People have bought almost twice as many[¹] mushroom-based health supplements in the USA in the past two years. More and more people are starting to see how much functional mushrooms can do for those with health needs that are not resolved elsewhere. Although, do you understand what these mushrooms are and why you could improve your life by investigating them?
Below we detail some of the benefits of functional mushrooms and discuss scientific reasons why they can help in your life. By the time you finish reading, you should have enough information to be able to decide whether you want to include these in your life moving forward.
What Are Functional Mushrooms?
Functional mushrooms are a product that you might have heard of before under a different name. Before people called them this, they were instead known as "medicinal mushrooms," although this name is not as popular these days.
Mushrooms are a very diverse species, with around 2,000 different edible or medicinal forms that are in the wild. Of these, people describe around a dozen as "functional."
A more detailed definition of whether a mushroom is functional is whether it has a benefit to one's well-being. If its benefits extend beyond pure nutrition and into a health improvement of some form, that means that it is a functional mushroom.
These days, people have options aside from imbibing an entire functional mushroom. Instead, people can study it to discover exactly where their health benefit comes from. One can then remove this from the mushroom and form it into capsules, powders, liquids, or other ways to take the extract.
Functional mushrooms are becoming much more popular these days. This is especially true in the wake of people realizing how CBD and other supplements have helped them. This means that there is much more research today on how functional mushrooms help the human body than ever before.
With so many people discovering different forms of functional mushrooms, the health benefits are only going to expand. It is the perfect time to investigate whether these supplements are the perfect choice for you. You would do well to see what options are available and try them for yourself.
The Benefits of Functional Mushrooms
Many different mushrooms have different benefits depending on which you choose. You should speak with an expert to work out which ones would match your specific needs. This will help you get the best effects for your personal situation.
The following are some examples of the kind of help these supplements will offer your body after you take them.
Chronic inflammation can have a very negative effect on a person's well-being. In the short term, it can cause pain, redness, heat, and swelling in an area.
This issue can even cause your immune system to go into overdrive. If this happens, it will attack not only foreign intrusion but also healthy parts of the body such as tissue and organs. Over time, this can lead to major issues, including:
- Celiac disease
- Heart disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Skin diseases
For these, it is possible to take some forms of mushrooms as anti-inflammatories. We know now that many athletes or other professionals have taken functional mushrooms. They have done this to stave off these issues, especially when dealing with injuries.
As such, these products are gaining mainstream appeal as more people learn about them.
Antioxidant Boosting Properties
Antioxidants are an important part of the body that help fight substances known as "free radicals".
Free radicals appear within the body during normal cell processes. Although they can also enter the body from other locations. These places include:
- cigarette smoke
- prescribed medication
- a result of receiving a dose of radiation
When the body has too many free radicals, they start to accumulate and can lead to other issues. Such problems include:
- Autoimmune disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Forming cataracts
- Increasing the signs of aging
- Neurodegenerative illness
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Antioxidants are natural compounds. They react in a safe manner with free radicals and thus prevent potential harm from coming to your body. They thus prevent what those in the scientific community call "oxidative stress" and bring the body back to equilibrium.
Better Immune Response
There are many different mushrooms that, during trials, have improved the immune system's ability to respond to illness. They have done this in many different ways.
For example, some fungi display the capability to bring the immune system up to a healthy level if it is deficient for any reason. Others can help boost an immature immune system in vitro.[²] You should speak with your health professional about whether this is a good idea for you and your family.
If you are suffering from a hormonal imbalance of any kind, there are solutions in the use of functional mushrooms to help with this. For example, should you have significant levels of stress, thyroid issues, or anxiety, some mushrooms can work to address this. They work by encouraging a more balanced level of hormones in the body, such as adrenaline, resetting you to a more comfortable level.
Other mushrooms work for other specific issues. For example, some can help your body balance its estrogen and progesterone levels. These hormones have effects related to the menstrual cycle and pregnancy and thus are relevant to many people.
With so many different functional mushrooms out there, it is not that surprising that they can do almost anything to help you. One such example is the ability to reduce fatigue in those who take them. Some mushroom compounds have the ability to break down lactic acid, and in doing so prevent drowsiness.
Without as much fatigue, your body can more easily combat other issues assailing it. This can drastically increase one's energy level in general.
Functional mushrooms have the capability to affect hormones in a way that alters a person's mood. For example, the application of certain compounds may assist with increasing a user's libido.
Other people have issues with blood pressure or other body functions that affect their ability to enjoy sexual wellness. The use of mushroom supplements can also help with these problems by assisting in the blood supply to the affected area.
