Adaptogen Boosted Superfood Research

This is where Ancient Wisdom meets Modern Nutritional Science.

The adaptogenic mushrooms and botanicals we've chosen for our boosted superfoods have many documented medicinal values. Adapto Foods™ was founded to bridge the gap from adaptogen in a white paper to adaptogens on the breakfast table, and we are dedicated to sharing the best data we can find regarding the study of adaptogens. In addition to the detailed research below, two popular summaries are posted by Healthline and Cleveland Clinic.

Adaptogen Benefits

"Modern studies have shown that adaptogens can non‐specifically enhance the resistance of [the] human body under a wide range of external stress conditions with a multi‐targeted and multi‐channel network‐like manner, especially by affect[ing] the immune‐neuro‐endocrine system and the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis."

  • "With continuous research for more than half a century, the concept of adaptogens has been continuously modified and perfected. In 1998, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [3] defined an adaptogen as a new kind of metabolic regulator that has been proved to help in environmental adaptation and to prevent external harms. Adaptogen has been generally used as a functional term" (p. 2) Liao LY, He YF, Li L, Meng H, Dong YM, Yi F, Xiao PG. A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide. Chin Med. 2018 Nov 16;13:57. doi: 10.1186/s13020-018-0214-9. PMID: 30479654; PMCID: PMC6240259.

  • "There are three main qualities an herb must have to be considered an adaptogen:

    1. It must be nontoxic at normal doses.
    2. It should support the entire body’s ability to cope with stress.
    3. It should help the body return to a state of homeostasis regardless of how the body has changed in response to stress—i.e. it should temper that which is hyper-functioning and support that which is hypo-functioning."
    Kuphal, G. (2014). Adaptogens. Retrieved 10 12, 2021, from U.S. Veterans Administration: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTHLIBRARY/docs/Adaptogens.pdf
  • A recent (2021), 73 page review article published by Wiley argues that adaptogens do exist and reduce stress, along with offering other benefits. However, it maintains that Western pharmacology is unable to accurately assess the efficacy of adaptogens, which are better understood by "network pharmacology" and "systems biology." The article concludes thus:

    The key to understanding adaptogens is their role in establishing and maintaining adaptive homeostasis by building the body's natural resistance to stressors, which may be physical, chemical, biological, and psychological in nature. Adaptogens function like stress vaccines to activate the body's defence system and metabolic rate, re-versing the negative physical effects of stress and restoring the body's balance and health.

    • If the immune system is not functioning properly by overreacting or underreacting to challenges, adaptogens help restore the proper immune response.
    • If the immune system is overly active, triggering allergies and asthma, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, adaptogens lower the immune system's response and returns it to a normal level.
    • If the immune system is underactive, leading to frequent colds, bronchitis, sinus or ear infections, and even pneumonia or causing anemia or digestive problems such as ulcers or chronic diarrhea, adaptogens can help strengthen the immune response, thereby ending the cycle of illness.
    • If the brain chemistry is unbalanced, adaptogens can restore the balance, having profound effects on cognitive function, memory, and mood.
    The power of adaptogens goes far beyond the immune system.
    • Adaptogens can correct imbalances in cellular division cycles that cause cells to divide in an uncontrolled manner, eventually causing cancer.
    • Adaptogens have a potential to prevent or postpone chronic diseases associated with aging, recognizing their uncanny ability to fix what's wrong, boost what's right, keep the body in balance, and prevent the body's functions from deteriorating.
    • Adaptogenic effects like those seen in Ginseng, Rhodiola, Eleutherpcoccus, Withania, and Schisandra have been scientifically validated as being effective against chronic inflammation, atherosclerosis, neurodegenerative cognitive impairment (e.g., Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia), metabolic disorders, diabetes, cancer and a host of other aging‐related diseases.
    Overall, in this review for the first time we compare and analyze common basic principles, concepts, and uses of adaptogenic plants using a cross‐cultural, comparative approach. We demonstrate that the concept of adaptogens provides a scientific rationale for adaptogenic plants traditionally used in stress‐induced and aging‐related diseases. In conclusion, the basic principles of TMS are in line with those of the adaptogenic concept, which uses systems biology and network pharmacology models to understand the fundamentals of TMS. Panossian AG, Efferth T, Shikov AN, Pozharitskaya ON, Kuchta K, Mukherjee PK, Banerjee S, Heinrich M, Wu W, Guo DA, Wagner H. "Evolution of the adaptogenic concept from traditional use to medical systems: Pharmacology of stress- and aging-related diseases." Med Res Rev. 2021 Jan;41(1):630-703. doi: 10.1002/med.21743. Epub 2020 Oct 25. PMID: 33103257; PMCID: PMC7756641.
  • A reasearch paper that explains the history, theory, studies, and mechanisms behind adaptogens. Like several papers it summarizes the stress-reduction property of adaptogens. According to the summary, in typical situations without adaptogens, there is an alarm phase (something stressful happens), a phase of resistance (a release of adrenaline and energy to address the alarm), and a phase of exhaustion. With adaptogens, the individual is less sensitive to the alarm, exerts less but presumably sufficient resistance, and is less exhausted.
    Refer to the graph on page 2 of the PDF for clarification.
    Much of the paper focuses on molecular activity that helps account for adaptogenic effects. Panossian A, Wikman G. Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress-Protective Activity. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2010 Jan 19;3(1):188-224. doi: 10.3390/ph3010188. PMID: 27713248; PMCID: PMC3991026.

