Do Medicinal Mushrooms Break a Fast?
A question we get asked a lot is ‘will medicinal mushrooms break my fast?’ We’re here to serve so in this post we’ll dive into our approach to intermittent fasting and working with medicinal mushrooms!
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting isn’t about eating less, just shortening the window of time within which you’re eating your meals somewhere between 8 to 12 hours.
If you’re eating all of your meals, or calories, within an 8-hour window this would be a 16-hour fast. Similarly, if you're enjoying your meals within a 12-hour window this would be a 12-hour fast.
An 8-hour fast might look like this:
~ Finishing your evening meal by 6.30 pm
~ Enjoying breakfast at 10.30 am
~ Enjoying lunch at 1.30 pm.
~ Repeating the process the following day.
There is no one approach to suit all when it comes to intermittent fasting. It’s very much a process of tuning into your body and what works for you and of course your lifestyle.
What are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
The benefits of intermittent fasting are becoming increasingly well-known. The practice of abstinence from food is woven into our DNA, right back to when we existed as hunter-gatherers and has also has a connection to many spiritual practices.
Intermittent fasting gives our body the chance to fully digest and assimilate all of the nutrients we consume and turn on the process of autophagy giving ourselves the chance to reset. The activation of autophagy is almost like a spring clean for our cells, clearing out cellular waste and replacing old and damaged cells. This can result in a greater sense of vitality and enhanced cognitive function, with many intermittent fasters attesting to greater mental clarity and focus on fasting days.
One of the other key benefits of fasting is that it can help drop us into the metabolic state of ketosis. During a fast period, once the body has utilised all of the available glucose it switches to burning fat for fuel. Being in ketosis can help speed up a sluggish metabolism and suppress inflammation.
Working with Medicinal Mushrooms During a Fast
There are many perspectives on what you can consume while fasting. Purists believe only consuming water during a fast period is the one true way to get the benefits of fasting. On the other hand, the more widely accepted consensus is that the key factors that disrupt a fast are the digestion of sugars, carbohydrates, and protein.
Our Inner Atlas medicinal mushrooms Chaga, Reishi, Cordyceps, Turkey Tail, Lion's Mane and Tremella do contain small amounts of protein and carbohydrates, per serving (1/4 tsp) 0.1g and 1g respectively. But the good news is these amounts are not enough to break a fast.
We stick to a quarter teaspoon of whatever mushie we’re working with at the time before our fasting period ends and then are a little more liberal with our dosages throughout the day.
Working with medicinal mushrooms during a fast period actually has the potential to enhance the benefits of your intermittent fast. As potent adaptogens, medicinal mushrooms are powerful in their anti-inflammatory actions which can help support the process of autophagy.
Apart from this, there are certain medicinal mushrooms we love working with in the morning to set us up for the day ahead. One such mushroom is Cordyceps. We enjoy Cordyceps in the AM for that slow and steady release of energy and to support our energy reserves and athletic output before a workout. Most of us on the Inner Atlas team work out in the morning before we finish our intermittent fast and we rarely do so without our dose of Cordy! We’ve got a journal entry on Cordyceps and its benefits for athletic performance and how to use it as a pre-workout supplement that you can check out here.
Turkey Tail is another powerful mushie to work with in the morning. Its anti-inflammatory benefits are a great compliment to an intermittent fast and as a prebiotic Turkey Tail can help support our gut microbiome, especially when consumed before meals.
We’d also recommend Lion’s Mane to be enjoyed in the morning to get the neurons firing and wiring! As a nootropic Lion’s Mane is known to support focus, creativity and mood which can be of great support in those last couple of hours before a fast finishes, and you’re tackling the day’s most important tasks.
Just as a note, this may not be the case for medicinal mushroom extracts generally. For our Inner Atlas extracts, we use only the fruiting body of wood-grown medicinal mushrooms. Some medicinal mushroom products you may come across are grown on grain or rice and also contain the mushroom mycelium (like the root system of the mushroom). It’s impossible to separate the mycelium from the rice or grain it’s grown on, so the bottom line is substantial amounts of rice and grain end up in the final product of mushrooms grown and processed this way. This means there are likely to be greater amounts of carbohydrates in these types of medicinal mushroom extracts which may have the potential to break a fast.
Inner Atlas Medicinal Mushrooms
We've worked hard to bring you what we believe are the highest-quality medicinal mushrooms available in Australia. Mushrooms you can feel. Each of our extracts contains greater than 30% beta-D-glucans which is more than other medicinal mushroom products you may have come across, so you can be confident your Inner Atlas mushies are both active and potent and deliver the benefits that nature intended.
Our mushies are:
- Semi-wild crafted, grown in natural environmental conditions on hardwood, where they absorb all of its beneficial compounds from, with the exception of Chaga which is sustainably wild-harvested in Siberia and Cordyceps which is cultivated organically indoors.
- Certified USDA & EU Organic.
- Grown Di Tao – sourced from pristine and remote traditional regions across Siberia and China.
- Fruiting body only – 100% real mushrooms with no added fillers or mycelium.
- Lab-tested for purity.
- Highly potent, containing greater than 30% beta-D-glucans.
- High extraction ratios for concentrated doses of the good stuff!