Eating right is crucial while pregnant. This, however, can be challenging because many would-be mothers are regularly fed with myths and conventional wisdom. Owing to it, mushrooms are one of the foods that most expectant mothers are skeptical about.
Some claim mushrooms are safe to eat while pregnant, while others claim they harm the mother's health. However, you and your developing fetus can get plenty of vitamin D, vitamin B, iron, protein, fiber, and a wide range of antioxidants from mushrooms.
Reishi mushroom, or Ganoderma lucidum, is a fungus with an array of health-supporting benefits. It can help strengthen the immune system, fight infection, combats oxidant injury, and helps adapt to stress.
While this would work wonders for expecting mothers, lovers of medical mushrooms are still concerned. For example, is Reishi mushroom safe during pregnancy?
Many people believe that using Reishi mushrooms in pregnancy is safe because of the fungi's nutritional profile and health benefits. However, there isn't much scientific evidence supporting Reishi mushroom pregnancy safety profile.
Moreover, consumption of raw Reishi mushrooms, or any medicinal mushrooms for that matter, is not advised during pregnancy. Additionally, before starting any dietary supplements, including Reishi, while pregnant, you should always consult your doctor and healthcare provider.
So, let's talk about what we know so far about using Reishi mushrooms in pregnancy and the potential health benefits of this mushroom of immortality.
Reishi Mushroom During Pregnancy
Not much has been explored about Reishi mushroom and pregnancy use. However, the bioactive compounds in Ganoderma mushrooms are known to have several benefits on the body and the mind in pregnant and non-pregnant people.
Some potential Reishi pregnancy benefits are:
1. It Is Packed With Essential Vitamins.
Reishi mushrooms are an excellent source(1) of vitamins and minerals.
For example, Ganoderma lucidum is a complete source of B complex vitamins, vitamin D, and ascorbic acid.
Niacin and thiamine help the baby's brain develop, relieve fatigue and increase energy. Similarly, riboflavin contributes to healthy skin, better eyesight, and the growth of strong bones, muscles, and nerves. Folic acid aids in the development of the brain of the fetus.
A pregnancy diet would benefit from including a mushroom like Reishi, and anyone looking to naturally increase their intake of B vitamins without taking additional supplements could do so by consuming the mushroom.
Additionally, it contains a good amount of iron, essential to make new and healthy red blood cells. Apart from iron, the mushroom is also packed with other minerals like copper, zinc, and manganese, which assist the baby's growth and development.
2. Reishi Aids Muscle Strength And Digestion
Ganoderma mushrooms are a critical vegetarian source of protein, which is necessary for the growth of the placenta and the fetus's support system in the womb. Reishi contains 19.5mg of protein per 100 grams, making its protein content 16.3% higher than the more commonly consumed oyster mushrooms.
Additionally, the high fiber content of mushrooms encourages regular bowel movements. Insoluble fibers in Reishi help prevent common digestive issues, especially constipation, which is very common during pregnancy. Moreover, the soluble fiber moderates blood sugar absorption and aids in maintaining blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
3. It Can Help Combat Oxidative Stress And Can Provide Immune Support
Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals, which significantly cause various pregnancy-related illnesses. In addition, numerous reproductive complications, such as miscarriage, high blood pressure, fetal growth restriction, infertility, and preterm labor, are also influenced by oxidative stress.
Reishi is renowned for its antioxidant benefits(2), strengthening the immune system and keeping a pregnant woman disease-free and healthy. The mushroom's ability to combat oxidant injury is mainly attributed to triterpenoids and polysaccharides.
4. Reishi Mushrooms Aids In Fighting Infections.
It's crucial to protect yourself from viral infections during pregnancy. The majority of viruses won't harm your child. Some viruses, however, can result in miscarriage or congenital disabilities in your unborn baby.
The polysaccharides in Reishi mushroom help inhibit the replication(3) of numerous pathogenic viruses, including Hepatitis B virus, Herpes Simplex Virus (Type 1 and 2), Influenza A, and Vesicular Stomatitis viruses. In addition, triterpenoids from Reishi mushrooms have also been reported to have inhibitory effects on HIV(4) and the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
Are Mushroom Supplements Safe During Pregnancy?
Based on anecdotal evidence, medicinal mushrooms like Reishi, Lion's mane, Turkey Tail, Maitake, and Chaga are considered safe during pregnancy when taken in moderation. However, clinical studies demonstrating their safety are still lacking.
Which Mushroom Is Best For Pregnancy?
Fresh, well-cooked mushrooms are best during pregnancy. Avoid wild and magic mushrooms, raw and processed mushrooms, at this stage in your life.
Reishi mushrooms are generally considered safe, especially if you enjoyed them before getting pregnant and did not experience any adverse side effects. The mushrooms are loaded with vitamins and minerals, which help fight infection and oxidative stress. But as there is limited information on Reishi mushroom pregnancy safety, it is always best to speak with your doctor beforehand.
- Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits of Ganoderma lucidum “Lingzhi, Reishi, or Mannentake” as Functional Foods: Current Scenario and Future Perspectives, (1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8998036/
- Antioxidant properties of several medicinal mushrooms, (2)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12358482/
- Antiviral activities of various water and methanol soluble substances isolated from Ganoderma lucidum, (3)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10624872/
- Anti-HIV-1 and anti-HIV-1-protease substances from Ganoderma lucidum, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9862140/