How Adaptogenic Mushrooms Can Support You Through Occasional Stress*
What’s the buzz about adaptogenic mushrooms? How can they help our bodies natural ability to regulate hormones in a healthy way?* In this blog, we’re going to break down the science and the stories about adaptogens, mushrooms, and hormones.
Adaptogens are herbs or mushrooms that support the body's adaptation to occasional physical, mental, and emotional stressors.* They have been studied to help support the function of the endocrine system, immune system, nervous system, and circulatory system.* They also help to promote healthy communication between the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands, also known as the HPA axis.
Adaptogenic mushrooms and herbs have been utilized throughout traditional health systems around the world for many centuries. They are often known as rejuvenating herbs, qi tonics, rasayanas, or restorative tonics.* Historically, physicians and herbalists knew these adaptogenic mushrooms and herbs well, and they often used them to support the health of their communities.* (1)
Hormones, Stress, and the HPA axis
Hormones are the chemical messengers that send signals throughout the body. Essentially, hormones communicate our sensations of hunger, arousal, joy, fear, and stress between the brain and other organs in the body so that we can safely interact with and adapt to our environment.*
The hypothalamus gland is the part of your brain that recognizes stress. When you experience stress, the hypothalamus signals the pituitary gland, and they both signal the adrenal glands to produce and release stress hormones. This is called the hypo-pituitary thalamus adrenal (HPA) axis.
The primary function of the HPA axis is to regulate the stress response. When we experience something stressful, the HPA engages and a series of hormones are secreted, including cortisol.
Cortisol, commonly known as the stress hormone, is what courses through our veins when we are in “flight or fight” mode. As a result, our blood vessels dilate, allowing for more blood to pulse to our extremities. Our senses sharpen, which prepares us to handle a fight or flight situation.
Cortisol is great when we need it to hyper-focus all of our energy on survival, making it possible to think on our feet to avoid an accident or fight for our life. However, to do so, cortisol disrupts the signaling of other hormones, such as those that regulate the function of our sleep cycle, or digestive and reproductive systems. Cortisol helps you survive in the moment, but it is not a hormone designed to help you long-term.
The modern lifestyle is busy AF. Instead of the survival stress that our Paleolithic ancestors experienced when they had to hunt for their meal or scare off a wild animal to stay alive, we experience occasional mild stress more frequently.* Stress keeps the HPA axis constantly working. This means that your adrenals are constantly pumping out cortisol and your body is working hard to meet the demands.*
Adaptogenic Mushrooms Can Offer Support*
Most mushrooms are adaptogenic because of the many ways they help support the overall health of different body systems, including the immune system, endocrine system, and circulatory system.* Let’s examine one of the most studied adaptogenic mushrooms, Cordyceps.
Cordyceps is considered a national treasure in China, and it is becoming more common in the United States, where it is popular among athletes, students, and busy parents looking for natural options to support energy.* Research also shows that Cordyceps promotes the function of the adrenal cortex, while promoting the natural resilience of the HPA axis.* (4)
When it comes to sourcing Cordyceps, you want to know that you’re getting the real deal. At Mushroom Revival, our Cordyceps are carefully grown and handpicked. Follow this link to learn how to make Cordyceps tea!
Adaptogenic mushrooms and herbs may help support a healthy function of the HPA axis, even in trying times of normal stress.*
Lifestyle Tips Beyond Adaptogenic Mushrooms
In addition to adaptogenic mushrooms, we recommend integrating practices such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. Getting regular exercise has also been shown to play a role in supporting normal hormonal regularity.* Eating a healthy diet full of fresh veggies and fruits, high-quality fat, nuts and seeds, and lean proteins may support your overall wellness as well.*
We hope that this has been a helpful article and that you feel resourced to support whatever comes your way in life!
*The statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration). The products sold on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information provided by this website or this company is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with your physician, and should not be construed as individual medical advice.