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Open Access Research article

Antihyperlipidemic effects of Pleurotus ostreatus (oyster mushrooms) in HIV-infected individuals taking antiretroviral therapy

Donald I Abrams1*, Paul Couey2, Starley B Shade3, Mary Ellen Kelly4, Nnemdi Kamanu-Elias5 and Paul Stamets6

Author Affiliations

1 Hematology-Oncology, University of California San Francisco, Ward 84, 995 Potrero, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA

2 Hematology-Oncology, University of California San Francisco, Ward 82, 995 Potrero, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA

3 Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California, San Francisco, 50 Beale Street, Suite 1300, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA

4 Hematology-Oncology, University of California San Francisco, Ward 82, 995 Potrero, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA

5 Positive Health Program, University of California San Francisco, Ward 84, 995 Potrero, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA

6 Fungi Perfecti, LLC, Kamilche Point, WA 98507, USA

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2011, 11:60  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-60

Published: 10 August 2011

Abstract

Background

Antiretroviral treatment (ART) regimens in HIV patients commonly cause significant lipid elevations, including increases in both triglycerides and cholesterol. Standard treatments for hypercholesterolemia include the HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, or "statins." Because many ART agents and statins share a common metabolic pathway that uses the cytochrome P450 enzyme system, coadministration of ART with statins could increase statin plasma levels significantly. The oyster mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus, has been shown in animal models to decrease lipid levels - a finding that has been supported by preliminary data in a small human trial.

Methods

To assess the safety and efficacy of P. ostreatus in patients with HIV and ART-induced hyperlipidemia, a single-arm, open-label, proof-of-concept study of 8 weeks' duration with a target enrollment of 20 subjects was conducted. Study patients with ART-induced elevated non-HDL cholesterol levels (> 160 mg/dL) were enrolled. Participants received packets of freeze-dried P. ostreatus (15 gm/day) to be administered orally for the 8 week trial period. Lipid levels were drawn every two weeks to assess efficacy. Safety assessments included self-reported incidence of muscle aches and measurement of liver and muscle enzymes. Mean within-person change in lipid levels were estimated using generalized estimating equations to account for repeated observations on individuals. A 30 mg/dL decrease in non-HDL cholesterol was deemed clinically significant.

Results

126 patients were screened to enroll 25, of which 20 completed the 8-week study. The mean age was 46.4 years (36-60). Patients had a mean 13.7 yrs of HIV infection. Mean non-HDL cholesterol was 204.5 mg/dL at day 0 and 200.2 mg/dL at day 56 (mean within-person change = -1.70; 95% confidence interval (CI) = -17.4, 14.0). HDL cholesterol levels increased from 37.8 mg/dL at day 0 to 40.4 mg/dL on day 56 (mean within-person change = 2.6; 95% CI = -0.1, 5.2). Triglycerides dropped from 336.4 mg/dL on day 0 to 273.4 mg/dL on day 56 (mean within-person change = -63.0; 95% CI = -120.9, -5.1). Only 3 individuals achieved a sustained clinically significant (30 mg/dL) decline in non-HDL cholesterol after 8 weeks of therapy. There were no adverse experiences reported other than patients' distaste for the preparation. Liver function tests and muscle enzymes were not affected by the 8 weeks of treatment.

Conclusions

Pleurotus ostreatus as administered in this experiment did not lower non-HDL cholesterol in HIV patients with ART-induced hypercholesterolemia. Small changes in HDL and triglycerides were not of a clinical magnitude to warrant further study.

Trial Registration

clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00069524