Healthy Additions: Mushrooms
Not necessarily the ones you have growing in your yard, but medicinal mushrooms pack a punch of benefits for the immune system. These five medicinal mushrooms have been studied for their anti-cancer effects and can help your dog live a healthy life!
The Benefits – Super Immune Boosters
Stick to using these mushrooms and feeding them carefully, and you’ll get only the benefits.
As a group, medicinal mushrooms boost immunity, provide antioxidants, vitamins, and enzymes, reduce the risk of cancer, and fight autoimmune diseases.
Highly immune-boosting, they also provide a host of vitamins including Vitamins B2, B3, and B5. These mushrooms are Japanese and probably easiest found as extracts.
Reishii – Strictly for medicinal use, Reishii boosts the immune system, are a source of antioxidants, reduce allergy symptoms and protect the liver. These are available dried and ground for making tea, or as a tablet supplement.
Shiitake – Able to reduce blood cholesterol with a chemical called eritadenine, Shiitake mushrooms are also beneficial for fighting cancer.
Chaga – These hard, strange looking mushrooms that grow on birch trees have a super-power for allergic dogs! They may also help with diabetes, cholesterol, gastric issues, and viral infections.
“They have the unique property of not only boosting the immune system when necessary, but they’ll also slow down the immune system that’s running on overdrive – something called a Biological Response Modifier. That’s good news for dogs with over-active immune systems (think relief for allergies and common autoimmune diseases like arthritis)!”
Coriolus – these can be used to stimulate, protect and restore immunity. These are one of the most studied mushrooms for their anti-cancer effects!
“… the hot water extract of this medicinal mushroom is the world’s most thoroughly researched supplement for immune health. There have been more than 400 animal studies and over a dozen placebo-controlled double-blind human clinical studies published in peer reviewed medical journals.”
Medicinal Mushrooms Studied for Health Benefits
One of the impressive things about medicinal mushrooms is the number of studies about them, and years of positive use in Traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine. These medicinal fungi are recognized for their health benefits around the world.
And it wouldn’t be fair to talk about medicinal mushrooms without covering their anti-carcinogenic effects!
One of the most commonly researched abilities of the mushroom is preventing and reversing cancerous tumors.
Dorothy Cimino Brown and Jennifer Reetz from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine conducted a study in dogs with hemangiosarcoma. Hemangiosarcoma is aggressive and often affects Golden Retrievers and German shepherds.
“Dogs with hemangiosarcoma that were treated with a compound derived from the Coriolus versicolor mushroom had the longest survival times ever reported for dogs with the disease. These promising findings offer hope that the compound may one day offer cancer patients — human and canine alike — a viable alternative or complementary treatment to traditional chemotherapies.”
The results of the study were shocking because dogs with hemangiosarcoma of the spleen lived at most 86 days without treatment. Adding only this mushroom extract to the treatment, the dogs were living for over a year.
A Traditional Chinese and Japanese cancer treatments, Reishi’s contain triterpenes which have many health benefits. They also reduce the side effects of chemotherapy treatments. According to TCM Reishi mushrooms can stimulate an underachieve immune system, and calm an overactive immune system – an excellent aid for dogs with autoimmune diseases like allergies.
Chaga is useful in treating melanoma, liver, and colon cancers. Their anti-cancer effect is “pro-apoptic.” This means they target cancer cells and cause them to shut down. Meanwhile, they do not harm healthy cells, thus allowing the body to heal itself.
Studies have revealed mushrooms are halting and even shrinking tumor growth. If your dog is struggling with cancer, adding some of these cancer-fighters to your dog’s diet is a simple but powerful way to help him fight!
Feeding raw mushrooms, giving the wrong kind, and over-use of even these beneficial mushrooms can be harmful. As with all medicinal whole food supplements, please use common sense. A little goes a long way in natural immunity.
When raw, they contain chemicals that can cause more harm than help. They make the fungi nearly indigestible and toxic. These chemicals eliminated with proper cooking, which also unlocks the beneficial parts.
Mushrooms can interact with anticoagulant medications, increasing their effects. Consult with your vet if your is on an anticoagulant.
Avoid feeding these to pregnant or lactating dogs, as there are no studies to prove their safety.
How to Feed
Thoroughly cook all mushrooms before feeding them to your dog. You can sauté them, make a broth or even a tea. Start with small amounts, or about half a dose with supplemental forms, and build up gradually to avoid digestive upset.
Extracts and tablets are also available for supplemental use.
Be careful when dosing extracts and tablets for dogs. For tinctures that are not specifically for dogs, the dosage will most likely be for the 150-lb human. Reduce the dosage to align with the body weight of your dog. Also, reduce dosage to match body weight for tablets.
Here’s a great extract made just for dogs: Dr. Mercola Organic Mushroom Complex for Pets
Tea. Brew by letting dried chunks or grounds to steep for several minutes to several hours. Dogs can have 8 ounces per 50 pounds of body weight. Reduce the dosage to match your dog’s body weight (4oz. for 25lbs. 2 oz; for 12lbs; etc.).
We do not recommend that you load your dog up every day, but supplementing his diet once a week will still give him tremendous benefits.
Here’s a great recipe for your dog. Use this broth to top your dog’s food, or give a sick dog a gentle boost.
– Cassy Kay
Brunty, Myndi. “Chaga Mushrooms for Dogs” dogsnaturallymagazine.com. Web. Accessed March 3, 2018. http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/chaga-mushroom-for-dogs/
“Can I Give My Dog Mushrooms?” canigivemydog.com. Web. Accessed March 3, 2018. http://canigivemydog.com/mushrooms
Habib, Rodney. “Does Your Pet Or A Pet That You Know Have Cancer?” planetpaws.ca. Web. Accessed March 3, 2018. https://www.planetpaws.ca/2015/07/05/does-your-pet-or-a-pet-that-you-know-have-cancer/
Henriques, Julia. “6 Reasons Reishi Mushrooms Are Good for Your Dog” dogsnaturallymagazine.com. Web. Accessed March 3, 2018. http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/6-reasons-reishi-mushrooms-are-good-for-your-dog/
Scott, Dana. “Mushrooms and Hemangiosarcoma” dogsnaturallymagazine.com. Web. Accessed March 3, 2018. http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/mushrooms-and-hemangiosarcoma/
Scott, Dana. “Mushrooms for Cancer in Dogs” dogsnaturallymagazine.com. Web. Accessed March 3, 2018. http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/medicinal-mushrooms-for-cancer-in-dogs/