Functional mushrooms are types of fungi that are heralded for health benefits beyond their nutritional compositions. The exact benefits depend on the species of mushroom used. However, functional mushrooms are often categorized into two main groups: medicinal mushrooms and adaptogenic mushrooms.
Medicinal mushroomscontain compounds that provide specific health benefits. Many of these mushrooms offer antioxidative and cytotoxic properties1, meaning they may be able to inhibit the damaging process of oxidation as well as kill harmful cells. While these mushrooms may provide medicinal benefits, it’s important to recognize that they’re considered dietary supplements. That means they’re regulated by the FDA as food, not drugs.
Adaptogenic mushroomscontain adaptogens – compounds that help bodies adapt to and fight off chemical, biological, and physical stress. Rather than relieve a cough or get rid of the inflammation that’s causing a headache, adaptogens help our bodies’ stress response systems function as they should.