We try to structure our day for optimal productivity and efficiency. When working, we channel focus and concentration. During exercise, we dig deep to activate stamina and endurance. To relax and unwind, we must find a way to turn off the stress of the day so that we can sleep. Unfortunately, this is often more challenging than it sounds.
In reality, our mood and energy level rarely match the demands we place on our bodies. We may look for support to help us rise to the occasion or wind down after a long day. Coffee may get us going in the morning, protein powder and electrolyte drinks may fuel our workouts, and at the end of the day, we may attempt to relax with the help of herbal tea. There are many products available to help us achieve our goals—mushroom supplements are among them.
Functional mushrooms have provided nutritional and medicinal support in Eastern medicine for five millennia. This ancient tradition of using dried and powdered mushroom species to support a variety of daily functions has carried over into present day health and wellness supplements. To gain the most from these functional food products, it is important to know when to take mushroom supplements for the best results. Solidifying your goals will help you determine the optimal time of day to enjoy your mushroom supplement.‡
When to Take Mushroom Supplements
Mushrooms can be nutritional powerhouses. What they lack in cholesterol, high calories, and sodium, they make up for in beneficial nutrients like bioactive compounds, minerals, protein, and fiber. For these reasons, you can feel good about consuming mushroom supplements. Though there is no wrong time, getting the most from your mushroom supplement will depend on which mushroom species you choose and your intended goal.‡
Here’s a breakdown of a few functional mushroom species and their potential benefits:
The reishi mushroom, as it is called in Japan, or lingzhi, as it is known in China, has been used for thousands of years for a range of nutritional and health benefits. Well known for its role in helping manage inflammation and supporting the body’s natural immune responses, it has been called the “mushroom of immortality.” It has been estimated that sales of reishi make up 2% of the world’s total supplement sales.‡
Considered a powerful adaptogen, it supports the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis, or balance, in the face of stress. In addition to being prized for its immunomodulating properties, reishi is also used to support relaxation and stress relief. Healer and meditation leader, Scott Schwenk, advocates the use of reishi in preparation for meditation.‡
In order to receive the full benefit of reishi’s bioactive potential, look for a whole mushroom product. While reishi boasts antioxidant and antibacterial properties, one study revealed that only protein isolates from the mycelium have a protective effect on DNA. A product derived from the fruiting body only would not convey this benefit.
To get the most from reishi’s calming benefit, make reishi tea part of your evening routine, for example. As you are transitioning from the stresses and demands of the day, dim the lights, turn off the screens, and brew a cup of fragrant tea. Add a teaspoon of reishi powder to set the stage for a restful and rejuvenating night of sleep.‡
Chaga, nicknamed the “King of Mushrooms,” has been used for thousands of years, not only in Eastern medicine, but throughout the Northern Hemisphere, in Russia and Scandinavia, and by Native Americans. This fungus that grows on birch trees is revered for its multiple health benefits and nutrient density.
Known to have one of the highest antioxidant contents of any food, this functional mushroom supports the body’s recovery from free radicals and oxidative stress created as a by-product of the chemical reactions occurring in our cells each day. Oxidative stress can be damaging and may contribute to health problems as we age.
To help restore balance as you sleep, add a bit of chaga to your evening tea for its powerful antioxidant potential. Alternately, try chaga powder in capsules to promote healthy aging.‡
The mushroom known as caterpillar fungus, cordyceps, is also used in traditional Chinese medicine. Valued for its ability to promote stamina and endurance, cordyceps is a good mushroom supplement to provide support during exercise. Research into the use of a cordyceps supplement on exercising adults noted increased tolerance for high intensity exercise after one week of supplementation and additional benefits with longer use.
Additional research studies suggest that cordyceps increases cellular energy by promoting the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Cordyceps’ benefit for oxygen capacity and endurance makes it the choice of Scott Schwenk who uses it before performing breathwork.
Functional mushrooms are valued in traditional medicine for supporting the body’s internal balance. Maitake mushrooms, whose name is Japanese for “dancing mushroom” have been used to promote blood sugar balance and weight loss. Maitake contain compounds that act as alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. In this capacity, they are believed to compete for digestive enzymes with the carbohydrates that we eat, reducing the amount of sugar we are able to absorb. This may have a positive impact on blood sugar levels and glucose tolerance, and may potentially aid in weight loss.‡
To help your body maintain blood sugar balance throughout the day, try adding a teaspoonful of maitake powder to your high carbohydrate meals.‡
The lion’s mane mushroom, named for its spiky appearance, is revered in Eastern medicine. Both the fruiting body and the mycelium have been found to have separate benefits for brain and nerve health. Research with adults between the ages of 50-80 years of age demonstrated marked improvement in cognitive function with the regular consumption of lion’s mane powder. To receive the full potential of its nerve and brain-protective properties, neuroscientists recommend consuming a whole mushroom product containing both fruiting body and mycelium.‡
Scott Schwenk relies on lion’s mane to improve focus and creativity. To take advantage of lion’s mane’s cognitive and neuroprotective support as you start your day, try adding a teaspoonful to your morning coffee.
Incorporating the Power of Functional Mushrooms Into Your Day
Mushroom supplements offer the benefits of nutritious superfoods and their characteristic bioactive ingredients. As a whole, functional mushrooms provide polysaccharides to support a healthy immune system, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to minimize tissue damage, and prebiotic fiber to sustain a healthy gut flora.‡
Mushroom supplements made from individual species offer additional specific advantages. Whether you are looking for help with relaxation, blood sugar support, or improved focus, there is a mushroom powder supplement to fortify your day.‡
Most mushroom supplement benefits can be experienced with consistent consumption. It may be easier to incorporate into your routine by consuming during a time associated with its targeted activity. Making reishi and chaga part of your evening tea ritual for rest and restoration, for example, will help you remember when to take mushroom supplements so they become a regular part of your routine.‡
If you wish to learn more about when to take mushroom supplements to gain the most benefit, check out the Om Mushroom product pages. Besides supporting your body’s natural immune functions, our single species, whole food, organic mushroom powders offer specific advantages to meet your health and wellness goals. To take advantage of the benefits of our functional mushroom products, shop now or subscribe to save!‡
‡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.