Medicinal Mushrooms: The Future of Wellness?
Really? Yes. Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years as an ancient folk remedy to promote overall health and wellness but are proving to be quite popular right now, with many people wanting to incorporate them in their diets. According to recent articles published in medical journals, medicinal mushrooms could be a huge player in the future of wellness.
You may have heard about medicinal mushrooms in passing or stumbled upon them in a Netflix documentary, but what are they exactly? Have no fear, this article will show you everything that you would ever need to know about the most common mushrooms so you can be one step ahead of the game.
Here are seven types of mushrooms that may very well be the future of wellness.
Lions mane - a mushroom for your brain
When it comes to the future of wellness Lions Mane is a very important mushroom. In recent years, it has been gaining popularity as a supplement for its nootropic properties, as it has been shown to boost cognitive performance and improve brain health.
Lion's Mane works by increasing levels of something known as nerve growth factor (NGF), which regulates neuron growth, survival, and regeneration. This is great for creating new neurological connections, allowing for enhanced memory, cognition, and neuroprotection all at the same time!
Studies have also indicated that Lions Mane may be able to reverse age-related cognitive decline by regenerating the damaged parts of your brain. It has also been shown to inhibit beta amyloid aggregation, a process related to Alzheimer's disease, so it could even help people with dementia. Whats more is that this mushroom has shown promise when it comes to reducing anxiety and depression too!
So, if you're looking to become a little smarter, sharper, or focused, then Lions mane may be the mushroom for you.
Cordyceps - a mushroom for energy
Cordyceps have long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as an energy booster, but are now being researched for a variety of health benefits. Scientists are beginning to explore the mushroom as a treatment for diseases such as depression and low libido. It's also being touted as a weight loss solution, thanks to its ability not only to speed up the body's metabolism but also suppress your appetite.
Cordyceps are thought to increase oxygen flow around the body leading to increased energy levels. They also contain compounds that have been linked to increased stamina and athletic performance. That might be why athletes from around the world have been trying it out over the past few decades with some success. A number of studies have shown that Cordyceps increases strength and endurance and even helps athletes work out longer and harder than they would without it.
If you're looking for something to boost your energy or take your workout to the next level, cordyceps might be just what you need.
Chaga - The King of Mushrooms
Chaga is a fungus found on birch trees and is one of nature's most potent healers and tools in fighting disease and maintaining good health. Native to North America, Europe, and Asia, Chaga has been used for thousands of years for its apparent ability to strengthen the immune system, balance hormones, reduce cholesterol levels, fight viruses and improve liver function among many other benefits.
Chaga has been shown to be rich in beta glucans, which boost the immune system by activating macrophages and NK cells (types of white blood cells) to destroy pathogens like viruses and bacteria. This is super important when fighting infections like the flu or cold. Chaga is also packed with antioxidants which protect DNA in cells from free radicals produced by today's polluted environment.
The benefits don't just stop there. Chaga can also help your body adapt to stress, be it physical, mental or emotional due to its adaptogenic abilities, which is why more people should know about this powerful little fungi!
Reishi - a mushroom for sleep
The reishi mushroom, also known as Lingzhi is native to China. It has been used in Asian medicine for over two thousand years and is highly revered in the East for its ability to naturally fight ailments such as respiratory problems, high blood pressure, insomnia, and more. Not bad for one little fungus!
Besides strengthening your immune system and fighting inflammation, Reishi mushrooms are also known for their anti-aging properties, which is why they are often referred to as "The Mushroom of Immortality" [although we can't promise you'll live forever].
What might be the most interesting benefit of all is the way in which Reishi can improve sleep quality and duration. The naturally occurring compounds within Reishi help you wind-down, chill out and relax, which all help to support stress management and sleep. A study published in the Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior journal found that Reishi helped test subjects fall asleep faster and sleep longer after three days of use.
So, the next time you're feeling stressed or having trouble sleeping, be sure to include reishi in your diet. The best thing is that you can use it everyday and results are usually seen within a week's use.
Shiitake - a mushroom for gut health
Like most medicinal mushrooms, Shiitake has a long history that dates back thousands of years ago, where they were originally cultivated by primitive farming communities for their potential health benefits. They are now one of the most popular mushrooms worldwide, prized for their rich, earthy flavour and diverse health benefits.