  • In addition to the defining statements provided below, the article focuses on the history of adaptogens, offering one explanation as to why reliable research is difficult to obtain:"It is not easy to find true scientific information about adaptogens on the Internet, since original scientific data and articles are significantly diluted by the plethora of pseudo-scientific compilations,18-28 deliberately used by opponents of adaptogens in order to criticize and discredit the entire adaptogenic concept and the large body of research that has been conducted during the last 50 years." The article continues: "In the early 1960s, the study of adaptogens developed into a field of biomedicinal research in its own right in the former USSR. The extent of the research carried out was enormous, with over 1,000 studies published in the USSR until 1982. Most of these studies concerned extracts or isolates prepared from eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus, Araliaceae; formerly referred to as “Siberian ginseng” in the United States) root, schisandra berry, Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng, Araliaceae) root, and golden root (Rhodiola rosea, Crassulaceae) root.6,7,12-14 29,30."

    Definitions provided by the article:

    • "The term adaptogen was introduced into scientific literature by Russian toxicologist Nikolay Lazarev in 1957 to refer to substances that increase the “state of non-specific resistance” in stress.
    • "As a pharmacotherapeutic group, adaptogens were recently defined as herbal preparations that increased attention and endurance in fatigue, and reduced stress-induced impairments and disorders related to the neuro-endocrine and immune systems.5,10 This definition was based on evidence obtained from clinical trials, which authors evaluated in accordance with the European Medicines Agency Assessment Scale and the Jadad scale—a recognized, evidence-based, validated grading rationale for clinical trials. Today, the term adaptogen is widely used by many herbalists although it has yet to gain prominence in mainstream pharmacology."
    • "In this context, the pharmacological profile of various adaptogenic plants might be different from plant to plant, but what is common for true adaptogens is their ability to increase the state of non-specific resistance and to be safe in long-term use in the appropriate dose level.4,5,9-16"
    Panossian A,Wagner H. Adaptogens: A Review of their History, Biological Activity, and Clinical Benefits. HerbalGram. Summer 2011, Issue 90, pp. 52-63, https://www.herbalgram.org/resources/herbalgram/issues/90/table-of-contents/feat_adaptogens/.
Photo of ENERGY OATS - Adaptogen Boosted Maple Oatmeal 5PK

ENERGY OATS - Adaptogen Boosted Maple Oatmeal 5PK

Ingredients

Cordyceps sinensis (Cordyceps sinensis)

Cordyceps sinensis can help one's oxygen intake, which can increase one's brain and body function. Because of its immunity potential, it is considered by some as adaptogenic.

  • According to Martin Powell, a recognized authority on medicinal mushrooms, Cordyceps apparently increases one's oxygen intake, which can increase one's brain function as well as help in exercise (more so running than biking). Following are some of the references:

    "Experimental evidence based on polysaccharide extracts indicates that O. sinensis is also able to improve brain function and antioxidative enzyme activity (superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and catalase), which, together with its beneficial effect on cardiovascular function, makes it an excellent supplement for the elderly" (loc 1365).

    "A 1996 study on long distance runners reported a significant improvement in 71% of participants and O. sinensis and C. militaris as well as the cordyceps anamorphs Cs-4 and Cs-HK1, have been shown to increase endurance in animal models. Studies on sedentary humans also show a significant increase in energy output and oxygen capacity16-20. However, three studies failed to demonstrate any effect on performance in competitive cyclists or other professional athletes and it has been suggested that this may be because such athletes are already operating at or close to their maximum aerobic capacity" (loc 1365).

    He lists other benefits less related to the focus of Adapto products (loc. 1413).

    Powel, M. (2014). Medicinal Mushrooms: A Clinical Guide (2nd Kindle ed.). Mycology Press.
  • "It is sometimes considered an adaptogen due to its immune boosting properties." Kuphal, G. (2014). Adaptogens. Retrieved 10 12, 2021, from U.S. Veterans Administration: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTHLIBRARY/docs/Adaptogens.pdf

  • According to "Effect of Cs-4...":
    "After receiving Cs-4 for 12 weeks, the metabolic threshold (above which lactate accumulates) increased by 10.5% from 0.83 ± 0.06 to 0.93 ± 0.08 L/min (p < 0.02) and the ventilatory threshold (above which unbuffered H+ stimulates ventilation) increased by 8.5% from 1.25 ± 0.11 to 1.36 ± 0.15 L/min. Significant changes in metabolic or ventilatory threshold were not seen for the subjects in the placebo group after 12 weeks, and there were no changes in V̇o2 max in either group."

