Medicinal mushrooms benefits: what you need to know and how to take them.
Shauna Anderson BSc. Adv Dip Nat. Naturopath & Whole Earth and Sea Expert lists the benefits of medicinal mushrooms and how we can take them
In these trying times, a healthy immune function is incredibly important and so it is not unreasonable to look for healthy ways to support your body’s natural defences. Fortunately, there are already therapeutic formulations in this area, which are mild enough to take every-day, yet highly effective in the long-term. Of these remedies, blends of mushrooms are increasingly popular, they have been around for centuries, yet it is really only now that they are trending in the health food industry. However, being the latest in a long line of superfoods is not the only reason for this popularity. It is also because quality medicinal mushrooms live up to their reputation.
Of these remedies, blends of mushrooms are increasingly popular, they have been around for centuries, yet it is really only now that they are trending in the health food industry
Medicinal mushrooms are nutritious, they are a source of antioxidants, protein, complex carbohydrates, including fibre and polysaccharides called beta-glucans that are responsible for their main therapeutic effects. In fact, all these nutrients promote overall health, benefit the immune system and support stress resistance.
Combinations of mushrooms have been shown to be particularly supportive of immune system function. As mentioned above the major active compounds in mushrooms are beta-glucans. These enhance the body’s response to infection by binding to receptors on the membranes of white blood cells to activate them. In addition, clinical research has found that reishi mushrooms possess extensive immune-modulating effects and help protect immune system cells from oxidative damage.
Improved gut health
The gut is linked to the immune system and so mushrooms may also impact the body’s defence system through their influence on the gastrointestinal tract. Mushrooms are prebiotics, which means they contain fibre that encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. By supporting the growth of certain species of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, prebiotics also helps support the intestinal barrier as well as indirectly encouraging all the benefits that a healthy gut flora population can give.
Given the times, experts in psychology have confirmed it is normal to feel more anxious and stressed than usual in 2020. It has been a difficult time for us all and coping mechanisms vary from individual to individual. Medicinal mushrooms may help support individuals with increased stress. In fact, they are well-known for their adaptogenic activity, helping the body to deal with the negative impact of mental and physical stress. An individual’s ability to cope with stress may also impact their immune system. Research has suggested that older adults are unable to terminate cortisol production in response to stress. Cortisol is ordinarily anti-inflammatory and influences the immune system, but chronic elevations can lead to the immune system becoming “resistant” to cortisol, leading to an accumulation of more stress hormones and inflammatory cytokines that eventually compromise the immune response. Shiitake and reishi mushroom extracts have been shown to decrease cortisol and other stress hormones. Thereby enhancing the body’s ability to cope with stress and replenishing its immune response.
Some yeasts are also known for their influence on the immune system due to their beta-glucan content. Wellmune® is a leading natural yeast beta-glucan that has been clinically demonstrated to help strengthen the immune system.
There are many mushroom formulations on the market, however, not all contain ingredients that are subjected to the same high standards of evaluation or provide effective combinations. Whole Earth and Sea’s 7 Mushroom Super Blend is an excellent quality blend of seven organic mushroom superfoods – maitake, shiitake, reishi, cordyceps, zhuling, silver ear, and Wolfiporia cocos, as well as Wellmune® beta-glucans and Farm Fresh FactorsTM, which is a concentrated blend of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs. If you are looking for an effective immune and stress support formula, that you can take long-term, this blend is for you.