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The Best Turkey Tail Supplement for Cancer

Last modified on September 7th, 2023

Below, we discuss how to find the best turkey tail supplement for cancer and what you should know about this functional mushroom.

Turkey tail mushroom has potentially powerful health benefits, including anticancer properties.

When choosing the best turkey tail supplement for cancer, you want to look at the manufacturer, third-party testing, and the quality of the ingredients. 

These are factors that make a big difference in how effective a supplement is. 

What’s Turkey Tail Mushroom?

Turkey tail mushroom is known as a functional or medicinal mushroom. Medicinal mushroom use has a history of thousands of years, primarily in Asia.

Turkey tail’s scientific name is Trametes versicolor. It’s also sometimes known as Yun Zhi in Chinese traditional medicine and Coriolus versicolor.

Health Benefits of Turkey Tail

Along with highlighting the best turkey tail supplement for cancer, the benefits of this medicinal mushroom include:

  • It’s high in antioxidants, which can help prevent chronic inflammation and cellular damage. High levels of oxidative stress are linked to chronic health conditions like heart disease and cancer.
  • Contains phenols and flavonoids, antioxidants that reduce inflammation and stimulate your body’s natural release of protective compounds.
  • Turkey tail has something called polysaccharopeptides. Two specific types are krestin or PSK and polysaccharide peptide or PSP. These help suppress inflammation and activate an immune response. As an example, PSP can stimulate monocyte production. Monocytes are white blood cells that boost immunity and combat infection. PSK activates natural killer cells and dendritic cells to regulate the immune response.
  • There are prebiotics that provide nourishment to helpful gut bacteria. Having healthy gut bacteria levels helps with immune system function, reduces the risk of certain types of cancer, improves digestion, and can improve mental health.
  • There are studies showing turkey tail can help combat Human Papillomavirus or HPV.
  • There are antibacterial benefits that can prevent infection and illness.
  • In some studies, this functional mushroom has been found to reduce fatigue and boost exercise performance.
  • In animal studies, the mushroom reduced blood sugar levels and improved markers of insulin resistance.
  • As a supplement, it can help protect your DNA from damage, possibly because it contains high levels of phenolic compounds.
  • Taking this medicinal mushroom can support the health of your liver. They can lower liver enzymes, which can help if you’re taking chemotherapy, which can be hard on the liver.

Is It Safe?

Along with the anticancer and health benefits, one of the great things about this mushroom is its safety profile.

As well as being used for thousands of years in traditional medicine, its widespread use in modern medicine in Asia also helps us know the details of its safety profile.

There are rare reports of anyone experiencing side effects of taking this mushroom, even at high doses.

Turkey Tail Mushroom Benefits for Cancer

Turkey tail mushroom is an immune modulator, which can suppress or stimulate the immune system as needed.

While mushrooms aren’t a replacement for cancer treatment, they can have some benefits for:

  • Breast cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Colon cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Gastric cancer

Functional mushrooms are being studied to determine how they might help combat or prevent cancer. It’s thought that polysaccharides and beta-glucans they contain can help the immune system better fight against cancer.

PSK, which comes from turkey tail, is approved as a cancer treatment in Japan. In China, it’s used along with conventional cancer treatments.

Along with the anticancer properties, the best turkey tail supplement for cancer might help alleviate some symptoms of conventional treatments like radiation and chemotherapy.

What’s the Best Turkey Tail Supplement for Cancer?

When searching for the best turkey tail supplement for cancer, there are a few things to consider.

  • What type of supplement do you want? For example, do you prefer capsules, powder, or tea?
  • Look for the fruit body. When choosing the best turkey tail supplement for cancer, if you choose a product that’s not 100% fruiting body, it could include starchy compounds that don’t have health benefits.
  • Consider the beta-glucan levels to compare the best turkey tail supplement for cancer. Beta-glucans are a polysaccharide found in the cell walls of many types of fungi, including turkey tail. They help support a healthy immune system.
  • Pay attention to the extraction method. Beta-glucans are water-soluble, and triterpenes are alcohol-soluble. You want to choose an option made with a double-extraction process because it makes the beneficial compounds more bioavailable and usable by your body for maximum benefits.
  • Avoid supplements that include the mycelium, which is the mushroom’s root. You also want to avoid fillers and grain as much as possible.
  • Look for supplements that are third-party tested. Supplements aren’t required to be approved or regulated by the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S., but third-party labs can test them for quality. The U.S.-accredited third-party labs include ConsumerLab and U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP). If there’s third-party accreditation, it indicates the supplement includes the ingredients on the label and doesn’t contain dangerous contaminants.

Our Pick for the Best Turkey Tail Supplement for Cancer

I regularly use turkey tail supplements, as does everyone in my family.

Based on my research and personal use experience, my pick for the best turkey tail supplement mushroom for cancer and other benefits is Longevity Botanicals Organic Turkey Tail Mushroom Capsules.

Reasons this is my choice for the best turkey tail mushroom supplement for cancer include:

  • The product is USDA organic.
  • It is made of a 100% fruiting body with no fillers or stalks.
  • Hot water extraction is used to help protect the natural benefits of the mushrooms, preserving the most possible active ingredients.
  • There is a high level of beta-d-glucans, which are measured and certified by third-party labs.
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Turkey Tail for Dogs with Cancer

Along with human use, functional and medicinal mushrooms are increasingly being used for the health of pets.

A turkey tail supplement may directly interact with a dog’s immune cells.

Beta-d-glucans can bind to macrophages and activate them. These immune cells are responsible for destroying invaders like bacteria and viruses, and also cancer cells. In dogs, beta-glucans can stimulate immune cells like T-leukocytes and natural killer cells, which further help fight cancer.

Other benefits for dogs include:

  • Increasing the production of antibodies.
  • Improving the overall immune response to different cancer types.
  • Stopping the spread of cancer cells, which is known as metastasis.
  • Reducing inflammatory cytokines.

One type of cancer that’s been studied is hemangiosarcoma, a very metastatic vascular cancer in dogs. It’s aggressive and found primarily in the spleen. Even with spleen removal, for dogs with hemangiosarcoma, survival rates are dismal.

In one study, dogs given PSP from turkey tail had significantly longer times to metastasis and survival times. These results were dose-dependent, meaning bigger doses led to better outcomes.

What’s the Best Turkey Tail Supplement for Dogs with Cancer?

Dogs can take human mushroom supplements—they don’t need to be specifically designed for pets. That’s why we like the powdered version of the Longevity Botanicals supplement. You can easily add it to food, which is much easier than getting your dog to take capsules.

As is true with the capsules, this supplement contains only 100% fruiting body, is USDA organic, and is lab certified.

The Best Turkey Tail Supplement for Cancer- Summing Up

The best turkey tail supplement for cancer in humans and dogs is third-party certified, organic, and contains only high-quality parts of the mushroom.

Overall, turkey tail is a powerful supplement to your health arsenal, even if you don’t have cancer.

Please remember to talk to a healthcare professional about supplements you take, which isn’t medical advice.

Our Editorial Process

All of our reviews are completely unbiased. We have an in-depth review and ranking methodology for each of our products. We base our reviews on:

  • Peer-reviewed scientific studies and research
  • Real customer reviews
  • Our own experience using products
  • Price and availability

Whenever possible, we review and rank products that we actually use to provide a better understanding of what you can expect. 

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