The Amazing Impacts of Medicinal Mushrooms on Health
I’ve been following Mycologist, Paul Stamets, for a while now. I’ve been using his Host Defense mushroom products for the last few months and I truly feel a drastic difference.
Click here to watch his TED talk.
I was skeptical and resistant to medicinal mushrooms at first, but now I’m a believer.
Let’s review some facts about mushrooms.
Mushrooms are Fungi
Although many people consider mushrooms to be in the vegetable category, they are actually fruits of a fungi.
There’s more than 140,000 species of mushroom bearing fungi across the world. Of the 140,000, an estimated 2,000 species are edible and/or medicinal mushrooms.
What we’re finding about mushrooms in research is hopeful.
Studies are finding that eating various mushrooms can help boost health by supporting the immune system and by reducing stress, while providing necessary nutrients to the body.
A substantial body of research has determined that mushrooms are packed with nutrients. This is why we use the term medicinal mushrooms.
History of Mushrooms
Before I get any deeper, let’s discuss the history of mushrooms. Medicinal mushrooms have been used across cultures all over the world.
Traditional Chinese Medicine used mushrooms as healing agents for thousands of years.
The Egyptians reserved their use for royalty because they believed mushrooms were very special.
Americans began to use them in the late 1800s.
Today, mushroom cultivators are found around the world and both the wild and farmed mushrooms are very commonly used for human consumption.
Also note that fungi are used both directly or indirectly in more than 40% of the pharmaceuticals today.
These pharmaceuticals include penicillin, streptomycin, tetracycline, immunosuppressants, and many other prescription drugs on the market.
Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms
Research suggests that mushrooms support more than 130 functions in the body. Let’s cover a few basic functions that mushrooms support.
Mushrooms Provide Nutrients
They provide B vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and folate.
These B vitamins are necessary for maintaining healthy metabolic and nervous system functions, as well as energy levels.
They also contain Vitamin D2 and D3, which play a critical role in bone and immune health, energy, and mood.
Mushrooms contain several minerals including selenium, potassium, and copper.
Mushrooms Support the Immune System
They are packed with ß glucans, polyphenols, polysaccharides, and antioxidant properties. Such compounds play a huge role in supporting the immune system and boosting immune function.
A disclosure needs to be added here.
It is thought that while consuming such compounds are safe for most, since ß glucans are stimulatory for the immune system, it can be a risk for those with autoimmune diseases, such as Lupus, MS, and RA.
Personally, I’ve been experimenting with various mushroom blends and I must tell you it’s what’s kept my Lupus in full remission.
I disagree with the notion that anything that is stimulatory for our immune system is bad for Autoimmune patients. But this is a topic of discussion for another blog.
Mushrooms Help with Stress Management
It’s the ample amount of B vitamins in mushrooms that support our nervous systems.
Mushrooms also help support stress management because of the adaptogenic properties of the mushrooms.
Adaptogens help our body adapt to stress and protect the body’s wellbeing.
Mushrooms Provide Fiber and Improve Gut Health
Mushrooms have dietary fiber which helps support digestive health.
Some mushrooms contain a polysaccharide called polysaccharopeptide, which is a great prebiotic.
Mushrooms Help Support Your Skin Health
Many mushrooms have an abundant amount of antioxidant properties, which your skin needs, especially as we get older.
Mushrooms Help the Environment
Mushrooms are considered the wise ecosystem for all organisms. They help our ecosystems survive.
As Paul Stamets refers to in his TED talk, mushrooms provide a variety of support for the environment including:
- Pollution absorption
- Soil cleansing
- Production of natural insecticides
- Assist in clean up of oil spills
- Breaking down nerve agents
- Providing sustainable fuel source
- Enhancing quality of our soil
This is all important for the quality of the foods that we eat and for the health of the world that we live in.
While most of the research is done on the Asian mushrooms including, cordyceps, enoki, maitake, reishi, and shiitake mushrooms, virtually every type of edible mushroom has some heath benefits.
How Do You Incorporate Mushrooms Into Your Diet?
I make broth out of dry shiitake mushrooms, which makes for a full flavored broth base for any soup.
Also, I try to cook with the Asian mushrooms as well as the local mushrooms. I prefer to buy them from the local Asian grocery store, such as the H Mart.
Finally, I take Host Defense mushroom supplements. Lion’s Mane and Reishi are two that I’ve been most consistent with.
If you’re interested in discounted links to the mushrooms, please click here.
Look up Host Defense and select Lion’s Mane and/or Reishi.
Thanks for being here.
See you next week!
About the Author
Dr. Connie has suffered from Lupus for the last 16 years. As a result, she discovered that a holistic minded approach to health was most beneficial for herself in battling Lupus and for her patients, who battle everything from Autoimmune Disease to Weight Loss. Dr. Connie holds a Doctorate in Physical Therapy and a Masters in Public Health (Nutrition) from the renowned Loma Linda University School of Allied Health Professions. She is also a Registered and Licensed Dietitian in the State of Georgia. Additionally, Dr. Connie is a Functional Medicine Practitioner (Certification Pending 2017), a Registered RYT-200 Yoga Teacher & School (Yoga Alliance) and Certified Pilates Teacher (Pilates Method Alliance).