A Complete Guide to Adaptogenic Mushrooms
Mushrooms have officially taken over the health and wellness space—but not just any ol’ shrooms!
We’re talking about nutrient-dense, adaptogenic mushrooms that have been used for centuries in Eastern medicine to provide energy, fight inflammation, boost immunity, and improve overall health.
But, that’s not all!
In recent years, researchers have discovered that these powerful ‘shrooms can help you train longer, cut through brain fog, and boost focus.
In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about adaptogenic mushrooms. We will discuss how each one can benefit you and, most importantly, how to choose a high-quality adaptogenic mushroom supplement.
- Adaptogenic mushrooms can increase your body’s energy production, improve mental focus, and improve oxygen utilization.
- Adaptogens help your body adapt to chemical, biological, and mental stress. The strong antioxidant capacity of adaptogenic mushrooms can also relieve anxiety, support a healthy immune system, and fight inflammation.
- Most mushrooms owe their health and wellness content to beta-glucans and other beneficial polysaccharides found in them. Always be sure to select a high-quality supplement that uses 100% organic mushroom extract with a guaranteed amount of beta-glucans.
WHAT ARE ADAPTOGENIC MUSHROOMS?
Adaptogenic mushrooms are known for their ability to strengthen the body’s resistance to physical, psychological, and emotional stress.
Let’s face it—our bodies are faced with stressors every day—whether it be from lack of sleep, an intense training session, or a high-stress work environment.
To perform at its best, our body must find ways to adapt to these everyday stresses.
Adaptogens do just that by helping your body “adapt” to stress and maintain a healthy balance.
It’s important to note that adaptogenic mushrooms are not the same as “magic” mushrooms that have a mind-altering effect.
Most people use a variety of adaptogenic mushrooms regularly to get the full benefits.
6 ADAPTOGENIC MUSHROOMS AND THEIR HEALTH BENEFITS
Studies show that chaga, cordyceps, lion's mane, maitake, turkey tail, and reishi have adaptogenic properties and can provide numerous health benefits.
Let’s take a closer look at each one and learn how it can benefit you.
The chaga mushroom, also known as Inonotus obliquus, grows on birch trees in Eastern Europe. It’s commonly called “the king” of mushrooms because of its nutrient density and numerous health benefits.
As a powerful antioxidant, chaga works to reduce inflammation, reduce blood pressure, and protect your body against damage caused by free radicals.
By supplying the body with more antioxidants, chaga may slow or reverse signs of aging.
Research suggests that chaga may inhibit cancer progression, stimulate the immune system, and work as an antiviral.
Chaga mushroom also positively affects athletic performance by supporting stamina, endurance, and oxygen flow.
Cordyceps are parasitic fungi that live on caterpillars in the mountain regions of China. They have been used for centuries to maintain consistent energy levels and boost stamina.
If you’re looking for a pre workout energy boost to help you power through your workouts, cordyceps may be your new best friend.
In fact, it’s one of the most popular mushrooms among athletes. Cordyceps increase the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which increases cellular oxygen absorption and fuels our muscles.
It also can reduce the amount of lactic acid produced during workouts, leading to an overall decrease in muscle fatigue.
One study in male athletes found that taking a combination of reishi and cordyceps protected against oxidative stress due to overtraining from cycling.
Another study found that acute supplementation with cordyceps may improve tolerance to high-intensity exercise. Prolonged supplementation may further enhance benefits.
Cordyceps can also increase VO2 max, delivering more oxygen to your body and brain.
If that’s not enough, this powerful mushroom also supports a healthy immune function by stimulating the production of immune cells that protect us against outside invaders.
Lion’s mane, also known as Hericium erinaceus, is another mushroom that has been used for years in Asian countries. It’s often considered a “smart mushroom” and is frequently touted for its neuroprotective benefits.
As a nootropic, this fungus supports NGF (nerve growth factor) and myelin production, which both play vital roles in improving cognition and overall brain health.
One study found that lion’s mane effectively improved cognition in older Japanese adults with mild cognitive impairments after just four weeks of use.
Lion’s mane can also boost creativity, cut through brain fog, and improve mental clarity.
Maitake mushrooms grow in large clumps on tree stumps and roots. Thanks to its bird-like appearance, it’s often called the “hen of the woods” in Europe and North America.
It was initially used in Chinese medicine for calming nerves and promoting spleen and stomach health.
Scientists believe maitake can promote healthy blood sugar levels, support a healthy weight, and reduce fat concentrations in the blood.
Maitake mushrooms may also strengthen cognitive systems by improving focus, memory, and mood.
