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Fungi 101, Immune System
Written By: Emily Spring
Mushrooms like the Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, and Turkey Tail are currently gaining serious attention, and for a good reason. These mushrooms have been a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, indigenous medicine, and global cultures’ healing practices for thousands of years. In Ancient Greece, mushrooms were used for their anti-inflammatory properties. First Nations people used mushrooms to heal wounds. Today, Western research is catching up, confirming the specific chemical pathways that create mushrooms’ beneficial effects.
While studies are still underway, more and more research is confirming that mushrooms are viable modalities for modern health issues. While many mushrooms are traditionally enjoyed as mushroom tea, mushroom extracts and supplements contain the same benefits (as long as they come from a reputable source).
Are you thinking of adding mushroom supplements to your daily wellness routine? Here are 10 mushroom supplement benefits to inspire you.
Reishi, Chaga, and Turkey Tail mushrooms are amongst some of the best functional mushrooms for immunity boosting. All three have a potentially beneficial effect on the immune system, largely thanks to long chains of carbohydrates known as polysaccharopeptides that are bound inside mushroom’s proteins.
These particles have a clear immunomodulating effect:
In the meantime, you can experience mushroom capsules benefits for yourself.
We all know antioxidants are good for us—but do you know why? Oxidation is the process by which harmful substances—from environmental pollutants to UV rays—remove electrons from our bodies’ oxygen and water molecules. Oxidation creates “free radicals,” or inherently unstable cells that seek to bond with others. The result? Cellular carnage.
Antioxidants are an important way to combat oxidative stress, and mushrooms are full of them. The Maitake mushroom and the Turkey Tail mushrooms in particular have well-studied antioxidant properties.
Due to their abundance of antioxidants, these mushrooms:
For even better results, look for a mushroom supplement that contains Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), another powerful antioxidant compound.
Another effect of mushrooms’ beneficial antioxidant compounds? In preventing free radical damage, antioxidants can also reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. Because of this, vitamins and plant extracts containing antioxidant properties are commonly used in topical treatments or oral supplements to achieve healthy skin. That’s right—mushrooms can leave you with brighter, more youthful-looking skin.
In addition, preliminary studies show that reishi mushrooms can help heal skin injuries and irritations. If you suffer from red patches, irritation or scarring from blemishes, mushrooms’ healing properties may help improve your skin’s overall appearance.
Gut health is closely related to immunity. In fact, scientists say that your gut comprises up to 70% of the immune system. The gut plays several roles in innate and adaptive immunity:
Beyond immunity, good gut health is essential for a balanced, healthy lifestyle. When you can comfortably digest a wide range of foods, it makes it easier to eat out, enjoy meals at friends’ homes and test new recipes without worry.
Mushrooms can support both immunity and healthy digestion.
They do so in at least two ways:
Healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels improve your health in the long term. It’s important to maintain a healthy diet that is low in artificial sugar and “bad” cholesterol. However, there’s only so much you can do to improve your blood sugar and cholesterol levels since genetics play a major role in how your body processes sugar and fat.
Mushroom supplements are one potential way to manage your glucose and cholesterol levels without drastic diet changes.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Reishi adaptogenic mushrooms are used to increase Qi, or life force. Simply put, you may feel more energetic and spirited after ingesting reishi mushrooms. Beyond that, preliminary studies show that reishi mushrooms can reduce fatigue as well as improve mood.
Since inflammation is linked to low energy levels and fatigue, it’s possible that reishi mushrooms (along with others) can boost energy levels by reducing inflammation. This, in turn, may help improve sleep cycles so that you’re able to get better rest and start each day with more energy.
Turkey tail mushrooms have been studied as a possible treatment for diseases that affect long-term memory. In addition to the memory benefits that the turkey tail mushroom offers, Dr. Andrew Weil shares that several edible mushrooms, including the maitake mushroom, have been linked to improved nerve growth. He writes that:
“Mushrooms may eventually be regarded as functional foods, like turmeric and green tea, which have been shown in other studies to exert neuroprotective and antioxidant effects on the brain.”
Some degenerative memory illnesses are caused by free-radical damage, which makes antioxidant mushrooms a possible natural aid.
Are you an athlete looking to boost your performance? Mushrooms may help here, too.
In 2009, researchers investigated the effects of reishi mushrooms on soccer players under considerable physical stress.They found that those who took Reishi mushroom extract had more active immune systems. This suggests that a medicinal mushroom might help serious athletes boost their physical performance without suffering ill effects.
In Russia, chaga mushrooms have long been used in the culture for managing physical aches and discomfort of all kinds. While this practice may not be familiar to your culture, science now confirms that many mushrooms have analgesic effects. This may be related to their anti-inflammatory properties.
Mushrooms have a wide range of powerful benefits Their most basic function, though, is that they support holistic health.
Because mushrooms function at so many levels—reducing inflammation, supporting gut health, reducing fatigue—they have a strong cumulative effect. Even if you don’t have a specific complaint, you may be looking for the missing ingredient that makes you feel better.
Mushrooms are well-studied and rarely produce side effects. That makes it easy and safe to experiment with one or several varieties and find your perfect mushroom match or blend.
With many mushroom products on the market, what’s the best way to experience the power of mushrooms? While it’s possible to mix and match different mushrooms and supplements, you can find capsules that contain the most potent mushrooms’ healing effects.Plant People Immune Power Capsules
A mushroom complex benefits the mind and body by combining several beneficial fungi. Plant People’s Immune Power Multiplex contains at least 100 mg of the following extracts:
In addition to these mushrooms, it’s formulated with 100 mg of Vitamin C and the Traditional Chinese Medicine herb astragalus. Together, these 100% organic, sustainably-farmed ingredients create a potent immune-enhancing blend. Packed with Vitamin C benefits and formulated in vegan capsules, it's never been easier to make medicinal mushroom supplements part of your daily routine.
Add mushrooms to your morning routine with our mushroom coffee mix, formulated with adaptogenic mushrooms, 2 different types of coffee, and green tea extract to support your energy throughout the day.
At Plant People, we’re committed to formulating natural products that meet contemporary wellness needs. Our CBD tinctures and topicals combine all-natural, hemp-based CBD with adaptogenic herbs to support mood, sleep, and overall wellness. Our new Immune Power Multiplex builds on our knowledge of plants and fungi to provide a powerful blend of immune-supporting ingredients.
Make it a part of your daily routine and start feeling mushrooms’ potent effects today!
Written by Emily Spring
Emily Spring is the Director of Marketing at Plant People. A longtime proponent of balanced living, she has enjoyed over 8 years driving growth in the lifestyle, health and wellness sectors with deep experience in functional solutions for optimizing anyone's everyday life.
Reviewed by Anne Kurtz
Anne Kurtz holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. from Cornell University in Food Science, specializing in flavor chemistry and neuroscience. She is a sustainability and consumer product expert, with nine years in the consumer packaged goods industry working across R&D, innovation, claims, and digital marketing. Anne is passionate about consumer tech and writes a weekly newsletter called The Juicy Byte.
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