From trendy mushroom coffees to mushroom-infused skincare products, medicinal mushrooms are, well, mushrooming in popularity. People are discovering what practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine have known for thousands of years — mushrooms are among the most powerful health-boosting substances on earth.
And mushrooms particularly excel at bolstering the immune system. Their unique properties have been shown repeatedly in hundreds of studies to support immune function on multiple levels.
Ready to transform your health and wellness? We’ve put together 5 science-backed ways to feel better with medicinal mushrooms.
1. Mushrooms Are a Great Natural Source of Vitamin D
Hundreds of studies show that vitamin D plays an integral role in immune health, including reducing susceptibility to colds and flu and lowering the risk for cancer. When exposed to ultraviolet light, mushrooms make their own vitamin D, so they offer the perfect way to boost your intake of the vitamin.
In a study from The British Medical Journal, researchers discovered that 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily lowered the risk of autoimmune diseases (including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and autoimmune thyroid issues) by 22 percent.1
2. Mushrooms Balance the Immune System (and That’s Better Than ‘Boosting’ It!)
It’s time to break the myth of ‘boosting’ your immune system. Boosting your immune system can be dangerous for several reasons. Overstimulating your immune system can create confusion within your body, leading to a host of conditions including autoimmune issues or worse, a cytokine storm, where inflammatory cytokines (proteins) flood your bloodstream and wreak havoc on your organs.
That’s why it’s vital to focus on bringing your immune system into balance (and forget about super-charging it). Medicinal mushrooms hold a secret weapon for modulating the immune system — beta-glucans. Found in fungi’s cell walls, beta-glucans, or immunomodulators, have been shown in studies to have a harmonizing effect on the immune system. Research shows that beta-glucans from fungi help boost resistance to viral, bacterial, and even fungal infections, among other benefits.
3. Mushrooms Provide Much-Needed Daily Immune Support
Stress, poor food choices, inadequate sleep, chronic infections, prescription drugs, and other factors deeply affect the state of your immune system — and therefore, your overall health. The healing compounds in mushrooms, including beta-glucans and potent antioxidants, help nourish and balance the immune system. Mushrooms are essentially a food, so they can (and should) be used daily.
Mushrooms are among the best food sources of antioxidant-rich selenium, a trace mineral key to overall immune health. Getting your daily dose of this nutrient is important for robust immunity. Additionally, mushrooms have ergothioneine, an antioxidant shown to protect the body’s cells.
4. Mushrooms May Help You Lose Weight
Mushrooms are a treasure trove of nutrients — all important for a robust immune system. Nutritional counts vary by type, but in general, mushrooms are wonderful sources of gut-friendly fiber, antioxidants, minerals (including selenium, phosphorus, and potassium), B vitamins, vitamin D, and protein.
Eating more mushrooms may also help you lose weight — and there’s no question that achieving a healthy weight is good for your immune health. Mushrooms are a low-calorie food, with zero fat and cholesterol. They make a fantastic addition to a healthy weight-loss diet, especially since they have a meat-like taste and texture.
According to a study from John Hopkins Weight Management Center, swapping low-energy-density foods, particularly mushrooms, for high-energy-density foods, such as ground beef, is one way to prevent and manage obesity.2
5. Mushrooms Feed Your Gut
Many people don’t realize that mushrooms are an excellent source of dietary fiber, and therefore, good for your digestive health and gut. And a healthy gut equals a strong immune system.
Fiber has been shown in multiple studies to help good bacteria flourish while discouraging harmful bacteria. It supports microbiome balance for improved overall health and wellness. Research also shows that high-fiber diets reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, and diabetes. Powdered mushrooms, including those found in capsules, are rich in insoluble fiber (the kind that does not break down).
Even simple white button mushrooms have gut-friendly properties: According to an animal study in the journal Nutrients, white button mushrooms were shown to act like a prebiotic, positively affecting intestinal microbiota.3 A separate study from Nutrients, while not conclusive, suggests that white button mushrooms have a favorable effect on subjects’ microbiota thanks to their prebiotic properties.4
The Best Way to Take Medicinal Mushrooms
No, you don’t have to sit around eating mushrooms all day. The best and easiest way to reap all that mushroom goodness is to take a combination supplement.
EcoNugenics MycoPhyto Complex is a blend of six powerful mushrooms — cordyceps, turkey tail, reishi, polyporus, royal agaricus, and maitake. They are made using a unique growing process wherein the mushrooms are grown on immune-fortifying herbs.
Mushrooms activate the properties of whatever they grow on, and they actually generate heat in this activation process. So, growing the mushrooms on immune-supportive herbs helps “activate” the herbs and make the mushrooms more powerful. Another bonus: Immune-strengthening beta-glucans are released through the process of making powdered mushrooms.
The mushrooms in MycoPhyto Complex have been shown to contain higher concentrations of immune-bolstering compounds. And these herbs, when combined, are more potent than when used alone.
Supporting your immune system is one of the smartest things you can do for your health. And medicinal mushrooms are your secret weapon for feeling your best every day and promoting your long-term health and wellness.
The uses of medicinal mushrooms don’t end there — check out these additional researched benefits:
Enhanced focus and cognitive function
Oncological nutritional support
Healthy inflammatory responses
Lung and respiratory health
Blood-sugar balancing and diabetes support
Healthy cholesterol levels
- Hahn J, Cook N R, Alexander E K, et al. Vitamin D and marine omega 3 fatty acid supplementation and incident autoimmune disease: VITAL randomized controlled trial BMJ 2022; 376 :e066452.
- Cheskin LJ, Davis LM, Lipsky LM, et al. Lack of energy compensation over 4 days when white button mushrooms are substituted for beef. Appetite. 2008 Jul;51(1):50-7.
- Solano-Aguilar GI, Jang S, Lakshman S, et al. The Effect of Dietary Mushroom Agaricus bisporus on Intestinal Microbiota Composition and Host Immunological Function. Nutrients. 2018 Nov 9;10(11):1721.
- Hess J, Wang Q, Gould T, Slavin J. Impact of Agaricus bisporus Mushroom Consumption on Gut Health Markers in Healthy Adults. Nutrients. 2018;10(10):1402.