When you’re trying to stave off a cold or flu, consuming mushrooms probably isn’t your first thought. Instead, most people drink a bunch of orange juice, eat more leafy greens, and desperately try to up their Vitamin C intake. Maybe they even try some of the more popular natural remedies like echinacea or garlic.
While the above strategies aren’t bad approaches per se, they ultimately aim to fire up the immune system in a last ditch effort to fight off something negative.
The great thing about potent immune mushroom extracts is that they can gently support and build immune health over time. This way, if something does come your way, you’re more likely to retain your health without resorting to more drastic measures.
In this blog we’ll be taking a close look at the effects different mushroom extracts have on your immune system. We’ll begin by exploring exactly how mushrooms facilitate such a myriad of immune benefits.
Beta Glucans for Immunity
So how do mushrooms actually boost the immune system? Science is just now catching up to the benefits behind medicinal mushrooms, but researchers have found that many of the immune benefits come from the beta glucans found in these mushrooms.
Beta glucans are naturally occurring polysaccharides that have several adaptogenic properties, especially when it comes to the immune system. One of which is their ability to stimulate the production of Natural Killer cells, which fight off infections, colds, and viruses in the body.
Some of the most bioavailable sources of beta glucans are high quality mushroom extracts. Beta glucans are particularly prevalent in the following mushrooms:
Looking for all the benefits of a nootropic, but with an added boost to your immune system? Consider lion’s mane.
Maybe you’re already aware of lion’s mane’s many benefits for your brain and nervous system. But what’s often ignored about this mushroom is it’s immune potential, which stems from its dense chemical makeup of polysaccharides, polyphenols, beta glucans, terpenoids, and proteins.
Kill two birds with one stone by boosting both your brain health and your immune system with a high quality lion’s mane extract.
Of all the mushrooms in this list, chaga is my number one choice when it comes to mushrooms for the immune system.
This is because studies have found that chaga has antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-proliferative effects, and even “affords cellular protection against endogenous DNA damage” and oxidative stress.
Not only is chaga rich in beta glucans, it also contains a unique combination of betulin, melanin, polysaccharides, and other chemical constituents known to improve immunity against pathogens.
There’s a reason ancient Chinese texts describe reishi mushroom as “the great protector.” Physiologically, reishi strengthens the immune system, protecting us from germs and pathogens.
Reishi is also a potent adaptogen, allowing us to tolerate stress, while helping the body and mind deal with challenges in a more efficient way.
By nourishing the heart and Shen, reishi effectively helps create a healthier and more grounded sense of self. Reishi is thus a potent protective agent not just for the immune system, but for the entire body and spirit.
Cordyceps is most famous as an athletic and energetic tonic, and for good reason. This mushroom has been used by olympic athletes to boost energy, endurance and physical stamina.
But many people aren’t aware that cordyceps, like its other fungi friends, also has immuno-modulating properties.
Indeed, cordyceps has been shown in the scientific literature to have a myriad of benefits for the immune system, including “immunopotentiation, apoptosis, selective inhibition of ribonucleic acid (RNA), and protein synthesis, as well as antioxidant, antiangiogenic, antimutagenic, antimetastatic, and antiviral activities.”
Mushrooms like reishi, cordyceps, chaga, and lion’s mane build the immune system sustainably over time, without the side effects of processed or prescription medications. Their immuno-modulating benefits and rich concentration of beta glucans and polysaccarides can give your immune system the extra boost it needs to keep you healthy and secure during stressful times.