Shiitakes are often considered a medicinal mushroom because they are packed full of nutrients, antioxidants and bioactive compounds like polysaccharides, terpenoids, sterols, and lipids, which may help fight cancer, support heart health, boost immunity, fight inflammation, and restore gut flora.
After consuming these mushrooms, the common cold will be no match for your improved immune system - that's why this antioxidant powerhouse should be included in everyone's diet.
Maitake - a mushroom for immunity
Maitake, more commonly known as "the dancing mushroom" is said to have gotten its name after the people who first discovered it danced with joy when they realised its incredible health benefits. This has made it a prized ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine and cuisine. So, let's take a look at what makes it so healthy.
Maitake is one of those mushrooms that has been studied so extensively that we know what specific compounds give it its signature medicinal properties. One of these is a fascinating group of compounds known as Beta-glucans, which have been shown to strengthen the immune system. In fact, thanks to the fairly recent discovery of its most active compound, Maitake D-fraction (a unique protein-bound beta-glucan), this mushroom has become one of the most sought after in the world.
Maitake mushrooms are also packed with antioxidants like ergothioneine and glutathione that protect against oxidative damage. According to research, Maitake contains the highest amount of glutathione compared to any other mushroom!
Besides boosting the immune system and being an antioxidant powerhouse, this incredible mushroom also has adaptogenic properties, which essentially helps your body deal with all types of stress. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving!
Turkey tail - a mushroom for gut health
The statement "This is one of my favorite mushrooms, by far." seems to be the consensus among many people who enjoy their experiences with turkey tail mushrooms. The reason why? Their list of health benefits is never-ending, and includes effects on the body for both prevention and treatment of many health conditions.
Turkey tail mushrooms are high in antioxidants so they may help reduce oxidative stress in your body. Oxidative stress can damage cells, proteins, and DNA, which can contribute to aging and plays a key role in development of a range of health conditions, including diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia.
They also contain polysaccharides that stimulate the immune system, making them great for boosting resistance against pathogens. What's more is that turkey tail acts as a prebiotic, offering gut-healing benefits that nourish the good bacteria in your gut microbiome. This is important because it's in your digestive system that most of your immune system actually lies.
Are mushrooms really the future of wellness?
These are just some of the many health benefits of medicinal mushrooms making them undoubtedly the future of wellness. Whether you’re focused on improving your performance, sleep, or strengthening your immune system, it’s clear to see that there has never been a better time to increase your intake. So, are you ready to start enjoying the health benefits of these incredible mushrooms? If so, below are some tips on what to look for when purchasing these powerful fungi.
Here are some helpful tips to know before purchasing mushroom supplements:
- Choose mushroom extracts over mushroom powders
- Choose products made with mushroom fruiting bodies
- Explore a product’s extraction process - The active compounds in mushrooms can be both water- and/or alcohol-soluble and may require different extraction methods. In some mushroom varieties like Lions Mane, Reishi, and Chaga, a dual extract is preferred in order to reap the reported benefits.
- Elevate is a synergistic blend of dual extracted Lions Mane and Cordyceps combined with Cognizin® Citicoline to help you fight fatigue while improving memory, focus & clarity so that you can reach new heights in every area of your life – whether it's schoolwork, sports performance or career success!
- Rejuvenate is made from a nourishing blend of 5 mushrooms; Chaga, Reishi, Maitake, Shiitake, and Turkey Tail combined with Shoden® Ashwagandha, which helps your body relax into a deeper, more restful sleep. This allows your mind and body to recover from the day’s stressors while boosting your immune system. If you want to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling refreshed then rejuvenate is for you.
This has been an article about the health benefits of the 7 most common medicinal mushrooms. If you have any questions for us at Biolife Nutrition, feel free to ask them here or on our Facebook page! Please like and share this with your friends if you found it informative! Thank you for reading.
*Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely intended as a sharing of knowledge and ideas based on research conducted by our team. It is not intended as medical advice nor as a substitute for consulting with your doctor or health care provider. All readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with their health care provider. We are not responsible for errors, omissions, or any outcomes related to the use of this information. As always, consult with your health care provider before taking supplements of any kind.