Introduction: There has been renewed interest in mushroom medicinal properties. We studied cholesterol lowering properties of Ganoderma lucidum (Gl), a renowned medicinal species.
Results: Organic fractions containing oxygenated lanosterol derivatives inhibited cholesterol synthesis in T9A4 hepatocytes. In hamsters, 5% Gl did not effect LDL; but decreased total cholesterol (TC) 9.8%, and HDL 11.2%. Gl (2.5 and 5%) had effects on several fecal neutral sterols and bile acids. Both Gl doses reduced hepatic microsomal ex-vivo HMG-CoA reductase activity. In minipigs, 2.5 Gl decreased TC, LDL- and HDL cholesterol 20, 27, and 18%, respectively (P < 0.05); increased fecal cholestanol and coprostanol; and decreased cholate.
Conclusions: Overall, Gl has potential to reduce LDL cholesterol in vivo through various mechanisms. Next steps are to: fully characterize bioactive components in lipid soluble/insoluble fractions; evaluate bioactivity of isolated fractions; and examine human cholesterol lowering properties. Innovative new cholesterol-lowering foods and medicines containing Gl are envisioned.