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Best Mushrooms for Immune System


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For centuries, mushrooms have been used for various medicinal purposes. The Chinese have used mushrooms for thousands of years to treat various ailments. In Egypt, they used mushrooms for treating kidney and liver diseases. In India, mushrooms were used to treat smallpox, measles, and malaria.

Today, more and more research shows that consuming certain types of mushrooms can positively impact our immune system. But which are the best mushrooms for immune system health?

In this article, we’ll go over the top mushrooms that are beneficial to our immune system. We'll also look at the health benefits of each mushroom and how to get the most out of them.


Key Takeaways

  • Early research has shown that certain mushrooms have properties that may help supercharge your immune system. 
  • The main components of mushrooms that are believed to influence our immune system are polysaccharides, beta-glucans, and vitamins.
  • Lion’s mane, reishi, and chaga are the most common mushrooms used to help your immune system.

What Are Medicinal Mushrooms?

Medicinal mushrooms are powerful and potent mushrooms that have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicines to help boost overall health. They are thought to contain a number of compounds, including polysaccharides, glycoproteins, beta-glucans, and triterpenes.

Polysaccharides stimulate the immune system, while glycoproteins help strengthen the body’s defense mechanisms. Beta-glucans have been found to have anti-inflammatory effects, and triterpenes may be beneficial in fighting bacteria and viruses.

These compounds work together to create a powerful and potent mixture of healing agents that can help to improve the body’s natural ability to fight off infection, reduce inflammation, and promote overall health.


Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Mushrooms come with a plethora of benefits, including:

Promote Lower Blood Pressure

One of the biggest benefits of mushrooms is that they can help to lower blood pressure. Studies have shown that regular intake of mushrooms may significantly reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels, reducing the risk of heart issues.

Immune System Booster

Mushrooms are also known for their ability to boost the immune system. A compound in mushrooms called beta-glucan stimulates protective white blood cells, helping the body fight off colds, flu, and other illnesses. 

Mushrooms are also rich in vitamin D and zinc which can help strengthen immune system functions. Therefore, you can take mushrooms for a cold or flu or just as part of a daily diet to maintain good health.

For example, reishi mushrooms have been found to strengthen the body's natural defenses against bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. Other mushrooms, such as shiitake and maitake, contain compounds that can help to regulate the body's immune system response. 

Furthermore, combining different mushroom varieties may be even more beneficial for boosting your immune system.

Antioxidant-Rich

Mushrooms are rich in antioxidants which can help protect the body from free radicals and oxidative stress. Free radicals can damage cells, leading to disease and premature aging. Therefore, adding antioxidant-rich mushrooms to your diet is essential for overall health and well-being.

Adaptogenic mushrooms also contain compounds such as ergothioneine and glutathione, which are powerful antioxidants that can help to prevent cell damage.

Promote Lower Cholesterol Levels

Mushrooms may also help to lower cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that mushrooms effectively reduce the bad LDL cholesterol and increase the good HDL cholesterol, leading to a healthier heart.

By lowering cholesterol levels and increasing antioxidant protection, mushrooms can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other conditions.

Promote Digestive Health

Mushrooms are high in fiber which can help keep your digestive system functioning properly. Fiber helps to move food through the digestive system and can help reduce constipation. Additionally, mushrooms contain a prebiotic, which helps your body produce beneficial bacteria to improve digestion.

Aid Weight Loss

Adding the best mushroom extract supplements to your diet, such as Tune In, may help you lose weight. They contain low-calorie levels and are rich in fiber, which can help you feel full for longer periods. 

Therefore, adding mushrooms to your diet can help reduce overall caloric intake and support healthy weight loss. Mushrooms may also help to increase your metabolism, which can be beneficial in burning more calories.

Lower Inflammation and Improve Skin Health

The anti-inflammatory properties of mushrooms are thought to reduce inflammation in the body, especially when combined with other natural substances like green tea extract or curcumin. These properties can help to fight off infection, reduce allergies, and improve skin health. 

Additionally, mushrooms are rich in antioxidants which can help to prevent cell damage and promote healing.

