This native Taiwanese mushroom Antrodia camphorata (aka Antrodia cinnamomea) is starting to attract increasing interest because of the exceptionally high concentration of its triterpenoid compounds and their structural diversity. Other important bioactive compounds include polysaccharides, maleic/succinic acid derivatives, benzenoids and benzoquinone derivatives.
Antrodia camphorata is a well-known mushroom that has been used as an herbal medicine for centuries in Taiwan. This mushroom has been used in the treatment of various diseases; e.g. diarrhea, abdominal pain and hypertension
Taiwanese name – Niu Chang Chih
Antrodia camphorata mycelium containing 6% triterpenes with: Antrodin C >12.0mg/g, Antrodin B >1.0mg/g, Adenosine >1.0mg/g and is suitable for vegetarians and vegans and free from dairy, gluten, maize and soya.
With wild-collected material extremely rare and prohibitively expensive, we use cultivated mycelium as a cost-effective alternative, it having >6% triterpenes. Over 78 compounds consisting of terpenoids, benzenoids, lignans, benzoquinone derivatives, succinic and maleic derivatives, in addition to polysaccharides have been identified.
Generally, polysaccharides and triterpenoids are the major bioactive components in medicinal mushrooms. The polysaccharides extracted from A. camphorata were found to have anti-hepatitis B surface antigen [R] and anti-tumor effects.
Antrodia camphorata extracts from its fruiting bodies, mycelium and cultivation filtrate showed multiple cancer preventive and anti-inflammatory activities. Triterpenes are considered to be potential anti-tumor agents due to activity against growing tumors, they have direct cytotoxicity against tumor cells rather than to normal cells.[R]
In addition, these extracts provide a variety of anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory active secondary metabolites and polysaccharides. Of particular promise, due to their potent cytotoxic activity against a number of cancer cell lines, are the triterpenoids with ketonic functional groups. In fact, these triterpenoids, which have also been found in a small number of other mushrooms, are currently under active investigation as potential therapeutic leads [R]. Because the antioxidant action is also a means of lowering chronic anti-inflammatory action, A. camphorata hold potential in functional food approaches aimed at normalizing metabolic syndrome.
Reported data has showed that A. camphorata may exert its hepatoprotective effects, though different mechanisms such as scavenging free radicals responsible for cell damage, enhancing the enzymes responsible for antioxidant activity, inhibiting the inflammatory mediators and/or induction of the regeneration of the liver cells. Previously reported data revealed that A. camphorata is a potent free radical scavenger [R]. It is therefore possible that hepatoprotective action of Antrodia camphorata is partially due to its antioxidant activity.
The pathways with which Antrodia camphorata acts upon are very extensive, the most extensive we’ve ever seen from a mushroom, even chemotherapy drugs usually only often act on one to 4 pathways at the most, Antrdoia camphorata acts upon around 33. It also acts upon the 4 major pathways in cancer cell metastasis, the transcription, proliferation, angiogenesis and migration and without affecting healthy stem cells. The below diagram shows the functions governing the programmed death of a cell known as apoptosis.
You can click here for a larger version of the diagram
Cancer is one of the scenarios where too little apoptosis occurs, resulting in malignant cells that will not die. The mechanism of apoptosis is complex and involves many pathways. Defects can occur at any point along these pathways, leading to malignant transformation of the affected cells, tumour metastasis and resistance to anticancer drugs.
One example is the downregulation of p53, a tumour suppressor gene, which results in reduced apoptosis and enhanced tumour growth and development [R] and inactivation of p53, regardless of the mechanism, has been linked to many human cancers
The execution phase of apoptosis involves the activation of a series of caspases. The upstream caspase for the intrinsic pathway is caspase 9 while that of the extrinsic pathway is caspase 8. The intrinsic and extrinsic pathways converge to caspase 3. Caspase 3 then cleaves the inhibitor of the caspase-activated deoxyribonuclease, which is responsible for nuclear apoptosis [R].
In one study, downregulation of caspase-9 was found to be a frequent event in patients with stage II colorectal cancer and correlates with poor clinical outcome
Cancer-initiating cells (CIC’s) or cancer stem cells (CSC’s) are a rare sub-population of cancer cells, which are responsible for tumor growth and cancer recurrence during conventional chemotherapy or radiotherapy [R]. Over the past decade, increasing evidence suggests that the hierarchical model of cancer initiating cells (CIC’s) or cancer stem cells (CSC’s) in that each tumor formation is governed by a rare sub-population of cells with self-renewal capacity . CIC’s have been demonstrated to have capacities of promoting tumor growth, tumor regeneration, metastatic progression, and tumor recurrence [R].
The effects of Antrodia cinnamomea against Liver Cancer
Use of Antrodia cinnamomea resulted in the increase of caspase-3 and caspase-8 proteolytic activities and induced the proteolysis of pro-caspase-8 and procaspase-3. The above results indicated that Antrodia cinnamomea induced HepG2 apoptosis through the activation of caspase-3 and caspase-8 cascades and the regulation of cell cycle progression.
Review of Pharmacological Effects of Antrodia camphorata and Its Bioactive Compounds
Suggested Usage: 3-4 capsules, twice per day, up to 6 for short periods may be needed, there are no toxicity concerns known however, the effect of taking high doses of Antrodia Camphorata tumor lysis could be expected. This can be reduced by good daily hydration(with fresh lemon) and good liver support with lymphatic exercise, Digestive Enzymes, Amino acids, B vitamins, MSM, R-ALA, Vitamin C and Coffee enemas or Coffee bullets.
Tumor Lysis Syndrome
There are risks involved in using anti tumor compounds because when they start to break down necrotic matter or simply destroy many cancer cells in a short time, the toxins released can be life-threatening if done more quickly than the liver and kidneys can process and expel them. Therefore monitoring of these toxins in the urine should be done by your clinic to ensure that the levels of uric acid, potassium and other proteins does not get too high .
Having at least 40 Black Cherries on hand should a situation arise can be a helpful antidote, taking 30-40 of these can reduce the uric acid in an emergency. There are also drugs which can be used such as anti-gout medication: Allopurinol (Zyloprim).
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1. Borchers AT, Keen CL, Gershwin ME. Mushrooms, tumors, and immunity: an update. Experimental Biology and Medicine. 2004;229(5):393–406. [PubMed]