Dietary mushrooms: An excellent source for nutraceuticals capable of reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the developed world. Epidemiological evidence suggests that dietary intervention is an important and effective means of reducing CVD risk due to the plethora of beneficial bioactive agents present primarily in plant-based diets. Mushrooms such as shiitake (Lentinus edodes), maitake (Grifola frondosa) and oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) in particular are rich in bioactive compounds. These compounds include eritadenine, lovastatin, beta-glucans, ergothioneine, flavonoids, ergosterols, zaragozic acids and phenolic compounds, which function as nutraceuticals via numerous mechanisms to lower CVD risk. This occurs, in part, by lowering total plasma and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, increasing bile acid excretion and hepatic LDL receptor mRNA expression and inhibiting HMG CoA reductase and squalene synthesis. Mushrooms also exert anti-inflammatory, immunomodulating, anti-coagulant, anti-hypertensive and anti-adhesive properties that collectively diminish atherosclerotic risk. Furthermore, dietary mushrooms may inhibit development of atherosclerotic plaques and purportedly reduce the overall plaque size if already present. Emerging research suggests that many of these effects not only occur at the level of molecular interaction and enzymatic inhibition but also at the level of gene expression changes. Thus, dietary mushrooms are a rich source of nutraceuticals and may be an important dietary means of reducing the risk for CVD. © 2013 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Nutrigenomics: Application to the Development of Nutraceuticals and Cosmeceuticals

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