Mushrooms To Boost Your Immune System
There’s a new wave of options to help boost your immune system this season. While vitamin C, Echinacea and oregano oil have all had their claim to fame in enhancing your immune system, mushrooms are quickly gaining in popularity to positively impact the fight against viruses and bacteria, especially when cold and flu season is just getting started.
Your immune system fights foreign invaders – also known as pathogens – on two fronts: one through using the innate immune system, and the other with the acquired immune system. The acquired immune system is one that needs to be introduced to a pathogen (virus, bacteria etc), after which your body creates and increases the output of immune fighting cells that will attack the pathogen in question. This process can take a bit of time to occur after you’ve been exposed. On the other hand, the innate immune system is your first line of defense against pathogens. It’s the “seek and destroy” part of your immune system. Specialized cells find viruses and bacteria and attack immediately by engulfing and digesting them. This branch of your immune system allows you to quickly and effectively remove possible pathogens so you can enjoy life while keeping sickness at bay!
Mushrooms like Agarikon (Fomitopsis officinalis) are powerhouses to your immune system, fighting off both bacteria and viruses, offering you dual protection this time of year. Packed with immune fighting constituents like beta-glucans, it has been used for centuries to treat various infections and ailments. With the help of research studies, we now know that Agarikon has an effect against pox viruses, swine and bird flu, herpes simplex 1 and 2, Influenza viruses A and B, and even M.tuberculosis! Not only can Agarikon be anti-viral and anti-bacterial, it also has potent anti-inflammatory potential.
If you are someone who frequently catches colds or simply hates getting sick, medicinal mushrooms are wonderful at boosting the innate immune system and therefore arming you with a strong first line of defense during the cold and flu season.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Josée is a Naturopathic Doctor at Ottawa Holistic Wellness Centre. Her clinical focus the study of interactions between the psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body. She focuses on anxiety, stress, insomnia, hormone health and depression which can cause fatigue, digestive complaints, a weak immune system and pain.