Influence of Short-Term Consumption of Hericium erinaceus on Serum Biochemical Markers and the Changes of the Gut Microbiota: A Pilot Study


Nutrients 2021, 13(3)



Hericium erinaceus (H. erinaceus) is widely studied as a medicinal and edible fungus. Recent studies have shown that H. erinaceus has protective effects for diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease and cancer, which are related to gut microbiota. To investigate the benefits of H. erinaceus intake on gut microbiota and blood indices in adulthood, we recruited 13 healthy adults to consume H. erinaceus powder as a dietary supplement. Blood changes due to H. erinaceus consumption were determined by routine hematological examination and characterized by serum biochemical markers. Microbiota composition was profiled by 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing. Results showed that daily H. erinaceus supplementation increased the alpha diversity within the gut microbiota community, upregulated the relative abundance of some short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) producing bacteria (Kineothrix alysoides, Gemmiger formicilis, Fusicatenibacter saccharivorans, Eubacterium rectale, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii), and downregulated some pathobionts (Streptococcus thermophilus, Bacteroides caccae, Romboutsia timonensis). Changes within the gut microbiota were correlated with blood chemical indices including alkaline phosphatase (ALP), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), uric acid (UA), and creatinine (CREA). Thus, we found that the gut microbiota alterations may be part of physiological adaptations to a seven-day H. erinaceus supplementation, potentially influencing beneficial health effects.


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