    Conclusion
    "This pilot study suggests that supplementation with Cs-4 (Cordyceps sinensis) improves exercise performance and might contribute to wellness in healthy older subjects."

    Study Design
    "double-blind, placebo-controlled, prospective trial"

    Chen S, Li Z, Krochmal R, Abrazado M, Kim W, Cooper CB. Effect of Cs-4 (Cordyceps sinensis) on exercise performance in healthy older subjects: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 May;16(5):585-90. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0226. PMID: 20804368; PMCID: PMC3110835.
Maca (Lepidium meyenii)

Maca is thought by some to have energy, fertility, and anti-inflammatory benefits.

  • "In Peru, maca has been used for centuries as a food supplement to improve health and for its medicinal properties to enhance energy and fertility." LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; 2012-. Maca. [Updated 2019 Apr 10]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK548552/

  • In an animal study, Maca helped reduce a particular inflammatory pain: "Following oral administration in the rat, compound 4 not only displayed acceptable pharmacokinetic characteristics but effectively reduced lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammatory pain. Inhibition of sEH by macamides provides a plausible biological mechanism of action to account for several beneficial effects previously observed with L. meyenii treatments." Singh N, Barnych B, Morisseau C, Wagner KM, Wan D, Takeshita A, Pham H, Xu T, Dandekar A, Liu JY, Hammock BD (December 2020). "N‑Benzyl-linoleamide, a Constituent of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), Is an Orally Bioavailable Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase Inhibitor That Alleviates Inflammatory Pain". Journal of Natural Products. 83 (12): 3689–3697. doi:10.1021/acs.jnatprod.0c00938. PMC 7888481. PMID 33320645.

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FOCUS OATS - Adaptogen Boosted Coconut Oatmeal 5PK

Ingredients

Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus)

Lion's Mane has been shown helpful in stimulating nerve growth, cognitive function, and in the treatments of many diseases.

  • According to Martin Power, a recognized authority on medical mushrooms, Lion's Mane is known for "its ability to stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF)" (loc. 1958). In addition, it may help in the treatments of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, MRSA, anxiety—"Main Therapeutic Application - Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, MS, nerve damage, menopausal syndrome" (loc. 2015). Powel, M. (2014). Medicinal Mushrooms: A Clinical Guide (2nd Kindle ed.). Mycology Press.

  • According to "Improving effects of...":
    "At weeks 8, 12 and 16 of the trial, the Yamabushitake group showed significantly increased scores on the cognitive function scale compared with the placebo group. The Yamabushitake group's scores increased with the duration of intake, but at week 4 after the termination of the 16 weeks intake, the scores decreased significantly. Laboratory tests showed no adverse effect of Yamabushitake. The results obtained in this study suggest that Yamabushitake is effective in improving mild cognitive impairment."

    Study Design
    "double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trial"

    Mori K, Inatomi S, Ouchi K, Azumi Y, Tuchida T. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2009 Mar;23(3):367-72. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2634. PMID: 18844328.
  • According to "Reduction of depression...":
    "Herein, we investigated the clinical effects of H. erinaceus on menopause, depression, sleep quality and indefinite complaints, using the Kupperman Menopausal Index (KMI), the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and the Indefinite Complaints Index (ICI). Thirty females were randomly assigned to either the H. erinaceus (HE) group or the placebo group and took HE cookies or placebo cookies for 4 weeks. Each of the CES-D and the ICI score after the HE intake was significantly lower than that before. In two terms of the ICI, 'insentive' and 'palpitatio', each of the mean score of the HE group was significantly lower than the placebo group. 'Concentration', 'irritating' and 'anxious' tended to be lower than the placebo group. Our results show that HE intake has the possibility to reduce depression and anxiety and these results suggest a different mechanism from NGF-enhancing action of H. erinaceus."

    Study Design
    "Thirty females were randomly assigned to either the H. erinaceus (HE) group or the placebo group and took HE cookies or placebo cookies for 4 weeks"

    Nagano M, Shimizu K, Kondo R, Hayashi C, Sato D, Kitagawa K, Ohnuki K. Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake. Biomed Res. 2010 Aug;31(4):231-7. doi: 10.2220/biomedres.31.231. PMID: 20834180.
Gingko (Ginkgo biloba)

Some moderate evidence suggests ginko may aid mental processes.

