Medicinal Mushroom Benefits
The ORAC value of the MushroomScience Chaga extract was higher than green or black tea extracts and was similar to that of blueberry extracts. These anti-oxidant properties are attributed to an active compound unique to Chaga mushrooms, a triterpene called “betulinic acid”. The Wikipedia entry for betulinic acid contains interesting information on this active compound.
Any of the mushroom extracts can be used for immune support, and the best choice for any individual may rest on some of the additional, nonimmune health benefits the various mushroom extracts may provide.
Continued stress on the body can lead the adrenal glands to produce too much cortisol, too much cortisol in the system over time causes adrenal fatigue or exhaustion.
By stress we mean a high stress life style or excessive physical activity. This also applies to athletes that are constantly stressing the body through repeated and intensive physical training and activity.
Cortisol is an important hormone in the body and is involved in many important bodily functions. However, continued excessive levels of cortisol in the system can cause adrenal fatigue or depletion, causing low energy levels, adrenal exhaustion and poor sleep. Cordyceps can break this cycle by replenishing the adrenals and balancing cortisol levels, leading to increased energy, stamina and endurance.
Triterpenes can improve liver function by helping the liver to clear out accumulated toxins. This is especially important for those people that may have impaired liver function.
Reishi is considered a “tonic” for the liver in Traditional East Asian Medicine.
Memory and Concentration
The myelin sheath surrounds and promotes the normal function of nerve cells. This is essential to the health and normal functioning of the nervous system. Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) is a small secreted protein that is important for the growth, maintenance and survival of certain neurons (nerve cells), and also functions as a signaling molecule. NGF is part of a family or group of similar proteins, also referred to as a neurotrophins, that serve to promote the health and normal function of the brain and nervous system.
Cordyceps extracts provide immuno-modulating beta glucans that support immune health. Cordyceps extracts also contain other actives including adenosine, cordycepic acid, cordycepin and other related compounds. It is the adenosine and the other related compounds that may help to balance the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis), acting primarily through the adrenal glands, and by doing so, can be helpful to people suffering from prolonged exposure to stress.
The HPA Axis (or HTPA axis), is a complex set of direct influences and feedback interactions among the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the adrenal glands. The interactions among these organs constitute the HPA axis, a major part of the neuroendocrine system that controls reactions to stress, and regulates many of the body’s processes including digestion, the immune system, mood and emotions, sexuality and energy storage and expenditure. The ability to respond to stress is essential and a normal part of human physiology. Stress can be psychological stress, or physiological stressors such as such as hypoglycemia, illness, fever, trauma, surgery, fear, pain, physical exertion, or temperature extremes.
However, whether from a charging lion, or a pending deadline, the body's response to stress can be both helpful and harmful. The stress response gives us the strength and speed to ward off or flee from an impending threat. But when it persists, stress can put us at risk for a number of health problems. Prolonged exposure to stress can also lead to a persistent feeling of fatigue, and can affect everything from mood to sleep, the immune function and the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients from the diet.
This prolonged exposure to stress can also create an imbalance in the HPA Axis that becomes self-reinforcing, causing the negative symptoms to persist and get worse. Regular use of Cordyceps, by replenishing the adrenals, may help to break this self-reinforcing imbalance, leading to a balanced HPA Axis and better health by reducing the negative effects of prolonged exposure to stress.