In the world of mushrooms, a compound word gets thrown around… Immunomodulation.
"Immuno-" refers to the immune system, which is the body's defence mechanism against foreign substances, infections, and diseases.
"-modulation" comes from the word "modulate," which means to adjust or regulate.
Many mushrooms, including Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus), Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor), Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), and Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), are immunomodulating because they contain bioactive compounds, such as beta-d-glucans, triterpenoids, and an array of phytochemicals that can influence (adjust) the immune system's functioning to enhance, suppress, or balance its activity.
Why is your immune response important?
Your immune system* is responsible for fighting disease-causing germs, recognizing and neutralizing harmful things from the environment, and fighting disease-causing changes in the body, like cancer cells. It is your best line of defence, and we need to keep it optimized so it can do its job. Another impressive thing about your immune system is its ability to activate or suppress based on your body's needs. What activates your immune system? Foreign things that the body doesn’t recognize as its own, we label them antigens and they can include proteins on the surfaces of bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Why is it important to suppress your immune response?
– When dealing with autoimmune diseases or inflammatory conditions, the body’s immune system attacks its own cells and can create inflammation. An immunomodulator like Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) can suppress or reduce the immune system’s activity and alleviate inflammation and its associated symptoms.
Why is it important to enhance your immune response?
– During situations where the immune system is weakened or compromised, it makes it more effective at doing its job like fighting infections, diseases or during periods of recovery.
Why is it important to balance your immune response?
– To keep it running optimally, a balanced immune system supports overall health, contributing to better energy levels, mood, and the body’s ability to heal and recover from illnesses or injuries.
Why are mushrooms important for supporting your immune system?
Well, the answer is that if we take something that activates our immune system, we can run the risk of it causing an excessive response and actually turning against us. Mushrooms like Lion's Mane, Turkey Tail, and Reishi are immunomodulating, meaning they can modify or regulate the immune response to best support you, either enhancing it or preventing excessive activation or suppression as life evolves, which can leave us with a primed immune system that can face stresses and threats in real-time.
The Role of Functional Mushrooms an Immunity
Mushrooms are a good course of action to create a multi-faceted immune system boost, but remember what our pal Benjamin Franklin said: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In addition to supporting your immune system through mushrooms, you might want to look into the other contributing factors that are weakening it. To see lasting results, we encourage people to use mushrooms and take affirmative action, too.
The following are known to weaken the immune response:
- Lack of sleep
- Poor nutrition
- Chronic disease
- High levels of alcohol
- Physical inactivity
How Medicinal/Functional Mushrooms Affect our Immunity.
Activate our Immune Cells
Medicinal mushrooms like Turkey Tail mushrooms and Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus) stimulate the production and activity of our immune cells. Turkey Tail mushroom's most well-known and studied benefit, especially in relation to cancer, is their immunomodulatory effect. The beta-glucans in Turkey Tail can enhance the activity of various immune cells, including macrophages, T cells, and natural killer (NK) cells. They promote immune response by activating and inhibiting specific types of immune cells and suppressing inflammation. This boosts the body's ability to identify pathogens and abnormal cells and work to safeguard our body from harm.
Chaga is an anti-oxidant powerhouse, which means it is known to fight free radicals and inflammation. But, our other core functional mushrooms, like Lion's Mane, Reishi, Cordyceps, and Turkey Tail, are also sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants destroy free radicals to protect the structural integrity of cells and tissues, support our immune function, and reduce inflammation.
Inflammation is an immune response enacted when it detects a threat. Acute inflammation is vital to recovery, as it is a short-term response to promote healing. However, chronic inflammation is harmful and can occur when the immune system continues an inflammatory response when there is no injury or illness to fight. Reishi, Cordyceps and Turkey Tail mushrooms contain bioactive compounds that have been shown to reduce inflammation, further promoting overall immune health.
Medicinal mushrooms are like nature's secret health boosters. They work wonders for our immune system with their ability to modulate it, activate immune cells, act as antioxidants, reduce inflammation, and adapt to our body's needs. These incredible fungi, especially the Reishi, Turkey Tail, and Chaga varieties, are allies in strengthening our body's natural defences. They help us boost our body's inner strength and vitality.
Think about giving your immunity a mushroom boost every day; take a couple of capsules a day or add it to your coffee, tea or smoothie!
*All of our Mushrooms are 100% Canadian Grown and Organic
Disclaimer: The information provided about medicinal mushrooms, including Chaga, Lion's Mane, Turkey Tail, and Reishi, is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The efficacy of these mushrooms for specific conditions has not been conclusively proven by clinical studies, and individual results may vary. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your doctor. The use of medicinal mushrooms should be discussed with a healthcare professional, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, have existing medical conditions or are taking any medications.