Mushrooms for Autism?

The Fabulous Four Fungi – Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake and Cordyceps – offer powerful support for the immune system. These and other fungi with healing properties specific to autism can be served on the plate or taken as supplements. Spec ific mushrooms may affect specific emotional expressions and behaviors. Sandra Williams, PhD, of Lost Creek Shiitake Mushroom Farm, spoke at the 2012 AutismOne Conference on nine types of healing fungi that can help people on the autism spectrum. In this article, she discusses the healing properties white button, shiitake, reishi, and oyster mushrooms.


Perkins, OK (PRWEB) May 31, 2012

“Mushrooms in general strengthen and stimulate the immune system,” according to Sandra Williams, PhD, owner of Lost Creek Mushroom Farm, specializing in shiitake mushroom log kits. “Mushrooms contain immunostimulants that can strengthen and increase immune system activity. Some, like the reishi (ling zhi), contain immunomodulators that can adjust the level of function in the individual’s immune system. Their effects on various cancers are well documented. Furthermore, for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) specific mushrooms may have specific effects on the body and on behavior.”

Dr. Williams spoke at the 2012 AutismOne Conference in Chicago, May 23-27, presenting nine types of fungi that can be helpful to children with ASD and are available as functional foods or as supplements available online or in health food stores.

“Some people are physiologIcal fungiphobes – they don’t like mushrooms and their bodies can’t process them.. Clearly, if a child is fungiphobic, mushrooms are not a path of nutritional recovery for ASD.

For young fungiphiles, children who can and will eat mushrooms, there are some good possibilities for improving function and responses.

People on the autism spectrum can over-respond to toxins, allergens, normal bacteria and parasites, and under-respond to viruses, yeast, and intracellular bacteria. These responses require a specific type of immune system response, TH2. According to holistic pediatrician John Hicks, MD, of Elementals Living in Delavan, WI, “The immune shift that people on the spectrum get is a TH2 shift. This leads to suppression of the cell-mediated side. This is the shift that mushrooms address. I have been using mushrooms successfully to shift the TH2 immune dysfunctions. This seems to work like transfer factor, but with less specificity; a general rebalancing of the immune system.”

Williams spoke about the nutritional, health, medicinal properties and possible behavioral effects of white button mushrooms, shiitake, reishi, enoki, maitake, oyster, lion’s mane, and shaggy mane. “Cordyceps is not a mushroom, but a parasitic fungus that is being cultivated for its impressive health and medical uses, including treatments for cancer, heart disease, nerve disorders, sexual dysfunction and more.”

“For people on the autism spectrum,” Williams said, “White button mushrooms can help detoxify the body and they may reduce the need for repeated behaviors. Shiitakes strengthen the immune system, can help increase connection with the self, and generate feelings of joy. Reishi can fight infections, relieve anxiety and improve adrenocortical function. It can support a “rootedness in the self.”

According to Robert Rogers, author of the recently published book, “The Fungal Pharmacy,” the oyster mushroom “falls between a high-grade vegetable and low-grade meat,” high in protein, low in fat, and loaded with vitamins and minerals. It contains anti-tumor and anti-viral compounds and is used to treat nerve disorders.

“Oyster mushrooms may be able to reduce the startle response in children with autism,” Dr. Williams said, “and bring them to a more solid footing.”

Of these mushrooms, white button, shiitake, and oyster are readily available in supermarkets, farmer’s markets, online fresh and dried, and as grow-your-own kits. Reishi is edible, but woody and does not have an appealing flavor. Reishi is available as Ganoderma coffees, teas and other products; and also in supplement form alone or in combination with other mushrooms or immune-stimulating products. For children who can eat mushrooms but don’t like the texture, color, or flavor, the mushrooms can be dried, ground and added to foods they enjoy.

For more information on these and other mushrooms that can address ASD, contact Dr. Williams at mushroomsforasd(at)yahoo(dot)com. The Lost Creek Mushroom Farm website has information available aboutthe healing effects of shiitakes. Lost Creek Mushroom Farm Shiitake Log Kits are available online at, by phone at 800-792-0053, and at slightly higher prices, on

One response to “Mushrooms for Autism?

  1. Pingback: Cordyceps supplement, the aftermath! | Vegan Heath·

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