Title: Anti-aging/menopause symptoms relief using
ganoderma lucidum spores
United States Patent: 6,908,614
Issued: June 21, 2005
Inventors: Chung; Chee-Keung (Room 2018, Argyle Centre, 688
Nathan Road, Mongkok, Kowloon, HK); Tong; Siu Kan (Room 2018, Argyle Centre,
688 Nathan Road, Mongkok, Kowloon, HK)
Appl. No.: 224378
Filed: August 21, 2002
The present invention provides a method for preventing/slowing aging
and/or reducing menopause symptoms in humans by orally administering an
effective amount of germination-activated Ganoderma lucidum spores (GLSs)
to humans. The treatment for menopause is especially effective in male
patients. GLSs are effective as an antioxidant to reduce free radical
damage, particularly by increasing the amount of the reduced form
glutathione (GSH) and the superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity. GLSs can also
increase testosterone level in blood and improve depression, particularly
geriatric depression, in elderly male patients.
Description of the Invention
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a method for preventing/slowing an aging
process and/or reducing/relieving menopause symptoms in humans by orally
administering an effective amount of germination-activated Ganoderma
lucidum spores ("GLSs") to humans. The anti-aging effect of GLSs is
primarily derived from its being an antioxidant for free radical protection.
GLSs also reduce and/or relieve symptoms associated with menopause,
particularly male menopause, which are partially due to aging. Symptoms
associated with male menopause include fatigue, anorexia, palpitation,
forgetfulness, irritation, depression, and/or impotence.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The free radical theory of aging was first proposed by Dr. Denham Harman
in 1956. It is now recognized that living cells continuously produce free
radicals during their normal functions such as producing energy. Free
radicals also come from smoking, radiation, sunlight and other factors in
the environment. Endogenous and exogenous free radicals are highly reactive
substances, capable of reacting irreversibly with many biological molecules,
producing random changes, and causing progressive deterioration of the
The cells have an antioxidant defense system which prevents most, but not
all, of the free radical damages. Constant free radical damages can
eventually kill the cells. When free radicals kill or damage enough cells in
an organism, the organism ages.
The antioxidant defense system removes free radicals through the use of
antioxidants. There is sufficient evidence to support the relationship
between free radicals and aging. For example, the longer an animal lives,
the more antioxidants it has in its body. Some antioxidants are produced by
the body through endogenous enzymes, such as catalase, glutathione
peroxidases (GPX) and superoxide dismutases (SOD). Others come from oral
ingestion, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, β-carotene, selenium etc. It is
believed that taking antioxidants to remove access free radicals in the body
can slow down the aging process. Some studies show that antioxidants may
help prevent heart disease, some cancers, cataracts, and other health
problems that are more common as people get older.
One of the aging problems men face is the occurrence of male menopause. It
has been estimated approximately 40% of men in their 40s, 50s, and 60s will
experience some degree of male menopause. Also known as andropause, male
menopause is of recent recognition with researches first published in 1970s.
Less overwhelming than the female menopause, male menopause is more gradual
and some never experience it. Male menopause involves the hormonal,
physiological and chemical changes that occur in men generally between the
ages of 40 and 55. It is characterized with lethargy, depression, increased
irritability, mood swings, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction and
alteration in cognition. Although its causes have not been fully researched,
factors such as hormone deficiencies, excessive alcohol consumption,
smoking, hypertension, medications, poor diet, lack of exercise, poor
circulation and psychological problems have been known to contribute to this
It has been found the blood level of the male hormone testosterone decreases
significantly even in healthy men by age 55, when comparing to what it is at
age 45. In fact, by age 80, most male hormone levels have decreased to
pre-puberty levels. Low testosterone has been associated with fatigue,
depression, loss of concentration, and decreased muscle strength and
Depression is another common denominator of male menopause. According to the
Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study in the 1991 NIH Consens Statement,
depressive symptoms occur in approximately 15 percent of community residents
over 65 years of age. Patients may suffer from depressed mood, loss of
appetite, sleeplessness, anergia and loss of interest and enjoyment of the
normal pursuits of life. Depression is often underdiagnosed and undertreated
in the elderly, partially because the health care providers and/or the
patients themselves often conclude that depression is a normal consequence
of physical illnesses, as well as social and economic problems associated
with the elderly. At this time, there is no one best agent that provides
comprehensive relief for symptoms associated with male menopause,
particularly for the elderly.
