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How medicinal mushrooms can boost your microbiome

How medicinal mushrooms can boost your microbiome

Your body is full of trillions of tiny organisms, mostly bacteria, but also some fungi and viruses. These tiny friends live all over you, but especially in your gut. In fact, trillions more of them live in your gut than you have human cells! This incredible community of microbes is called your gut microbiota, and it plays a vital role in your health.

What does your gut microbiota do?

Helps you digest food: Your gut bacteria break down complex foods that you can't digest on your own, giving you more energy and nutrients.

Trains your immune system: Your gut microbiota helps your body recognize friend from foe, fighting off bad bacteria while keeping good bacteria happy.

Makes vitamins: Some gut bacteria produce important vitamins that your body needs to function properly.

Keeps your gut healthy: A balanced gut microbiota helps maintain a strong barrier in your gut, preventing bad things from leaking into your body.

May even affect your mood and brain health: Research is ongoing, but some studies suggest a link between your gut bacteria and your mental well-being.

What disrupts your gut microbiota?

Unhealthy diet: Eating too much sugar, processed foods, and unhealthy fats can harm your gut bacteria.

Antibiotics: These medications are essential for fighting infections, but they can also wipe out some of your good gut bacteria.

Other factors: Stress, illness, and certain medications can also disrupt your gut microbiota.

How can you keep your gut microbiota healthy?

Eat a healthy diet: Plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains feed the good bacteria in your gut.

Consider probiotics: These are supplements or foods containing live bacteria that can help replenish your gut.

Prebiotics are another option: These are fibers in certain foods that act as food for your good gut bacteria.

Medicinal mushrooms and your gut

Here's where medicinal mushrooms come in! Recent research suggests that these mushrooms can act like prebiotics. Prebiotics are a type of fiber that feed the good bacteria in your gut, helping them grow stronger.

When good bacteria thrive, they can boost your immune system, aid digestion and nutrient absorption, reduce inflammation, and even help with weight management

Mushrooms and a balanced gut

Mushrooms contain complex sugars called polysaccharides. While we can't digest these sugars ourselves, our gut bacteria can. As they break down the polysaccharides, they grow and multiply, creating a more balanced gut environment.

Some of the ways medicinal mushrooms might influence gut health include:increasing beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, supporting the production of short-chain fatty acids, which are linked to various health benefits, helping to maintain a healthy gut lining.

Examples of medicinal mushrooms for gut health

Lion's Mane: Studies suggest Lion's Mane may help regulate gut bacteria in dogs and may even have benefits for immunity and weight management.

Cordyceps: Research shows Cordyceps may improve gut health in mice fed a high-fat diet, potentially reducing obesity and inflammation.

Reishi: Studies have linked Reishi mushrooms to improved gut health in mice with diabetes and obesity.

Chaga: Chaga mushrooms are being investigated for their potential to improve gut health in conditions like colitis and pancreatitis.

If you're interested in trying medicinal mushrooms for gut health, talk to your doctor first. They can help you determine if they're right for you and recommend a safe and appropriate dosage.

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