Ganoderma lucidum, Tremella fuciformis and Auricularia auricula show particular promise for supporting cardiovascular health, with actions including:
One clinical study reported a polysaccharide extract of G. lucidum to reduce chest pain, palpitations and shortness of breath in patients with coronary heart disease (5.4g/day) while triterpenoid ganoderic acids from Ganoderma tsugae have demonstrated cardioprotective properties through reduction in oxidative stress and T. fuciformis polysaccharides have been shown to help protect the cells lining the blood vessels, damage to which is an important contributory factor in the development of cardiovascular disease1-5.
Cordyceps species also show significant cardioprotective properties and are approved in China for the treatment of arrythmia, at least partially due to their adenosine content. In addition, cordycepin has been shown to prevent ischaemia and reperfusion injury in animal models6-8.
Polysaccharide extracts of G. lucidum, T. fuciformis and A.auricula/A. polytricha (1-3g/day) can provide useful cardiovascular support and be used at higher levels or in combination with G. lucidum ethanolic extract or cordycepin-rich cordyceps in more severe cases.
1. A phase I/II study of ling zhi mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (W.Curt.:Fr.) Lloyd (Aphyllophoromycetideae) extract in patients with coronary heart disease. Gao Y, Chen G, Dai X, Ye J, Zhou S. Int J Med Mushrooms 2004;6(4):30.
2. Research advances in primary biological effects of Tremella polysaccharides. Chen FF, Cai DL. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2008;6(8):862-6.
3. Chemical characterization of Auricularia auricula polysaccharides and its pharmacological effect on heart antioxidant enzyme activities and left ventricular function in aged mice. Wu Q et al. Int J Biol Macromol. 2010 Apr 1;46(3):284-8.
4. Auricularia auricular polysaccharide protects myocardium against ischemia/reperfusion injury. Ye TM, Qian LB, Cui J, Wang HP, Ye ZG, Xia Q. Zhongguo Ying Yong Sheng Li Xue Za Zhi. 2010 May;26(2):154-8.
5. The triterpenoids of Ganoderma tsugae prevent stress-induced myocardial injury in mice. Kuok QY, Yeh CY, Su BC, Hsu PL, Ni H, Liu MY, Mo FE. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013 Oct;57(10):1892-6.
6. Medicinal value of the caterpillar fungi species of the genus Cordyceps. Holliday J, Cleaver M. Int J Med Mushr. 2008;10(3):219-234.
7. Cardiovascular protection and antioxidant activity of the extracts from the mycelia of Cordyceps sinensis act partially via adenosine receptors. Yan XF et al. Phytother Res. 2013 Nov;27(11):1597-604.
8. Cordycepin, 3′-deoxyadenosine, prevents rat hearts from ischemia/reperfusion injury via activation of Akt/GSK-3β/p70S6K signaling pathway and HO-1 expression. Park ES et al. Cardiovasc Toxicol. 2014 Mar;14(1):1-9.