Medicinal mushrooms for stress
Tawnya Ritco, RHN
A: To combat stress effectively, it is more important than ever to support our immune system. It is why more of us are turning to supplementation and medicinal mushrooms to help manage stress.
Mushrooms such as agaricus, cordyceps, coriolus, reishi, maitake, shiitake, and others have emerged, in research studies, as promising allies in managing chronic stress and mitigating the impacts it can have on the immune system (along with cardiovascular, digestive, and nervous systems).
Medicinal mushrooms work as immunomodulators, substances that bring balance or calm and activate the immune system as needed. They share the remarkable qualities of adaptogens, which protect our bodies from all forms of stress (physical, biological, emotional, and environmental). They help our cells adapt to stressors and are unique in their capacity to support both the mind and the body in fighting the effects of stress.
Adaptogenic mushrooms support the immune system by increasing the production of natural killer cells. This helps make them powerful antistress agents, especially when used as part of a holistic approach to wellness.
Integrated strategies in stress management also include positive lifestyle solutions (for example, exercise, yoga, meditation, restorative sleep, and therapies such as massage and acupuncture) and a well-balanced antioxidant-rich diet incorporating fruits and vegetables. Such a plant-based diet is rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre, which in turn promotes the removal of toxins and supports healthy digestive function.
A well-balanced immune system—supported by supplementation—acts as the best antidote to daily stress. Since they work at so many different levels and against a wide range of stress symptoms, medicinal mushrooms are an increasingly popular part of that well-grounded plan.