But what are medicinal mushrooms in the first place? What do they do? And why are Turkey Tail Mushrooms for dogs so beneficial? Let’s dive in and learn about this amazing fungus!
What are Medicinal Mushrooms?
Medicinal Mushrooms are a type of macroscopic fungus that were first discovered in nature centuries ago and have been used for thousands of years for their health benefits. Only until recently have these benefits been proven in clinical trials and research, but our ancestors already knew they were on to something good. These fungi are rich in several beneficial compounds, most notably beta-glucans. Beta-glucans are a class of polysaccharides (a type of carbohydrate) that promote immune stimulation, especially anti-tumor related immunity. These beta-glucans can be divided into two specific beneficial components: Polysaccharide-K (PSK) and polysaccharide-P (PSP). These two components make up the cell wall of the mushroom and are responsible for the structure of the mushroom itself.
What is Turkey Tail Mushroom?
Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) is the best-researched medicinal mushroom, with several controlled clinical trials demonstrating its increased long-term survivability in patients with gastrointestinal cancers, and to a lesser degree other cancers, with oral application of concentrated extracts of the fruit bodies and mycelium, particularly PSK and PSP. These commercially produced extracts are often prescribed for treating cancer in Japan. PSK and PSP have demonstrated a wide range of immunological effects in vitro and in vivo, particularly reticuloendothelial system activation, cytokine modulation (IFN-γ production, IL-2 production), enhancement of dendritic cell viability, T-cell maturation, natural killer cell activity, antibody production, and anti-tumor and anticancer effects. The extracts can inhibit carcinogenesis and tumor cell growth by activating cancer cell apoptosis. *
What this means is they stimulate the immune system to fight off disease and depending on the state of the animal, can also suppress certain inappropriate immune responses as well. Therefore mushrooms are called adaptogens; just like cannabis, they have the ability to modulate the immune system. Most standard pharmaceuticals and herbs either boost or suppress the immune system. Immunomodulators are “smart” in that they have the ability to modulate (change) the immune system based on its unique needs.
Turkey Tail Mushrooms for Dogs
Beta-glucans found in Turkey Tail have anti-cancer, anti-viral, anti-bacterial abilities that you simply cannot find in such concentrations elsewhere. Turkey Tail has the highest concentration of beta-glucans when compared to other species of medicinal mushrooms.
Turkey Tail Mushrooms for Dogs with Cancer
One of the main reasons I love Turkey Tail Mushrooms for dogs so much is because of its anti-cancer power. I became very accustomed to cancer while caring for my geriatric dogs at my rescue, Fire Flake Farm. Lymphoma and Mast Cell were always prevalent in older dogs, and always easy to tackle with a Full Spectrum Hemp Extract and Ketogenic Diet. However, it wasn’t until my beloved Doberman Nina was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma that I discovered the power of Turkey Tail mushrooms for dogs (Trametes Versicolor).
Osteosarcoma is a bone cancer, is common in large breed dogs and is very aggressive, with upwards of 90-95% of patients having micro-metastasis and death within six months of diagnosis. Nina, my eight-year-old Doberman was diagnosed with it July 2020. So, I went to work to find out what I could do to help her immune system fight this cancer and keep it from spreading. I already knew the benefits of a Full Spectrum Hemp and Marijuana Extract, but I didn’t know that Turkey Tail Mushrooms were also powerful adaptogens in the fight against cancer. So, I added Turkey Tail to Nina’s protocol every day and let the Adaptogens get to work!
If you are already battling cancer with your pet and have already started chemotherapy, Turkey Tail mushrooms for dogs can help with that too! Turkey Tail helps reduce the negative effects of chemotherapy like decreased immune function and leukopenia (loss of leukocytes). Turkey Tail has been found to be comparable (but not equivalent) to chemotherapy drugs in its anti-tumor capability, so even if your pet is already using a conventional treatment like chemotherapy, you can still safely add Turkey Tail mushrooms for dogs to their health plan and see wonderful benefits regardless!
Other Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushrooms for Dogs
Other than its cancer-fighting abilities, Turkey Tail is also a wonderful gut health supplement. Due to its fibrous nature, it makes for an excellent natural prebiotic to feed healthy bacteria in the gut and regulates digestion. Turkey Tail has the ability to directly regulate inflammation in the body, and unfortunately most dogs deal with some sort of inflammatory condition, especially in their GI tract. Turkey Tail mushrooms for dogs can help curb this inflammation by its ability to communicate with the immune system.
In addition, by supporting your dog’s gut health, you are thus increasing their ability to digest food and assimilate nutrients (not to mention Turkey Tail is loaded with beneficial phytonutrients), which will support their health and vitality overall!
Turkey Tail is also a powerful yeast-fighter. Yeast overgrowth in our pets is a huge issue to the abundance of carb-laden foods and treats. Yeast issues come in many forms, but most notably ear infections, hot spots, stinky/itchy skin, and food sensitivities. Due to its anti-fungal properties, Turkey Tail mushrooms for dogs are a wonderful addition to a health protocol for a dog battling chronic yeast issues.
Regardless of your dog’s health or age, Turkey Tail Mushrooms for Dogs is a must have in their health regimen. It is safe, well-tolerated, and without any negative side effects. Finding a quality source of mushrooms is imperative to getting the most benefit out of it. So, make sure the supplement you use is organically grown, fruiting body extract, using hot water extraction. Like everything else, sourcing is key- so if your mushroom brand won’t be transparent in their sourcing and manufacturing- find one who will! I’m often asked about my favorite or most used supplements and products, and Medicinal Mushrooms for dogs are definitely one of my essential go-to’s! If you’d like to learn more about my favorite supplements and natural products for pet health, I recently shared My Essential Holistic Toolkit for Pets. You can also book a consultation with Dr. Zac Pilossoph and myself, if you have questions about adding natural supplements like hemp or mushroom extract to your pet’s daily regimen.
About Angela ArdolinoAngela Ardolino is a holistic pet expert who has been caring for animals for over 20 years. She operates a rescue farm, Fire Flake Farm, in Florida. In addition, she owns Beautify the Beast, a natural pet salon and shop. Moreover, Angela got her certificate in Medical Cannabis Biology and Therapeutic use from the University of Vermont School of Medicine. Next, she founded Hemp Dog Health to provide high quality, all-natural medical cannabis products designed specifically for pets.
Accordingly, she uses Full Spectrum Hemp Extract on all her pets at her rescue farm every day since 2016. Angela has five dogs. Odie a 12-year-old mini-schnauzer, Nina an 8-year-old Doberman. Jolene a 7-year-old mutt, Maza a 7-year-old mutt, and Rhemi an 8-year-old poodle. In addition, she has 4-10 more any time she is fostering or boarding. She is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians and the Veterinary Cannabis Association. In fact, Angela has educated hundreds of medical doctors and veterinarians on the therapeutic uses of medical cannabis on animals.