative (28.6%). The sero-conversion rate of these two groups is significant. From this trial we find that the mushroom polysaccharides can play an important roll in curing hepatitis B, and this mushroom polysaccharide mixture (Immune-Assist) should be considered as an adjunct to conventional hepatitis treatment.

Immune-Assist™ Daily Formula as an Adjuct in Protocols for Lyme Disease

In many countries where Lyme disease occurs there are available prescription drugs which act in conjunction with antibiotics to increase the curative potential of the antibiotic therapy. These drugs are generally polysaccharide based such as Lentinan (from shiitake mushrooms) and Polyactin A (also known as alpha-glucomannan). While these drugs are not currently used in the United States, there are a number of dietary supplements available that may have the same effect. Aloha Medicinals, Inc., has done research for several years on the use of immuno-modulators as dietary supplements for concommitant use in difficult to treat diseases such as Lyme. This was an offshoot from the tracking of results obtained from the use of their original Immune-Assist™ product, a condition specific dietary supplement intended for use by cancer patients while undergoing conventional treatment. Although originally intended as a cancer treatment enhancer, the mode of action is strictly immuno-modulatory, and led to the development of their second generation of Immunomodulatory supplements. In particular, Immune-Assist™ Daily Formula has shown effectivness for supplementing the immune system while undergoing treatment for Lyme disease as well as several other difficult to treat diseases such as hepatitis and AIDS. It seems logical that this approach may be especially useful in the hard-to-treat, later stages of CNS lyme. This is probably because the immune stimulation response it provides is not limited by the blood/brain barrier, as are conventional antibiotics. It seems that immunomodulator supplements may act as enhancements for the antibiotics usually used for Lyme treatment, increasing their effectivness.

Additional Therapeutic and Preventive Applications for Immune-Assist™

Owing to its tremendous immune enhancing effects, Immune-Assist™ is likely to be of significant benefit to individuals suffering from a wide range of conditions.  Impaired immunity is a result of a wide range of poor lifestyle habits including high stress levels, exposure to high levels of toxins, and poor nutritional status.  As such individuals in the following categories could also benefit from Immune Assist™:

  • Individuals who constantly work with paint (artists, house painters, etc)
  • Chemical and refinery workers and others exposed to heavy doses of toxic chemicals
  • Heavy smokers
  • Heavy drinkers
  • Individuals with gum disease
  • Individuals with peptic ulcers
  • Individuals with prostate infections
  • Individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Individuals with diabetes
  • Individuals with heart disease
  • Individuals experiencing autoimmune deficiencies (multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Individuals with recurrent infections, such as colds, flu, yeast, and parasites
  • Individuals whose families exhibit a significant history of cancer
  • Individuals with slow healing wounds

Immune-Assist™ Dosages

The dosages used in studies are scientifically based on repeated NK cell activity tests. As such, they are consistent and easy to follow. They fall into two types:

1) For cancer, HIV or other life-threatening condition, take 3 grams per day for two-to-four weeks, then 1 gram per day until the problem is resolved.  Some people continue to take the maintenance dosage even after the problem has been resolved, while others stop taking it and resume if the problem returns.  In rare cases taking as much as 6 grams daily was necessary.

2) As a form of prevention take 1 gram per day.

In all of the studies, it has been found that taking 3 grams a day resulted in a dramatic increase in NK cell activity within one to two weeks. At the lower dosage of only 1 gram per day, the same activity wasn’t reached until about four weeks. Thus, the initial heavy doses of 3 grams per day.  Even after the dosage is dropped back to 1 gram per day, NK cell activity will continue to increase.  It is best to take the Immune-Assist™ capsules with meals in divided doses.  For example, when taking 3 grams a day (which works out to 6 500 mg capsules), 2 capsules can be taken with each meal. When you reduce the dosage down to 1 gram a day (2 capsules), you can take one capsule at breakfast and one at dinner.


1) Healing Mushrooms by Dr. Georges Halpern, MD, PhD., 2007

Perhaps the most useful book currently available on Medicinal Mushrooms:

Mushrooms have been used as medicines by humans for 5,000 years or more. As you will see, many mushrooms have properties that can improve your health and well-being. This book presents the fascinating story of eight healing mushrooms: maitake, reishi, shiitake,Cordyceps sinensis, Agaricus blazei, Phellinus linteus, Trametes versicolor, and Hericium erinaceus, as well as recent findings on additional mushrooms. It explains how ancient peoples used these mushrooms and the promise they bring for healing and preventing illness in the modern world. This book presents the latest scientific and clinical research, describes the most up-to-date experiments, and conjectures about mushrooms and their power to heal.


