What are adaptive mushrooms?

Holistic medicine praises them and even scientists are beginning to take note of the many benefits adaptogenic mushrooms can provide.

But what exactly are adapter fungi?

Read on to learn more about the benefits, risks, and uses of adaptogen, functional mushrooms, and how they can help you maintain your mental and physical health and even prevent certain diseases.

What are adaptogens?

What do adaptogens do for you?

Scientific facts about adaptogenic mushrooms

How can you get adaptogenic mushrooms?

What are adaptogens?

Adaptogens are phytonutrients (bioactive compounds from plants or fungi) that may help our bodies and minds cope with stress and be more resilient. These compounds help your body adapt and maintain homeostasis in stressful situations.

For example, if your cortisol is elevated due to stress or external stressors, some adaptogens will reduce the levels of this hormone. Conversely, if your cortisol levels are low (which can lead to chronic fatigue and brain fog), adaptogens raise it to meet your body’s needs.

A 2021 meta-analysis of adaptogens “suggested that plant adaptogens could provide a range of benefits in the treatment of chronic fatigue, cognitive impairment, and immune protection.” This study concluded that “there is great potential for the registration of medicinal products containing plant adaptogens for therapeutic purposes”.

How do adaptogens work?

Adaptogens increase your body’s resistance to stress, whether physical, psychological or chemical, and help improve your stress response. They do this through your body’s main stress response system, the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA axis), which consists of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands in your body.

The main function of this system is to release glucocorticoids, including cortisol (the stress hormone) into the body. By affecting the production of these hormones through the HPA axis, adaptogens are able to enhance resistance to stress, as well as promote homeostasis in the body.

After consuming adaptogens of plant origin, physical exercises do not increase the levels of cortisol and nitric oxide in the human body. In fact, the levels are reduced, compared to those that existed before physical exercise. (Liao et al.)

Benefits of adaptive mushrooms

Adaptogens can provide amazing health benefits and even prevent certain diseases. Studies have shown that adaptogenic supplements boost the body’s resistance to stressors, fight fatigue, fight cancer, boost gut health, and improve your overall health.

Different adaptogens have different effects on your body. While some calm you down and reduce the effects of stress and anxiety, others give you a boost of energy.

Since there is no one-size-fits-all adaptogen, it is best to do your research on adaptogens that are beneficial for your specific health concerns.

Adaptogenic Mushrooms Side Effects

Adaptogens are generally safe for healthy people. However, if you are not used to taking adaptogen products, they may cause mild digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea and nausea.

Those prone to allergies may also be allergic to some adaptogens. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, stop taking the adaptogen immediately and contact a healthcare professional.

Can you take adaptogens every day?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to take adaptogens every day as long as you do not exceed the recommended daily dose. You will get more health benefits from adaptogens and adaptogen mushrooms if you take them regularly, as some long-term benefits become more pronounced the longer you take adaptogen products.

What foods are high in adaptogens?

To be considered adaptogens, foods must have these three properties:

  • when taken in prescribed doses, adaptogens are non-toxic
  • adaptogens maintain your body’s homeostasis
  • help you deal with stressors (mental and physical)

Medicinal mushrooms such as cordyceps, reishi, chaga, turkey tail and lion’s mane are known adaptogens. Goji berries, maca root, and licorice root also have adaptogenic properties, as do adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha and ginseng.

What is an adaptive mushroom?

Adaptive mushrooms, otherwise known as medicinal or functional mushrooms, are mushrooms that appear to have the ability to help the human body improve its stress response patterns.

Evidence shows that adaptogenic mushrooms, sometimes called functional mushrooms, may have antiviral properties and reduce chronic inflammation in the body, as well as lower blood sugar levels and fight cancer.

They are packed with antioxidants and other nutrients, many of which are just beginning to be understood by science. The anti-inflammatory properties of adaptogenic mushrooms are a result of the wide variety of bioactive compounds they possess.

