Article at a Glance:
- Adaptogens have been used for centuries and are becoming popular for their potential to improve stress response.
- Common sources of adaptogens are functional mushrooms, among other herbs and plants.
- Adaptogens may support the body’s overall stress response through their perceived role in immune health, energy production, and hormonal balance.
We all experience stressors, some of which can feel worse and more prolonged than others. Stress can make us feel mentally foggy, anxious, and tired, especially when we’re experiencing it over and over again.
Habits like eating a nutrient-rich diet, exercising, and not smoking or drinking alcohol excessively can help with stress management. Additionally, adaptogens can help by supporting the body’s ability to adapt and survive in times of stress. But what are adaptogens, and how exactly can they help?
If you're curious about adaptogens and consider making them part of your health routine, this article is for you.
What is Adaptogens?
As you can deduce from their name, adaptogens help your body adapt to external stressors so that they have fewer lasting effects on your overall wellness. They are found in plants, particularly mushrooms, and can be purchased as tinctures, beverages, and supplements.
Adaptogens have been used for hundreds of years in traditional Ayurvedic healing but have only recently become a more mainstream part of health conversations in the western world.
Types of Adaptogens
Adaptogens are found in plants, especially functional mushrooms, that have long existed in nature. There are many different types, but a few of the most common ones include the following:
- Holy Basil
- Bacopa Monnieri
- Rhodiola Rosea
- Lion’s Mane
How Do Adaptogens Work?
Adaptogens work by helping your body better adapt to the stressors it faces as part of everyday living. When we’re exposed to stress, this triggers a domino effect of responses within the body.
Adaptogens are meant to help improve these responses and reduce any lasting damage they may have on overall wellness. When we’re better equipped internally to handle stresses, we’re more likely to experience better sleep, energy, and focus.
What Are The Benefits of Adaptogens?
While more clinical research on adaptogens and their specific effects is needed, below are some of the biggest benefits they may offer.
May Support Immune Health
We're exposed to potentially harmful microorganisms regularly, and whether we experience noticeable effects depends on the health of our immune system. Healthy habits are important for immune health, and adding adaptogens may be beneficial.
One 2020 review examined the benefits of adaptogens on immune health regarding the participants' response to environmental viruses. The authors concluded that adaptogens could help influence innate and adaptive immunity, support a normal inflammatory response to microorganisms, offer some cellular protection from oxidative damage, and provide improved quality of life during recovery.
May Support a Healthy Stress Response
One of the first applications of adaptogens in the western world was with athletes to help support the body's ability to respond to increased stress and ultimately improve endurance and performance. From there, adaptogens have been studied for their potential to support a healthy stress response in general.
Some research suggests that adaptogens can help improve stress response related to brain health and aging, as well as loss of energy and physical and mental burnout. Improving one’s ability to handle stress may lead to improved quality of life and feeling more energized.
May Help Support Healthy Hormonal Balance
One of the ways the body responds to stress is by releasing stress hormones like cortisol. While this is normal, chronically high stress hormone levels can negatively affect health.
Some research suggests that adaptogens can help support a healthy hormonal balance. Animal studies have found that certain adaptogens may play a role in releasing stress hormones. In other words, their presence in the body may help support the natural balance of hormones that may otherwise promote damage if left unmanaged.
Add Adaptogen to Your Life Today
While more clinical research on adaptogens is needed, existing evidence on their ability to support the body’s natural stress response may be enough for you to make them a part of your health routine.
One easy way to do so is with our functional Lion's Mane, Cordyceps, and Reishi Mushroom Gummies. Our gummies are vegan, gelatin-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, and naturally flavored with real fruit.
- Panossian A, Brendler T. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2020;13(9):236. Published 2020 Sep 8. doi:10.3390/ph13090236
- Todorova V, Ivanov K, Delattre C, Nalbantova V, Karcheva-Bahchevanska D, Ivanova S. Nutrients. 2021;13(8):2861. Published 2021 Aug 20. doi:10.3390/nu13082861
- Panossian A, Seo EJ, Efferth T. Phytomedicine. 2018;50:257-284. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2018.09.204
- Anghelescu IG, Edwards D, Seifritz E, Kasper S. Int J Psychiatry Clin Pract. 2018;22(4):242-252. doi:10.1080/13651501.2017.1417442
- Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012;34(3):255-262. doi:10.4103/0253-7176.106022
- Rajput R, Sharma P, Mishra J, et al. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2020;22(11):1121-1133. doi:10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.2020036713
- Panossian A. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2017;1401(1):49-64. doi:10.1111/nyas.13399