Invite Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Jerry Hickey. Ph
When we think about the human immune system, we have to understand that it is a very complex series of pathways and different enzymes and reactions that occur to give us the ability to fend off different bacteria, viruses and parasites. It really is in and of itself a very intricate series of steps that occur and so much of this is truly dependent on how we take nutrients in from our diet, as well as supplements we are taking. We know that if we are lacking even just basic vitamins and minerals, this can really impede our immune system’s ability to fend off these types of foreign invaders.†
That’s why I want to talk about different things you can be doing when it comes to optimizing your immune defenses. Specifically, I want to talk about mushrooms. This is really a fascinating bit of information when we look at the science behind mushroom extracts, so not only incorporating mushrooms into your diet, but also utilizing mushroom extract.
We know that when we’re utilizing mushrooms as a dietary supplementation, they provide nutritional support for a healthy immune system. When we talk about all of the ways that the immune system is working, we know that when we incorporate these in, we are now exposing our body to a high amount of antioxidants, polyphenols and flavonoids. Also, mushrooms have naturally-occurring Vitamin D, as well as other vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, all of these things our immune system relies on. By having mushroom extract on board as a supplement, this helps our body in terms of enhancing our Vitamin D status, essential fatty acids and key minerals. All of this has been studied extensively when we look at mushrooms.†
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Other benefits of mushrooms
Aside from benefitting the immune system, mushrooms and mushroom extract have other important roles in the body.
When it comes to anti-aging, for example, Penn State University looked at how mushrooms are packed with all of these antioxidants, which can really help to fend off oxidative stress and damage done at that cellular level. They said that mushrooms contain an unusually high amount of two specific antioxidants that the scientists and researchers at Penn State University believe could help fight off aging and at the same time, bolster health.†
This particular study found high amounts of ergothioneine and glutathione from mushrooms. We know that glutathione is one of our most important endogenous antioxidants. This is really quite key because as we get older, sometimes our natural production of glutathione goes down. We also know that oxidative stress is going to create cellular damage and mitochondrial dysfunction from those free radicals, and when those free radicals do a significant amount of damage, it can alter the true functionality of the cell, which is going to screw up many different functions that the body relies on each and every single day.†
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Penn State University also recognized the importance that mushrooms were playing as a prebiotic and how this actually was helping to stabilize blood glucose levels. They’re very much into mushroom research. From this study, what they were analyzing was looking at how mushrooms could actually change the composition of gut microbes, that microbiome that we talk about so often and how that plays an integral role in terms of our immune system and in that gut-brain connection. They realized that the mushroom extracts or the mushrooms that you take in from your diet play a really key role in the production of short-chain fatty acids and it is through that that it works in a sense as a prebiotic. Through that stabilization of the microbiome, they have found that that can actually help to regulate the blood glucose levels.†
Tune into the full podcast episode to learn about more ways mushrooms can benefit the body.
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