Horseman’s Health – Mushrooms: Our Superfood Friends

guest contributor Barb Swanson

Mushrooms & Optimum Health
Did you know that all mushrooms have powerful immune-system strengthening qualities, improving the ability of immune cells to kill invaders? Even ordinary mushrooms are highly nutritious, low-calorie food with immune health qualities. Mice given a diet with a lot of Portobello mushrooms got a strong immune-system boost–just adding in culinary mushrooms.

One reason for mushroom’s immune power is their complex sugars, called beta glucans (ß-glucans). ß-glucans turn on our immune cells in skin and our gut. In fact, studies show that our innate immune system doesn’t operate at peak function unless there are beta glucans present. Based on their effects on the immune system, mushroom ß-glucans have been proposed to act as “biological response modifiers” (BRM), enhancing the body’s own use of macrophages and T-lymphocytes.

Certain mushrooms, especially reishi, maitake and multi-mushroom blends, can also dramatically increase the activity of natural killer (NK) cells and facilitate apoptosis of cancer cells. NK cells are important components of the innate immune system, and are responsible for antiviral and antitumor defense.

Mushrooms can benefit gastrointestinal tract healing through their action as prebiotics. Mushrooms also have the potential to improve a healthy immune response after initial exposure to an antigen or pathogen.

TONIC Mushrooms are also called medicinal mushrooms. Some culinary mushrooms are also tonic, but many tonic mushrooms are used primarily in supplement form. When buying a mushroom supplement, it is important to pay attention to quality control. Mushrooms are bio-accumulators. This means they will concentrate any toxins in their environment, making them unsafe for human use. Best is to use an organic supplement. If it has other 3rd party certifications, such as GMP for example, this is even better.

Tonic Mushrooms
Key Features & Benefits
Cordyceps was discovered in the mountainous regions of China and Tibet about 1,500 years ago. It was prized in the Emperor’s palace in China. It is rich in proteins, plant sterols, polysaccharides, antioxidants, and nucleoside derivatives. Promotes longevity and decreases fatigue. It helps support healthy lung function & kidney function, a healthy heart, improves immune function and is particularly beneficial for use after chemotherapy.

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is perhaps the most famous of all the scientifically researched mushrooms. Its wide-ranging health benefits stem from its high levels of beta glucans and its more than 130 identified triterpenoid compounds. These compounds are anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive. The science on reishi is some of the most extensive in the mushroom literature, with many promising avenues of research and potential benefits. Reishi is a complete whole food, rich in amino acids, enzymes, minerals, and complex polysaccharides. Contains complex sugars that fight viral, strengthen immune, organic germanium for healthy immune. Lowers high cholesterol & blood pressure. May help maintain positive moods.

Maitake (Grifola frondosa) is a highly prized culinary mushroom that grows throughout the temperate forests of North America, China and Europe. Maitake contains a variety of beneficial phospholipids, unsaturated fatty acids, polysaccharides, antioxidants, beta glucans, and plant sterols, such as the potent ergosterol. This adaptogenic mushroom promote wellness & vitality and helps your body cope with stressors. Benefits include helping maintain healthy blood sugar levels. It helps with losing weight. It promotes cardiovascular health.

Poria Cocos has been a traditional ingredient in Chinese medicine for over 5,000 years and was harvested by Native Americans as a source of food. It is a mind tonic, considered to prolong life because it keeps you calm. It is an anti-tumor, antiviral food.

Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) is a powerful tonic food. The compounds of this mushroom enhance our immune function. Shiitake is rich in cellulase and hemicellulose enzymes which destroy the cell membranes of opportunistic fungus. The antibacterial properties of Lentinula edodes are shown to be helpful in controlling other opportunistic bacteria.

Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) has the ability to protect and regenerate the intestinal epithelium, which is great help to repair the damaged intestinal walls (possible Leaky Gut Syndrome).

Bottom Line: Tonic mushrooms offer us big benefits for even just a little bit of use.

High quality whole food supplements with mushroom power: