The human body is a complex and wondrous system with millions of chemical reactions and intricate communications happening all at once. Equally incredible is the ability to regulate its internal environment and maintain equilibrium in spite of constant internal and external challenges. Your physical, mental, and emotional conditions are all vulnerable to a variety of stimuli. In many ways, your health and wellness depend upon the body’s efficiency to maintain homeostatic balance.
Doing what you can to support the cells, organs, and systems of the body is a proactive approach to wellness. Adaptogenic plants and fungi have been used in this capacity in traditional medicinal practice for thousands of years. As more people have discovered the potential benefits of adaptogens, their use has increased significantly. So, as this year winds down and you anticipate the start of 2022, it’s the perfect time to evaluate the best adaptogen supplements available.
Why Choose an Adaptogen Supplement?
Supporting your body to maintain overall health can be accomplished by reinforcing equilibrium. The proper ratio of macro- and micro-nutrients, and the right balance of exercise and rest, create a stable foundation. When it comes to selecting a dietary supplement, one that supports balance is a good all-around choice. This is where an adaptogen really shines.
Though adaptogenic herbs and fungi have been in use for centuries, the origin of the term adaptogen is credited to twentieth-century Russian toxicologist Nikolay Lazarev. Dr. Israel I. Brekhman, a Russian doctor and pharmacologist further defined adaptogens as:
- Substances that are non-toxic in therapeutic doses
- Substances that produce a non-specific state of resistance to physical, emotional, and environmental stress
- Substances that support a normalizing or balancing effect on the body’s physiological functioning in response to stress
Adaptogens are substances that help your body adapt by building resilience and resistance to stress. Proponents have likened the regular use of adaptogens to inoculating against or training the body to deal effectively with stress.‡ The use of adaptogens support the body’s critical systems by providing:
- Central Nervous System Support: Your central nervous system controls many of the body’s essential functions, like heartbeat, respiration, and temperature. It directs movement and initiates thoughts and feelings. Adaptogens stimulate the nervous system and offer neuroprotective support. In this capacity, they support a balanced mood and help you to overcome anxiousness.‡
- Immune System Support: Adaptogens support a regulating effect on the immune system. If an immune response is indicated, to fight infection, for example, the response is enhanced. If the immune system is overactive as it is with allergies, adaptogens support modulation by decreasing the response.‡
- Endocrine System Support: The body may be affected by sudden (acute) stress or long-term (chronic) stress. Adaptogenic substances provide endocrine support through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and support the body’s healthy response to stress. Supporting the body’s ability to regain equilibrium after sudden stresses and adapt to the challenge of ongoing stress, adaptogens help the body resist the damage that stress can cause.‡
With adaptogens supporting a variety of systems, the interconnectedness of the mind and body is strengthened. This connection promotes balance and tranquility.
The 10 Best Adaptogen Supplements for 2022
Though adaptogens meet specific criteria and work in similar ways, each has unique properties that make it particularly desirable as a supplement. Daily consumption of adaptogenic supplements may have benefits for supporting your body’s natural healthy functions. Here are some of the best adaptogen supplements to help you meet your health and wellness goals in 2022. The list contains five botanical adaptogens and five mushroom adaptogens.
There are many herbal or botanical adaptogens used throughout the world to support human health and prevent illness. Most have a historical basis for use in traditional medicine. These five have stood the test of time.
Ashwagandha comes from the small perennial shrub Withania somnifera, also known as Indian Winter Cherry or Indian Ginseng. It is one of the most important botanicals in Ayurveda, the traditional medicine practice of India, where it is considered a rasayana, or rejuvenating tonic. Its use is documented in Ayurvedic texts as early as 600 AD. The bitter powder is ground from the root of the plant and is commonly used to reduce fatigue, stress, and anxiousness.
The biologically active components of ashwagandha include alkaloids, steroidal lactones, saponins, and withanolides. Many people take ashwagandha to increase energy levels and improve health and longevity. It may be beneficial for support in long-term stress, but should not be taken during pregnancy.
Rhodiola rosea, also known as golden root, grows in the arctic regions of Europe and North America. It was used in the traditional medicinal practices of Russia and the Scandinavian countries. It was believed that the same properties that allowed Rhodiola to thrive in its harsh environment could support people and help their bodies to adapt.
The biologically active components of Rhodiola include phenylpropanoids, phenylethanol derivatives, flavonoids, monoterpenes, triterpenes, and phenolic acids. Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, Rhodiola is commonly used to support heart health, cognitive function, metabolic function, and mood. It may be helpful for acute stress and anxiousness.
