Why all Functional Bites contain mushroom extracts
Did you know that humans and mushrooms share about 85% RNA and 50% DNA ? This means that mushrooms are closer to people and animals than to plants. That may sound crazy, but far back in our evolution we split from a common ancestor.
That is of course not the main reason why we use mushroom extracts. However, the similarity does explain why our body can absorb so many active substances from mushrooms so easily (high “bioavailability”). That is why you will find mushrooms in more than 40% of pharmaceutical products (such as penicillin, immune suppressants and cholesterol lowering agents) and they work well as a functional addition to our bites.
But mushrooms have many more interesting properties. In this blog article we discuss 4 reasons why we choose mushroom extracts as a functional addition to our bites.
Functional mushrooms combine 4 unique properties:
- Adaptogens help the body regulate stress
- Immunomodulators optimize the functioning of the immune system
- Beta-glucans activate cancer-fighting molecules
- Terpenes protect against invasive bacteria and viruses
How do adaptogens help regulate stress?
Functional mushrooms such as Cordyceps, Lion's mane and Reishi are what you call “adaptogens”. Adaptogens are substances from nature and, as the name suggests, they are “adaptive”. This means that they work non-specifically, but that they adapt – “adapt” – to what your body needs at that moment.
For example, the Reishi mushroom has substances that stimulate balance in your endocrine system. This means that in people who feel stressed, reishi will help to reduce cortisol (stress hormone) levels. In people who have too little energy, Reishi will actually stimulate the release of cortisol.
Cortisol is often seen as negative. Yet it is an essential hormone, it helps dampen the negative effects of adrenaline, helps you wake up in the morning and keeps you energetic during exercise.
Adaptogens therefore ensure balance in the body. One moment they protect you from excessive stress – both physical and mental – and the next they help with a lack of energy, depending on the state you are in. Because the effect of adaptogens is not clear, they are not addictive, but they contribute to optimizing physical functions in everyone in their own way.
How do immunomodulators work?
Another way in which adaptogenic mushrooms stimulate balance is by using "immunomodulator" substances. Here too, the name already reveals their effect: they help “modulate” your immune system. For example, they stimulate your immune system when it is weakened by illness or stress and they help to calm an overactive immune system (which, for example, attacks your own body).
Please note : the causes of autoimmune diseases are not always known and vary from person to person. Therefore, always consult a doctor before taking these substances, because in some cases these substances can actually worsen symptoms.
What are Beta-glucans?
Beta-glucans are polysaccharides, or multiple (“ poly ”) sugars (“ saccharides ”), better known as “complex” or “slow” carbohydrates. Those immunomodulator properties you read about above are often attributed to the specific beta-glucans in functional mushrooms.
In addition, they can promote the production of immune stem cells in the bone marrow and help white blood cells activate cancer-fighting molecules such as NK cells (“ Natural Killer ” cells).
Beta-glucans are also found in other foods such as oats, spelt and barley, but the concentration and absorption of beta-glucans from mushrooms is much higher. Moreover, we do not use ordinary dried mushroom powders, but mushroom powder extracts . These extracts consist of at least 30% beta-glucans – that is up to 10x(!) as much as regular mushroom powders.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes are nature's flavors and fragrances. When you smell and taste plants and mushrooms, you get a lot of different terpenes.
Some of these terpenes have special properties. These are, for example, the terpenes that give lavender and cannabis a soothing effect, that eucalyptus helps to modulate the inflammatory response during a cold and that enable Reishi to promote the balance in your endocrine system.
In addition, terpenes can help prevent infections by killing invasive bacteria and viruses. The great thing about terpenes is that they can support your body's natural inflammatory response without leaving excess inflammation in your body.
So, apart from the fact that mushrooms and we were related in the distant past, these special properties are why we choose mushroom extracts in our bites. Curious about the many applications of the functional mushrooms we use? Read more at Meet the Heroes .