Medicinal Mushrooms - The Natural Way to Boost Your Immune System
Having a strong immune system is worth its price in gold.
In fact, if you don’t have a strong immune system, then all the money in the world won’t help you.
It’s all about taking care of your health and wellbeing daily.
Even when life throws you a curveball.
It’s all too easy to follow the crowd and indulge in junk food and unhealthy snacks.
Especially if you’re not feeling up to looking after yourself.
Ironically, it’s at those moments when you feel low that you should be taking better care of yourself.
Bit by bit, your nutritional reserves diminish and then before you know it,
…your tank is empty.
The immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect our bodies from harmful pathogens and maintain overall health.
While we often associate a healthy immune system with lifestyle factors like a balanced diet and regular exercise,
…the role of certain natural substances, such as medicinal mushrooms, in supporting immune function is gaining attention.
In this article, we will explore the fascinating relationship between mushrooms and the immune system.
Delving into the various ways mushrooms can positively impact our body's defense mechanisms.
What are Medicinal Mushrooms?
Mushrooms have long been cherished as gourmet cuisine worldwide, prized for their unique taste and subtle flavors. However, recent research has discovered that mushrooms are more than a culinary delight. They possess an array of bioactive compounds with remarkable biological properties, turning them into miniature pharmaceutical factories. While mushrooms have a rich history in Oriental medicine, contemporary studies are only now catching up. We now have scientific evidence to support their effects on promoting good health and vitality.
Mushrooms have gained recognition as a source of nutraceuticals, offering benefits such as antioxidative, anticancer, immunomodulatory, and anti-inflammatory properties. Ongoing research aims to harness the potential of mushrooms as new generation "biotherapeutics," paving the way for their use in pharmaceutical and therapeutic applications. Mushrooms are a valuable source of diverse bioactive compounds and they play a promising role in enhancing human well-being.
Supporting Overall Wellness with Mushrooms
A robust immune system is not only important for fending off infections but also for promoting overall wellness. Medicinal mushrooms have been associated with various health benefits beyond immune system support. Such as, their potential anticancer properties, cardiovascular benefits, and stress reduction capabilities. These aspects also contribute to maintaining a healthy immune system. Understanding the broader impact of medicinal mushrooms on our well-being will underscore their significance as natural allies in supporting overall health.
Stress impacts all areas of our lives. In one study 77% of volunteers said that stress affects their physical health and 73% said that stress impacts their mental health. Stress also affects our ability to have a good night's sleep. The good news is that some mushrooms, such as reishi and cordyceps, have adaptogenic properties, meaning they can help the body adapt to stress and promote overall well-being. These mushrooms have been traditionally used to support the body's response to stress and enhance resilience. Incorporating adaptogenic mushrooms into our routine may aid in managing stress and promoting a sense of calm.
Activation of Immune Cells
When our body gets hurt or attacked by germs, our immune system tries to protect us by causing inflammation. It's a natural response, but sometimes our body needs help to calm down the inflammation. Certain things like not having enough antioxidants, vitamins, or getting older can make it harder for our body to stop the inflammation. That's where mushrooms come in! Mushrooms contain special molecules that can help reduce inflammation. Such as polysaccharides, phenolic compounds, fatty acids, and vitamins that fight inflammation and keep us healthy. Mushrooms can definitely be considered superfoods.
One of the key ways mushrooms influence the immune system is by stimulating the activity of various immune cells. Certain polysaccharides can activate immune cells such as natural killer (NK) cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells. NK cells are activated when mushrooms are ingested by stimulating cell surface activity. This activity is thought to be responsible for the anti-viral properties of mushrooms. Additionally, consuming mushrooms has been found to boost several immune responses and functions. For example the molecules β-Glucans, found in mushrooms, play a pivotal role in immunomodulation.
Potential Therapeutic Applications of Mushrooms
Beyond their general immune-boosting effects, mushrooms have shown promise in various therapeutic applications. The last decade has witnessed the overwhelming interest of western research in the pharmaceutical potential of mushrooms. A number of anti-tumour agents have been identified in various strains of mushrooms. These include enzymes, phenolics, flavonoids, carotenoids, folates and organic acids. Polysaccharides are the best known and most potent mushroom-derived substances with anti-tumor and immune boosting properties.
Both mushrooms and blue green algae (like Spirulina) contain a specific molecule that’s not created in the human body. This molecule is called L-Ergothioneine (EGT) and is considered to be “the last undiscovered vitamin.” Mushrooms are particularly high in EGT, which is a powerful antioxidant. Making it particularly useful in combating oxidative stress related diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease (AD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis, depression, and memory loss.
Precautions and considerations
While medicinal mushrooms are generally considered safe, they can interact with certain medications or cause allergic reactions in some people. If you feel you may fit into these categories, then it’s a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional before starting a new supplement regimen.
Having a strong immune system is truly invaluable. Mushrooms offer a natural and holistic way to support our immune system and overall wellness. They’re not only delicious but also packed with bioactive compounds that can positively impact our health. From being a powerhouse of antioxidants to promoting cardiovascular health, enhancing brain function, supporting digestion, reducing stress, and aiding in weight management, mushrooms have a lot to offer. Why not embrace the natural power of mushrooms to make them a valuable addition to your daily life.
Written by Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach and personal development.
Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.