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portobello mushrooms

Study finds new health benefit from eating mushrooms

By PATRICIA DONOVAN

Published May 1, 2014

“Our results indicate that consumption of mushrooms could be useful in regulating glucose levels.”
Peter Horvath, associate professor
Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences

A preliminary study of the effects of mushroom ingestion on health conducted by UB nutrition scientists and physiologists has found that healthy male and female subjects who consumed mushrooms with glucose had a significant decrease in glucose responses compared to those who consumed glucose alone.

The effect was particularly strong in women.

Although mushroom intake previously has been reported to have beneficial effects on weight management, immune function and quality of life, this is the first to examine its effect on glucose response.

“Our results indicate that consumption of mushrooms could be useful in regulating glucose levels,” says study co-author Peter Horvath, associate professor, Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, School of Public Health and Health Professions. “This alone may benefit individuals attempting to lose weight and who want to exercise for a longer time.”

The study, “The effect of mushroom intake on modulating post-prandial glycemic response,” was funded by UB; the authors all are members of the faculty of the School of Public Health and Health Professions, and the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

It was published in the April edition of The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (Vol. 8, Issue 4) and was reported at the 2014 Experimental Biology Meeting, held April 26-30 in San Diego.

The subjects were eight men and 10 women 19 to 29 years of age (average age 23 years). Their body fat measured 19.7 percent, ±7.7 percent; their fasting glucose levels were 88.8, ±6.2 milligrams per deciliter.

In this crossover study, each subject completed three modified Oral Glucose Tolerance Tests (OGTTs) over a two-week period. The OGTTs were evaluated in subjects who consumed one of three drinks, each equally sweet: a 75 g glucose drink (G), a 75 g glucose drink with 9.5 g Portabella powder (MG) or 9.5 g Portabella powder with Stevia/flavored water (M). Fasting and 30-minute blood samples were collected for two hours.

Results showed that:

  • Glucose levels were elevated after consumption of G and MG, with levels after MG consumption higher in men at 30 minutes (p<0.02) and women at 60 (p<0.005) and 120 min (p<0.01).
  • Insulin levels were higher after G and MG consumption than after M consumption, but after MG consumption, levels showed a more gradual decline in women. There was no difference in insulin levels between G and MG groups detected in men.
  • Mushroom powder reduced rebound hypoglycemia and rapid insulin decrease in women compared to glucose alone.
  • Men did not show a reduction in rebound hypoglycemia with consumption of MG.

The results suggest that mushrooms may moderate postprandial glucose-related responses. This mushroom effect seems to be exaggerated in a young, healthy female population.

In addition to Horvath, authors of the study are graduate student Harry Marsales and Assistant Professor Todd C. Rideout, Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, and graduate student Brian T. Williams, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, and undergraduate student Zach M. LaMacchia, Program in Biomedical Science, both in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.