For good reason, we are all a bit more focused on keeping our immune systems in better working order these days. And whether we are hoping to bolster our general health, fend off the flu, or elude a virus, strengthening our body’s overall immune function seems like the prudent course of action. For these reasons, many of us are interested in learning more about how to support healthy immune functions.
Most of us have some idea of how to support our immune system. A healthy lifestyle with adequate sleep, regular exercise, and a nutritious diet lay the foundation. Controlling stress is important, too. And dietary supplements have been said to help, as well.
With so many options and more appearing daily in pop-ups and on social media, you likely have numerous questions about the role supplements may play in your immune health. How does our immune system protect us? What supplements support my immune system?
When looking for immune support, consider mushroom powder. Supplements containing functional mushrooms have been found to provide numerous health benefits, including supporting your body’s natural immune functions.‡ Let’s discuss how.
How Does Our Immune System Protect Us?
The world is filled with microorganisms that could make us sick, and our immune system is tasked with protecting us from them. It is a very elaborate network that offers protection from harmful substances and invading microorganisms. The immune system consists of our white blood cells (WBC), the specific proteins they produce, and a variety of chemical compounds that support their immune functions.
Our WBC, which originate in our bone marrow, travel through our circulation to all parts of the body to help protect us from invading germs. The first line of defense is nonspecific and short-term. It is led by several types of WBC, including granulocytes, killer cells, and macrophages. Then, there is the more specific adaptive immune response led by our B-cell and T-cell lymphocytes. B-cells produce antibodies that recognize and tag specific germs for destruction. T-cells work with other components of the immune system to destroy infected cells. The combined efforts of B- and T-cells provide long-term protection.
How Do Mushroom Supplements Benefit the Immune System?
Functional mushrooms have been used for centuries in various cultures as nutritious foods and potent medicines. The ancient practice of using dried mushrooms in traditional Eastern medicine has implications in the modern world. Understanding the potential benefits for healthy immune functioning requires a look at the bioactive compounds contained in functional mushrooms.
The cell walls of mushrooms contain polysaccharides, carbohydrates made of chains of sugar molecules. These fibers remain undigested until they reach the large intestine. There, they are fermented and broken into short-chain fatty acids by bacteria, promoting a healthy gut flora. Polysaccharides from mushrooms, including beta-glucans, support healthy immune function as they bind to receptors that activate our B-cells, T-cells, killer cells, and macrophages.‡
A review of scientific research into the use of fungal beta-glucans supplements with healthy subjects or patients yielded some promising results. A total of 917 randomized, controlled trials were examined and 34 met the inclusion criteria. Reishi and shiitake mushrooms were among the fungal species investigated.
Researchers concluded that fungal polysaccharides:
- support the body’s immune defense system that helps to protect against colds, flu, and other respiratory viruses; and
- improve allergy symptoms.
These results were obtained with supplement doses ranging from 2.5 to 1,000 mg daily. No adverse effects were observed.
What is an Adaptogenic Mushroom?
Mushroom powders have been used for centuries for their adaptogenic capacity. An adaptogen helps the body adapt or adjust to environmental stresses and mount an appropriate response; its actions are nonspecific. For this reason, ground mushroom powders have been used in Eastern medicine as immunomodulators, substances that modify the response of the immune system.
Our immune system is constantly reacting to stress. An appropriate response might be to activate the immune system to fight off an infectious pathogen, or it might be to suppress an over-reaction that could cause dangerous inflammation. Adaptogens help the body to right-size its responses, in this case with an immunomodulating effect.‡
Can Mushroom Powder Support Your Immune System?
Since mushrooms can help to support the body’s immune system, adding a mushroom powder supplement may provide a convenient way to obtain this benefit. Om Mushrooms has a variety of single-species mushroom powders and mushroom species blends to get you started. Each species is cultivated under carefully controlled conditions at our indoor farm in Carlsbad, California.‡
Master Blend Organic Mushroom Powder is a great product for someone curious about functional mushrooms and hoping to take advantage of all the potential benefits. One teaspoon of this superfood product per day provides 10 mushroom species and three plant adaptogens. Besides supporting your immune system, this blend helps you maintain energy and endurance, fight free radicals, and support gut health. The bioactive compounds help you maintain balance and promote overall health.‡
If your goal is to gain the benefit of optimal immune support, Om Mushrooms has a blend for you. Immune Broad Spectrum Defense is a blend containing four mushroom species: reishi, turkey tail, Agaricus blazei, also called the Mushroom of Life, and maitake. With a high polysaccharide content, this blend provides an abundance of powerful immune support.‡
Can Mushroom Powder Cure My Cold?
The use of mushroom powder should be looked upon as a proactive investment in your immune health, not a cure. With regular daily supplementation, mushroom powders may support ongoing immunomodulation. Turkey tail mushrooms contain Polysaccharide K (PSK) and polysaccharide-peptide (PSP). These active compounds have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-stimulating properties.‡
Mushroom powders also provide protection via their prebiotic fiber that promotes gut health. This may exert an additional benefit since the gut is tied closely to our immune health. So while taking mushroom powder will not cure a cold, regular supplementation may strengthen your immune response and help you fend off the next one.‡
How Can I Add Mushroom Powder to My Routine?
The convenience and accessibility of Om Mushroom single-species powders and blends means you can easily get the support of a variety of beneficial species. Our whole-food powders can be stirred into your morning coffee, made into a broth, or added to a recipe. Single serving packs can support you at the office, at school, or at the gym.‡
Choosing to support healthy immune function is a common goal these days and adding functional mushrooms to your daily routine is a solid way to accomplish that goal. By promoting gut health and immunomodulation, mushroom powders activate your own defense system. You get the power of these healthy and delicious fungi that have a long history of use in helping the body fight infection and inflammation.‡
If you have been wondering if mushroom powder can support your immune system, Om Mushroom offers whole food, organic mushroom blends that may support your immune health. You can choose a single-species powder or get all the benefits of our multi-species blends. Use just a teaspoonful each day to support your body’s natural immune functions.‡
‡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.