Maca root was originally found growing and later cultivated as a food and medicinal herb in South America. As a food source, maca is made into a porridge that has a butterscotch flavor or is used to make pudding or jam. Its root, similar to a radish, is dried and ground for use as a supplement.
Maca is relatively high in amino and fatty acids, as well as a significant source of vitamins and minerals. It also contains carbohydrates, lignans, glucosinolates, phytosterols, and alkaloids. Due to its support for maintaining hormonal balance, maca is the adaptogen often chosen to combat hot flashes, mood swings, and low energy.
Turmeric, or Curcuma longa, grows naturally in Southeast Asia. Also known as Indian saffron or yellow ginger, its roots are dried and ground into a fine powder used as a spice or dietary supplement. Turmeric has a slightly bitter, earthy taste and a bright, golden yellow color that was used to dye the robes of Buddhist monks in Thailand. Considered a digestive aid in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine, it was also used to treat urinary disorders. Made into a paste, turmeric was used topically to treat skin conditions.
One of the most biologically active components of turmeric is curcumin, but its absorption is enhanced when it is consumed with piperine, a compound found in black pepper. As a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, supplementing with turmeric may help to prevent tissue damage and chronic illness caused by oxidative stress.
Tulsi, also called holy basil, is a valuable adaptogen used in Ayurveda for thousands of years. It is believed to counter the effects of environmental toxins and harsh physical conditions. Tulsi supports metabolic equilibrium and psychological balance. It also has antimicrobial properties.
The biologically active ingredients of tulsi include eugenol, methyl chavicol, linalool, isoeugenol, and methyl isoeugenol. Supplements made from its leaves are used to support healthy metabolic parameters, including blood glucose, lipids, and blood pressure. It is also used to reduce stress, support mood, and promote a healthy immune system.
Functional Mushroom Adaptogens
Unlike the previously listed botanical adaptogens, these functional mushrooms belong to a completely different kingdom of living things. They offer different qualities and bioactive compounds when considering adaptogens from around the world. They contain beta-glucan polysaccharides known to support healthy immune functioning.‡ In addition, each has unique benefits to offer. Here is a look at adaptogenic mushrooms.
Ganoderma lucidum, or reishi, is a mushroom that grows on decaying hardwood trees in the temperate forests of Asia, Europe, South America, and the United States. It has been a staple of traditional Japanese and Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Reishi has been revered for benefits that include immune support and cardioprotective properties. As an adaptogen, reishi helps to reduce anxiousness and promote restful sleep.‡
To date, scientists studying reishi have identified nearly 400 bioactive compounds that include polysaccharides, triterpenoids, nucleotides, sterols, steroids, fatty acids, and proteins/peptides. Reishi is most often taken as a supplement to promote relaxation and increase focus.
Om Mushroom Superfood has high-quality reishi supplements cultivated at our indoor farm in Carlsbad, California. Reishi from Om Mushroom is available in powdered form or in convenient capsules. Both products provide immune support and help you to stay balanced when faced with physical and mental stress.‡
Shiitake are delicious and popular culinary mushrooms that are also powerful adaptogens. Besides their culinary appeal, Lentinula edodes, as shiitake is formally known, have played an important role in the traditional medicine of China and Japan. Their benefits have included support for the immune system and healthy gut flora. Shiitake promote cardiovascular health by supporting healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.‡
The bioactive compounds in shiitake include eritadenine, immuno-supportive lentinan, polysaccharides, and polysaccharopeptides. Shiitake is a good choice for people seeking strong immune and cardiovascular support.‡
Om features the adaptogenic power of shiitake in its single-serving Mighty Broth mixes. Each combines the benefits of shiitake with other functional mushrooms, herbs, and spices to create a comforting broth when mixed with hot water. The Mighty Mushroom and Mighty Veggie Miso mixes contain 7g of pea protein for a hearty, nutritious, vegan broth. The Mighty Chicken Bone Broth and the Mighty Beef Bone Broth offer hearty and convenient broths with 10g of organic protein.
Cordyceps is a fungus with the unique distinction of growing on caterpillars in the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau in China. Fortunately, it is now cultivated without the insect host much closer to home. As an adaptogenic mushroom, cordyceps supports the body’s maintenance of homeostatic balance. It is particularly useful for supporting energy and endurance.
