The Use of Reishi Mushrooms During Pregnancy

April 9, 2024 | Dr. Silvana Jakupovic, ND

Known as the "Mushroom of Immortality," Reishi mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, offering various health benefits ranging from boosting the immune system to combating stress and fatigue. However, when it comes to pregnancy, a period characterized by a heightened sense of caution and care, the question of whether these functional mushrooms can be safely incorporated into a pregnant woman's regimen becomes paramount.

Pregnancy is a miraculous yet complex journey during which the well-being of both mother and child becomes the focal point of every health decision. It's a time when the body undergoes significant changes and adjusts in ways that can sometimes leave expectant mothers pondering the safety and efficacy of natural supplements like Reishi mushrooms. 


How Does Reishi Improve Immune Health?

 Can Reishi Help Prevent Gestational Diabetes?

 Can Reishi Aid Blood Pressure Regulation?

 Can Reishi Help Prevent Pregnancy Obesity?

 Can Reishi Improve Sleep During Pregnancy?

 Is Reishi Safe During Pregnancy?


Reishi Mushrooms: Enhancing Immune Health During Pregnancy

Safeguarding maternal and fetal health through a robust immune system is paramount in pregnancy. Amid various immune-boosting options, Reishi mushrooms may be a valuable addition. These mushrooms harbour two key components beneficial to immune health: beta-glucans, known for their immunomodulatory effects, and triterpenoids, recognized for their potent antiviral properties [1].

Our immune system employs macrophages, cells adept at identifying and neutralizing bacteria and other pathogens. These cells and others possess receptors specifically for beta-glucans, including dectin-1 and TLR-2 [2]. Dectin-1, the predominant receptor, plays a crucial role in initiating the destruction and removal of invasive pathogens. Similarly, TLRs (toll-like receptors) are instrumental in the immune system's frontline defence, triggering the innate immune response early in infection [2]. Beta-glucans' binding to TLRs activates this response, leading to the generation of critical cytokines that regulate the proliferation and function of various immune cells.

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Reishi Mushrooms May Prevent Against Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a form of glucose intolerance that first emerges during pregnancy [3]. It's a condition that heightens the risk of complications such as high blood pressure, preeclampsia, or eclampsia, and it may also pave the way for type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular diseases later in life [3]. Beyond the essential measures of diet and exercise for blood sugar regulation, incorporating Reishi mushrooms may offer additional benefits in mitigating the risk of GDM.

Rich in compounds like polysaccharides, proteoglycans, proteins, and triterpenoids, Reishi mushrooms have demonstrated the potential to lower blood sugar levels. This is achieved through their ability to boost insulin production and reduce plasma sugar levels, as observed in animal research [4]. Furthermore, a study on pregnant mice showed that Reishi may positively influence glucose metabolism, decrease lipid peroxidation, and safeguard fetal health, thereby diminishing the overall risk of long-term health issues [5].

Reishi Mushrooms: Aiding in Blood Pressure Regulation 

The link between gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and an increased risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy underscores the importance of monitoring this critical health indicator. Elevated blood pressure in expectant mothers is associated with various health complications. 

Research points to Reishi mushrooms as a potential natural remedy, containing hypotensive peptides that may help manage blood pressure levels [6]. Moreover, clinical studies suggest that incorporating 100 grams of mushrooms into the daily diet during pregnancy is a preventive approach to reduce the risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension [7].

Reishi's Role in Managing Pregnancy Weight Gain

Pregnancy typically involves weight gain, but exceeding medically advised limits can heighten health risks for both mother and child. Excessive weight gain is often linked with low-grade inflammation and imbalances in gut bacteria [8]. Research indicates that Reishi mushrooms can act as an effective prebiotic, helping to maintain a healthy gut flora balance and mitigate obesity risks [8]. Additionally, Reishi's benefits extend to regulating blood sugar levels and reducing bodily inflammation, contributing to its potential to manage weight during pregnancy.

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Reishi for Sleep and Mental Well-being During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the significance of mental health and sleep quality cannot be overstated, with many expecting mothers facing challenges like anxiety and insomnia. These issues can exist separately or exacerbate each other, impacting overall well-being.