Increase Energy Levels

Mushrooms are packed with nutrients that can help to increase energy levels throughout the day. Reishi mushrooms contain compounds that can help to reduce fatigue and maintain energy levels over time. 

Other mushroom varieties, like cordyceps and mesima, are thought to increase oxygen flow, improve circulation, and enhance physical performance. By supplementing with mushrooms, you may increase your overall energy levels.

Nutritional Benefits

Mushrooms contain a plethora of nutrients, including:

  • B vitamins: Most mushrooms contain B vitamins like niacin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid. These compounds are essential for energy metabolism and a healthy immune system.
  • Vitamin D: The benefits of vitamin D have been well-documented, from supporting strong bones to helping regulate your body’s calcium levels. Some mushrooms provide a source of this important vitamin.
  • Antioxidants: Mushrooms contain antioxidants that can help protect against cell damage caused by free radicals.
  • Minerals: Many mushrooms are packed with minerals like selenium, zinc, and copper, which are essential for immune health.
  • Beta-glucans: Beta-glucans are compounds found in certain mushrooms that have been linked to improved immune system function and disease prevention.

By supplementing with mushrooms, you can benefit from all of these essential nutrients and provide your body with the necessary building blocks for a healthy immune system.

 

Which Mushroom is Best for the Immune System?

There are many mushrooms that can be described as ‘immune boosters,’ each with its unique health benefits. However, some varieties are particularly beneficial for immune system health.

Here is an overview of the best mushrooms to support a healthy and robust immune system:

Lion’s Mane (Hericium Erinaceus)

Lion's mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a medicinal mushroom that has been used for centuries to boost the immune system. It is known for its immunomodulatory effects, which means it can help regulate and balance the body's immune response. 

Studies have shown that compounds found in lion's mane can improve immune function in mice and enhance cell-mediated and humoral immunity, macrophage phagocytosis, and natural killer (NK) cell activity.

The polysaccharides found in lion's mane are believed to be responsible for its immune-boosting capabilities. These polysaccharides are thought to activate macrophages and stimulate the production of cytokines, which are proteins that help regulate the body's immune response.

Additionally, lion's mane contains beta-glucans, which have been shown to increase the production of antibodies and other molecules involved in immunity.

Other compounds found in lion's mane include hericenones and erinacines, which have been studied for their potential anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds may also help reduce oxidative stress and protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Chaga (Inonotus Obliquus) 

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a medicinal mushroom used for centuries to boost immunity and treat various ailments. It is known as the "king of medicinal mushrooms" due to its powerful immune-boosting capabilities.

Chaga contains multiple compounds that make it an effective immune booster, including polysaccharides, triterpenes, sterols, and phenolic compounds.

Polysaccharides are complex carbohydrates that stimulate the body's natural defense system by activating white blood cells. Triterpenes are compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which help protect against viruses and bacteria.

Sterols are lipids that help regulate cholesterol levels in the body, while phenolic compounds provide additional protection against free radicals.

Chaga also contains high antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and strengthen the body's natural defenses against disease.

Additionally, chaga has been found to increase the production of cytokines, which are proteins released by cells in response to infection or injury. This helps support the immune system by assisting cells in communicating with one another and fighting off harmful pathogens.

Cordyceps (Ophiocordyceps Sinensis)

Cordyceps (Ophiocordyceps sinensis) is a traditional Chinese herb with many health benefits, including its ability to boost the immune system.

Cordyceps has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine to treat various ailments and diseases. Recent studies have shown that it can be an effective way to strengthen the body's natural defenses.

The compounds found in cordyceps make it so effective at boosting immunity. These compounds include polysaccharides, known for their anti-inflammatory properties, and cordycepin believed to help stimulate the production of white blood cells.

Additionally, cordyceps contains antioxidants that can help protect the body from free radical damage and reduce inflammation.

In addition to its immune-boosting capabilities, cordyceps has also been shown to increase energy levels, improve endurance, and enhance aerobic capacity. It may also help reduce fatigue and improve overall well-being.

