3 of the Best Adaptogenic Mushrooms to Help Relieve Your Stress!
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Nicole Avena

Did you know that mushrooms are fungi?

Technically, they’re the spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus. They can grow above ground, on soil, or on its food source.

Mushrooms have been used for their medicinal benefits for centuries. They’re also a unique food that can add flavor and texture to a wide variety of meals.

Let’s look at some of the beneficial substances that are abundant in mushrooms.

Here Are Some of the Powerful Substances Found in Mushrooms

Ergothioneine and Glutathione

Mushrooms contain ergothioneine and glutathione, as well as other desirable substances thought to contribute to human health and well-being. Ergothioneine is a powerful antioxidant that doesn’t get destroyed during the cooking process and may enhance immunity. Glutathione is an extremely important antioxidant that can help protect against free radicals.


Glucans are a fibrous substance in the cell wall of mushrooms that have been shown to have immune-enhancing abilities by increasing production of immune “fighter” cells, and supporting the health of the digestive tract where most of the immune tissue in our body resides.

Glucans act as a food source for beneficial bacteria in our gut, provide antioxidant activity, and signal the presence of potentially harmful pathogens, thus triggering an essential immune response.

Beta-glucans (a unique category of large, branching, complex carbohydrates) don’t affect blood sugar, but can enhance immune activity against infections.


According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Adaptogens are plants and mushrooms that help your body respond to stress, anxiety, fatigue and overall wellbeing. You can take adaptogens by adding them to food or beverages or take them as tinctures. Adaptogens bring your body back to a steady balance by managing both physical and mental stressors.”

The first thing to know about adaptogenic mushrooms is that they aren’t hallucinogenic in nature. However, they can help increase focus and reduce the negative effects of stress.

Capsules and powders containing adaptogenic mushrooms have become increasingly popular and prevalent in the world of health and wellness. Here’s a closer look at three of the most well-know and well-studied adaptogenic mushrooms…

3 Types of Adaptogenic Mushrooms


Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris), the orange caterpillar fungus, is among the most exotic mushrooms. Cordyceps is widely revered in the East for its benefits to vitality and overall wellness. It helps fight fatigue, supports immunity, helps counter stress, and benefits blood flow and oxygen utilization.

Cordyceps is unique for having nucleosides, nutrients essential for our cells to make energy. Nucleosides are also essential building blocks for the DNA of our genes, and for RNA which has numerous vital functions including protein production. It has been found to support immunity in multiple clinical trials.

Lion’s Mane

Perhaps due to its appearance or name, lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) is one of the most well-known mushrooms. Leading all other mushrooms in brain benefits, the lion’s mane mushroom contains unique hericenones and erinacines, which can increase nerve growth factor (NGF) in the brain. NGF supports nerve cell maintenance and survival, especially in acetylcholine circuits, which are required for focus, memory, as well as for nervous system control of the other organs.

Physical activity helps increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which promotes improved brain function. According to studies, decreased levels of BDNF may increase susceptibility to stress and mood issues. Lion’s mane has shown promise in several clinical trials for improving cognition and mood.


Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) has been revered for over 2,000 years in Asia as “the mushroom of immortality.” These mushrooms help support the adrenal glands, which secrete cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone. The mushroom also may help protect against stressors such as low oxygen levels and extreme cold temperatures, and to help people adjust to high altitude environments.

In addition to beta-glucans, reishi contains triterpenes, which can boost both NGF and BDNF while also contributing to immunity and healthy inflammatory response. Reishi has potential to improve human brain health even as it sustains immunity. Studies involving mice have shown reishi’s potential to reduce stress and mood issues.

These mushrooms are proven tonic medicinals, offering a wide variety of benefits for the brain and body. You’ll find these potent, adaptogenic mushrooms in BrainMD’s…

Adaptogens 2

Smart Mushrooms

Smart Mushrooms is firmly grounded in the most recent clinical and scientific research on medicinal mushrooms. It includes six mushrooms that have been revered for hundreds to thousands of years. All six are highly nutritious, and together they offer a broad spectrum of health benefits.

Here’s a breakdown of the many powerful superfoods you’ll find in Smart Mushrooms:

  • Lion’s Mane has shown promise in several clinical trials for improving cognition and mood, and its glucans also help boost immunity.
  • Turkey Tail provides protein-bound glucan polysaccharides, intensively researched for their immune benefits.
  • Cordyceps fights fatigue, supports immunity, helps counter stress, and benefits blood flow and oxygen utilization.
  • Reishi’s immune and inflammatory response benefits help account for its 2,000-year popularity.
  • Shiitake provides the glucan called lentinan, which improves immunity, and also has lung, liver, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal benefits.
  • Agaricus has a variety of glucans with immune benefits, and supports healthy blood sugar, cholesterol, and liver functions.

Smart Mushrooms offers substantial promise for improving memory, mood, and other cognitive functions.

This functional, full-spectrum superfood blend features six USA grown organic mushrooms, scientifically formulated to promote vitality, stress resistance, immune support, energy, wellness, and high-level brain performance.

It’s the Smart choice for immune and whole-body support.

Eat More Mushrooms

Though they may be beneficial for many people, adaptogenic mushrooms may not be a safe choice for everyone. It’s a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional before eating adaptogenic mushrooms or taking them in capsule or powdered form in supplements.

If you’re looking for ways to get more mushrooms into your diet, check out these delicious mushroom recipes.

At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to improve your physical health and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of brain healthy supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.

Keith Rowe