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Mushroom extract magic for weight loss?

New research on a mushroom used for years in traditional Asian medicine for longevity and digestive suggests the fungus fights fat, at least in mice.

Can a fungus deflect the effects of cheeseburgers, pizza and milkshakes like a magic mushroom shield? It might, suggests new research published in the journal Nature Communications.

Practitioners of traditional Asian medicine have been using the mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (also known as lingzhi and reishi) for 2,000 years to promote longevity and digestive health. Researchers in Taiwan recently studied the effects of the 'shroom in mice.

They fed two groups of obese rodents a high fat diet for two months. One group of mice also got a daily dose of mushroom extract along with their fatty feasts. After two months, the mice who didn’t get the extract gained weight, with large accumulations of visceral and subcutaneous fat. They developed insulin resistance and high levels of inflammations. The mice who got the mushroom extract did not.

The researchers believe the mushroom works by correcting an unhealthy mix of microorganisms in the rodents’ guts, according to a post about the study in the LA Times. The new info, noted on, adds to a growing body of research linking gut microbes, inflammation and obesity. However, trials to determine whether Ganoderma lucidum can prevent human bodies from growing fatter are a long way off.

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