Would you believe it if we told you fungi can detoxify the human body? Well, guess what? It can!
How can fungi achieve such an extraordinary feat? Fungi are known to cleanse polluted water and soil. They secrete protein complexes called enzymes that literally chop toxins apart, and they use the benign molecular fragments as food to grow. Fungi can consume some of the potent and carcinogenic chemicals including phthalates, polycyclic hydrocarbons, and aflatoxin. A superfund site is like a buffet for an oyster mushroom.
It should be of no surprise that fungi can also detoxify the human body. In the modern world, we are all exposed to environmental pollutants. The liver has developed an intricate network of enzymes that can both neutralize toxic chemicals and convert them into soluble molecules that can be excreted in our urine. Studies (see below) have shown that oyster and reishi mushrooms, among others, can stimulate the production of these protective enzymes. Coupled with the high levels of antioxidants naturally occurring in fungi and their ability to bolster our detoxification system, it seems that eating mushrooms on a regular basis may actually be the thing that keeps the doctor away.
Jayakumar, T., Aloysiusthomas, P., & Geraldine, P. (2007). Protective Effect Of An Extract Of The Oyster Mushroom, Pleurotus Ostreatus, On Antioxidants Of Major Organs Of Aged Rats. Experimental Gerontology, 42(3), 183-191.
Li, B., Lee, D., Kang, Y., Yao, N., An, R., & Kim, Y. (2013). Protective effect of ganodermanondiol isolated from the Lingzhi mushroom against tert-butyl hydroperoxide-induced hepatotoxicity through Nrf2-mediated antioxidant enzymes. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 53, 317-324.