What is White Button Mushroom Extract?
If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, you’re likely to have encountered a white button mushroom. The white button mushroom is one of the most common mushrooms native to both Europe and North America. But what you may not know is that they are actually the immature or “baby” forms of adult Portobello mushrooms.
The white button mushroom extract is essentially a powder in capsule form that provides a range of health benefits. Whether you’re looking for a supplement to aid you with healthy weight loss, something to boost your immune system, or a way to raise your vitamin D levels, white button mushroom extract is a possible helper.
White Button Mushroom Benefits
Our heart is responsible for keeping our blood pumping through our body, bringing oxygen to our muscles and organs and letting our body do all the complex operations that it needs to achieve. As such, it’s important that we eat foods to boost our heart — like white button mushrooms.
One study published by Keith R. Martin in Nutrition Journal in 2010 showed that white button mushroom extract supplements, among other mushroom extracts, “consistently reduced” the binding of monocytes to human aortic endothelial cells (in other words, the cells lining the inside of the aorta, in your heart) (x). When monocytes bind to the molecules inside our arteries, this merge can cause blockages that lead to a wide range of cardiovascular diseases. As such, the same study revealed how a white button mushroom extract supplement could be helpful in preventing those diseases.
Besides, further research published in Nutrition Research tested white button mushroom extracts on rats with type-2 diabetes and high-cholesterol diets (x). The results showed that feeding diabetic rats white button mushroom powder for three weeks resulted in “significantly reduced” glucose and triglyceride levels, both major risk factors for heart disease (x). As the evidence suggests, adding white button mushroom supplements into one’s diet can deliver a variety of different heart-related benefits.
Just as our cardiovascular system helps keep everything flowing along internally, our immune system protects us from external threats like viruses and bacteria (as well as internal ones, in the cases of infection or illness). Although it goes without saying, keeping our immune system healthy is vitally important to sustaining our longevity and overall sense of well-being. Once again, white button mushroom supplements come in handy.
Research published in the 2007 Journal of Nutrition studied the immunological effects of white button mushroom supplements on the diets of mice (x). The results showed that the supplementation increased the number of natural killer (NK) cells, along with IFNgamma and TNFalpha, two proteins involved in immune system regulation (the latter are directly involved with fighting tumors). The researchers concluded that an increased intake of white button mushrooms could boost immunity to a range of tumors and diseases. Still, the research doesn’t stop there.
Having established at least some connection between white button mushroom extract supplements and boosted immune system function, further research by the same research team was published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2008 (x). Once again, the study used cells from mice to determine the effect that white button mushroom extract would have on dendritic cells (DC), a kind of messenger cell important for processing antigens and communicating with our body’s T-cells. Once again, the research posited that white button mushroom extract promoted the growth of DCs, enhanced their functioning and made them more effective.
Although we all hear how antioxidants in our food are good for us, we don’t always understand why. For those who are unclear, oxidative stress is a process by which our cells react with reactive oxygen species (ROS). Though ROSs are important, when our ROS levels get too high our cells can become damaged. This leads to a host of health issues that can include cancer, atherosclerosis, depression and much more. More specifically, ROSs are also sometimes called free radicals. Though these molecules are important, they can cause damage if left unchecked, which is where antioxidants come in. Fortunately, white button mushrooms are jam-packed with antioxidants.
In research published in Food and Chemical Toxicology (2013), researchers studied the antioxidant activity of white button mushroom extract on immune system function through in vitro and in vivo methods (x). Like the other research, scientists used mice and gave them an extract for 30 consecutive days. At the end of the experiment, the study showed significant enhancement of antioxidant enzyme activity.
In related research from the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms published in 2018, scientists investigated what kinds of inflammatory or anti-inflammatory effects that white button mushroom extracts might have on various in vitro cultures (x). Although the levels of mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fatty acids varied within each sample, the broad results suggested that white button mushroom extract supplements caused a range of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. As with all the other studies listed, much of this research is still relatively recent. Regardless, most studies have contended that white button mushrooms can likely boost our immune systems and cellular health.
As already mentioned, white button mushrooms have high levels of antioxidants that could prevent various kinds of cell damage. In fact, they also demonstrated an anti-cancer effect in a range of studies. In one phase of the trial study published in Cancer in 2015, researchers studied its effect on subjects who had recurrent prostate cancer (as measured by prostate-specific antigens (PSAs) (x). While the study was small, the results were promising. Of the 36 clients treated, two had their PSA levels drop to undetectable levels that persisted for 49 and 30 months, respectively. Two other patients had a partial positive response and, overall, 36 percent of patients saw a drop in PSA below baseline. While the results may be preliminary, the scientists concluded that white button mushroom supplements certainly had an impact on PSAs that was worth further study.
Another study in Experimental Biology and Medicine published in 2010 analyzed the effect of various mushroom extracts on women with breast cancer (x). Although the results varied by the various specific mushrooms tested, all the extracts tested “significantly suppressed” the proliferation of the human breast cancer cells in the study. As always, more research is required to see exactly why and how these extracts work the way they do. Still, the initial results are promising and seem to show that mushrooms have some broad chemoprotective effects.
A study published in Nutrition Research in 2015 tested how white button mushroom supplements affected the mobility and memory of older rats (x). After subjecting the rats to all manner of different tests, the researchers found that a 0.05 percent mushroom diet (equivalent to 1.5 ounces of fresh mushrooms a day for humans) produced significant improvements in balance and working memory. As such, the study highlighted that including a white button mushroom supplement in our daily diets could diminish age-related declines in cognitive and motor functioning. As mentioned before, antioxidants can cause all kinds of damage to our bodies, including our brains. Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that mushrooms could give our brains an antioxidant boost.
Improved Skin and Healing
A study in Microscopy Research and Technique published in 2012 illustrated that white button mushroom extract supplements could even have benefits for our skin. Using mice once again, the study examined how the extract could affect angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels) in damaged tissue, among other things (x). Ultimately, the research showed a significant increase in VEGF, a signal protein responsible for stimulating blood vessel growth, at the damaged sites. More research is necessary, but the results are still promising.
White Button Mushroom Side Effects & Dosage
As a dietary supplement, the FDA has not set specific guidelines for the use and consumption of white button mushroom extract supplements. Generally speaking, these supplements are widely considered safe and do not cause any serious side effects (outside any potential allergic reactions). Some other side effects reported from eating dirty or old whole white button mushrooms may include upset stomach, nausea or diarrhea (x). These side effects may be exacerbated by taking more than a recommended dose.
As a dietary supplement, take 1,000 mg (scant 1/2 tsp) once or twice daily, or as directed by a physician.
As with all supplements meant to promote general well-being, it is important to note that a supplement such as this is by no means a substitute for legitimate medical advice. It is always best to talk to a doctor if you are experiencing problems with your health before taking any supplements.
The Bottom Line
While white button mushroom extract is not a core nutrient or vitamin like calcium or vitamin C, it remains an incredible boon to our health by virtue of its immune system-boosting benefits. As a supplement drawn from a natural source, anyone who consumes it likely won’t have to worry about contraindications with other medications or supplements when following the supplement guidelines (as always, contact a physician before proceeding). The white button mushroom extract can potentially give users a burst of antioxidants and may also confer some protection against some kinds of cancer, as well as against cognitive decline. Although research remains to be done on all its mechanisms, these supplements are generally safe and affordable and worth working into your present regimen.
By: Ryan Aliapoulios