Ganoderma (Ganoderma lucidum Leyss ex Fr. Karst) is a
polyporous fungus. It belongs to the class Basidiomycetes, the family
Polypolaceae, and the genus Ganoderma. Since ancient times,
ganoderma has been praised as a miracle fungus for its capability of
prolonging human life. It is believed that the medicinal effects of
ganoderma lie upon the natural or bioactive substances it produces which
can stimulate or modulate the neuro-endocrino-immuno system of human body to
fight off diseases. Ganoderma is also well known for its antitumor
and immune enhancing properties, (Kim et al., Int. J. Mol. Med. (1999),
4(3):273-277), cardiovascular effects (Lee et al., Chem. Pharm. Bull.
(1990), 38:1359-1364), as well as free radical scavenging and
antihepatotoxic activities (Lin et al., J. Ethnopharmacol., (1995),
Ganoderma is the most rare and valuable herb in Chinese medicine. It
is known in China for over 5,000 years as "ling zhi". There are a variety of
ganoderma, for instance, G. lucidum (red), G. applanatum
(brown), G. tsugae (red), G. sinense (black), and G.
oregonense (dark brown). However, due to the fact that wild types of
ganoderma only grow naturally and very rarely on aged trees in steep
mountains, research which requires a constant supply of high quantity and
quality of ganoderma has rarely been conducted.
Although it is believed that the spores of ganoderma represent the
essence of ganoderma because they contain all the bioactive
substances of ganoderma , most of the ganoderma studies are
conducted using the fruit body or mycelium of ganoderma as
experimental materials. Ganoderma spores are rarely studied.
Ganoderma spores are tiny and mist-like spores of 5˜8 μm in sizes
which have extremely hard and resilient, double-layer epispores, thus making
them difficult to break open. The ganoderma spores normally scatter
at the pelius of mature ganoderma . When mature, the ganoderma
spores are ejected from the pileus. Such ejected ganoderma spores are
collectively called "spore powders". In the wild, the "spore powders" are
difficult to collect because of the following reasons: (1) the germination
rate (i.e., about 3-15%) of the spores is extremely low; (2) the ejection
period is relatively short (i.e., approximately 10 days per lifecycle); and
(3) some environmental factors, such as wind and rain, may also hinder the
collection of the spores. In addition, the substances of the collected
spores are difficult to extract due to the resiliency of the epispores.
In recent years, with the improvement of the spore breaking techniques, more
research which directed to the studies of the ganoderma spores has
been undertaken. However, the improvement of the spore breaking techniques
does not overcome the shortcoming of the low germination rate of the spores.
In fact, due to the low germination rate, most of the studies on
ganoderma spores are conducted using the extraction of bioactive
substances from spores representing an array of dormant to various
germination stages. Because the spores at different stages of the lifecycle
produce different kinds and/or proportions of bioactive substances, each
batch of the mixture of the spores thus contains different active
ingredients. The results from such studies are apparently meaningless since
no proper controls can be provided.
A germination activation method is disclosed in the parent application of
the present application, which was issued as U.S. Pat. No. 6,316,002 B1,
which is herein incorporated by reference. The method provides successfully
activation of the dormant ganoderma spores and increase the
germination rate of the ganoderma spores to more than 95%.
In the invention to be presented below, a method for using the germination
activated Ganoderma lucidum spores ("GLSs") as free radical scavenger
(i.e., antioxidant) and anti-aging agent, particularly for
reducing/relieving symptoms associated with male menopause, will be
introduced. GLSs possess multiple biological activities and promotes general
health. Particularly, its activities in removal of free radicals, promotion
of hormonal production and antidepression render GLSs effective for treating
conditions associated with old ages (i.e., anti-aging) and male menopause.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention provides a method for preventing/slowing the aging
process and/or reducing/relieving menopause-associated symptoms in humans.
The method requires oral uptake of germination activated Ganoderma
lucidum spores (GLSs).
One of the factors that affect the aging process is free radical damage. GLS
is an antioxidant. GLSs, when orally given to humans in the amount of about
0.5 to 10 g per day, preferably about 1 to 5 g per day, demonstrate
antioxidant effect which protects the body from free radical damage. For
example, GLSs increase the amount of the reduced form of glutathione (GSH)
and the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) in the human body.
Symptoms related to male menopause are fatigue, anorexia, palpitation,
forgetfulness, irritation, depression, impotence, and any combination
thereof. Male menopause is particularly significant in elderly male.
