New Study Finds Prebiotic Effects of Mushrooms Help Manage Blood Sugar

7 minute read

When you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you face a lot of dietary changes. Most people know that diabetics need to avoid added sugars and carbohydrates.

These dietary guidelines have been the generally accepted first step for diabetics for a very long time and that’s not likely to change. But a new study by Penn State discovered that mushrooms may help diabetes sufferers. The study dealt with white button mushrooms and mice, but the information is so promising that they hope to begin studying human reactions.

Mushrooms and Your Microbiome

A simple serving of white button mushrooms per day changed the microbiota, i.e., beneficial gut bacteria, in the mice. They saw an increase in the production of short-chain fatty acids, which can assist with the management of glucose production.

An improvement in glucose management would have clear benefits to someone with diabetes, but it can also be a boon to people with other metabolic diseases. Adding on to that, people with diabetes are prone to other diseases, like heart disease and stroke.

The consumption of mushrooms in the mice set off a beneficial chain reaction of bacteria. The mushroom acted as a prebiotic, which means it fed the bacteria in the gut of the mice.

Specifically, the population of Prevotella expanded notably. Prevotella is a bacteria that produces propionate and succinate, these acids can change the expression of genes on the pathway between the brain and the gut and offer a better system of glucose management.

This new information about mushrooms and diabetes not only provides insight into the connection between gut bacteria and diabetes, it suggests there are significant nutritional benefits to mushrooms and stresses the importance of having “good” gut bacteria.

Benefits of Eating Mushrooms

Whether you have diabetes or not, there are benefits to eating mushrooms.

Healthy makeup. All types of edible mushrooms contain protein, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and more.

Immune health: The powerful antioxidant selenium is found in mushrooms and it has noted benefits to the human body’s immune system and can help prevent damage to cells and tissues.

| Related: Why Probiotics Give Your Immune System a Big Boost |

Vitamin D: Vitamin D has been a hot topic lately as people are becoming more aware of the seriousness of a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is considered the sunshine vitamin and can be absorbed in the human body by being in the sun. It can also be consumed in some foods.

The problem is it’s not as plentiful as other vitamins and it’s typically found in foods that vegans do not eat. The great news is that white button mushrooms are one of the few non-animal sources of vitamin D.

Fights cancer: Some types of mushrooms have the potential to protect your body from cancer by protecting cells from DNA damage and also inhibiting tumor formation.

Heart health: Mushrooms may also loser cholesterol and phytonutrients, this gives your heart a boost by helping you maintain healthy blood pressure and circulation.

Cognition: There’s only preliminary data available, but it does seem to suggest that mushrooms could delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer disease.

While you can eat mushrooms raw, there have been studies on effects of cooking mushrooms. Different cooking methods may boost or reduce certain beneficial components of the fungus.

| Related: The 19 Best Prebiotic Foods for Gut Bacteria Benefits |

For example, if you’re really excited about the antioxidant potential of mushrooms, you shouldn’t boil or fry them but rather grill or microwave them. Being an informed cook can help you make the most of your mushroom meal.

Good Gut Bacteria Benefits

As mentioned, the beneficial connection between mushrooms and diabetes is largely dependent on probiotics in the body doing their job efficiently. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that live in your digestive system and work diligently to keep your gut and the rest of your body healthy.

| Related: The Differences Between Probiotics and Prebiotics |

The more we learn about good gut bacteria, the more we discover their importance. The following are just a few reasons you want to boost your gut bacteria, either through eating a more healthy and diverse diet or by adding a supplement, like Complete Probiotics by 1MD.

Healthy balance: In addition to good gut bacteria, there are also bad bacteria in the body. A healthy balance is essential to all-over health and well-being.

Mental health: There is proof that supplementing a diet with the probiotics Bifidobacterium and lactobacillus can improve anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and memory.

Healthy heart: Lactic acid-producing bacteria may reduce LDL cholesterol and probiotics may lower blood pressure.

Reduce allergies and eczema: Some studies are seeing results between increased probiotics and reduced symptoms from allergies and eczema. These studies are very new and need follow-up, but the potential may exist.

Help digestive disorders: It’s long been known that probiotics help with diarrhea, particularly when it’s caused by antibiotics. But further research has shown that probiotics can help with different inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Immune system boost: Having a healthy balance in your gut can give your immune system a boost and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.

Weight loss: By preventing the absorption of dietary fat and making you feel fuller longer, probiotics may offer a boost in weight loss. It’s important to note that while some probiotics showed a connection to weight loss, others showed a correlation to weight gain.

The Bottom Line

Obviously, there is more work to be done in the field of probiotics and their potential connections to a whole host of illnesses and other conditions.

Likewise, the potential of mushrooms to aid in the treatment of diabetes is worthy of a deeper dive and more research. Until then, adding some white button mushrooms to your diet does seem to offer many health benefits that you don’t want to miss out on.

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