Fabulous Fungi: What are Adaptogenic Functional Mushrooms and Why Would I Want to Take Them?

There is a possibility you’ve been hearing words like “adaptogens” “turkey tail” “reishi” and even “ashwaganda” more often in the last few years. Since we are at the height of flu season, and of course due to the continued spread of Covid-19, Mushrooms are a great addition to your arsenal of the vitamins Zinc, D3 and C you’ve most likely been taking more of this year.

In this post, I will focus on the immune capabilities of certain mushrooms. This is Part 1 in a 3-part series dedicated to the benefits of mushrooms and what they can do for the body.

Part 2 will look at Mood & Stress Support & Part 3 we will discover how mushrooms can benefit our internal organs.

What are Adaptogens? Well they are essentially herbs used for centuries in Eastern medicine and are finally making their way into the US and becoming mainstream again (they are also a little “trendy” but if you dig deeper, the science is pretty amazing.) These adaptogens naturally protect your body from stress & anxiety by helping your system “adapt” to outside stressors. They target the bodies 3 stages of stress, Alarm, Resistance and Exhaustion, also known as the “Flight or Fight” response.

Certain mushrooms contain these properties along with herbs like the aforementioned, Ashwaganda. However, I don’t want to delve into this too much, but that’s a sneak peek into Part 2 😊

Part 1: Immunity

Medicinal mushrooms have been used primarily in Eastern medicine for thousands of years, one of the biggest reasons for this is what are in the mushrooms, called polysaccharides. What are those? Well they are basically the sugars found in the cell walls of fungi, plants, yeast, algae & oats. Beta-Glucans are naturally occurring in these polysaccharides and have scientifically proven to positively impact immune health and even inhibit tumor growth. Beta-glucans attach themselves to the cytokine receptor sites on the immune cells and activate them, in turn balancing boosting the system, as well as fighting inflammation.

** When writing blog posts such as this one, you will always find citations below linked to scientific studies I have read and researched. **