  • A review of 2019 review of randomized controlled studies of the effects of Ginkgo biloba concluded that, though the effects of ginkgo on the memory are controversial, ginkgo "may be able to improve the cognitive function in patients who suffered from mild dementia during long-term administration (more than 24 weeks) and appropriate dosage (240 mg per day)." Liu H, Ye M, Guo H. "An Updated Review of Randomized Clinical Trials Testing the Improvement of Cognitive Function of Ginkgo biloba Extract in Healthy People and Alzheimer's Patients." Front Pharmacol. 2020 Feb 21;10:1688. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.01688. PMID: 32153388; PMCID: PMC7047126.

  • One systematic review suggests that Gingko extract (GbE) helped more than a placebo in the activities of daily living for those suffering from dementia or cognitive impairment

    According to "Effects of Ginkgo...":
    "Twelve SRs with meta-analyses met the eligibility criteria. The quality of the evidence reported in these SRs varies ranging from low to moderate level. Overall, the available evidence suggests that GbE has potentially beneficial effects over placebo on cognitive performance, activities of daily living, and clinical global impression in the treatment of dementia at doses greater than 200mg/day (usually 240mg/day) administrated for 22 weeks or longer, and that GbE appears to be safe for human consumption. No sufficient evidence supports the favorable effects of GbE administrated for less than 22 weeks. The available evidence consistently indicates that a dose less than 200mg/day of GbE may not be adequate to yield clinical relevant effects in the treatment of dementia."

    Study Design
    "PubMed/MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane, and Google Scholar were searched in June 2016. Systematic reviews (SRs) of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating the effects of GbE on different outcomes in people with dementia or cognitive impairment were included. Methodological quality of the included SRs was assessed using the AMSTAR tool. The quality of evidence of the primary studies was assessed using GRADE."

    Yuan, Qiuju; Wang, Chong-wen; Shi, Jun; Lin, Zhi-xiu (January 2017). "Effects of Ginkgo biloba on dementia: An overview of systematic reviews". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 195: 1–9. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2016.12.005. PMID 27940086.
  • One randomized, placebo-controlled study suggests that children and adoloescents who received 20-30 mg/day of methylphenidate, plus 80-120 mg/day of Gingko biloba, did better on average than those who received a placebo instead Ginko.

    According to "Ginkgo biloba in the treatment...":
    "Compared with placebo, more reduction was observed with G. biloba regarding ADHD-RS-IV parent rating inattention score (-7.74 ± 1.94 vs. -5.34 ± 1.85, P < 0.001) and total score (-13.1 ± 3.36 vs. -10.2 ± 3.01, P = 0.001) as well as teacher rating inattention score (-7.29 ± 1.90 vs. -5.96 ± 1.52, P = 0.004). Response rate was higher with G. biloba compared with placebo based on parent rating (93.5% vs. 58.6%, P = 0.002)."

    Shakibaei F, Radmanesh M, Salari E, Mahaki B. Ginkgo biloba in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents. A randomized, placebo-controlled, trial. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2015 May;21(2):61-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2015.04.001. Epub 2015 Apr 18. PMID: 25925875.
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HAPPY OATS - Adaptogen Boosted Cranberry Oatmeal 5PK

Ingredients

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)

Reishi provides anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant benefits, works as a probiotic, and helps boost immunity.

  • According to Martin Powel, a recognized authority on medicinal mushrooms, reishi has been observed inhibiting histamine release, and acts as both an antiinflammatory and an antioxidant (loc. 1631).

    It also has been observed in support of recovery from cancer (esp. breast and prostate), allergies, liver disease, hypertension, insomnia/anxiety (loc. 1640 and following). "Together with Cordyceps sinensis, G. lucidum has the most extensive range of indications and combines well with it in treatment of lung and liver conditions, as well as to provide all-round adaptogenic support" (loc. 1699—note that reishi and Cordyceps are combined in Harmony Oats).

    Powel, M. (2014). Medicinal Mushrooms: A Clinical Guide (2nd Kindle ed.). Mycology Press.
  • Evidence suggests it aids gut microbiota. "The recent advancement in research has shown the link between gut microbiota and treatment of various ailments. The constituents of the G. lucidum make it one of the important prebiotics used to increase the bacterial flora. In particular it is rich in polysaccharides, terpenoids, and total phenols. The prebiotic action of G. lucidum should be due to the presence of several polysaccharides; a recent study has isolated the high and intermediate polysaccharides and shown to be responsible for its prebiotic action." Jayachandran, M., Xiao, J., & Xu, B. (2017). A Critical Review on Health Promoting Benefits of Edible Mushrooms through Gut Microbiota. International journal of molecular sciences, 18(9), 1934. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18091934

  • "Reishi mushroom has been used for immune boosting effects, for treatment of upper respiratory viral infections, and for reducing stress. Anecdotal evidence suggests it may be beneficial for the treatment of post-herpetic neuralgia in those who don’t respond to conventional treatment." Kuphal, G. (2014). Adaptogens. Retrieved 10 12, 2021, from U.S. Veterans Administration: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTHLIBRARY/docs/Adaptogens.pdf

