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Fungi 101, Immune System

Top 10 Benefits of Mushroom Supplements

Top 10 Benefits of Mushroom Supplements

Mushrooms like the reishi, chaga and turkey tail mushroom 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 a tea, mushroom extracts and supplements contain the same benefits (as long as they come from a reputable source).

Are you thinking of adding a mushroom supplement to your daily wellness routine? Here are 10 mushroom supplements benefits to inspire you.

#1 Improve Your Immune System Response

Reishi, chaga and turkey tail mushrooms are amongst some of the best 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:

  • The reishi mushroom has been shown to boost white blood cell count. White blood cells are a central part of the immune system -- they’re involved in cell signaling and the destruction of foreign invaders and damaged cells.
  • The chaga mushroom is a powerful anti-inflammatory. While inflammation is  part of a healthy immune system response, poor cell signaling can lead to chronic inflammation. From there, conditions from stress to poor sleep to disease follow. To combat stress and the immune system impact, you’ll want to reduce inflammation. By combating inflammation, mushrooms help the immune system return to proper functioning.
  • In Japan and China, turkey tail mushroom extract is regularly used as a therapeutic aid to cancer treatments for immunocompromised patients. Clinical trials are underway in the U.S. to study the mushroom’s potential for similar purposes. 

In the meantime, you can experience mushroom capsules benefits for yourself.

#2 Harness Antioxidant Powers

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. Maitake and turkey tail mushrooms in particular have well-studied antioxidant properties. 

Due to their abundance of antioxidants, these mushrooms:

  • Prevent damage from environmental hazards
  • Lower the risk of diseases that stem from free radical damage

For even better results, look for a mushroom supplement that contains Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), another powerful antioxidant compound.

#3 Glowing Skin

Another effect of mushroom’s beneficial antioxidant compounds? In preventing free radical damage, antioxidants can also reduce fine lines, wrinkles and age spots. It’s because of this that 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.

#4 Soothe Your Gut

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:

  • The gut contains lymphatic tissue (gut-associated lymphatic tissue, or GALT). The lymph system is essential in cell signaling and immune system response.
  • The viruses, bacteria and fungi that live inside our guts also play a central role in modulating our immune response.

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:

  • Most mushrooms contain beneficial fibers that can serve as prebiotics for gut bacteria. Mushrooms are a great food source for healthy gut bacteria, helping this bacteria thrive.
  • Some mushrooms can increase white blood cell activity in the gut, helping your immune system to tackle foreign invaders that enter via food.

#5 Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar and Cholesterol

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.

  • Maitake mushrooms have been shown to help lower mice’s glucose levels. While human studies are still needed, there’s a hypothesis that the same chemical pathways in mice and humans, meaning that maitake mushrooms could benefit humans seeking to maintain their blood sugar.
  • A similar study showed that chaga mushrooms can help lower glucose and cholesterol levels in mice.

#6 Boost Your Energy Levels

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, reishi 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.

#7 Sharpen Your Memory

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.

#8 Aid the Stress of Physical Activity

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 extract had more active immune systems. This suggests that medicinal mushrooms might help serious athletes boost their physical performance without suffering ill effects.

#9 Manage Discomfort

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.

#10 Feel Better Overall

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.

How to Enjoy Mushrooms

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:

  • Reishi
  • Turkey tail
  • Chaga
  • Maitake

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 mushrooms a part of your daily routine.

Our Commitment to Holistic Health

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!

Sources:

British Journal of Sports Medicine. Effect of Ganoderma Lucidum Capsules on T Lymphocyte Subsets in Football Players on "Living High-Training Low." https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18048435/

Andrew Weil. Mushrooms to prevent dementia? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6010034/

Journal of Medicinal Food. A Randomized, Double-Blind and Placebo-Controlled Study of a Ganoderma Lucidum Polysaccharide Extract in Neurasthenia. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15857210/

Acupuncture Today. What you should know about reishi mushroom. https://www.acupuncturetoday.com/mpacms/at/article.php?id=32841

Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology. Maitake (Grifola frondosa) Improve Glucose Tolerance of Experimental Diabetic Rats. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jnsv1973/47/1/47_1_57/_article/-char/ja/

Food & Function.Immunomodulatory Effects of Hericium Erinaceus Derived Polysaccharides Are Mediated by Intestinal Immunology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28266682/

Clinical & Experimental Immunology. Allergy and the gastrointestinal system. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28266682/

Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry. The lignicolous fungus Trametes versicolor (L.) Lloyd (1920): a promising natural source of antiradical and AChE inhibitory agents. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6010034/

News Medical. What is oxidative stress? https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Oxidative-Stress.aspx

S. Scott’s Children’s Hospital. Medicinal mushrooms. https://www.mottchildren.org/health-library/ncicdr0000778943

International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. Review on Chaga Medicinal Mushroom, Inonotus obliquus (Higher Basidiomycetes). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273099088_Review_on_Chaga_Medicinal_Mushroom_Inonotus_obliquus_Higher_Basidiomycetes_Realm_of_Medicinal_Applications_and_Approaches_on_Estimating_its_Resource_Potential

Immunological Investigations. Effects of Ganopoly® (A Ganoderma lucidum Polysaccharide Extract) on the Immune Functions in Advanced‐Stage Cancer Patients. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1081/IMM-120022979

Integrative Medicine. Medicinal mushrooms. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684114/

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