Why Shiitake Is The Wonder Funghi For Immunity

A healthy immune system has been at the top of everyone’s mind this year. All of our tried and tested favourites sold out during the pandemic, with no vitamin C left on the shelf for the first time ever! So maybe it’s time to get to know some other immune superstars who can be called on to support a strong, healthy and robust response to immune threats. They’re been around for millennia and relied on for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine… yes Funghi. Functional mushrooms have been gaining significant attention of recent years because of the wonderful ways they can support emotional and physical health. Specifically, let’s talk about Shiitake and why it is such a wholesome choice for you this winter.


Shiitake mushrooms have been around for a long time. In Japan, Shiitake was revered enough to be given as a gift, and in China it was referred to as an elixir of life in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Funghi are so well thought of in eco-systems because without them, many plants wouldn’t be able to access nutrients. Funghi help dead things in nature like fallen leaves and branches to decompose, allowing their nutrients to be available for the living plants. Shiitake, in particular, grow out of dead logs. Shiitake are quite a ‘normal’ looking mushroom – tan in colour with a similar shape to a button mushroom, velvety in appearance – quite lovely really!

Fun facts about funghi:

  • The part you eat is the reproductive organs
  • Funghi don’t require sunlight to grow
  • 95% of plants rely on funghi for nutrient uptake
  • Funghi are one of the main decomposers of organic matter, a key role in the ecosystem

Shiitake’s nutrition

Eating whole shiitake offers fibre, minerals including copper and selenium, B Vitamins, and many of the essential amino acids required by the body to create protein.

Shiitake are unique for a plant as they contain all nine essential amino acids, as well essential fatty acids. The fibre in Shiitake mushrooms is where some of the specialist immune support exists – alpha and beta glucans – which are known to support the immune system and heart health.

TCM roots

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shiitake is thought of as beneficial for the spleen, stomach, and liver. In TCM, due to meridians, the function of those organs is different to how we think of them in the West. In TCM, the spleen is a vital organ that delivers “Qi” (life force or vital energy) from the food we eat and delivers it to the rest of the body. The stomach is a partner of the spleen and plays a role in not only how we digest food, but emotions as well. The liver helps the smooth flow of Qi and emotions around the body. Shiitake is thought to tonify the Qi and blood which means that it nourishes and replenishes the Qi, blood, and the yin and yang energy of the body.

Shiitake and our immune system

Although Shiitake also offers support for the heart and healthy cholesterol, highlighting the immune system is our focus. Research has shown that when taken, Shiitake supports a strong immune response. Macrophages are white blood cells that support our immune response by helping to detect foreigners and send messages to other immune cells to get ready to fight. Shiitake can support healthy macrophage activity.

Certain immune cells release cytokines which help the overall response and signalling between immune cells. Shiitake supports a balanced cytokine response so that our immune system is responding the way it should to an immune threat.

BioBalance Active Vir-Immune contains AHCC, a scientifically researched ingredient from Shiitake, high in alpha glucan. AHCC has been shown to support healthy numbers of white blood cells, our active immune system soldiers. AHCC has also been researched since 1989 for the support it can offer healthy immunity and liver function.

BioBalance Active Vir-Immune is complimented with Vitamin D and Zinc – two immune-loving nutrients. This combination offers superb respiratory support this winter with maximum allowable amounts of Zinc and Vitamin D in a daily serving. As a powerful anti-oxidant, Zinc supports a healthy recovery time from ills and chills, while Vitamin D helps to balance the immune system so that it can respond powerfully to immune challenges.

Taking 2 capsules per day of BioBalance Active Vir-Immune is the equivalent of eating 5.4 grams of fresh Shiitake mushrooms but has a guaranteed level of the active constituent required to support strong and long-lasting immune support. 

To support a healthy immune system, shop  BioBalance Active Vir-Immune online now.

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