Food & Wine

Oyster mushroom cuts blood glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure

Updated: 03 Jun 2009
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The value of yummy oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) might not be limited to their good taste. Studies have shown that the mushroom could lower blood glucose and cholesterol in diabetes patients.


A study done at Department of Diet and Nutrition, Dhaka assessed the effects of reducing blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides in diabetic patients. Additionally, this study addressed whether there was any hepatic and renal toxicity of mushroom.



Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus)


What is oyster mushroom?

The oyster mushroom is a common mushroom prized for its edibility and lack of confusing look-alikes. Long cultivated in Asia, it is now cultivated around the world for food. The oyster mushroom is frequently used in Japanese and Chinese cookery as a delicacy: it is frequently served either on its own, although sometimes stuffed: and in stir-fry recipes too with soy sauce.


Oyster mushrooms are a source of statin drugs. The oyster mushroom is also one of the few known carnivorous mushrooms. Its mycelia can kill and digest nematodes. This is believed to be a way to obtain nitrogen.


The oyster mushroom has a high nutritional value for its high level of vitamins and proteins and its non-saturated fatty acids.


Oyster mushrooms contain very small amounts of arabitol which can cause gastrointestinal distress in some people.


The present clinical investigation was conducted in a hospital in Dharka from July 2005 to January 2006, in which 89 diabetes patients were recruited. The measurements researchers collected from the patients included: height, weight, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, plasma glucose for fasting and plasma glucose 2 hours after breakfast, total cholesterol, triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein (HDL-c; or so-called”bad cholesterol”).


The period of the investigation is 24 days. Patients ate a mushroom diet for 7 days, then no mushroom diet for 7 day and finally, 7 more days on mushroom. Measurements were taken at the start and each after every 7 days.


The results showed that mushroom significantly reduced the patients’ systolic and diastolic blood pressure. It also lowered both plasma glucose, total cholesterol and triglycerides significantly. However, there was no significant change in weight and HDL-c.


When mushroom was withdrawn, there were significant increases of diastolic blood pressure, plasma glucose before and 2 hours after breakfasts. Moreover, total cholesterol and triglycerides also surged significantly. No significant change was observed in weight, systolic blood pressure HDL-c, though.


Interestingly, when the patients resumed another 7 days of mushroom diet, the researchers found, again, significant reduction in blood glucose, triglycerides and cholesterol.


The researchers thus conclude that oyster mushroom significantly reduced blood glucose, blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol of diabetic patients without any deleterious effect on liver and kidney. The effect of mushroom may be investigated in a large sample for a longer duration to evaluate its efficacy and toxicity.


How oyster mushroom does that?

In literature, the mechanism of oyster mushroom’s hypocholesterolemic effects (lowering cholesterol) lies with its abilty to reduce cholesterol absorption and increase plasma cholesterol removal by reducing the production and secretion of very low density lipoproteins (VLDL).


Rats were fed with a semisynthetic diet with 0.3 % of cholesterol. 5 % of powdered oyster mushroom was added to the diet for 8 weeks. It was observed that after 8 weeks, the level of serum cholesterol dropped significantly by 36%; and the accumulation of cholesterol and triglycerides in the liver fell by 51% and 32%, respectively.


The researchers explained that the decreased levels of cholesterol in the blood.


Parallel reductions of cholesterol also occurred in very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) (by 53%) and in low density lipoproteins (LDL) (by 47%).



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