Maitake (Grifola Frondosa)

Maitake (Grifola frondosa) is a polypore mushroom native to North America and Japan. It is a medicinal variety used in traditional Chinese Medicine for its proven immune-boosting properties. 

Maitake mushrooms contain several active compounds, including polysaccharides, lectins, proteins, and glycoproteins. These compounds help to support health by modulating the immune system, fighting inflammation, and stimulating anti-tumor activity. 

Oyster (Pleurotus)

Oyster (Pleurotus) mushrooms are a powerful source of immunity-boosting compounds, including polysaccharides and other antioxidants. They contain selenium, copper, zinc, and vitamins B1 and B2, all essential for the immune system.

The mushroom stimulates the production of white blood cells that fight off infection and disease.

It also improves digestion and helps detoxify the body. Oyster mushrooms are easy to grow and widely available, making them a great choice for those looking to boost their immune system. In addition, they have a mild flavor that can be used in many recipes.

Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum)

Reishi mushrooms are known as the “Mushroom of Immortality,” and with good reason. This mushroom is believed to have powerful medicinal benefits that can be used to boost the immune system.

It contains glycoproteins, triterpenes, polysaccharides, and other compounds that can help strengthen the body’s natural defenses against disease and infection.

Reishi mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and are believed to help treat conditions like arthritis, asthma, fatigue, and stress. As a source of immunity-boosting compounds, reishi mushrooms can help boost the body’s natural defenses and strengthen the immune system.

Shiitake (Lentinula Edodes)

Shiitake mushrooms are a powerhouse of nutrients, including B vitamins, vitamin D, and minerals like zinc and selenium. The mushroom contains compounds called lentinan and eritadenine that have been linked to improved immune system function.

The mushrooms also contain beta-glucans, which are believed to help regulate the immune system, reduce inflammation, and protect against infection. Shiitakes are high in fiber and low in calories, making them ideal for those trying to boost their immunity levels.

Turkey Tail (Coriolus Versicolor)

Turkey tail mushrooms are a well-known medicinal mushroom that has been used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medical practices for centuries. The main active components of turkey tail mushrooms are polysaccharide-K (PSK) and polysaccharide-peptide (PSP). 

These compounds have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, immune system modulating and antioxidant properties. Studies have also suggested that PSK and PSP may help reduce fatigue in chemotherapy patients and boost their immune system via activating natural killer (NK) cells and cytokines.

In addition, turkey tail mushrooms contain other vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, selenium, and zinc which can further support the immune system.

Turkey tail mushrooms are generally safe to consume, although some people may experience mild digestive upset. As always, it is best to consult a qualified healthcare professional before introducing them into your diet.

 

Best Way To Consume Mushrooms

Below are a few tips for incorporating mushrooms into your diet to boost immune system function:

Always Consult A Doctor

The first and most important step is to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before introducing mushrooms into your diet. This will ensure that you are not allergic or intolerant of any of the active compounds in these mushrooms.

It’s also important if you've an existing medical condition, to ensure the mushrooms won't interact with any medication you are taking.

Cook Mushrooms Properly

Mushrooms should always be cooked before being consumed to reduce the risk of foodborne illness and to also help activate their beneficial compounds. If a recipe calls for raw mushrooms, ensure they are properly washed and soaked in boiling water for a few minutes before eating.

Avoid Consuming Too Much

It is important to remember that even though mushrooms contain beneficial compounds, they should not be eaten in large quantities. Overconsumption of mushrooms can lead to digestive upset or allergic reactions. 

Consuming the right amount on a regular basis will ensure you get all the health benefits they offer.

 

Best Way To Add Immune Support To Your Daily Routine 

The best way to add mushrooms to your daily routine is through supplementation. However, finding the perfect place to buy supplements can be a hustle. At VYU, we understand this more than anyone else. 

We offer our TUNE IN powdered drink, which combines lion’s mane and cordyceps with other natural adaptogens and nootropics to supercharge your immune system and help you stay more focused and productive throughout your day. 

Just mix one scoop of this fruit-flavored drink with a glass of water and enjoy its mind and body boosting properties!

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