Other than that, as mentioned above, many species can also help with balancing progesterone and estrogen levels. This can impart changes to one's monthly cycles and thus affect attempts to get pregnant. You should speak with a health expert before taking supplements to aid with this
Several species of mushrooms are known to be able to assess issues involving mental states. For example, they can decrease anxiety or reduce stress levels in those who try them.
Some research has also concluded on the use of mushroom compounds in those with diminished mental capacity. Those with early-stage dementia, for example, have seen positive results. They achieve this in part by using functional mushrooms in their daily diet.
There is some evidence to suggest that many species of mushrooms can assist with the ability of people to manage their weight in a healthy way. For example, compounds known as triterpenoids exist in several species of fungi. These have the ability to assist people in their own weight management systems, especially those intending to lose weight.
Other mushrooms can help propagate flora within the gut. This enables it to digest matter better and reduce the fat that remains deposited in the gut.
Some fungi compounds help to stabilize blood sugar and assist with insulin production. By doing this, they work to prevent said sugar from converting to the body's fat. Thus, they can help with weight loss over time.
Other functional mushrooms have the ability to reduce fatigue or increase energy, as said above. This can help with both the motivation and capability of someone in their attempts to exercise on a regular basis.
The Different Species of Mushroom
With so many different types of edible mushrooms in the world, it might get overwhelming to list all of them out. Not to mention the different changes they might all have in the human body. The following are a few examples of the different things some of them can do when part of a healthy regimen.
Chaga (Inonotus Obliquus)
This fungus has been the subject of a great many reviews and studies over time. The data suggests that it can cause reactions in the human body that are, on a whole, positive to a person's physical health.
To start with, these mushrooms contain compounds that slow down the damage caused by free radicals in the body. This allows them to prevent damage to a person's DNA, reducing the likelihood of many debilitating diseases. At its most extreme level, it can reduce the chance of someone developing cancer over time.
Other things that these fungi help with include:
- increasing the health of the immune system
- helping reduce the symptoms of metabolic disorders
- slowing down the effects of aging
Functional mushrooms may be a new name for an old way of using mushrooms, but their effectiveness is not in question here.
These fungi are famed for their ability to increase energy within the body. Studies show that their use can increase the cellular energy one's tissue has. This can have "protective effects" on the degeneration of cellular pathways.
Such energy increases are not only on a microscopic scale but can affect the body as a whole. Bodies who digest cordyceps mycelia have an increase in their ability to withstand fatigue. This means that people who take Chaga can continue exercising long past those who do not.
This is not the only type of energy on display, though. Cordyceps is well known for its power in combating sexual health issues. Both men and women show benefits in their sexual and reproductive health when they take Chaga. This occurs through sperm production or ovarian regulation.
People consume Lion's Mane in many different countries, sometimes only for food purposes. Although, it can also improve the health of others who take it for medicinal purposes.
It has many research studies that focus on its properties. Through these, there is evidence that it can improve:
- Anti-inflammatory responses
- Antioxidative reactions
- Immune system stimulation
On top of these, other evidence points to many other improvements in the daily life of those who use these as a supplement. There is some evidence that those suffering from depressive disorders may want to try Lion's Mane. It is often touted as a potential alternative medical treatment in this regard.
Reishi exists as an aid in many different groups for different purposes. Although one of the most researched areas for it is the promotion of sleep. This fungus has the potential to increase the amount that people slumber, offering a benefit to those with sleep problems.
On top of full sleep, Reishi can reduce the feelings of fatigue in many patients who took it. The patients using it scored higher in the amount of energy they had, allowing them to engage with daily tasks without as much difficulty.
These mushrooms also have the ability to act as antioxidants. While secondary to their effectiveness with personal energy, you should not discount this ability. It is important to use a wide range of antioxidants, so the more mushrooms acting in this way, the better.
This functional mushroom is known to assist in the production of gut flora when ingested. By controlling this unique environment, the body can more easily fight a whole range of diseases and other issues. Turkey Tail acts as a "prebiotic," helping the gut microbiome thrive in both the short and long term.
Learn More About Functional Mushrooms
You should now have a much better understanding of how functional mushrooms can help your life to its fullest. Although, there is still more to learn, and we are happy to teach you about it.
If you want to know more about where to pick up these supplements, you can always get in contact. Our specialists are ready to discuss your options with you and help you find the perfect addition to your health regimen. So, send us a message today and see where we can take you.
[¹] Mushroom Outlook - https://www.nutritionaloutlook.com/view/mushrooms-sales-growth-in-2020-promises-success-this-year-2021-ingredient-trends-to-watch-for-food-drinks-and-dietary-supplements
[²] International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms - https://www.dl.begellhouse.com/journals/708ae68d64b17c52,66746bdc1bb430f2,249ed53b302a8d11.html