Mushroom supplements: everybody’s talking about them, and you might want to give them a try. But before you do so, you have plenty of questions. What exactly are these mushroom supplements? Are mushroom supplements good for you? And what do mushroom supplements do? Our guide to functional mushroom supplements will give you the introduction you’re looking for.
MUSHROOM SUPPLEMENTS: WHAT ARE THEY?
In the Far East, certain mushrooms have been valued for centuries - and not always as foods. These mushrooms were believed to have health-giving properties, and they’re finding their way into the West as nutritional supplements today. While some of the mushrooms used in supplements can be eaten fresh, many of them were traditionally used to make teas or extracts. Nowadays, we can find a plethora of mushroom teas, tinctures, and dried, powdered mushrooms on offer.
Don’t confuse functional mushrooms with psychedelic mushrooms. Psychedelic mushrooms contain psilocybin, and although this ingredient is being researched as a possible medicinal agent, using it is illegal in most countries. It certainly won’t set you up for a day being your best and most focused!
Functional mushroom supplements are primarily prized for their nutritional benefits which are certainly potent. In the East, they may be credited with balancing “life-force,” or qi. In the West, we can translate this as meaning that the nutrients they contain could help your body to keep itself healthier leaving you with more get-up-and-go and vitality.
ARE MUSHROOM SUPPLEMENTS GOOD FOR YOU?
Many of the age-old beliefs regarding mushrooms for health do, in fact, have some basis. Researchers around the world are working to see whether functional mushroom supplements are just a nutritious tonic or whether they have medicinal use.
It’s too early to tell whether research will translate into anything conclusive, but many people who use mushroom supplements say they do experience noticeable benefits. They may report that they feel more energetic and able to think more clearly, believe that immunity has increased, notice improved digestive health or notice that they’re sleeping better at night.
We can certainly say that mushroom supplements are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and certain amino acids making them helpful natural supplements that could leave you feeling re-energised.
CAN YOU TAKE TOO MANY MUSHROOM SUPPLEMENTS?
“Stacking” several mushroom supplements is becoming popular. But, although some companies actively encourage this, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.
At best, taking too many mushroom supplements, or using large portions of supplements with overlapping ingredients, could mean that your body is simply getting rid of an excess of nutrients. It shouldn’t hurt you, but it’s something of an expensive waste. Moderation in all things is usually a good piece of advice.
Remembering that functional mushrooms were once rarities that were highly prized and used in small amounts could be the key to getting the balance right. “More” isn’t always “better.” However, you might try using different mushrooms at different times depending on what you hope to achieve by doing so.
You may also find blends of different functional mushrooms combined into a single supplement. While this may give you a wider range of benefits, and save you from having to buy multiple products to get them all, this does reduce their purity and strength.
HOW TO TAKE MUSHROOM SUPPLEMENTS
Producers of mushroom supplements will usually provide a guideline that tells you how much of their product they think you should use. For mushroom supplement capsules, this is normally no more than two capsules per day.
Some mushrooms are believed to increase energy and therefore are ideal for use in the mornings. These include Maitake, Lions Mane, and Chaga. Reishi mushrooms, on the other hand, may help you to relax and sleep, and taking them an hour or two before bedtime would make the most sense. It’s always worth considering the specific benefits of each type of mushroom and decide when these might be of help to you; timing your supplement so that it begins to work when you need it most.
HOW SAFE ARE MUSHROOM SUPPLEMENTS?
Mushroom supplements containing the classic functional mushrooms should be safe for most people to use. After all, the mushrooms themselves are edible and have been used for centuries. However, if you are prone to allergies, are already ill, using medications, or are pregnant, it’s always wise to ask your doctor or healthcare professional about any new supplements you are looking to including in your diet. Having said that, the chances of experiencing ill effects are relatively low. Instead, most people report beneficial effects, and that makes these health supplements worth trying out.
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