Mushrooms are rich in anti-inflammatory components, such as polysaccharides, phenolic and indole compounds, mycosteroids, fatty acids, carotenoids, vitamins and biominerals. (Muszyńska, et al.)

While the science is still fairly new, and many studies have used laboratory animals rather than humans, the body of evidence in favor of mushroom adaptogens is quite strong.

7 Amazing Adaptive Mushrooms Science Facts

Adaptive fungi are some of the healthiest foods you can eat. Here are some interesting facts about functional mushrooms that you may not have heard:

1. Adaptive mushrooms can help you prevent and fight cancer

Several types of mushrooms have been shown to have anti-cancer properties. They seem to help prevent and treat cancer, as well as alleviate some of the side effects of chemotherapy.

Medicinal mushrooms may have therapeutic potential for cancer patients during and after conventional oncology care in terms of quality of life, reduction of negative effects of conventional care, and possibly other surrogate parameters such as immune function. (Jeitler, et al.)

A recent study looked at the effects of Cordyceps militaris on non-small cell lung cancer. Methanolic extract of cordyceps fruit appears to have reduced the growth of lung cancer by increasing the levels of several tumor suppressor proteins.

The Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) appears to be particularly beneficial for bladder cancer. This medicinal mushroom contains immunomodulatory substances that appear to regulate cytokine production by enhancing bone marrow macrophages.

Cytokines are a type of protein that influence your body’s immune response. By boosting the bone marrow’s production of cytokines and compounds (including the production of white blood cells), this functional mushroom can boost your body’s ability to fight bladder cancer.

To learn more about the benefits that various medicinal mushrooms may have for cancer, read on our article on the best mushrooms for cancer.

2. Your mental health can benefit from functional mushrooms

Adaptive mushrooms have many potential benefits for stress relief. The lion’s mane mushroom, in particular, is incredibly beneficial for mental health. This mushroom it seems to relieve stress levels and anxietyas to reduce symptoms of depression.

A Japanese study looked at the effects of lion’s mane on symptoms of anxiety and depression in menopausal women. After taking a lion’s mane supplement for 4 weeks, these women reported feeling less depressed and anxious than at the start of the trial, while women taking a placebo reported no improvement in their symptoms.

Another study found that “mice given H. erinaceus had…increased exploratory behavior toward novel objects…indicative of lower levels of anxiety.”

Lion’s mane also appears to benefit people with ADHD. This adaptogenic mushroom reduces stress and anxiety common to ADHD and improves memory and focus without interfering with ADHD medication.

To learn more about the many benefits that lion’s mane mushrooms can have for the brain, read our guide to Hericium erinaceus brain benefits.

3. Adaptive mushrooms are incredible for your skin and hair

All medicinal mushrooms contain essential nutrients for healthy hair, skin and nails. However, Chaga mushrooms have proven to be particularly beneficial for skin care and hair growth.

in addition to have anti-cancer propertieschaga has been used as a medicated shampoo in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, and a recent study confirmed its positive effect on hair health and growth.

The researchers applied triterpenes found in chaga to human hair follicles. The results suggested that four out of five of these compounds had anti-alopecia activity. Although further research is needed, chaga mushrooms appear to have a stimulating effect on hair growth.

Chaga mushrooms benefit skin and hair

4. Your immune system will thank you for taking adaptive mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms can have an incredibly positive effect on your immune health. For example, a 2015 study looked at the effects of shiitake mushrooms on immune function in healthy young adults.

This fungus is full of vitamins and minerals that keep your body in optimal health and prevent inflammation. After taking 5-10 grams of shiitake daily for four weeks, the participants had less inflammatory processes and showed signs of an overall immune boost.

Medicinal mushrooms may also protect against microbial infections. A recent study concluded that “extracts of three wild mushrooms have shown promising antimicrobial activity against the tested organisms.”

5. Functional mushrooms improve athletic performance

While some medicinal mushrooms have relaxing properties, others can give you a boost of energy. For example, Cordyceps mushrooms appear to boost energy levels helping to produce ATP in cell mitochondria.

