Lentinus edodes (Shiitake)

Shitake mushrooms are a type of edible fungus” 1, 2. Shitake, the second most popular mushroom in the world 3, 4, is well known for its high nutrition values 5 and is native to East Asia 3. In the last decades, a number of compounds isolated from the fruiting body and mycelium have been studied, especially towards supporting immune health 3. The raw fruit bodies of Shitake contain carbohydrates, water, lipids, protein minerals, and vitamins 1, 6, including the highest level of vitamin D2, ergosterol) of any plant food 7. Shitake is also known to contain polysaccharides and B-glucans 6, 7.

Shitake contains various bioactive molecules, such as ergothioneine 5, 8. On average, adults consume about 7 mg of ergothioneine in the daily diet, and one gram of dried shitake powder contains 1.98+0.11 mg of ergothioneine; L-ergothioneine is a naturally occurring amino acid 9. Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) (150 mL of currently available liquid AHCC) or 9 g AHCC of shitake extract (which consequently contains approx. 12 mg of ergothioneine) does not cause adverse effects and is tolerated well by about 85% of healthy subjects 5, according a trial of twenty-six healthy female or male subjects ( ages of 18 to 61) when taken daily for 14 days 5, 10.

This ingredient can be found in the following products in United States:


  1. Natural Medicines database. Shitake Mushroom. Professional monograph. Subscription required for access. Product ID No. 680. Reviewed 5/11/2018. Updated 3/14/2019.,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=680
  2. Lingstrom P, Zaura E, hassan H, et al. The anticaries effect of a food extract (shitake) in a short-term clinical study. J Biomed Biotechnol 2012; 2012:217164. or
  3. Rincao VP, Yamamoto KA, Ricardo NM, Soares SA, Meirelles LD, Nozawa C, Linhares RE. Polysaccharide and extracts from Lentinula edodes: structural features and antiviral activity. Virol J 2012; 9:37. or
  4. Sugui MM, De Lima PLA, Delmanto RD, Da Eira AF, Salvadori DMF, Ribeiro LR. Antimutagenic effect of Lentinula edode BERK.) Pegler mushroom and possible variation among lineages. [Abstract]. Food Chem Toxicol 2003; 41:555-560. or
  5. Zembron-Lacny A, Gajewski M, Naczk M, Siatkowski I. Effect of Shitake (Lentinus Edodes) extract on antioxidant and inflammatory response to prolonged eccentric exercise. Journal of Physicology and Pharmacology 2013; 64(2): 249-254.
  6. Rahman T, Shoudhury MBK. Shitake mushroom: A tool of medicine. Bangladesh J Med Biochem 2012; 5(1): 24-32.
  7. Bak WC, Park H, Park YA, Ka KH. Determination of glucan contents in the fruiting bodies and mycelia of Lentinula edodes cultivars. Mycobiology 2014; 42(3): 301-304.
  8. Dubost NY, Boxin Ou, Beelman RB. Quantification of polyphenols and ergothioneine in cultivated mushrooms and correlation to total antioxidant capacity. [Abstract]. Food Chem 2007; 105:727-735.
  9. Cheah IK, Halliwell B. Ergothioneine; antioxidant potential, physiological function and role in disease. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)—Molecular Basis of Disease 2012; 1822(5):784-793.
  10. Spierings EL, Fujii H, Sun B, Walshe TA. Phase I study of the safety of the nutritional supplement, active hexose correlated compound, AHCC, in healthy volunteers. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 2007; 53: 536-539.