The edible mushroom Pleurotus eryngii might just be of great interest to sports supplements manufacturers. We draw this conclusion, ignorant as we are when it comes to mushrooms and wapiti metabolism, from a Korean study in which wapitis synthesized dramatically more testosterone, growth hormone and IGF-1 when given mycelium from Pleurotus eryngii mixed with their food.
Pleurotus eryngii is rapidly becoming a whole industrial sector in Korea. Hundreds of companies are now producing this flavoursome oyster mushroom. One of the waste products of this is spent mushroom substrate: a mix of compost, fibres and mycelium. This waste is produced in such quantities that it's becoming a problem for the sector.
Researchers at the Korean National Institute of Animal Science published a possible solution for this problem in the Asian-Australian Journal of Animals Sciences in March 2012. They looked at whether would be possible to use the waste from the Pleurotus eryngii mushroom nurseries as food for wapitis. Wapiti breeding is also a commercial activity in Korea.
Each gram of spent mushroom substrate contained 199.2 mg beta-glucans. The researchers gave their wapitis food containing 0, 15 or 20 percent spent mushroom substrate for a period of 80 days.
The wapitis that had received 15 percent mushroom substrate had a sixty percent higher monocyte concentration [MO] than the 0 percent group. Monocytes are white blood cells. They are the immune cells in the innate immune system, the ones that provide the first line of defence to infections or when healthy cells mutate into cancer cells.
In the same group the concentration of haemoglobin [Hb] was 13 percent higher than in the 0 percent group.
The researchers were particularly surprised by the changes in levels of a number of anabolic hormones in the animals used in the experiment. In the 15 percent group the levels of growth hormone, IGF-1 and testosterone were respectively 28, 30 and 400 percent higher than the levels in the 0 percent group.
"The results of the current study confirmed the applicability of SMS as a feed ingredient in elk diets", the Koreans conclude. "Further study with more focus on growth performance is therefore suggested."
Apparently Pleurotus eryngii contains something that boosts the production of testosterone and other steroid hormones. So if it's possible to extract this substance from Pleurotus eryngii and put it in a supplement…
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences v.25, no.3, 2012, pp.320-324.