According to a human study, the Cordyceps mushroom appears to reduce inflammation and increase the body’s natural ventilation and metabolic thresholds.

After 12 weeks of taking cordyceps mushroom extract, subjects were able to exercise longer and recover faster than their counterparts who took a placebo. This study concluded that “supplementation with…Cordyceps sinensis…improves exercise performance and may contribute to well-being in healthy older individuals”.

6. Your pets can also benefit from adaptive mushrooms

The power of medicinal mushrooms does not stop at humans. While they can’t be eaten raw, your furry friends can many beneficial effects of adaptogenic fungi are reaped through a mushroom supplement.

For example, turkey tail mushroom has been shown to improve the survival rate of dogs with cancer. A randomized, double-blind study examined the effects of turkey tail in dogs with hemangiosarcoma. The dogs that took the mushroom capsules lived longer and had fewer metastases.

7. There are many ways to consume medicinal mushrooms

You don’t have to like the taste of mushrooms to reap the benefits of mushroom adaptogens.

Nowadays, there is a wide variety of mushroom products to choose from. You can mix mushroom powder with tap water or put it in a protein shake or go with mushroom capsules.

If you prefer to have mushrooms with your food, opt for fortified mushroom products (like mushroom coffee or superfood granola).

Interested in taking adaptogenic mushrooms?

If you are interested in trying adaptogens, it is best to combine the benefits of functional mushrooms. And, what better way to do that than with a bowl of cereal?

Our adaptive mushroom granola it’s exactly what you need. Our adaptogenic mushroom product contains a highly concentrated extract of lion’s mane mushrooms.

adaptogenic mushroom granola

The granola is vegan, gluten-free and delicious. You can choose one of our three amazing flavors or go with a package if you can’t pick a favorite.

Frequently asked questions about adaptogenic mushrooms

How much adaptogenic mushroom extract does AdaptogenShroomsgranola contain?

AdaptogenShroomsgranola uses high quality extract from whole medicinal mushrooms. Our double extraction method extracts both water-soluble beta-glucans and alcohol-soluble triterpenes. Our brewing process breaks down the indigestible chitin cell walls of the mushroom to extract far more of these compounds than conventional processes.

One serving of granola provides us with 250 mg of ultra-concentrated mushroom extract, which is eight times more concentrated than a regular mushroom supplement. So you’re getting as much chaga, lion’s mane, and cordyceps as you would if you were taking a 2000 mg mushroom powder supplement, all in one bowl of granola.

Are adaptogenic mushrooms drugs?

No, adaptogenic mushrooms are not drugs, as they cannot affect your perception and sensory experience. Functional mushrooms can have spiritual benefits, improve focus and memory, and even prevent physical and mental health problems. However, they do this by maintaining your body’s homeostasis without getting you high.

Are adaptogenic mushrooms hallucinogenic?

None of the mushrooms mentioned in this article are hallucinogenic. Also known as magic mushrooms, hallucinogenic mushrooms contain psilocybin, a compound that provides feelings of sensory distortion and euphoria (high). Adaptive mushrooms like lion’s mane, reishi, chaga and cordyceps do not contain psilocybin and cannot get you high.

What are the best types of mushroom adaptogens?

Adaptogenic mushrooms are among them the healthiest mushrooms you can eat. When using medicinal mushrooms, it is advisable to combine mushrooms that offer different health benefits (for example, taking lion’s mane for brain health and cordyceps for increased energy).

The best types of mushrooms are:

  • Cordyceps mushrooms
  • Lion’s mane mushrooms
  • Reishi mushrooms
  • Chaga mushrooms
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Turkey tail mushrooms
  • Maitake mushrooms
  • Can Adaptogenic Mushrooms Get You Up?

    No they can’t! Mushrooms that can cause an overdose contain a natural psychedelic called psilocybin. Adaptive mushrooms, like the ones we use in our superfood granola, are not psychoactive. They do not contain psilocybin.

    Are Functional Mushrooms Safe During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding?