St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Clinical evidence supports the claim that St. John's Wort is useful in treating depression. Caution: read the following on safety: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/st-johns-wort#what-do-we-know-about-safety

  • According to "Efficacy and acceptability...":
    St. John's Wort has been noted as being more effective than placebos and safer than antidepressants. "A total of 66 studies with 15,161 patients met the inclusion criteria. In network meta-analysis, tricyclic and tetracyclic antidepressants (TCAs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (SNRI; venlafaxine), a low-dose serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI; trazodone) and hypericum extracts were found to be significantly superior to placebo, with estimated odds ratios between 1.69 and 2.03. There were no statistically significant differences between these drug classes. Reversible inhibitors of monoaminoxidase A (rMAO-As) and hypericum extracts were associated with significantly fewer dropouts because of adverse effects compared with TCAs, SSRIs, the SNRI, a noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (NRI), and noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressant agents (NaSSAs)."

    Study Design
    Literature Review: "We conducted literature searches in MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), and PsycINFO up to December 2013. Randomized trials in depressed adults treated by primary care physicians were included in the review. We performed both conventional pairwise meta-analysis and network meta-analysis combining direct and indirect evidence. Main outcome measures were response and study discontinuation due to adverse effects."

    Linde K, Kriston L, Rücker G, Jamila S, Schumann I, Meissner K, Sigterman K, Schneider A (February 2015). "Efficacy and acceptability of pharmacological treatments for depressive disorders in primary care: systematic review and network meta-analysis". Annals of Family Medicine. 13 (1): 69–79. doi:10.1370/afm.1687. PMC 4291268. PMID 25583895.
  • A 2008 Cochrane review of 29 clinical trials suggests that St. John's Wort is useful in treating depression. Linde K, Berner MM, Kriston L (2008). Linde K (ed.). "St John's wort for major depression". Cochrane Database Syst Rev (4): CD000448. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD000448.pub3. PMC 7032678. PMID 18843608.

  • According to "A systematic review...":
    "The herb SJW was associated with more treatment responders than placebo (relative risk [RR] 1.53; 95 % confidence interval [CI] 1.19, 1.97; I(2) 79 %; 18 RCTs; N = 2922, moderate QoE; standardized mean differences [SMD] 0.49; CI 0.23, 0.74; 16 RCTs; I(2) 89 %, N = 2888, moderate QoE). Compared to antidepressants, SJW participants were less likely to experience adverse events (OR 0.67; CI 0.56, 0.81; 11 RCTs; moderate QoE) with no difference in treatment effectiveness (RR 1.01; CI 0.90, 1.14; 17 RCTs, I(2) 52 %, moderate QoE; SMD -0.03; CI -0.21, 0.15; 14 RCTs; I(2) 74 %; N = 2248, moderate QoE) in mild and moderate depression."

    Study Design
    Literature Review: "We searched PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, CENTRAL, Embase, AMED, MANTIS, Web of Science, and ICTRP and existing reviews to November 2014. Two independent reviewers screened the citations, abstracted the data, and assessed the risk of bias. We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) examining the effect of at least a 4-week administration of SJW on depression outcomes against placebo or active comparator in adults with MDD. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool and USPSTF criteria. Quality of evidence (QoE) was assessed using the GRADE approach."

    Apaydin EA, Maher AR, Shanman R, Booth MS, Miles JN, Sorbero ME, Hempel S (2016). "A systematic review of St. John's wort for major depressive disorder". Syst Rev. 5 (1): 148. doi:10.1186/s13643-016-0325-2. PMC 5010734. PMID 27589952.
  • A review of St. John's Wort in treating depression concluded: "For patients with mild-to-moderate depression, St John's wort has comparable efficacy and safety when compared to SSRIs. Follow-up studies carried out over a longer duration should be planned to ascertain its benefits." Ng, Qin Xiang; Venkatanarayanan, Nandini; Ho, Collin Yih Xian (March 2017). "Clinical use of Hypericum perforatum (St John's wort) in depression: A meta-analysis". Journal of Affective Disorders. 210: 211–221. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2016.12.048. PMID 28064110.

  • "St. John’s wort has been used to treat a variety of conditions. Several brands are standardized for content of hypericin and hyperforin, which are among the most researched active components of St. John’s wort. St. John’s wort has been found to be superior to placebo and equivalent to standard antidepressants for the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Studies of St. John’s wort for the treatment of major depression have had conflicting results. St. John’s wort is generally well tolerated, although it may potentially reduce the effectiveness of several pharmaceutical drugs." Silvana Lawvere, PH.D., Martin C. Mahoney, M.D., PH.D. "St. John’s Wort." American Family Physician December 1, 2005 Volume 72, Number 11. PDF pp.2249-2254. https://www.aafp.org/dam/brand/aafp/pubs/afp/issues/2005/1201/p2249.pdf (retrieved 5/29/22).

