Functional mushroom supplements are growing in popularity, with many health and fitness enthusiasts already advocating for their benefits.
Mushrooms have been used in many Asian cultures throughout history for their purported health benefits. Both formal and anecdotal research suggests that functional mushrooms may improve digestion, boost energy levels, and promote a positive mindset.
However, it is only in recent years that the idea of using mushrooms in this way has been considered the norm in Western cultures.
The sudden interest in functional mushrooms has led to huge growth within the industry. New products like the mushroom gummies VidaCap make it easier for people to work functional mushrooms into their day.
One of the main ways that functional mushroom products are being marketed is as a natural immune support supplement. It is thought that the nutrients within functional mushrooms can work with the immune system promoting good overall health.
So is there any truth behind the idea of using mushroom gummies for the immune system, and are they worth trying?
What Are Functional Mushrooms?
A common question is what functional mushrooms are and what makes them different from the regular mushrooms found in supermarkets.
The simple answer is that functional mushrooms contain a much higher level of nutrients than is typically found in common food-grade mushrooms.
Functional mushrooms can be eaten as foods. However, some have a more appetizing appearance and taste than others. For this reason, functional mushrooms are most commonly used in the form of powders or gummies.
Many people prefer to use products like mushrooms gummies because it makes it a lot easier to work mushroom supplements into their diet every day. It can be tricky and expensive to plan at least one meal a day around functional mushrooms.
While there are many functional mushrooms, common varieties include lion’s mane, reishi, shiitake, turkey tail, cordyceps, and agarics.
It’s worth noting that research still has much to discover about these mushrooms, and therefore, most of their purported medical benefits are not conclusive.
How Do Different Functional Mushrooms Alter the Body and the Immune System?
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Lion’s mane mushrooms are most commonly known for their cognitive benefits. Lion’s mane benefits the body by encouraging the production of two crucial compounds; nerve growth factor and myelin.
Myelin is essential within the body as it acts as an insulation around nerve fibers, protecting them from damage. An imbalance of the myelin can cause cognitive problems and has been linked to the onset of conditions such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.
Reishi mushrooms are a useful immunomodulator and may help to support the body’s immune system. The polysaccharides in reishi mushrooms are believed to help the body to work correctly.
The polysaccharides in reishi mushrooms have been linked to immune function, making them a popular supplement option for those looking for an effective immune booster. Polysaccharides may also improve issues related to inflammation and allergies by altering how the body responds to certain stimuli.
Shiitake mushrooms are beneficial for heart health and are thought to reduce the absorption and production of cholesterol within the liver. Shiitake mushrooms also contain essential phytonutrients that could help prevent plaque build-up, affecting a person’s circulation and blood pressure.
Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Turkey tail mushrooms are rich in antioxidants. They also contain compounds known as polysaccharide-Ks, which stimulates the immune system. Polysaccharide-K is thought to offer beneficial immunomodulating effects, which can help to improve a person’s overall health and fitness levels.
Turkey tails also contain several rich-phenolic compounds, including amino acids, vitamins, and fatty acids, and have antioxidant properties. For this reason, turkey tail mushrooms are considered to be one of the best mushrooms for supporting immune function and maintaining general health.
The main active compound within cordyceps mushroom is cordycepin which has a similar structure to adenosine and is a key component in human cells throughout the body. Cordyceps are popular among athletes and fitness enthusiasts as many believe they improve blood flow and help the body to utilize oxygen better.
Cordyceps also contains several other imprint compounds, including amino acids, phenolic compounds, and a range of vitamins and minerals. Together these compounds work to maintain a healthy and responsive immune system.
Agaric mushrooms are great as an all-purpose health supplement as they affect various areas of the body positively.
Agaric mushrooms have been linked to improved heart health and are often suggested for people looking for health supplements to reduce the risk of heart disease and other circulatory problems.