Research highlights Reishi mushrooms' calming effects, attributed to their rich content of phenols and flavonoids [9]. Anxiety, often intertwined with sleep disturbances, can lead to trouble falling and staying asleep due to persistent worries and restless thoughts. Studies exploring Reishi's influence on relaxation have shown promising results, particularly in its ability to improve sleep quality. Specifically, in animal studies, Reishi has been found to extend total sleep duration and enhance the length of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, facilitating a deeper and more restorative sleep experience [10].

Is It Safe to Consume Reishi Mushroom During Pregnancy?

According to Health Canada's guidance on medicinal mushrooms, Reishi and Shiitake are the only varieties without specific warnings for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Nonetheless, it's crucial to seek advice from your healthcare professional before introducing any dietary supplements, such as Reishi, into your regimen while expecting.


Related Articles

Supporting a Healthy Pregnancy Journey with Reishi Mushrooms

Reishi Mushroom Benefits for Fertility

Reishi Mushroom for the Immune System



[1] Ahmad MF, Ahmad FA, Khan MI, Alsayegh AA, Wahab S, Alam MI, Ahmed F. Ganoderma lucidum: A potential source to surmount viral infections through β-glucans immunomodulatory and triterpenoids antiviral properties. Int J Biol Macromol. 2021 Sep 30;187:769-779. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2021.06.122. Epub 2021 Jun 29. PMID: 34197853.

[2] Mirończuk-Chodakowska I, Kujawowicz K, Witkowska AM. Beta-Glucans from Fungi: Biological and Health-Promoting Potential in the COVID-19 Pandemic Era. Nutrients. 2021 Nov 6;13(11):3960. doi: 10.3390/nu13113960. PMID: 34836215; PMCID: PMC8623785.

[3] Mazumder T, Akter E, Rahman SM, Islam MT, Talukder MR. Prevalence and Risk Factors of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus in Bangladesh: Findings from Demographic Health Survey 2017-2018. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Feb 23;19(5):2583. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19052583. PMID: 35270274; PMCID: PMC8909680.

[4] Ma HT, Hsieh JF, Chen ST. Anti-diabetic effects of Ganoderma lucidum. Phytochemistry. 2015 Jun;114:109-13. doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2015.02.017. Epub 2015 Mar 16. PMID: 25790910.

[5] Viroel FJM, Laurino LF, Caetano ÉLA, Jozala AF, Spim SRV, Pickler TB, Sercundes MK, Gomes MC, Hataka A, Grotto D, Gerenutti M. Ganoderma lucidum Modulates Glucose, Lipid Peroxidation and Hepatic Metabolism in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Pregnant Rats. Antioxidants (Basel). 2022 May 24;11(6):1035. doi: 10.3390/antiox11061035. PMID: 35739932; PMCID: PMC9219838.

[6] Tran HB, Yamamoto A, Matsumoto S, Ito H, Igami K, Miyazaki T, Kondo R, Shimizu K. Hypotensive effects and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitory peptides of reishi (Ganoderma lingzhi) auto-digested extract.Molecules. 2014 Aug 29;19(9):13473-85. doi: 10.3390/molecules190913473. PMID: 25178067; PMCID: PMC6271714.

[7] Sun L, Niu Z. A mushroom diet reduced the risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension and macrosomia: a randomized clinical trial. Food Nutr Res. 2020 Jun 8;64. doi: 10.29219/fnr.v64.4451. PMID: 32577117; PMCID: PMC7286351.

[8] Chang CJ, Lin CS, Lu CC, Martel J, Ko YF, Ojcius DM, Tseng SF, Wu TR, Chen YY, Young JD, Lai HC. Ganoderma lucidum reduces obesity in mice by modulating the composition of the gut microbiota. Nat Commun. 2015 Jun 23;6:7489. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8489. Erratum in: Nat Commun. 2017 Jul 11;8:16130. PMID: 26102296; PMCID: PMC4557287.

[9] Singh R, Dhingra GS, Shri R. Evaluation of Antianxiety Potential of Four Ganoderma (Agaricomycetes) Species from India in Mice. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2016;18(11):991-998. doi: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.v18.i11.40. PMID: 28008811.

[10] Cui XY, Cui SY, Zhang J, Wang ZJ, Yu B, Sheng ZF, Zhang XQ, Zhang YH. Extract of Ganoderma lucidum prolongs sleep time in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Feb 15;139(3):796-800. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2011.12.020. Epub 2011 Dec 21. PMID: 22207209.

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