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< class="article__title title adaptogenic-mushrooms-benefits-types-side-effects-and-usage"> Adaptogenic Mushrooms: Benefits, Types, Side Effects and Usage>
Adaptogenic Mushrooms: Benefits, Types, Side Effects and Usage
Dec 12, 22
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Author: Sony Sherpa

Adaptogenic Mushrooms: Benefits, Types, Side Effects and Usage

  • by Sony Sherpa
  • |
  • 11 min read

The wellness industry is presently obsessed with mushrooms. The popularity of holistic health has only increased post-pandemic, which has brought these fungi to the forefront. As a result, companies have introduced many beverage and confectionary lines over the past years packed with so-called adaptogen mushrooms like Chaga, Lion's mane, Cordyceps, Reishi, and others.

These are not the kinds of mushrooms that give you a high, either. Instead, a large class of organic herbs, plants, and mushrooms known as "adaptogens" has been shown to partially support your body's built-in defenses against harmful factors like stress and depression. They may also improve energy, immune function, brain function, and hormone balance, among other health advantages.

Do these adaptogenic mushrooms have legitimate health benefits? Unfortunately, research on these mushrooms is still in its early stages. And it's difficult to know where to begin with all the options available.

Here we will talk about the best adaptogenic mushrooms, including mushroom adaptogens benefits and side effects. We will also talk about how you can safely incorporate adaptogenic mushrooms into your well-being practice.  

What Are Adaptogenic Mushrooms?

An adaptogen is a substance that generally works to minimize the harmful effects of stress on the body. Adaptogenic mushrooms are a type of mushroom that may help your body cope with stress. Some utilize them as herbal health products. However, they don't affect the mind or perception like hallucinogenic or "magic" mushrooms do.

Adaptogens help the body resist biological, physical, and chemical stress, support normal functioning when under pressure, and guard against damage brought on by stress.

You can specifically train your body to cope with stress by eating adaptogenic mushrooms. The body is adapting.

Let's begin by understanding the body's complex stress response. It involves multiple bodily systems, such as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA axis) (HPA axis).

The HPA axis' primary purpose is to release the steroid hormones known as glucocorticoids (or cortisol) which trigger the body's stress response(1).

Adaptogens primarily affect the HPA axis and other important stress response mediators. Doing this increases the body's capacity to withstand stress, encourage healing, and maintain homeostasis.

For instance, some adaptogens will lower your cortisol levels if it has increased because of stress or anxiety. On the other hand, adaptogens increase cortisol to meet your body's needs if it is low, which can cause chronic fatigue and brain fog.

Benefits Of Adaptogenic Mushrooms

Benefits Of Adaptogenic Mushrooms

Adaptogens can offer remarkable health advantages and even help prevent some diseases. According to studies, adaptogenic supplements help the body resist stressors, fight cancer, fight fatigue, maintain overall wellness, and improve gut health.

The effects of various adaptogens on your body vary. Some will help you relax and relieve stress and anxiety, while others will give you more energy.

It is best to research adaptogens that are advantageous for your specific health issues since there is no one-size-fits-all adaptogen.

For instance, Cordyceps has the potential to be an antioxidant, while Lion's mane may be essential in enhancing neurocognitive benefits. In addition, according to research,  Chaga has anti-inflammatory properties, Reishi aids in relaxation, and Turkey tail may even guard against the flu.

But, in a nutshell, the adaptogenic mushrooms benefits are:

  • Decreases anxiety and stress.
  • Protects the brain and neural tissue.
  • Maintains healthy cortisol levels.
  • Aids in reducing adrenal fatigue.
  • Boosts sex desire.

Types Of Adaptogenic Mushrooms

Medicinal and adaptogenic are not the same. For example, numerous mushrooms have therapeutic benefits, such as anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting qualities. But the term "adaptogenic" specifically refers to how a substance might impact how the body reacts to stress.

According to research, some types of mushrooms are suitable for the body's stress response. Below are the best mushrooms with adaptogenic properties.

Chaga

Chaga is an adaptogenic mushroom that is rich in antioxidants. It helps protect against free radicals by regulating the immune system and reducing inflammation in the body. According to studies, Chaga may also help with blood pressure, blood sugar and pressure control, arthritis relief, and even the prevention or progression of cancer, especially of the lungs, liver, and brain.

Nitric oxide and cyclooxygenase, two substances that promote inflammation, are decreased by Chaga, according to research(2). In a different study, Chaga's water-based extract demonstrated antiviral activity(3).

Use it for:

Reducing inflammation, alleviating arthritis, immune health, antioxidant production, lowering blood sugar and pressure, and supporting skin, hair, and nail vitality.

Reishi

Reishi

Reishi is an adaptogenic mushroom most frequently used due to its advantages for overall health. It helps you feel more balanced, boosts the immune system(4), reduces stress and anxiety, and promotes deeper sleep.

The mushroom boosts the immune system to ward off infection. Additionally, the triterpenes and beta-glucans in Reishi may help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and total cholesterol.

Use it for:

Immunity, reducing anxiety and stress and enhancing sleep.

Cordyceps

This adaptogenic mushroom will give your pre-workout supplement tough competition. Cordyceps helps your body produce and maintain steady energy levels by supporting your adrenal glands.