In addition to amino acids, B vitamins, and minerals, the bioactive compounds in cordyceps include polysaccharides, sterols, and nucleosides. Cordyceps supports the immune system and promotes a healthy gut flora. It is the adaptogen of choice to support exercise endurance and post-workout recovery.‡
To maximize support for your workout, try Om Cordyceps Organic Mushroom blend available as a powder or in capsule form. As an alternative, Om Fit Blend Organic Mushroom Powder blend combines the power of cordyceps with complementary species, lion’s mane, and reishi. A single scoop of powder blended into your smoothie each day provides adaptogenic support.
Inonotus obliquus, or chaga, has a wide distribution throughout the colder regions of the northern hemisphere. Found growing on the side of birch trees in nature, it looks more like a lump of coal than a traditional mushroom. Hidden inside the hard lump is one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants available. For this reason and its adaptogenic support, chaga has been used in traditional medicine practices from Asia to Eastern Europe and North America for hundreds of years.
Besides antioxidants glutathione, ergothioneine, polyphenols, flavonoids, and superoxide dismutase, chaga contains prebiotic fibers, melanin, sterols, amino acids, alpha- and beta-glucans. With its impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory content, chaga is the adaptogen often chosen to support healthier aging.‡ This includes support for healthy, strong skin, hair, and nails.
Fortunately, Om Mushroom Superfood has successfully cultivated chaga in a safe indoor environment free from toxins and heavy metals. It is available in a mushroom powder blend or in portable, convenient capsules. Om Beauty+ Mushroom Drink Mix combines chaga with other mushrooms, marine collagen peptides, biotin, and vitamin E in a tasty strawberry lemonade flavored drink mix that can be easily added to your water bottle.
Grifola frondosa, better known as maitake, is a functional mushroom native to China, Japan, Europe, and North America. Like shiitake, it is a popular culinary mushroom that has long been used medicinally for its adaptogenic potential. Though once plentiful in the wild, overharvesting has limited their availability. Fortunately, maitake mushrooms are now successfully cultivated at carefully controlled indoor growing facilities such as Om Mushroom’s.
Maitake is high in antioxidants, including ergothioneine, and contains proteins, glycoproteins, and powerful polysaccharides. In addition to supporting immune and gut health, maitake is the adaptogen frequently chosen by those who desire support for healthy blood sugar and weight management.‡
For pure maitake powder that includes both the fruiting body and mycelium, Om Maitake Organic Mushroom Powder blend offers versatility and convenience. Maitake contributes its adaptogenic potential to the Om Beauty Blend Organic Mushroom Powder, a blend that combines four adaptogenic mushrooms with an additional species to highlight antioxidants and support beautiful, healthy hair, skin, and nails.
Adaptogenic Mushroom Blend
Perhaps the best adaptogen supplement for 2022, combines the benefits of all five adaptogenic mushrooms along with five additional mushrooms, three botanical adaptogens, and reishi extract. Om Master Blend Organic Mushroom Powder blends the mycelium and fruiting body or primordia of lion’s mane, reishi, cordyceps, turkey tail, chaga, king trumpet, maitake, Antrodia camphorata, shiitake, and Agaricus blazei with botanical adaptogens holy basil, astragalus, and ginkgo biloba. The inclusion of reishi extract gives this powerful adaptogen blend added immune support and a wealth of other benefits in just one teaspoonful a day. It can be mixed into beverages, broths, and recipes to promote balance and resilience when faced with life’s stressors. This superfood combination is all you need for superior adaptogenic support.
Supporting Your Health and Wellness Goals
Though all of the aforementioned adaptogens are natural herbal or mushroom products that are generally edible, it is best to check with your healthcare provider before supplementing to avoid interactions with medications you may be taking and ensure safety.
With the availability of good herbal and fungal adaptogens, there are many choices to support your health and wellness goals. Daily functional mushroom use can supply superior adaptogenic support, helping you maintain physical and emotional balance in spite of the stresses you encounter. As you develop your goals for 2022, consider supporting your body for better balance and healthier aging.‡
Om Mushroom offers many products containing the best adaptogen supplements. Our products contain the precise mushroom dosage needed to enhance your body’s natural immune functions. Once you have outlined your health and wellness goals for 2022, select the whole food, adaptogenic mushrooms that best meet your needs. To take advantage of the benefits of functional mushroom products, shop now or subscribe to save!
Om Mushroom offers many products containing the best adaptogen supplements. Our products contain the precise mushroom dosage needed to enhance your body’s natural immune functions. Once you have outlined your health and wellness goals for 2022, select the whole food, adaptogenic mushrooms that best meet your needs. To take advantage of the benefits of functional mushroom products, shop now or subscribe to save!SHOP OUR PRODUCTS
‡These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Functional mushroom products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.