‘Mushroom Extracts Inhibit Cancer Growth’

Workers packaging grains, during the visit of members of the Nigeria Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) to Olam Farm in Kaduna, recently.

An agricultural extension and rural development expert at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, Prof. Lucia Ogunsumi, says mushroom extracts can inhibit cancer growth.
Ogunsumi made the disclosure in Ibadan yesterday. She said the presence of beta-glucans (dietary fibres) in mushroom extract was implicated as anti-tumour substances which could restrain the growth of cancer cells by activating and reinforcing the host’s immune system.
Ogunsumi noted that the substances could slow down aromatase activity which was responsible for the conversion of androgens to estrogens (a precursor to cancerous tumours).
She emphasised that several human trials recently described physiological benefits and significant improvements in quality of life indicators from mushroom consumption by patients affected by a variety of cancers.
“Clinical trials have reported that chemo-immunotherapy using Lentinan, the backbone of beta-(1, 3)-glucan with beta-(1, 6) branches, purified from Shiitake mushrooms as an adjuvant to chemotherapy, prolonged survival of patients with advanced gastric cancer, compared to chemotherapy alone.
“Lentinan has now been approved as a biological response modifier for the treatment of gastric cancer in Japan,” she said.
According to her, medicinal mushrooms are repositories of low molecular weight secondary metabolites which can be effective in the development of real immuno-modulating and anticancer drugs.
Ogunsumi remarked that mushrooms received overwhelming attention from food and pharmaceutical researchers due to the presence of bioactive compound inherent in them.
The expert further pointed out that mushrooms were great sources of carbohydrates, proteins, mineral salts, vitamins and essential amino acids, which could help to maintain a good nutritional balance.
She added that medicinal values of mushrooms included wound-healing, immunity-enhancement and tumour-retarding effects.
“Oyster mushrooms are popular items at restaurants, farmers, markets, super markets. Farmers and youths can start a business and growing it as it is easy to cultivate.
“Exotic mushrooms can also be grown, there is a big market out there for quality mushrooms; a mushroom farming business can yield big profits in just a few weeks.
“As many people are choosing to live a more natural and healthy lifestyle, they are consistently turning to mushroom cultivation; ours should not be different,” she said.