The Skinny on Shiitake

Shiitake mushrooms seem a mundane option within the salad bar and grocery store, but people who select this fungus eat wisely. They aren’t only enjoying great chow- they’re enjoying one of nature’s most nutritious offerings.


See, shiitake mushrooms are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and chemicals that boost the immune system, fight cancer, and improve organs. Not only that, shiitake do one other thing- keep you ripped. That’s a whole lotta benefits packed into an edible, most particularly one that grows on rot.

Shii-watza? (Background)

Shiitake were first cultivated in the Far East upwards of 3 millennia ago. Believed to facilitate vital energy, medicinal experts throughout China, Korea, and elsewhere prescribed dried or powdered shiitake for many ailments, including fatigue, respiratory problems, and cancer. Already a food common from Thailand to Japan, plenty of ailing patients readily upped shiitake intake during meals, not to mention used the dried and powdered forms.

The ‘shroom is quite easy to grow. So long as a fallen tree is near a log with shiitake mushrooms or spores, there’s a good chance the fungus will spread. Traditional Japanese shiitake farming consists of merely downing shii trees and placing these close to vegetation already facilitating shiitake.

shiitake mushrooms

Currently, shiitake farming is a big business. Many farms grow the mushrooms from sawdust and other organic compounds. Those that want to avoid such origins grow their own, usually with the aid of ready-made kits. Be warned though- the growth process can take upwards of two years.

Shiitaki: Lean, Mean, and Eritadenine (Muscle Benefits)

Shiitake don’t exactly replace the whey protein shake. While filling thanks to its fiber, this fungus is primarily good for cutting fat. In fact, shitake is very effective at cutting fat- just check out this recent study conducted at University of Wollongong, Australia. The research group fed four groups of rats a high fat diet along with a certain amount of shiitake supplements. Those rats that received the highest amount of shiitake also had the lowest weight gain, around 1/3 less than rats fed the fatty diet without shiitake. That’s both visceral and adipose fat, folks. The study hypothesized three reasons why shiitake might be such an effective weight suppressor:

Lentinan – Shiitake is rich in beta glucans. In fact, the mushroom is practically 30% of the stuff. This fiber is widely known for being tough to digest, if digestible at all. The end result is the stomach being less effective at absorbing fats.

Enzymes– Rich in lipoprotein enzymes, shiitake may reduce nonesterified fatty acid- a chemical widely known for contributing to fat gain within adipose tissue.

Eritadenine– This chemical that potentially prevents the liver’s release of triacylglycerol, a chemical used to break down fats. Shiitake has plenty of eritadenine. If the body can’t break down the given food then it’s discarded as refuse and ends in the toilet.

Regardless of why shiitake works to prevent weight gain, one thing is certain- the fungus is good for something. Looking to maximize lifting capability? Don’t go shiitake. Looking to show off sinew? Go shiitake- and after one serving go ahead and eat some more. The best part? Based on the study, people can moderately indulge. Shiitake doesn’t exactly provide an excuse for clocking through a pint of ice-cream, but nothing really does. Seriously, don’t be gross. That voiced, the mushroom apparently does prevent the worse of adipose weight gain.

Shiitake & Your Health (Other Benefits)

Shiitake has been long revered in East Asian culture for good reason. As mentioned, shiitaki is an excellent source for nutrition and lots of benefits:

Cholesterol- Looking to live longer but not willing to sacrifice hamburger? Consume shiitake en mass. Eritadenine not only prevents weight gain, but also fights bad cholesterol. Those dealing with the likes of thrombosis should definitely make this mushroom part of their daily diet, as it also helps against blood clots and the like. While no excuse to indulge in saturated fats, shiitake lowers cholesterol like no other.

Immunity– That same lentinan which potentially stunts weight gain provides a major boost for the immune system. Those who eat shiitake can feel assured their nutritional staple is suspected to be more effective than most antibiotics at dealing with everything from HIV to influenza.

Iron– A mighty mineral, iron is necessary for our blood and energy. Those dealing with iron deficiency anemia would do well to include shiitake mushrooms in their diet.

Cancer- Lentinan not only boosts the immune system, but also helps prevent cancerous tumors from developing. Overall, studies demonstrate that cancer patients administered lentinan survive longer and feel better.

Shiitake Intake Options & Problems (Shiitake Supplements & Risks)

Shiitake aren’t exactly truffles, but they aren’t cheap either. Those serious about shiitake can find supplements that range from 500 mg to 1000. The supplements aren’t candy, though. Too much of any mineral, vitamin, or acid is either useless or bad for you, shiitake included. Most particularly, overdoing shiitake can result in:

shiitake cultivation

Gout– Shiitaki contains purines, which is broken down to form uric acid, a known cause of gout. Those susceptible to purines or already dealing with gout should steer clear of shiitake, but it would take an incredibly large amount of the fungus to give someone this ailment.

Kidney Stones- Like gout, kidney stones can result from uric acid. Also like gout, it takes a whole lot of shiitake to develop kidney stones. However, those already dealing with the issue would do best to avoid the fungus.

Dermatitis– Shitake can also result in temporary dermatitis. Generally, this results if lots of shiitake is consumed undercooked or raw. Lentinan causes the rash, which is too bad- as mentioned, it’s a known immunity booster, tumor buster, and fat fighter. Such reactions are rare. In fact, it’s suspected that only 2% of the population should avoid uncooked shiitake.

All in all, most anybody can enjoy shiitake or take supplemental extracts. Just know your preexisting conditions- but seriously, who doesn’t notice something like gout?

2 thoughts on “The Skinny on Shiitake

  1. Wow they are very good then these Shiitake mushrooms, i never tryed them, i would me and my family just started an organic food lifestyle, a bit expensive but good for your body, i see there are so many benefits on these mushrooms, thanks for going in such depth

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