Photo of HARMONY OATS - Adaptogen Boosted Classic Oatmeal 5PK

HARMONY OATS - Adaptogen Boosted Classic Oatmeal 5PK

Ingredients

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)

Reishi provides anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant benefits, works as a probiotic, and helps boost immunity.

  • According to Martin Powel, a recognized authority on medicinal mushrooms, reishi has been observed inhibiting histamine release, and acts as both an antiinflammatory and an antioxidant (loc. 1631).

    It also has been observed in support of recovery from cancer (esp. breast and prostate), allergies, liver disease, hypertension, insomnia/anxiety (loc. 1640 and following). "Together with Cordyceps sinensis, G. lucidum has the most extensive range of indications and combines well with it in treatment of lung and liver conditions, as well as to provide all-round adaptogenic support" (loc. 1699—note that reishi and Cordyceps are combined in Harmony Oats).

    Powel, M. (2014). Medicinal Mushrooms: A Clinical Guide (2nd Kindle ed.). Mycology Press.
  • Evidence suggests it aids gut microbiota. "The recent advancement in research has shown the link between gut microbiota and treatment of various ailments. The constituents of the G. lucidum make it one of the important prebiotics used to increase the bacterial flora. In particular it is rich in polysaccharides, terpenoids, and total phenols. The prebiotic action of G. lucidum should be due to the presence of several polysaccharides; a recent study has isolated the high and intermediate polysaccharides and shown to be responsible for its prebiotic action." Jayachandran, M., Xiao, J., & Xu, B. (2017). A Critical Review on Health Promoting Benefits of Edible Mushrooms through Gut Microbiota. International journal of molecular sciences, 18(9), 1934. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18091934

  • "Reishi mushroom has been used for immune boosting effects, for treatment of upper respiratory viral infections, and for reducing stress. Anecdotal evidence suggests it may be beneficial for the treatment of post-herpetic neuralgia in those who don’t respond to conventional treatment." Kuphal, G. (2014). Adaptogens. Retrieved 10 12, 2021, from U.S. Veterans Administration: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTHLIBRARY/docs/Adaptogens.pdf

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)

Chaga has potential anti-tumor and anti-oxidant benefits, and assists in working against viral infections and psoriasis.

  • According to Martin Powel, a recognized authority on medicinal mushrooms, chaga has benefits for those recovering from cancer, viral infections, psoriasis (loc. 2111). Powel, M. (2014). Medicinal Mushrooms: A Clinical Guide (2nd Kindle ed.). Mycology Press.

  • Some evidence suggests it may have anti-oxidant potential for the liver. Jayachandran, M., Xiao, J., & Xu, B. (2017). A Critical Review on Health Promoting Benefits of Edible Mushrooms through Gut Microbiota. International journal of molecular sciences, 18(9), 1934. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18091934

  • According to "Bioactive compounds..." a review article, "Among various pharmacological properties of crude extracts of chaga, its anti-tumor effects have attracted the most attention." In addition chaga's "prevention of chronic inflammation may be regarded as an anti-cancer therapeutic opportunity." "[The] These antioxidant abilities of chaga mushroom provides the chemical basis in preventing oxidative stress and damage." "Chaga and its extracts showed an outstanding anti-hyperglycemic effect in both in vivo type-1 and type-2 diabetic models." "Beyond the health effects mentioned above, other bioactivity studies have been carried out as summarized in Table 1. The chaga extract exhibited a broad-spectrum of antiviral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activities in various in vitro trials." "However, despite decades of efforts, the full scale of known bioactive components of chaga and corresponding mechanisms of its health effects upon oral ingestion or other administration approaches is still uncertain." "Similarly [to reishi and Grifola frondosa], chaga is one of the most important and popular medicinal mushrooms which has been extensively used in the East European countries for centuries. As already mentioned, the diversity of its bioactive compounds and effects thereof have been gradually unveiled in the past decades, even though related clinical data are relatively scarce." Han Peng, Fereidoon Shahidi. "Bioactive compounds and bioactive properties of chaga (Inonotus obliquus) mushroom: a review." Journal of Food Bioactives, ISSN 2637-8752 print, 2637-8779 online. December 24, 2020. http://www.isnff-jfb.com/index.php/JFB/article/view/161/290.

Cordyceps sinensis (Cordyceps sinensis)

Cordyceps sinensis can help one's oxygen intake, which can increase one's brain and body function. Because of its immunity potential, it is considered by some as adaptogenic.

  • According to Martin Powell, a recognized authority on medicinal mushrooms, Cordyceps apparently increases one's oxygen intake, which can increase one's brain function as well as help in exercise (more so running than biking). Following are some of the references:

    "Experimental evidence based on polysaccharide extracts indicates that O. sinensis is also able to improve brain function and antioxidative enzyme activity (superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and catalase), which, together with its beneficial effect on cardiovascular function, makes it an excellent supplement for the elderly" (loc 1365).

