Functional mushroom safety Q&A

Functional mushrooms are an awesome addition to your diet and can provide a whole host of health benefits.  Despite all they offer, some people are still uncertain about consuming adaptogenic mushrooms.  We’re here to help ease your fears with a Q-and-A about the safety of these radical fungi.  Everything from potential side effects to overdosing to drug interactions is addressed below.  

Functional Mushrooms: What They Are 

But first, what exactly are adaptogenic mushrooms? They are a group of fungi that can help to reduce the effects of stress on your body. They provide an array of benefits from natural energy to brain support to boosted mood and increased immunity.  There are a number of adaptogenic mushrooms, including reishi, cordyceps, chaga, lion’s mane, and ashwagandha.  The mushrooms we use in our functional granola are chaga, cordyceps, and lion’s mane.  

What are the side effects of functional mushrooms? 

As a whole, there are very few potential risks associated with functional mushrooms. In fact, most people experience no  side effects when consuming functional mushrooms at all.  

If you are not used to taking adaptogenic mushrooms and consume very large amounts, you could experience upset stomach or diarrhea.  Luckily, there is an easy solution to avoid these side effects.  If you have not taken adaptogenic mushrooms, like lion’s mane or chaga, before then you should start off at a relatively low dose.  Work your way up to consuming more and more, and you should not have issues with adverse side effects. 

Can adaptogenic mushrooms get you high? 

No they can’t!  Mushrooms that can cause a high contain a naturally occurring psychedelic called psilocybin.Adaptogenic mushrooms, like the ones we use in our superfood granola, are not psychoactive.  They do not contain any psychoactive compounds, so there is no risk of you getting high from consuming the fungus.  

Are functional mushrooms safe while pregnant/breastfeeding?

This is an area where there is still much research to be done.  Currently, there is no scientific research on the safety of mushrooms like  lion’s mane during pregnancy. Functional mushrooms are considered safe for most people, and there is no conclusive evidence that they cause any harm during pregnancy.  However, due to the lack of research, pregnant women may want to avoid them. 

For those who do choose to consume adaptogenic mushrooms during pregnancy, it is recommended that you consult with your doctor first.  Since there is not a lot of research available, it is impossible to know how much of these fungi are safe to consume during pregnancy. 

Can you overdose or consume “too much” of an adaptogenic mushroom? 

In short, no.  There is little to no risk of overdosing on adaptogenic mushrooms, even when consuming extremely large doses.  Too large of a dose may lead to mild side effects like upset stomach or diarrhea, but the risk of an actual overdose is incredibly low. In fact, from the research that has been done, it is safe to consume not just one  adaptogen, but multiple different adaptogens at the same time. 

Are there any drug interactions with adaptogenic mushrooms? 

There is evidence to suggest that certain adaptogens can interact with certain classes of prescription medications.  For instance,lion’s mane mushrooms seem to have antiplatelet effects.  This can cause an unpleasant, or even potentially unsafe, interaction for those who are taking blood thinners.  

A recent animal study also suggests that lion’s mane mushrooms have antihyperglycemic effects, meaning they can help to lower blood sugar levels.  For many people, this could be a welcome health benefit.  But, if you are taking antidiabetic medications, it may cause an interaction.  You should watch your blood sugar levels closely to make sure they don’t dip below normal levels.  

Overall, if you are on any medications, it’s advisable to consult with your doctor before adding adaptogenic mushrooms to your routine.  

Adaptogenic mushrooms have been consumed for many centuries in many different forms, and as a whole, seem to be very safe for humans to consume.  There are minimal known risks or side effects of consuming adaptogens, while the benefits can be quite extraordinary. Our functional granola can be a great way to introduce adaptogens into your diet. Forij granola is low sugar, low carb, dairy-free, vegan granola with essential brain nutrients and 100% plant-based, nutrient-rich ingredients.  

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