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is produced more frequently in cells when Cordyceps are taken. As a result, it enhances the body's ability to transport oxygen, particularly during physical activity.

In Eastern medicine, Cordyceps has been used to increase sex drive, increase strength, and lessen fatigue. The antioxidant-rich mushroom prevents cell damage by disarming the aging-causing free radicals.

Use it for:

Strengthened endurance, increased vigor, and immune function

Lion’s mane

It has been demonstrated that Lion's mane helps treat anxiety and depression and strengthens the immune system. In addition, studies have shown that mice exhibited fewer depressive behaviors after consuming the mushroom.

There's a chance that Lion's mane will benefit cognitive health as well. According to one study(5), Lion's mane can help people with mild cognitive impairment. Additionally, substances in the fungi promote the production of NGF (Nerve Growth Factor), a bioprotein essential for the preservation, well-being, and regeneration of brain neurons.

Use it for:

Memory, creativity, concentration, and mental clarity.

Turkey Tail

Due to its potent antiviral and antimicrobial properties(6), Turkey Tail is beneficial for both preventing and treating the flu and the common cold. In addition, its abundance of antioxidants can help prevent or minimize the harm done by oxidative stress, which can result in inflammation or cellular damage.

Use it for:

Immune function, cellular renewal, and digestive function

Side Effects Of Adaptogens

Side Effects Of Adaptogens

Generally speaking, adaptogens are safe for healthy people. However, if you're not used to taking adaptogen products, they may result in mild digestive problems like nausea, diarrhea, and constipation.

Some adaptogens may cause allergies in people who are prone to them. Stop taking the adaptogen immediately and get in touch with a doctor if you experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid these mushrooms. Unfortunately, the research on adaptogen mushrooms is still in its early phase, and there are no human studies yet, that show the safety of the fungi in these women.

Some adaptogenic mushrooms lower blood pressure. Therefore, people taking blood pressure-lowering medications should avoid using the mushroom simultaneously as the pressure may drop too low. Likewise, other mushrooms reduce blood sugar levels, and those on anti-diabetic drugs should steer clear of them.

Adaptogen mushrooms may also increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders, as it interferes with blood clotting. Avoid the mushrooms if you are on blood thinning medications.

High oxalates in Chaga may increase the risk of stone formation in the kidney. Avoid this mushroom if you are prone to the condition of

Other adaptogenic mushroom side effects that have been reported are:

  • Skin sensitivity and rashes
  • Itching
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Blood in stool
  • Dry mouth

How To Use Adaptogen Mushrooms?

Numerous varieties of adaptogenic mushroom products make it challenging to find the right one in the health food store's supplement section. Most people use medicinal mushrooms in powder form.

You can take them on a convenient tablet or capsule or blend the powder into your morning smoothie. Likewise, you can use the liquid extract format or make an energizing, caffeine-free snack.

Adaptogenic mushrooms can also be turned into a nourishing nighttime tea. So, there isn't just one way to incorporate them into your diet; it's best to experiment and find the right product.

Before adding a new supplement to your regimen, you should always consult your doctor. Here are some guidelines for safely incorporating adaptogenic mushrooms into your well-being routine if you have been given the go-ahead to begin experimenting with them.

Choose supplements that best suit your needs and your daily activities.

Make sure the mushrooms are organic and come from a reputable source, however you choose to incorporate them into your life.

Research, research, and research!

FAQs

What Is The Most Powerful Adaptogen?

Mushrooms like Reishi, Chaga, Lion's mane, Cordyceps, and Turkey tail are powerful adaptogenic fungi. Other herbs, like ginseng, ashwagandha, and maca, are also adaptogens.

Which Mushroom Helps With Anxiety?

The best mushrooms for anxiety are Chaga, Cordyceps, Reishi, and Lions mane. A plethora of research has shown that these adaptogenic mushrooms calm the nerves and help ease anxiety symptoms.

Are Adaptogens Psychedelic?

Adaptogen mushrooms are not psychedelic, unlike magic mushrooms. They do not contain psilocybin, the substance that gives you a high.

Final Thoughts

Adaptogenic mushrooms are fungi that support your body's built-in defenses against harmful factors like stress and depression. Mushrooms such as Chaga, Lion's mane, Cordyceps, and Reishi may improve energy, immune and brain function, and balance hormones. According to studies, adaptogenic supplements help the body resist stress, fight cancer, fight fatigue, maintain overall wellness, and improve gut health.

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References

  1. Chronic Stress and Glucocorticoids: From Neuronal Plasticity to Neurodegeneration, (1)https://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2016/6391686/ 
  2. Immunostimulating Activity by Polysaccharides Isolated from Fruiting Body of Inonotus obliquus, (2)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3932689/ 
  3. Antiviral activity of Inonotus obliquus fungus extract towards infection caused by hepatitis C virus in cell cultures, (3)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22462058/ 
  4. Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides enhance the function of immunological effector cells in immunosuppressed mice, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17182202/ 
  5. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial, (5)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18844328/
  6. The Antibacterial Activity of Coriolus versicolor Methanol Extract and Its Effect on Ultrastructural Changes of Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella Enteritidis, (6)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4972825/
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