Mushrooms and their beta-glucans have an array of actions and benefits in many of the systems of the body.
Pleuran from Pleurotus ostreatus (oyster) mushrooms and lentinan from Lentinus erodes (shiitake) mushrooms show positive affects on the intestines; they increase the resistance of intestinal mucosa to inflammation and inhibit the development of intestinal ulcers. Lentinan also shows a positive affect on peristalsis.
Fungal beta-glucans have been shown to reduce both the overall level of cholesterol and the level of LDL cholesterol in blood, as well as slightly increase the level of HDL cholesterol, and positively influence the metabolism of fats and sugars.
Beta-glucans also contribute to improved resistance against allergies by increasing the numbers of Th1 lymphocytes in the blood.
Rop O, Vlcek J, Jurikova T. Beta-glucans in higher fungi and their health effects. Nut Rev 2009;67(11):624-631.