To reduce or relieve the symptoms of male menopause, about 0.5 to 10 g of
GLSs, more favorably about 1 to 5 g of. GLSs, are given to the patient per
day. GLSs increase the blood level of testosterone and superoxide dismutase
(SOD) activity in patients. GLSs also decrease the blood level
malondialdehyde (MDA) in patients. In addition, GLSs improve depression of
patient, particularly the elderly.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
The tiny spore of Ganoderma lucidum has an extremely hard and
resilient, double-layered epispore. In the wild, the germination of the
spores of Ganoderma lucidum is relatively slow and their germination
rate is extremely low. In fact, it takes about 24 to 48 hours for the germ
tubes of the spores start to sprout under proper conditions, and the
capillitia start to form branches after 72 hours, with a germination rate of
Mature spores of Ganoderma lucidum were selected to undergo
processing treatment. There are three distinctive stages for the spores
processing treatment so as to effectively preserve the large amount of
bioactive substances produced by the germination activated spores. The first
stage involves the induction of germination, which is achieved by soaking
the spores in a solution for a period of time, followed by cultivating the
germination induced spores in a well-ventillated culture box. The second
stage involves the production of sporoderm-broken (i.e., by breaking up the
cell walls of epispores) spores, which is achieved by enzyme treatment
and/or mechanical force. The final stage involves the extraction of
bioactive substances from the sporoderm-broken spores, which is achieved by
freeze-drying or vacuum drying followed by extraction with solvent or by
thin film condensation.
Below are general descriptions of the steps which lead to the production of
I. Soaking to induce germination: Mature and perfect spores of Ganoderma
lucidum were carefully selected to undergo a soaking process to induce
germination. Spores were kept in clear or distilled water, biological saline
solution, or other nutritional solutions that could enable the spores of red
Ganoderma lucidum to germinate rapidly. Examples of nutritional
solutions include coconut juice or a 1-5% malt extract solution, 0.5-25%
extracts of Ganoderma lucidum sporocarps or Ganoderma lucidum
capillitia, 0.1-5% of culture solution containing biotin, 0.1-3% of culture
solution containing potassium phosphate (monobasic) and magnesium sulfate.
The choice of solution would depend on the soaking time required, the amount
of spores to be processed and other such factors as availability of
materials. One or more of the above germination solutions could be used,
with the amount added being 0.1-5 times the weight of the spores of red
Ganoderma lucidum. The soaking time was determined according to the
temperature of the water, and usually the soaking was carried out for 30 min
to 8 hours with the temperature of the water at 20-43° C. Preferably soaking
times were 2-4 hours, and temperature of the water was 25-35° C.
II. Activation culture: The spores of Ganoderma lucidum were removed
from the soaking solution and excess solution was eliminated by allowing it
to drip. The spores were then placed in a well-ventilated culturing box at a
constant temperature and humidity so that spore activation culture could be
carried out. The relative humidity of the culture was generally set at
65-98%, the culture temperature at 18-48° C. and the activation time lasted
from 30 min to 24 hours. Preferably humidity is 85-97% and temperature is
25-35° C. Using this method, the activation of spores of red Ganoderma
lucidum reached a rate of more than 95%. During activation, the cell
walls of the spores of red Ganoderma lucidum were clearly softened
such that it was easier to penetrate the cell walls of the spores.
III. Treatment of the epispores: After the germination activation process,
the spores were treated by enzymolysis. This process was carried out at a
low temperature and under conditions such that enzyme activity was
maintained, using chitinase, cellulase, or other enzymes, which are commonly
used in the industry. The process was complete when the epispores lost their
resilience and became brittle. Alternatively, physical treatments were
carried out to penetrate the cell walls, for example, micronization, roll
pressing, grinding, super high pressure microstream treatment, and other
mechanical methods commonly used in the industry could be carried out, with
a penetration rate of over 99%.
IV. Drying/Encapsulation: Drying was carried out at low temperature using
standard methods including freeze-drying or vacuum-drying etc., which are
commonly used in the industry. The obtained product had a moisture content
less than 4%. The dried GLSs are in powder form and encapsulated. Each
capsule contains 300 mg of dried GLSs.
The preferable dosage for oral GLSs uptake is about 2-4 capsules per time,
1-3 times per day.
Claim 1 of 12 Claims
1. A method for reducing risk of age-related disorders in a human
orally administering to said human an effective amount of sporoderm-broken
germination activated Ganoderma lucidum spores (GLSs);
whereby said sporoderm-broken GLSs are prepared by soaking ganoderma
spores in a solution which is selected from the group consisting of
water, saline, and a nutritional solution to cause the spores to
placing said germination-treated ganoderma spores in a culture box
at a relative humidity of 65-98% and temperature of 18-48 degree C. to
cause the germinated ganoderma spores to activate; and
breaking sporoderm of said germination activated ganoderma spores
to produce said sporoderm-broken GLSs.
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