Mighty Mushrooms — Edible Immune Support
Mighty Mushrooms — Edible Immune Support
Medicinal mushrooms are all the rage. You can find them in trendy coffee shops, upscale supermarkets, and in slews of supplements. They’re added to everything from lattes and teas, to smoothies and salads. But why all the fanfare for these fabulous fungi?
Mushrooms have gone mainstream primarily due to their immune-protective properties, and each one possesses a unique cocktail of nutrients and bioactive compounds that bestow it with its own variety of health benefits.
It’s critically important to know how mushrooms are grown in order to know 1) if they contain a potent enough concentration of compounds to make them able to benefit your health and 2) if they are pure enough for consumption.
How Mushrooms Are Grown
In nature, mushrooms grow in a variety of places, like on dead logs lying on the forest floor. But these days, most mushrooms that we eat or use medicinally are cultivated. They’re often grown on grains such as rye, rice, or wheat. The substrate on which the mushroom is grown can imbue it with additional nutrients and active compounds, just like the vegetables we eat absorb nutrients from the soil in which they’re grown.
For this reason, Pure Synergy® developed a completely new and innovative way to grow our mushrooms for Immune Health™. We cultivate them on organic turmeric rhizomes and organic heirloom black rice. As the mushrooms grow, their enzymes transform and absorb the beneficial compounds and antioxidants inherent in the turmeric and black rice. They take in and incorporate these bioactive nutrients — curcuminoids, turmerones and anthocyanins — into their own already nutrient-dense structures. The result is a synergy of immune protection that’s more than the mushrooms could provide on their own.
The Mycelium—Fruiting Body Debate
Fungi are fascinating organisms that are neither plants nor animals. The vast majority of their “bodies” are underground in rootlike structures called mycelium. Every step you take in a forest is on top of a vast network of mushroom mycelium which play a critical role in recycling nutrients for the entire ecosystem. What we call the “mushroom,” is actually the fruiting body of the fungus — much like an apple or a banana is to a tree.
There’s a heated debate in the dietary supplement industry over which portion of the mushroom is the most valuable — the mycelium or the fruiting body. Some claim that the fruiting bodies contain the lion’s share of nutrients and active compounds. While others argue the opposite, that it’s the mycelium that have the greater potency.
As usual, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Certain compounds are more concentrated and bioavailable in the mycelium, while others are more potent in the fruiting bodies. That’s why we use the mycelium and the primordia, or the mushroom “sprouts,” in our formula. This enables us to get the whole spectrum of beneficial compounds that these amazing organisms have to offer, giving us the best of both worlds.
Although there are thousands of known types of mushrooms, only a handful have been given the distinction of being labeled “medicinal.” Here’s a breakdown of seven of the most famous healing mushrooms that are in Immune Health, and what makes each one so special.
Reishi — Mushroom of Immortality
Reishi are kidney-shaped mushrooms that grow at the base of deciduous trees. They’re known as the “mushrooms of immortality” in Traditional Chinese Medicine, where reishi has recorded medicinal use for more than 2,000 years.
Used as a wellness Jack-of-all-trades, they’re packed with:
- immune modulating polysaccharides
- triterpenes that support healthy immune function and a healthy inflammation response
- amino acids, vitamins, and minerals
Because of their tough, woody texture and bitter taste, reishi are usually used in a powdered or supplement form. Immune Health contains the reishi mycelium and also reishi cracked cell spores — which are especially rich in triterpenoids, beta glucans, amino acids, and polysaccharides. That’s some serious immune supporting action.
Shiitake — The Fragrant Mushroom
A scrumptious shroom popular in east Asian cuisine, shiitake also has a long tradition as a medicinal mushroom. Its name comes from the Japanese shii tree (related to the oak) on which it’s often found growing.
These fortifying fungi are full of:
- glycoproteins that strengthen a healthy immune system
- B vitamins
- lentinan, a polysaccharide that helps stimulate healthy immune function and supports a healthy inflammation response
- cholesterol lowering eritadenine
Named for their beautiful, wavy shapes, turkey tail is one of the most well researched medicinal mushrooms in the world. This one should really be called a super mushroom for its spectacular immune benefits.
Turkey tail has unique compounds including:
- polysaccharide krestin (PSK) and polysaccharopeptide (PSP) — used in Japan and China to help repair and regenerate immune cells destroyed by chemotherapy, and that also generally stimulate the immune system
- contains one of the highest amounts of beta glucans of all mushrooms, which are mega immune modulators
Agaricus — Almond Mushroom
This cute round mushroom, related to the common button mushroom, has the aroma of almonds. Agaricus is native to Brazil where it was traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments. It was brought to Japan in the 1960s, and today it’s widely used in east Asian countries as a functional food and as a natural therapy. Agaricus was found to contain immune enhancing polysaccharides and beta glucans.
Maitake — Dancing Mushroom
Maitake literally means “dancing mushroom” in Japanese. Legend has it that people danced for joy upon finding it in the wild. A mushroom is pretty magical when it has its own mythology.
Like reishi, maitake mushrooms have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. It’s only been in the last 20 years or so, though, that they’ve become popular in the west. Maitake have been shown to have a positive effect on overall immunity and are also considered an adaptogen.
Some of the health supporting compounds it contains are:
- powerful antioxidants like flavonoids, phenols, tocopherols, ascorbic acid, and beta-carotene
- vitamins B and C, minerals like copper and potassium, and amino acids
- immune boosting beta glucans
Cordyceps — Caterpillar Fungus
Cordyceps are a very unusual fungus. In the wild, high in the Himalayan mountains, they grow out of the mummified carcasses of caterpillar larvae. Don’t worry, though, the cordyceps we use in Immune Health have been cultivated on turmeric — no insects included!
Described as a treasure in old Chinese and Tibetan medicine, this adaptogen is famous for boosting energy and stamina. It does this by increasing ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production, the compound that gives our cells energy, and is often recommended to improve athletic performance.
Cordyceps is full of nutritional goodies such as:
- B vitamins and amino acids
- immune supporting polysaccharides and beta glucans
- cordycepin, the compound that promotes ATP production
Chaga doesn’t look anything like a typical mushroom. That’s because it isn’t one. It’s actually a parasitic fungus that grows on birch trees in cold, northern climates. It basically looks like a dark clump of dirt coming out of the side of a tree, until you break it apart and see its vibrant orange interior.
Used medicinally for centuries in Russia, chaga has one of the highest antioxidant contents of any known food. It’s also extremely nutrient-rich, an immune modulator, and supports a healthy inflammation response.
Some of the smorgasbord of compounds inside chaga include:
- a wide variety of vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, vitamin D, potassium, zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, among others
- triterpenes and sterols that support healthy immune function and a healthy inflammation response
- polysaccharides and beta glucans for even more immune support
- high phenol content that provides its powerful antioxidant activity
You can experience this masterful symphony of mushroom synergy in Immune Health. Our mushrooms are all certified organic and grown using our exclusive, innovative methods that elevate these already beneficial, immune-supporting fungi to a whole new level of greatness. We have zero tolerance for chemical processing, toxic solvents, GMOs, or questionable additives. So, you can trust in the purity and potency of their health protection.