    "A 1996 study on long distance runners reported a significant improvement in 71% of participants and O. sinensis and C. militaris as well as the cordyceps anamorphs Cs-4 and Cs-HK1, have been shown to increase endurance in animal models. Studies on sedentary humans also show a significant increase in energy output and oxygen capacity16-20. However, three studies failed to demonstrate any effect on performance in competitive cyclists or other professional athletes and it has been suggested that this may be because such athletes are already operating at or close to their maximum aerobic capacity" (loc 1365).

    He lists other benefits less related to the focus of Adapto products (loc. 1413).

    Powel, M. (2014). Medicinal Mushrooms: A Clinical Guide (2nd Kindle ed.). Mycology Press.
  • "It is sometimes considered an adaptogen due to its immune boosting properties." Kuphal, G. (2014). Adaptogens. Retrieved 10 12, 2021, from U.S. Veterans Administration: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTHLIBRARY/docs/Adaptogens.pdf

  • According to "Effect of Cs-4...":
    "After receiving Cs-4 for 12 weeks, the metabolic threshold (above which lactate accumulates) increased by 10.5% from 0.83 ± 0.06 to 0.93 ± 0.08 L/min (p < 0.02) and the ventilatory threshold (above which unbuffered H+ stimulates ventilation) increased by 8.5% from 1.25 ± 0.11 to 1.36 ± 0.15 L/min. Significant changes in metabolic or ventilatory threshold were not seen for the subjects in the placebo group after 12 weeks, and there were no changes in V̇o2 max in either group."

    Conclusion
    "This pilot study suggests that supplementation with Cs-4 (Cordyceps sinensis) improves exercise performance and might contribute to wellness in healthy older subjects."

    Study Design
    "double-blind, placebo-controlled, prospective trial"

    Chen S, Li Z, Krochmal R, Abrazado M, Kim W, Cooper CB. Effect of Cs-4 (Cordyceps sinensis) on exercise performance in healthy older subjects: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 May;16(5):585-90. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0226. PMID: 20804368; PMCID: PMC3110835.
Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus)

Lion's Mane has been shown helpful in stimulating nerve growth, cognitive function, and in the treatments of many diseases.

  • According to Martin Power, a recognized authority on medical mushrooms, Lion's Mane is known for "its ability to stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF)" (loc. 1958). In addition, it may help in the treatments of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, MRSA, anxiety—"Main Therapeutic Application - Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, MS, nerve damage, menopausal syndrome" (loc. 2015). Powel, M. (2014). Medicinal Mushrooms: A Clinical Guide (2nd Kindle ed.). Mycology Press.

  • According to "Improving effects of...":
    "At weeks 8, 12 and 16 of the trial, the Yamabushitake group showed significantly increased scores on the cognitive function scale compared with the placebo group. The Yamabushitake group's scores increased with the duration of intake, but at week 4 after the termination of the 16 weeks intake, the scores decreased significantly. Laboratory tests showed no adverse effect of Yamabushitake. The results obtained in this study suggest that Yamabushitake is effective in improving mild cognitive impairment."

    Study Design
    "double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trial"

    Mori K, Inatomi S, Ouchi K, Azumi Y, Tuchida T. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2009 Mar;23(3):367-72. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2634. PMID: 18844328.
  • According to "Reduction of depression...":
    "Herein, we investigated the clinical effects of H. erinaceus on menopause, depression, sleep quality and indefinite complaints, using the Kupperman Menopausal Index (KMI), the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and the Indefinite Complaints Index (ICI). Thirty females were randomly assigned to either the H. erinaceus (HE) group or the placebo group and took HE cookies or placebo cookies for 4 weeks. Each of the CES-D and the ICI score after the HE intake was significantly lower than that before. In two terms of the ICI, 'insentive' and 'palpitatio', each of the mean score of the HE group was significantly lower than the placebo group. 'Concentration', 'irritating' and 'anxious' tended to be lower than the placebo group. Our results show that HE intake has the possibility to reduce depression and anxiety and these results suggest a different mechanism from NGF-enhancing action of H. erinaceus."

    Study Design
    "Thirty females were randomly assigned to either the H. erinaceus (HE) group or the placebo group and took HE cookies or placebo cookies for 4 weeks"

    Nagano M, Shimizu K, Kondo R, Hayashi C, Sato D, Kitagawa K, Ohnuki K. Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake. Biomed Res. 2010 Aug;31(4):231-7. doi: 10.2220/biomedres.31.231. PMID: 20834180.
Photo of IMMUNITY OATS - Adaptogen Boosted Apple Oatmeal 5PK

IMMUNITY OATS - Adaptogen Boosted Apple Oatmeal 5PK

Ingredients

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)

Chaga has potential anti-tumor and anti-oxidant benefits, and assists in working against viral infections and psoriasis.

