This is the most commonly and widely consumed mushroom in the world. It is widely cultivated, in more than 70 countries all over the world.
The common mushroom or Agaricus bisporus comes in 2 colors- white and brown. Immature white mushrooms are called table mushroom, champignon, cultivated mushroom, white mushroom, button mushroom or common mushroom. The immature brown ones are often called Italian mushroom, crimini (or cremini) mushrooms, Italian brown or Italian mushroom, chestnut mushroom, brown cap mushroom, Roman brown mushroom or Swiss brown mushroom. When the fungus matures, it is called Portobello mushrooms, or simply, Portobello.
What does the common mushroom, Agaricus bisporus, look like?
This fungus exemplifies the typical appearance of a mushroom. It has a cap, with gills underneath and is attached to a stalk.
The cap or the pileus of the common mushroom is pale gay-brown. This is the color of the wild, original version of Agaricus bisporus. Flat and broad scales are on the surface of the caps, set against a pale background and then fade as it nears the cap margins.
The cap starts in a hemispherical shape. As the fungus matures, the cap eventually flattens out. The cap grows to about 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm) in diameter.
Where can the common mushroom, Agaricus bisporusbe found?
The common mushroom thrives worldwide. It originated in the European and North American grasslands. It can be found growing naturally in grassy areas and fields. It tends to come out after a rain and is abundant during the late spring through to the autumn season.
Agaricus bisporus is often associated with manure. In fact, it was first cultivated on horse manure. That practice still continues today. This method often produces better quality mushrooms compared to other types of substrate.
List of the common mushroom’s (Agaricus bisporus) active compounds
The compounds present in the common mushroom include:
- CLA or conjugated linoleic acid
- APO (2-amino-3H-phenoxazin-3-one)
- Dietary fiber
- Vitamin B6
- Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
- Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
Benefits of the common mushroom, Agaricus bisporus
The wealth of nutrients in Agaricus bisporus makes it a medicinal mushroom that provides several benefits that include the following:
Compounds found in the common mushroom have anti-tumor activities. These activities are largely based on the immune-supportive effects of these active compounds.
Common mushroom Agaricus bisporus also has anti-inflammatory effects that aid in cancer prevention and treatment. Inflammation supports the development and proliferation of cancer and tumor cells. By reducing the inflammatory response, common mushroom can help in treating and preventing cancer development.
Eating Agaricus bisporus can also boost the proper regulation of various immune responses. It helps the immune system to downplay harmful inflammation that support cancer growth and boost the ones that create apoptosis. This is a process wherein the cancerous cells are programmed to die.
CLA in Agaricus bisporus is also believed to help in the fight against cancer. CLA binds with the aromatase enzymes of the cancer cells. This binding reduces the ability of the cancer cells to produce estrogen, which promotes cancer cell proliferation. This action is especially helpful in people who have hormone-dependent types of cancer such as breast and prostate cancer.
Supports the immune function
As previously mentioned, Agaricus bisporus boosts the function of the immune system. Phytochemicals in this fungus demonstrated the ability to directly influence the action of the white blood cells. These phytochemicals help inactivate white blood cells that can potentially cause health problems. These same chemicals also help in activating white blood cells as needed. This well-coordinated process improves the way the body responds to invasions. This results in better protection against infections.
Aside from the phytochemicals, the common mushroom has vitamins and minerals such as zinc and vitamin D that work together to strengthen the immune cells. Strong, healthy and well-nourished immune cells are better at fighting and keeping the body strong and healthy.
Chronic inflammation increases the risk for developing conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Agaricus bisporus helps by inhibiting the release and action of pro-inflammatory molecules.
The bioactive compounds especially target inflammatory molecules such as IL-12, IFN-gamma, and IL-10. By keeping these molecules under control, inflammation proceeds at a lower rate. This will translate to better inflammatory response, providing optimal benefits with minimal negative impact on the tissues.