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How Do Mushrooms Affect the Immune System?

Oh, mushrooms–most of us have a love/hate relationship with these fungi. Maybe you love the taste of mushrooms, or perhaps you hate them. Either way, at The Fitness Tribe, we are happy to share a few findings about mushrooms. Are you ready?

First, mushrooms can boost the immune system with the naturally occurring chemicals they contain. If you sighed because you hate mushrooms, here’s our next surprise. Medicinal mushrooms are available in a supplement form to improve immune function. Did that perk you up a bit? You are welcome.

Immune Function and Mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms aren’t a new thing in Eastern medicine. Mushrooms have been used for hundreds of years to heal and build a robust immune system. Western medicine is late to the party but more than willing to jump in with both feet.

It’s been a tough couple of years for our immune systems. New and old viruses have reared their ugly heads and made us ill. The innate immune system refers to your specific immune health. Everyone’s first line of defense against illness is their innate immune system. Things like the cough reflex, mucus build-up, stomach acid, and more work to defend the body against unwanted bacteria. If those initial defenses don’t work, the body’s immune system kicks into high gear with the adaptive immune system. It ranges from destroying bacteria with antibodies from past viruses or white blood cells.

As you can see, our immune system works hard to keep us healthy on its own. However, it never hurts to have some help for those immune systems. Enter medicinal mushrooms.

Mushrooms support the immune system by modifying cytokines. Cytokines are small, protein-based molecules that aid the immune system by allowing cells to communicate and move. This molecule enables cells to enter the site of infection and fight foreign diseases or illnesses. Cytokines issue both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory messages to immune cells. Increased inflammation leads to fevers, coughing, etc. Chemicals found in mushrooms help to decrease that inflammatory response brought on by cytokines, allowing critical immune cells like T-cells and B-cells along with antibodies to fight illnesses. Mushrooms also reduce anxiety and exhaustion brought about by cytokines’ pro-inflammatory response.

Another way mushrooms help the immune system is through beta-glucan, a polysaccharide found in mushrooms. Beta-glucan is foreign to the body. The immune system is vigilant when it enters the body, protecting you from this foreign unknown. Keeping your immune system working hard means you can fight off other viruses you come into contact with before they make you ill.

Mushrooms That Boost Immune Cells

Certain mushrooms are better than others in boosting the immune system. Like everything else, not all mushrooms are created equal. Some are poisonous, but others help the immune system. Who knew fungi could be so different?

According to studies, the most beneficial mushrooms for immune system support are:

  • Cordyceps Sinensis
  • Grifola frondosa
  • Trametes Versicolor
  • Agaricus blazei
  • Ganoderma lucidum

All of these species of mushrooms worked to decrease pro-inflammatory cytokines to increase T-cell and B-cell activity to defeat unwanted viruses from the body. Our cordyceps supplements article talks more about those particular fungi in depth.

Mushroom Supplements to the Rescue!

If you are not happy about consuming a wide range of mushrooms to support immune health, many supplements are available that make it easier. Check out some of our recommendations.

Future Kind Clarity Mushrooms

If you want to support your immune health with a side of increased brain health and energy levels, then Future Kind Clarity Mushrooms are for you. This supplement includes lion’s mane, chaga, shiitake, reishi, and maitake mushrooms. Together, these mushrooms reduce inflammatory responses for increased immune health. They contain 500mg of lion’s mane with 50mg of the other mushrooms giving you a high concentration to help fight infection. Reducing inflammatory responses in the body also decreases fatigue and helps to boost energy levels. A 30-day supply of Future Kind Clarity is available for $19.99 directly on their website.

Onnit Shroom Tech Immune

We’ve done a few reviews of Onnit, but we’re always happy to give you a summary of products again, especially ones that work. With Onnit, you get the mushroom extract with extract ingredients to promote overall health. Those ingredients are turmeric, ginger, and oregano. Onnit wants to boost your immune system using various active ingredients that give you the most significant benefits. A 90-capsule bottle that lasts 45 days costs $47.96.

Raw Botanics

Another excellent supplement that incorporates mushrooms, CBD (cannabidiol), CBN (cannabinol), and ashwagandha for health benefits and relaxation is Raw Botanics. CBD and CBN are naturally occurring chemicals from the cannabis plant known for bringing pain and relaxation without altering the mind, like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Combining mushrooms to benefit immune systems with CBD and CBN to promote better sleep invokes a supplement worth trying. Our bodies fight illnesses better with proper rest, which Raw Botanics provides. A bottle of 30 pills costs $63.75.

Fungi Works

If you’ve steered clear of mushrooms because of their taste or smell or just the fact that they are fungi, we challenge you to reconsider based on the evidence of how much it supports the human immune system. Remember, you don’t have to eat them as there are many fabulous supplements with mushrooms. It’s essential to keep our immune system in top shape throughout the year, not just during cold and flu season.

Speaking of supplements, check out our vegan mass gainer article to learn more about plant-based supplements to build muscle mass. It’s a supplement kind of day, folks!

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Kristen holds a bachelors in English from Louisianna university. With a longstanding passion for fitness, she owns and operate her own gym and is a certified jazzercise instructor.

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