Korean researchers investigated the possibility of improving the immuno-stimulatory activity of cordyceps mushrooms (Cordyceps militaris) by fermenting them with probiotic strains of bacteria. They reported that fermentation improved the boost that cordyceps bestowed upon the immune system and improved the availability of beneficial nutrients.
Gachon University supported the study. The findings were published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Cordyceps mushrooms were grown on snoutbean (Rhynchosia nulubilis). They were fermented using several probiotic strains of bacteria: Pediococcus pentossaceus (ON89A), Lactobacillus pentosus (SC64), and Weissella cibaria (Sal.Cla22).
Mice were injected with cyclophosphamide to suppress their immune system. The animals were given either distilled water, non-fermented cordyceps, or fermented cordyceps. At the end of the trial, samples were taken and analyzed for chemical signs of immune activity.
The mushrooms fermented by P. pentosacceus – a strain of lactic acid bacteria – showed the biggest improvement in the production of nitric oxide and the activity of phagocytes. Furthermore, the fermented produced improved the mRNA expression of cytokines that trigger healthy immune reactions.
Mice macrophage cultures treated with the P. pentossaceus-fermented product also showed improved phagocytic activity when it came to engulfing the test pathogens.
Fermentation also raised the levels of beta-glucan, cordycepin, and short chain fatty acids in the mushrooms when compared to the already-large amounts found in non-fermented mushrooms.
Based on their findings, the researchers proposed that patients with immune disorders could potentially benefit from consuming cordyceps mushrooms that have been fermented by probiotic bacteria such as P. pentosacceus.
Kwon H-K, Jo W-R, Park H-J. IMMUNE-ENHANCING ACTIVITY OF C. MILITARIS FERMENTED WITH PEDIOCOCCUS PENTOSACEUS (GRC-ON89A) IN CY-INDUCED IMMUNOSUPPRESSED MODEL. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 23 February 2018;18(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-018-2133-9.