Why We Love Medicinal Mushrooms for Gut Health
Your gut is home to a diverse range of microorganisms.
When it's healthy, these micro-organisms co-exist and play a crucial role in overall health. They help keep things in check throughout the body, communicating with the different systems and helping to maintain wellness. If that balance is upset, however, the whole body can feel the effects.
Are there benefits to adding medicinal mushrooms for gut health to your daily health routine? You’d better believe it. Several in fact…
Medicinal Mushrooms for Gut Health
As mentioned, the gut microbiome is made up of all different types of bacteria. In a healthy gut, most of these are friendly, but of course there are also a few not-so-friendly ones too. (But when balanced, they're helpful in their own way - so don't worry.) The friendly bacteria play an important role in helping your body digest food and absorb and nutrients.
A big part of keeping the gut healthy involves probiotics. These help to populate the good bacteria. The thing is, they need prebiotics to survive and thrive, and that’s where medicinal mushrooms for gut health come in.
Prebiotics feed probiotics. They help boost their effectiveness and assist them in doing their job.
Common sources of prebiotics include bitter greens like dandelion, various fruits and vegetables (apples, leeks, onion, bananas, asparagus), and whole grains like barley and oats.
But medicinal mushrooms are also a really valuable source of prebiotics.
In fact, in one research study, 24 healthy people who ate 2600mg of Polysaccharopeptide (PSP) - a bioactive agent found in turkey tail mushrooms - experienced beneficial changes in gut bacteria with suppressed growth of dangerous bacteria like E. coli!
In another study, one looking at mushrooms for cancer, results showed that turkey tail modified the gut bacteria composition by increasing two different strains of beneficial bacteria while reducing Clostridium and Staphylococcus (two potentially harmful strains of bacteria).
And that’s all great news to us!
But prebiotics aren't the only reason we love medicinal mushrooms for gut health.
Not Just Prebiotics…
Not only do we love medicinal mushrooms for gut health because of the prebiotics, we also love them because of their antioxidants. Certain mushrooms, chaga in particular, are really high in antioxidants. These are compounds that fight free radicals and oxidative stress. These molecules can damage your DNA and cause inflammation in the body - including in the gut.
The immunomodulatory properties of mushrooms like chaga and turkey tail help to down regulate inflammation in the gut to help protect against various inflammatory disease.
**Immunomodulatory means it modulates (regulates) the immune system. If it needs a boost, these mushrooms deliver just that. But, if it needs to relax, they recognize that as well and help to calm it down!
Whether you're dealing with a gut that could use a little extra TLC, or just want to help maintain that crucial balance, medicinal mushrooms for gut health as a great addition to any health regimen.