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Turkey Tail for Cancer patients?

Have you heard of turkey tail? In recent years medicinal mushrooms have become a popular superfood with a range of health benefits depending on the mushroom in question. When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer I received sooo many messages from my health practitioner friends about Turkey Tail or trametes versicolor if you want to get technical so I decided to do some research for myself.

Turkey Tail has a long history of being highly regarded for its medicinal value as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine dating back at least 2000 years including general health promoting effects, longevity and endurance. In fact in Japan PSK (the polysaccharide active component) is an approved mushroom component to treat cancer!

Looking at the research I found turkey tail was shown to induce apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells, it has been shown as an antioxidant to help combat oxidative stress which is common for cancer patients as well as showing anti melanoma cell activity. In regards to breast cancer specifically I also read a study of an 83 year old woman with breast cancer that took turkey tail capsules whilst undergoing chemotherapy, The woman took 4g twice a day and continued after chemotherapy when just taking Herceptin for maintenance (for women with HER2+ breast cancer) and added in a combination mushroom formula. The woman continues to take a daily dose of turkey tail and a combination mushroom formula and is now disease free. The study concluded that taking 6g of turkey tail daily lead to faster immune recovery after radiotherapy.

So at this point you might be wondering how do you take turkey tail? Well the most common ways are in powder, tea, capsule or liquid form. I have started taking it myself in a powder form and have been sprinkling it onto my morning yoghurt, adding to smoothies and mixing it into any food that I have. Because I have been having it with food I haven't noticed any strong offensive flavours and it has been easy to introduce into my everyday routine. Also looking at the research I have found it to be quite safe with very few side effects and the benefits seeming to outweigh any negatives surrounding its use. However it is important if you are thinking of taking turkey tail discuss prior to doing so with your health practitioner so that you can make an informed decision for your personal health circumstances.

I have included some articles below if you are interested in looking deeper at the research:

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