  • According to Martin Powel, a recognized authority on medicinal mushrooms, chaga has benefits for those recovering from cancer, viral infections, psoriasis (loc. 2111). Powel, M. (2014). Medicinal Mushrooms: A Clinical Guide (2nd Kindle ed.). Mycology Press.

  • Some evidence suggests it may have anti-oxidant potential for the liver. Jayachandran, M., Xiao, J., & Xu, B. (2017). A Critical Review on Health Promoting Benefits of Edible Mushrooms through Gut Microbiota. International journal of molecular sciences, 18(9), 1934. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18091934

  • According to "Bioactive compounds..." a review article, "Among various pharmacological properties of crude extracts of chaga, its anti-tumor effects have attracted the most attention." In addition chaga's "prevention of chronic inflammation may be regarded as an anti-cancer therapeutic opportunity." "[The] These antioxidant abilities of chaga mushroom provides the chemical basis in preventing oxidative stress and damage." "Chaga and its extracts showed an outstanding anti-hyperglycemic effect in both in vivo type-1 and type-2 diabetic models." "Beyond the health effects mentioned above, other bioactivity studies have been carried out as summarized in Table 1. The chaga extract exhibited a broad-spectrum of antiviral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activities in various in vitro trials." "However, despite decades of efforts, the full scale of known bioactive components of chaga and corresponding mechanisms of its health effects upon oral ingestion or other administration approaches is still uncertain." "Similarly [to reishi and Grifola frondosa], chaga is one of the most important and popular medicinal mushrooms which has been extensively used in the East European countries for centuries. As already mentioned, the diversity of its bioactive compounds and effects thereof have been gradually unveiled in the past decades, even though related clinical data are relatively scarce." Han Peng, Fereidoon Shahidi. "Bioactive compounds and bioactive properties of chaga (Inonotus obliquus) mushroom: a review." Journal of Food Bioactives, ISSN 2637-8752 print, 2637-8779 online. December 24, 2020. http://www.isnff-jfb.com/index.php/JFB/article/view/161/290.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Ashwagandha reduces insomnia according to several studies. It may reduce stress and is therefore considered adaptogenic.

  • "Possibly effective for stress. Taking ashwagandha by mouth seems to help reduce stress in some people. It might also help reduce stress-related weight gain. There is interest in using ashwagandha for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful." "Ashwagandha". MedlinePlus, US National Library of Medicine. 28 August 2020. Retrieved 21 September 2020. URL: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/953.html

  • According to "Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha":
    "The sleep onset latency was improved in both test and placebo at five and 10 weeks. However, the SOL was significantly shorter (p, 0.019) after 10 weeks with test [29.00 (7.14)] compared to placebo [33.94 (7.65)]. Also, significant improvement in SE scores was observed with Ashwagandha which was 75.63 (2.70) for test at the baseline and increased to 83.48 (2.83) after 10 weeks, whereas for placebo the SE scores changed from 75.14 (3.73) at baseline to 79.68 (3.59) after 10 weeks. Similarly, significant improvement in sleep quality was observed with test compared to placebo (p, 0.002). Significant improvement was observed in all other sleep parameters, i.e., SOL, SE, PSQI and anxiety (HAM-A scores) with Ashwagandha root extract treatment for 10 weeks."

    Conclusion


    "Ashwagandha root extract is a natural compound with sleep-inducing potential, well tolerated and improves sleep quality and sleep onset latency in patients with insomnia at a dose of 300 mg extract twice daily. It could be of potential use to improve sleep parameters in patients with insomnia and anxiety, but need further large-scale studies."

    Langade D, Kanchi S, Salve J, Debnath K, Ambegaokar D. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Insomnia and Anxiety: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Study. Cureus. 2019 Sep 28;11(9):e5797. doi: 10.7759/cureus.5797. PMID: 31728244; PMCID: PMC6827862.
  • "While it is sometimes referred to as 'Indian ginseng' because of its adaptogenic properties, it is not in the Panax genus. . . . As an adaptogen, this herb can be helpful for those who are fatigued during the day but have a hard time sleeping at night—i.e. those that are 'wired and tired'." Kuphal, G. (2014). Adaptogens. Retrieved 10 12, 2021, from U.S. Veterans Administration: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTHLIBRARY/docs/Adaptogens.pdf

  • Refers to studies that attribute to ashwagandha the following benefits: enhances physical and cognitive performance [central nervous system stimulating]; cardioprotective; radioprotective; anti-inflammatory [allergy]; immunotropic; endocrine normalizing; reduces physical and mental fatigue; reduces anxiety. Panossian A,Wagner H. Adaptogens: A Review of their History, Biological Activity, and Clinical Benefits. HerbalGram. Summer 2011, Issue 90, pp. 52-63, https://www.herbalgram.org/resources/herbalgram/issues/90/table-of-contents/feat_adaptogens/.