How Reishi Mushroom Supplements Can Help with Weight Loss

By Melissa Carr, Dr. TCM

Jan 27, 2021

Weight loss is a struggle for many of us, especially after the extra pandemic pounds that some of us have put on because of being less active, stress eating, and home baking. Sometimes it can seem that no matter how hard you diet or exercise, shedding stubborn excess weight can be a challenge, especially if you have a sluggish metabolism.

So, if you are looking for ways to lose those extra pounds, safely and naturally, we have some great news. By now, you probably know that this magical mushroom is used to support a balanced immune system and treat heart disease, liver disorders, and lung issues. But what you might not know is that reishi mushroom can also help you manage weight loss.

Reasons for Excess Weight

When patients ask me if I can help them with weight loss, I often try to reframe the problem. I can (and do) suggest healthier foods and encourage a more active lifestyle, but I can’t make patients follow those recommendations. Plus, some patients have already made those changes and still can’t shed the pounds.

There are many reasons other than eating too much or moving too little that someone can find it hard to maintain their healthiest weight. Some have a tough time regulating their blood sugars. Many have digestive issues. Even stress and poor sleep can affect metabolism and result in weight gain.

How Reishi Works To Battle the Bulge

The reishi mushroom, also known as Ganoderma lucidum and lingzhi, is well known for its abundance of health benefits. In fact, it has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.

Blood Sugar Imbalance

Told you need to cut down on carbs and sweets because you have signs of insulin resistance? Wouldn’t it be nice to have something to help you manage your cravings and better regulate glucose metabolism?

In a recent study done on obese mice, bioactive substances found in reishi were found to help prevent obesity and insulin resistance.

Poor Digestion

While malabsorption of food nutrients often leads to unhealthy weight loss, sometimes poor digestion can result in unintended weight gain. Examples of this include chronic constipation, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and overeating caused by trying to abate symptoms of acid reflux. One common cause of digestive distress is an imbalance of the healthy bacteria of the gut. Reishi mushroom compounds, called polysaccharides, have been shown to help restore these good bacteria. In a study on mice, reishi successfully treated obesity, reversing weight gain and insulin resistance.

Stress Eating

Reishi mushroom is best recognized for its ability to help calm the nervous system and manage stress. When we produce more of the stress hormone cortisol, our insulin levels can rise, resulting in a drop in our blood sugar and cravings for sugary and fatty foods. Eating comfort foods may also distract us from facing our problems head on.

What’s worse, ramping up the calories when we’re pumping out high levels of cortisol can make fat preferentially gain around the middle, which holds higher health risks. And, as if that weren’t enough, we burn fewer calories because of lowered metabolism when we’re stressed.

Better managing our chronic stress with an adaptogen like Japanese red reishi can help bump us out of our poor food choices and lower our cortisol levels so we can properly burn off the calories once more.

Reishi for Weight Loss

Anything that has to do with weight loss drums up its fair share of attention. And as if reishi couldn’t get enough of the spotlight when it comes to longevity and overall health, this fantastic fungus has also been shown to help us find our healthy weight once more.

Dr. Melissa Carr is a registered Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine with a B.Sc. in Kinesiology. In practice since 2001, Dr. Carr has a passion for sharing health information. She has been a nutrition instructor and a health consultant, lecturer, and writer for 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper, Fraser Health Authority, UBC, and the David Suzuki Foundation, amongst others.


  • Chen, M., Xiao, D., Liu, W., Song, Y., Zou, B., Li, L., . . . Xie, Z. (2019, November 09). Intake of Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides reverses the disturbed gut microbiota and metabolism in type 2 diabetic rats. Retrieved from
  • Lee HA, Cho J-H, Afinanisa Q, An G-H, Han J-G, Kang HJ, Choi SH, Seong H-A. Ganoderma lucidum Extract Reduces Insulin Resistance by Enhancing AMPK Activation in High-Fat Diet-Induced Obese Mice. Nutrients. 2020; 12(11):3338.
  • Lee HA, Cho J-H, Afinanisa Q, An G-H, Han J-G, Kang HJ, Choi SH, Seong H-A. Ganoderma lucidum Extract Reduces Insulin Resistance by Enhancing AMPK Activation in High-Fat Diet-Induced Obese Mice. Nutrients. 2020; 12(11):3338.

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