    This is an area where there is still much research to be done. Currently, there is no scientific research on the safety of mushrooms such as lion’s mane during pregnancy.

    Functional mushrooms are considered safe for most people and there is no conclusive evidence that they cause any harm during pregnancy. However, due to a lack of research, pregnant women may choose not to take them while pregnant.

    For those who choose to consume adaptogenic mushrooms during pregnancy, it is recommended that you consult your doctor first. Since there isn’t much research available, it’s impossible to know how much of these mushrooms are safe to eat during pregnancy. To learn more about the effects of adaptogens on breastfeeding, read on our guide to eating lion’s mane while breastfeeding.

    Can you overdose or “over consume” an adaptogenic mushroom?

    In short, no. There is little to no risk of overdose with adaptogenic mushrooms, even when extremely large doses are consumed. Taking too much can lead to mild side effects such as upset stomach or diarrhea, but the risk of an actual overdose is incredibly low. In fact, from the research that has been done, it is safe to consume not just one adaptogen, but several different adaptogens at the same time.

    Are there drug interactions with adaptogenic mushrooms?

    There is evidence to suggest that some adaptogens can interact with certain classes of prescription drugs. For example, lion’s mane mushrooms appear to have antiplatelet effects and may interact with medications with the same effect.

    To learn more about lion’s mane medication and other adaptogens that may interact, check our guide to lion’s mane drug interactions. If you are taking any medications, it is a good idea to consult your doctor before adding adaptogenic mushrooms to your routine.

    Can adaptogenic mushrooms cause low blood pressure?

    Fresh, organic mushrooms should not cause low blood pressure. However, more concentrated fungal and herbal remedies containing adaptogenic mushrooms can lower blood pressure levels and interact with medications that do the same, so it’s important to consult a healthcare professional before starting to take adaptogens with antihypertensive medications.


    1. Todorova, V. (2021). Plant adaptogens—History and future prospects. Nutrients, 13(8), 2861. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13082861
    2. Liao, L.Y. (2018). A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide. Chinese Medicine, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13020-018-0214-9
    3. Muszyńska, B. (2018). Anti-inflammatory properties of edible mushrooms: A review. Food Chemistry, 243, 373-381. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2017.09.149
    4. Jeitler, M. (2020). Importance of medicinal mushrooms in integrative oncology: a narrative review. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2020.580656
    5. Bizarro, A. (2015). Cordyceps militaris (L.) Link Fruiting Body reduces growth of a non-small cell lung cancer cell line by increasing cellular levels of p53 and p21. Molecules, 20(8), 13927-13940. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules200813927
    6. Nagano, M. (2010). Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks intake of Hericium erinaceus. Biomedical Research, 31(4), 231-237. https://doi.org/10.2220/biomedres.31.231
    7. Rodriguez, MN (2022). Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) exerts anxiolytic effects in the rTg4510 Tau mouse model. Behavioral Sciences, 12(7), 235. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs12070235
    8. Sagayama, K. (2019). Lanostane-type triterpenes from the sclerotia of Inonotus obliquus (Chaga mushrooms) as proliferative factors in human follicular dermal papilla cells. Journal of Natural Medicines, 73(3), 597-601. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11418-019-01280-0
    9. Dai, X. (2015). Daily consumption of Lentinula edodes (Shiitake) mushrooms improves human immunity: A randomized dietary intervention in healthy young adults. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 34(6), 478–487. https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2014.950391
    10. Gebreyohannes, G. (2019). Determination of Antimicrobial Activity of Native Wild Mushroom Extracts against Pathogenic Organisms. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2019, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/6212673
    11. Chen, S. (2010). Effect of Cs-4® (Cordyceps sinensis) on exercise performance in healthy elderly subjects: A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16(5), 585–590. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2009.0226
    12. Brown, DC (2012). Single-agent polysaccharide delay metastases and improve survival in naturally occurring hemangiosarcoma. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012, 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/384301

    Disclaimer Forij

    Leave a comment