Acknowledgments, v

1. An Introduction to Healing Mushrooms, 1

2. Mushrooms—East and West, 9

3. The Healing Power of Mushrooms, 19

4. Maitake, 35

5. Shiitake, 47

6. Reishi, 55

7. Cordyceps sinensis, 65

8. Agaricus blazei, 87

9. Phellinus linteus, 95

10. Trametes versicolor, 99

11. Hericium erinaceus, 107

12. Miscellaneous Mushrooms, 113

13. Mushroom Cultivation, 121

14. A Buyer’s Guide to Mushrooms, 127

Conclusion, 135

Resources, 137

Mushroom Recipes, 145

References, 157

Index, 177

2) Medicinal Mushrooms: their Therapeutic Properties and Current Medical Usage with Special Emphasis on Cancer Treatments. 2001

Authors: JOHN E SMITH BSc MSc PhD DSc FIBiol FRSE Emeritus Professor of Applied Microbiology, University of Strathclyde Chief Scientific Officer, MycoBiotech Ltd, Singapore

NEIL J ROWAN BSc MSc PhD MIBiol MIFST Lecturer, Department of Bioscience, University of Strathclyde

RICHARD SULLIVAN BSc MD PhD Head of Clinical Programmes, Cancer Research UK

Many of the currently available anti-cancer agents are derived form natural products, for instance paclitaxel (Taxol), and camptothecin (Hycamtin) amongst many others. In 2000 Professor Gordon McVie, Director-General of the Cancer Research Campaign (now Cancer Research UK) and Professor John Smith of University of Strathclyde met in Glasgow to discuss the role of medicinal mushrooms in the treatment of cancer. The CRC had become aware that these natural products were being used extensively in the Far East as nutriceuticals (dietary supplements) and as a source for the generation of pharmaceutical-grade medicines to treat a wide variety of diseases, including cancer. The substantial range of medicinal mushroom species from which different bioactive compounds can be derived suggested that the humble mushroom could be a source of novel anti-cancer agents.

This monograph is a comprehensive overview of this subject from the technology of cultivation, extraction and chemistry of medicinal mushroom bioactive compounds to the clinical evidence that suggests an important therapeutic role in cancer, and other major diseases.

The monograph is available for download on a chapter by chapter basis as PDF documents. If you don’t have a copy of Adobe Acrobat, you can download a copy from their website at If you are having difficulty downloading the monograph – some of the sections are quite large due to high quality images – please contact Cancer Research UK via the email or phone details listed below to obtain a CD copy.

Executive Summary (33KB)

Front page (13KB)

Preamble (16KB)

Index (9KB)

Chapter 1 – Introduction (37KB)

Chapter 2 – Nature of fungi with special emphasis on mushrooms (1,451KB)

Chapter 3 – Medicinally important mushroom

Part A (1.61MB)

Part B (1.68MB)

Part C (1.8MB)

Part D (3.1MB)

Chapter 4 – Technology of mushroom cultivation (339KB)

Chapter 5 – Extraction, development and chemistry of anti-cancer compounds from medicinal mushrooms (400KB)

Chapter 6 – Immunomodulatory activities of mushroom glucans and polysaccharide-protein complexes in animals and humans (217KB)

Chapter 7 – The role of polysaccarides derived from medicinal mushrooms in cancer (134KB)

Chapter 8 – Additional medicinal properties (85KB)

Chapter 9 – Regulatory and safety criteria for functional foods and dietary supplements and pharmaceutical medicines; the role for medicinal mushrooms (68KB)

Chapter 10 – Conclusions (50KB)

Appendix 1 (604KB)

Appendix 2 (13KB)

Appendix 3 (18KB)

Biographies (10KB)

Acknowledgements (7KB)

3) Anti-Cancer Properties: A peer-reviewed article by Dr. Solomon Wasser of University of Haifa, Israel : Medicinal mushrooms as a source of antitumor and immunomodulating polysaccharides  (PDF 269 kb)

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