This post is sponsored by our friends at Rritual Superfoods. All thoughts and ideas are my own.
Adaptogenic mushrooms have seen quite a rise in popularity in recent years in the health and wellness space here in the US.
But, if you’re wondering how exactly adaptogenic mushrooms could help you and if you should consider adding them to your daily routine, you’re in the right place. We’ll cover common uses, potential benefits (with a specific focus on sleep and stress*), and a high-quality brand I recently tried.
***This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services. This article and the links contained in it provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this article is not a substitute for medical care. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or registered dietitian.***
What are adaptogenic mushrooms?
Adaptogenic mushrooms are mushrooms that may reduce some negative effects of stress on the human body.
Whether it’s physical stress, emotional stress, or mental stress, we often experience side effects and the hypothesis is that these types of mushrooms minimize the impact of all forms of stress on our bodies.
Now, it’s important to clarify that these aren’t hallucinogenic mushrooms. They don’t impact your ability to think and process information.
How do adaptogens work?
These adaptogenic mushrooms may protect our bodies against negative impacts of stress in two different ways:
- Increase your body’s resistance to stress in the first place (handle stress better, reduce anxiety etc.*)
- Minimize damage to your body that happens when we experience stress (decrease inflammation, improve sleep, etc.*)
More specific potential common adaptogen benefits
Some of the more commonly touted potential benefits* of adaptogens include:
- Support quality sleep habits
- Reduce feelings of fatigue
- Support mental acuity
- Promote a healthy stress response
- Calm the nervous system
- Support proper muscle healing after intense physical exercise
The potential benefits of adaptogens, and the things they are traditionally used for, make them seem almost too good to be true. But, it’s important to always talk to your doctor or health care provider before introducing any new supplement to your routine.
While most people can safely consume adaptogenic mushrooms, there are some populations that should not, and some medications that can interact with these mushrooms.
Adaptogens for cortisol
While we certainly need more human studies in the area of adaptogens and stress response, we do know that adaptogenic foods impact the production of glucocorticoids. Glucocorticoids are produced when the body is under stress. A common glucocorticoid you’ve probably heard of is cortisol. Cortisol plays a big role in your body’s stress response. Thus, adaptogenic foods may potentially help in reducing cortisol levels for some people (again, more studies are needed on this though).
Types of adaptogens
The term “adaptogenic” refers to something’s ability to reduce the effect of stress on the body. So, adaptogenic mushrooms are just mushrooms that may have this effect. Some herbs are also considered adaptogenic.
The most commonly used mushrooms with adaptogenic properties include:
- Turkey Tail
- Lions Mane
How to use adaptogens
Adaptogenic supplements typically come in either a capsule or a powder, and can be used in a variety of ways.
- Mix into beverages: water, coffee, tea
- Add to a smoothie
- Sprinkle on top of oatmeal, yogurt, or granola
- Add to baked goods
They can tolerate heat, so there’s no need to worry about these potential stress-response properties being damaged when cooked.
And of course, make sure to follow all dosing and safety information given by your doctor and on product packaging.
Check out Rritual Superfoods on Instagram for other ideas on adding adaptogens to your daily routine.
Adaptogens for stress
Reishi is traditionally known for its ability to help the body adapt to stress.* It helps support healthy adrenal glands which are responsible for producing cortisol.
Ashwagandha root is another very popular adaptogen. It is actually an herb most commonly used for stress support, but also for potential calming effects to the body and mind.*
Rritual Superfoods Reishi Relax* mushroom adaptogen enhanced elixir contains both of these adaptogens along with prebiotic fiber and cacao for a very pleasant experience. It comes in a powder, either in a canister or individual packets that are great for on-the-go or travel.
Adaptogens for sleep
This combination of Reishi and Ashwaganda is also sometimes used to help promote better quality sleep. These specific adaptogens have the ability to balance body functions that are commonly altered or disrupted by stress, including falling asleep and staying asleep*.
I’ve actually been taking the Rritual Superfoods Reishi Relax* blend for several weeks now and have noticed an improvement in being able to stay asleep throughout the night. As a business-owner and mom of two young kids who is quite busy during the day, I have no trouble going to sleep in the first place at night so I can’t speak to that personally, but I have struggled in the past with waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep.
It’s quite relaxing to enjoy it before bed in a cup of tea!
Is there a connection between adaptogens and diabetes?
If you’ve taken a look around any other posts on this site, you probably quickly realized that I talk about diabetes… a lot. I have type 1 diabetes myself, and also give advice as a registered dietitian on how to eat when you have diabetes. So, you might be thinking, what’s the connection between adaptogenic mushrooms and diabetes?
And the short answer is… there isn’t one. At least not directly. Adaptogens aren’t going to directly make blood sugars easier to manage, and we don’t have any data to support that adaptogens improve other biomarkers (lab values) related to diabetes.
Diabetes and sleep
But, we do know that poor sleep quality can negatively impact blood sugar balance and diabetes management.
So, it’s worth considering adaptogens as a tool for potentially improving sleep quality. Think of them as a possible tool in your overall wellness toolkit if you will.
Stress and diabetes
And, the same thing goes for stress and diabetes. High levels of any form of stress can make blood sugars more difficult to manage. So, seeking out products and behaviors that may minimize the impact of stress can be helpful.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
For more information on Rritual Superfoods, make sure to visit Rritual.com. Use discount code MilkAndHoney15 for 15% off your order.
Rritual Superfoods offers a new take on traditional medicine with mushrooms and adaptogens to help you optimize your daily rituals.
All of their mushrooms and adaptogens are certified organic and grown and harvested in the US. Each product is also gluten free and contains no added sugar.
I’ve been using melatonin for years to sleep, but notice it does nothing for me when I am stressed. This product looks like I need to try it and am glad to have read this article.