Adaptogenic Mushrooms: What are They, and What are the Benefits?
From protein powders to capsules, products containing adaptogenic mushrooms are becoming quite popular in the health and wellness industry. As such, maybe you’re wondering whether these adaptogenic mushrooms offer the much-hyped health benefits and whether you need to add them to your diet.
These functional mushrooms are beneficial to the body because they support your ability to handle stress. They help the body to achieve a homeostatic balance, where all its systems achieve a balance and work together.
This article dissects everything you need to know concerning adaptogenic mushrooms, what they are, the potential benefits, and if there are possible risks.
What Are Adaptogenic Mushrooms?
These mushroom types help in the reduction of stress in your body. Adaptogenic mushrooms don’t induce magic, aren’t hallucinogenic, and don’t create any perception in the mind. Generally, an adaptogen alleviates adverse stress effects on the body. They improve your resistance to chemical, biological, and physical stress.
What does an adaptogen do to the body?
Adaptogens promote your body’s normal functioning in stressful times while protecting you against stress-related damage. Your body’s stress response involves multiple systems, such as the HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal), the body’s primary stress response system.
The HPA axis's essential function is releasing glucocorticoids, steroid hormones that activate your stress response. Adaptogens influence the HPA axis and other key stress response mediators. Doing so enhances stress resistance and improves your body's recovery and homeostasis.
Adaptogens promote your body’s resilience by helping your body to bounce back from stress quickly.
Adaptogenic Mushroom Types and Their Benefits
Some of the best adaptogenic mushrooms' benefits include the body’s response to stress. It’s necessary to note that medicinal mushrooms aren’t necessarily adaptogenic.
The following mushrooms offer adaptogenic benefits:
An animal study in China discovered that Cordyceps extracts increase powerhouse antioxidants and are rich in glutathione peroxidase and glucanssuperoxide dismutase. The fungus also helped decrease lipid peroxidation activity, leading to aging and pro-inflammatory monoamine.
Additionally, a trial on humans found Cordyceps to be a suitable hormone balancer or adaptogen. It offers great help to those suffering from fatigue by increasing endurance and energy.
Use Cordyceps for immune health, improved stamina, and increased energy. Furthermore, as an adaptogenic mushroom, Cordyceps helps support your adrenal glands by assisting the body in producing and maintaining consistent energy levels.
Lion’s Mane supplements such as capsules and powders possess potential neuroprotective benefits. In addition, NGFs (Nerve Growth Factors) found the mushroom to have a regenerative ability and protect the brain tissue.
This mushroom helps reduce anxiety and depression while improving cognitive and brain health. Studies show that mice showed fewer signs of depressive behavior after consuming Lion's Mane.
In general, it helps improve mental clarity and concentration and boosts creativity.
Ganoderma Lucidum or reishi mushrooms have known adaptogenic properties. They help support the proper functioning of adrenal glands that secrete cortisol, which helps your body’s ability to respond to stress.
A study on male athletes revealed that combining reishi supplements like reishi mushroom powder or capsules and cordyceps helped protect them against stress-related damage from overtraining when cycling. Researchers believe that reishi mushrooms can protect you from different stressors, including cold exposure and low oxygen levels.
In addition, studies in rats revealed that reishi has the potential to protect you against exercise-induced muscle damage and stress-induced anxiety. A cup of reishi-infused tea may help with a restorative and restful night of sleep.
The turkey tail mushroom is an immune-boosting powerhouse equipped with potent antimicrobial and antiviral properties, making it effective for cold and flu treatment and prevention.
Packed with necessary antioxidants, turkey tail helps inhibit or reduce oxidative stress damage caused by cellular damage and inflammation. Oxidative stress increases the risk of developing heart disease and certain cancers.
Shiitake mushrooms are rich in vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, vitamin D, and zinc. Studies show that these mushrooms help reverse the immune function’s age-related decline. Their effects on an improved immune system are mainly attributed to their polysaccharides.
Also known as the Indian ginseng, Ashwagandha is native to India, parts of Africa, and the middle east and has multiple applications in herbal medicine. The magical mushroom helps regulate cortisol levels and eases anxiety and stress. Additionally, it supports cognitive functions as well as healthy sleeping patterns.
Chaga mushrooms are antioxidant-rich adaptogenic mushrooms that aid in inflammation reduction and defend the body against free radicals. According to research, Chaga helps lower blood sugar levels, alleviate arthritis, reduce blood pressure, and prevent or slow cancer progression in the brain, lungs, and liver.
Are Adaptogenic Mushrooms Safe for Consumption?
Research studies show that these adaptogenic mushrooms are safe for consumption.
However, other studies reveal potential side effects. For example, reishi can cause side effects like headaches and dizziness. People taking blood pressure medication, those with bleeding disorders, and pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult their doctor before consuming these supplements.
In any case, consult a healthcare professional before taking any adaptogenic mushroom supplements.
What to Expect When Consuming Adaptogenic Mushrooms
Although certain adaptogenic mushrooms may be safe for healthier individuals, they may not be a safe choice for everyone. Thus, you should talk to an experienced healthcare provider if you’re interested in using adaptogenic mushroom supplements for their adaptogenic properties.
Also, we advise identifying the cause of stress and using additional stress-relieving techniques such as meditation, exercise, massage, and therapy. These options are a great companion to adaptogenic supplements. With everything in place, adaptogenic mushroom supplements can help you feel more balanced and relieved from stress.
Mushrooms such as Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, Turkey Tail, Ashwagandha, Chaga, and Reishi have adaptogenic properties and help relieve stress. However, there’s a need for more research to understand how these mushrooms affect the response to stress in humans.
Talk to a healthcare provider first if you wish to consume adaptogenic mushroom supplements regularly.