Turkey tail, also known as Trametes versicolor, grows on dead hardwood trees around the world. Turkey tail is one of the most researched adaptogenic mushrooms to date.
It is a strong antiviral and equipped with antimicrobial properties that can help combat the common cold and flu.
In ancient Chinese medicine, turkey tail was traditionally used to promote healthy cholesterol levels, support a healthy immune system, and support liver health.
In particular, turkey tail is known for its protein-bound polysaccharides that can support the immune system and fight inflammation and diseases.
Turkey tail mushrooms contain both krestin (PSK) and polysaccharide peptide (PSP). These are both commonly used as anticancer agents in conjunction with chemo and radiation in countries like Japan. Research also suggests that turkey tails can also strengthen the immune system in cancer patients.
It also contains prebiotics which offer gut healing benefits and can promote smoother digestion.
Reishi mushrooms, also known as Ganoderma lucidum, thrive in warm, humid climates. They are one of the most popular adaptogenic mushrooms and are well-known for their vast array of health and wellness benefits.
To start, reishi helps our adrenal glands function properly. When properly functioning, our adrenal glands secrete the hormone cortisol, which helps the body respond to stress.
Reishi also has cardioprotective properties and can reduce blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.
Although its exact mechanism is unknown, preliminary studies show reishi can reduce fatigue, decrease anxiety, and improve quality of life in breast cancer survivors.
Studies suggest that Reishi may also protect against exercise-induced damage to muscle cells.
HOW ADAPTOGENS SUPPORT YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM AND IMMUNE FUNCTION
Our immune system is the foundation of our overall health.
If it’s not functioning correctly, you’re at a greater risk for colds and the flu, which could put a major damper on your fitness goals.
Adaptogens, including the six mushrooms mentioned above, can boost your immune system.
Studies suggest that adaptogenic mushrooms work to strengthen our immune system by altering lymphocytes, macrophages, T cells, and natural killer cells that our immune system needs to function correctly.
Moreover, all adaptogenic mushrooms have beta-glucans which can stimulate your immune system and suppress tumor growth.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BETA GLUCANS IN ADAPTOGENIC MUSHROOMS
Beta-glucans are the most common polysaccharide found in the cell walls of adaptogenic mushrooms. They are the most studied compound and are responsible for the majority of benefits in healing mushrooms.
Each mushroom contains beta-glucans with a slightly different structure. This is why, as a group, they offer so many impressive health benefits.
Beta-glucans have been studied to:
- Support a healthy immune system
- Protect your heart
- Neutralize damaging free radicals
- Destroy pathogenic microorganisms
- Provide long-lasting energy
- Improve brain function
All mushroom supplements are not created equal. To receive the full benefits of beta-glucans, you’ll want to choose a concentrated, high-quality formula that contains a blend of mushrooms.
Many companies use mycelium, a far less potent part of the mushroom, in their products. It is less beneficial to your health and contains fewer beneficial phytochemicals.
You’ll want to choose a medicinal mushroom supplement formulated with 100% fruiting bodies to increase potency and effectiveness.
Our Shrooms medicinal mushroom product uses the following high-quality adaptogenic mushrooms:
- Chaga: 10% beta-glucans
- Cordyceps: 25% beta-glucans
- Lion’s Mane: 25% beta-glucans
- Maitake: 35% beta-glucans
You’ll never have to second guess the quality of our products. You can rest assured knowing our potent Shrooms blend is free of fillers, grains, mycelium, and starch. Each mushroom we use is standardized to have a minimum amount of beta-glucans.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ARE ADAPTOGENIC MUSHROOMS SAFE?
Yes! Adaptogenic mushrooms are 100% safe. To date, research has shown a very high safety profile for mushrooms and very few negative interactions.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ADAPTOGENIC MUSHROOMS AND MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS?
Though many people use the two words interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Medicinal mushrooms are a broad term that describes mushrooms that may help stimulate the immune system and fight inflammation. Adaptogenic mushrooms specifically can help your body adapt to stress.
WILL ADAPTOGENIC MUSHROOMS MAKE ME HIGH?
No, adaptogenic mushrooms including shiitake, cordyceps, reishi, chaga, lion’s mane, and maitake will not make you high or alter your mind.
ARE ADAPTOGENIC MUSHROOMS FOR ME?
If you’re looking to support your training with increased ATP production, improved oxygen utilization, reduced stress, or improved cognition, adaptogenic mushrooms are an excellent addition to your supplement regimen.
In addition to our popular Shrooms blend, you can also find high quality adaptogens in our Reds, Pre 2.0, and Veggies which are all formulated to support a healthy digestion, immune system, and improve cognitive performance.