Mushrooms have a long historical connection with the body’s immune system as well as their defense against infectious diseases and various cancers. Records dating thousands of years ago in the Chinese, Egyptian, Mexican, and Roman cultures, discuss the use of mushrooms to improve health conditions like intestinal parasites and other gastrointestinal issues. These ancient civilizations could see the health benefits of mushrooms without having the science to prove anything.
Northern Cascades product Immune Defense boasts its uses of medicinal mushrooms with the addition of Fulvic and Humic acid to improve the immune health and vitality of your canine companion. These main mushroom ingredients are macroscopic fungi that are consumed raw or dried or as a supplement for their culinary functionality as well as many health benefits.
Be aware that some types of mushrooms can be toxic to humans and animals. There are over 10,000 species of mushroom fungi and being sure that you and your pet are only ingesting the right ones is pretty important. Immune Defense uses the main eight types that have health benefits.
Recent research has shown that these specific mushrooms can provide several health-improving effects in dogs and people, such as a boosted immune system and fewer gastrointestinal issues by positively influencing the gut microbiota. This is due to the fungi being a rich source of nutrients and bioactive compounds which aid the body in making innate and adaptive immune responses.
Immune Defense and its ingredients
The product Immune Defense uses several different types of mushrooms in its health supplement, starting with Turkey Tail, Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, Chaga, Shiitake, Maitake, and a Red Reishi blend. These fungi work together but in their own unique ways to improve the overall health of our dogs and their bodies.
Astragalus Root Powder and Milk Thistle are two more ingredients that are included in Immune Defense.
Astragalus and Milk Thistle
Astragalus is a member of the legume family and is another herb that has been used in Chinese medicine for several millennia and has been found to improve the body’s immune defense and boost vitality. Western studies have shown that it does indeed increase the body’s immune response and stimulate lymphocytes, T-cells, killer cells, and antibody production which helps to maintain and restore the immune system. Specifically, a study in elderly and debilitated animals showed a marked improvement in overall heart health and renal function.
Milk Thistle is another several thousand-year-old herbal remedy dating back to Chinese culture. Its active ingredient is a flavonoid called Silymarin that is found inside the seeds. Extracts from the ground-up seeds are then used in different preparations to act as an anti-inflammatory as well as a strong antioxidant. Milk Thistle will help with chronic liver issues and stimulate the flow of bile from the gallbladder, as well as promote kidney function and reduce the damage done to the renal system from long-term medication use. Some recent scientific studies show that the extracts have an anti-cancer effect.
Supplementing with Milk Thistle in animals for liver disorders has grown to be more commonplace among general practitioner veterinarians and has been recommended now for many years. Its side effects are usually very minimal and typically only entail mild stomach upset or loose stools.
Fulvic and Humic acid
Fulvic and Humic acid are a very beneficial pair as well. Specifically found in the soil, these two powerful ingredients go a long way in many supplements like the soil-based probiotic Safe Guard as well as Immune Defense.
Fulvic acid is a by-product of the breakdown of organic matter within the soil. It is high in antioxidants and is an excellent source of pre and probiotics. It has also been proven to be an effective anti-inflammatory and greatly boosts the immune system’s overall functionality.
Humic acid is similar and also found in the soil but is formed by the process of humification, which contains a chemical property that will transform the dead remains of matter into Humic acid. This substance is also rich in trace minerals which are hard to obtain through a typical diet. These minerals have a marked effect on the guts microbiome, which is why it does so well when used with probiotics.
This superfood is also an added ingredient in Immune Defense. Brown rice offers several nutritional benefits to your dog’s overall health, like how it is an excellent source of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. It is specifically rich in heart-helping nutrients like Vitamins B and D.
While some owners believe that low-carb or grain-free diets are the best option for the pet, it is simply not the truth. Whole grains are not filler ingredients. Instead, they add tons of essential nutrients like carbohydrates, which are very important for a pet’s overall health. This is the main reason why there has been a rise in the cases of heart disease and other cardiac-related issues in dogs that have eaten exclusively grain-free diets most of their lives.
All of the fungi used in Immune Defense have their unique ways of working with the body to increase overall health and vitality. Below is a list of the mushrooms used and their individual effects.
- Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor): Named for its appearance resembling a turkey’s tail. Known as an antiviral, antimicrobial, antiallergic, and anti-inflammatory. These mushrooms also have cellular health properties and immune-boosting effects.
- Lion’s Mane Hericium erinaceus: Also named for their appearance, other names are pom pom, monkey’s head, or sheep’s head mushrooms. These fungi work well with the gastrointestinal tract and are also known for the benefits with seniors pets and improving cognitive function.
- Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris): Another common name is Caterpillar mushrooms because they actually grow on certain species of Caterpillars. Many supplements for Cordyceps are made in a lab due to the difficulty obtaining them as well as their expense. They have many benefits starting with being an effective antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral. They have been known to detoxify, support, and purify the liver and kidneys, plus increasing the functionality of the immune system.
- Chaga (Inonotus obliquus): Beneficial for pets with allergies and autoimmune disorders. Chaga is rich in B vitamins and antioxidants and can also lower cholesterol levels. It is effectively used in the treatments for inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes.
- Shiitake (Lentinula edodes): Most studied of the medicinal mushrooms. In Japan, it has the nickname of the “Elixir of Life.” They are known for being very rich in protein, amino acids, and essential enzymes that can help to lower cholesterol and reduce blood pressure. Shiitake also has a rare effect of mitigating toxic medications.
- Maitake (Grifola frondosa): Generally great for overall pet health. This mushroom is known for its cellular support and stimulating the immune system. It will help protect the liver and regulate blood sugar and the pet’s insulin metabolism. Very beneficial for dogs with diabetes and liver disorders.
- Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum): These mushrooms have been used by healers and medicine people for several millennia. They help to stimulate and enhance the immune system as well as increase energy, improve immune response and promote healthy blood circulation. Many clinical studies have proven its results in patients with diabetes and hyperlipidemia as well as confirming its powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
How to give mushrooms to your dog safely
While mushrooms themselves are edible, it is important to know that feeding your pet raw mushrooms could be potentially dangerous and toxic. It is much more safe and effective to provide them with a daily supplement, like Northern Cascade’s Immune Defense.
It is possible to feed your dog dried mushrooms that have been purchased for the purpose of giving supplementally. These mushrooms also come with instructions on how much to give and how to do it. But the most common and easiest way of using medicinal mushrooms is in powder form, like that of Immune Defense. The dosage is based on weight with a premade scoop for simplicity. Some other brands also come as a tincture that is already mixed and in a bottle or as a chewable treat.
If your pet is on any medications prior to adding the mushroom supplement, Immune Defense, it is wise to consult with your veterinarian before administering it to your pet. There are some drugs that should be used with caution in conjunction with any medicinal mushrooms, whether supplement form or dried. If your dog is taking any insulin, anti-inflammatories, anticoagulants or immunomodulators be sure to contact your veterinarian prior to incorporating the supplement into their daily diet.
Working to protect your dog's vitality
Adding a daily supplement like Immune Defense could truly increase the life expectancy and health of your dog. Giving your pet a boost to the immune system and gastrointestinal tract will have a major effect on the overall efficacy of their body’s functionality. Medicinal mushrooms will also aid in the improvement of the symptoms or side effects of certain acute or chronic conditions, making it a top choice when searching for an overall excellent health supplement.