Mad about mushrooms!
Mushrooms are widely known for their great taste and impressive health benefits. You may have already heard us raving about the benefits of adding mushroom powders to your coffee - with good reason!
Mushrooms have been around for centuries and widely used in alternative medicine practices. There's a lot of research on mushroom, so we thought we'd put some of the interesting findings into an easy to read blog.
Before we get deep into this blog, *If you're going to watch anything this weekend, make sure it's Fantastic Fungi. This is a Netflix must-watch! The film will show you why we're not the only ones going mad for mushrooms. Netflix has released a film documentary entirely on them! The film covers a lot about mushroom benefits, goes into detail on certain species and has some great stories regarding mushrooms. The film sparked us to write this blog - if Netflix are doing a film on them we're doing a blog!
Let's start with the basics... What is a mushroom?
A mushroom is a reproductive structure produced by some fungi. It is somewhat like the fruit of a plant, except that the "seeds" it produces are in fact millions of microscopic spores that form in the gills or pores underneath the mushroom's cap. (1). Mushroom Appreciation estimate "There are currently over 10,000 known types of mushrooms. That may seem like a large number, but mycologists suspect that this is only a fraction of what's out there! We can put these various species in one of 4 categories: saprotrophic, mycorrhizal, parasitic, and endophytic. These categories describe how the organism feeds itself." (2)
Now for the mind-blowing stuff... The Benefits?
There are some bold and brilliant benefits from mushrooms. Let's take a look at some...
According to Hyperion Herbs "The four major medicinal mushrooms are lion’s mane, reishi, cordyceps, and chaga. All four have the potential to improve health through their potent adaptogenic and immunomodulating effects. This is perhaps the most obvious thing they have in common: their ability to support the immune system over time." (5)
Mushrooms are being studied to find out how they affect the immune system and if they have antitumor/cancer effects. This development has identified types of mushrooms are indicated by cancer type.
Mushrooms have been used as traditional medicine in East Asia since ancient times. Reishi is a traditional medicine used throughout Asia for cancer prevention.
"Reishi mushroom, scientifically known as Ganoderma lucidum or Ganoderma sinense, has been commonly known as the mushroom of longevity or immortality. Out of all of the different types of mushrooms, reishi mushrooms seem to be the most widely used mushrooms for cancer prevention and to inhibit tumor growth. Mushrooms play a role in boosting the immune system and brain function. Reishi mushrooms were outed to prolong life, prevent aging and increase energy. In China, mushrooms are used to fortify the immune system of people with cancer who receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy." (3)
Reishi mushroom contains complex sugars known as beta-glucans. Lab studies suggest that these compounds may help stop the growth and spread of cancer cells. When animals were fed beta-glucans, some cells of their immune system became more active.
Limited data from clinical studies suggest reishi can strengthen immune response in humans. In addition, reishi mushrooms contain sterols that can act as precursors to hormones in the body, along with substances called triterpenes that may have blood pressure-lowering and anti-allergy effects. Reishi mushrooms have also been shown to slow blood clotting. (4)
Cordyceps is the most ‘yang’ of the medicinal mushrooms, and is great for providing energy support without being overheating or overstimulating. Cordyceps is best thought of as an energetic or athletic tonic, supporting stamina and energy through daily life and through your physical endeavors/exercise. It increases ATP or cellular energy production, and has even been used by olympic athletes to improve their performance. Cordyceps also has aphrodisiac effects, supporting sexual performance and desire. (6)
Can mushrooms help your memory?
Eating mushrooms may be good for your brain. A study found that older men and women who ate mushrooms as part of their regular diet were at lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, a brain condition that is often a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
The study, from researchers in Singapore, looked at the diets of 663 men and women over 60. Participants filled out detailed food questionnaires, including how often they ate six common varieties of mushrooms: white button mushrooms, golden, oyster and shiitake mushrooms, and dried and canned mushrooms.
Researchers followed participants over the next six years, performing regular tests of memory and thinking skills. They found that compared with those who ate few mushrooms, those who ate one to two portions a week — a portion was about three-quarters of a cup of cooked mushrooms — were at 43 percent reduced risk for developing MCI. Those who ate more than two portions of mushrooms a week had a 52 percent reduced risk. (7)
Lion’s Mane Mushroom also known as the mushroom for the mind - "Lion’s mane is a really unique medicinal mushroom because of its effects on the brain and nervous system. It provides the most noticeable cognitive support of all the medicinal mushrooms, and has the most nootropic-like effects: increased concentration, improved memory and mood, etc. Lion’s mane does this by increasing production of Nerve Growth Factor in the brain, as the name implies, NGF facilitates the regrowth and healing of neurons in the brain. Lion’s mane has also been found to increase blood flow and circulation to the brain." (8)
The chaga mushroom is a powerful anti-inflammatory. While inflammation is part of a healthy immune system response, poor cell signaling can lead to chronic inflammation. From there, conditions from stress to poor sleep to disease follow. To combat stress and the immune system impact, you’ll want to reduce inflammation. By combating inflammation, mushrooms help the immune system return to proper functioning. (9)
Can mushrooms make your skin glow?
Another effect of mushroom’s beneficial antioxidant compounds? In preventing free radical damage, antioxidants can also reduce fine lines, wrinkles and age spots. It’s because of this that vitamins and plant extracts containing antioxidant properties are commonly used in topical treatments or oral supplements to achieve healthy skin. That’s right—mushrooms can leave you with brighter, more youthful-looking skin. In addition, preliminary studies show that reishi mushrooms can help heal skin injuries and irritations. If you suffer from red patches, irritation or scarring from blemishes, mushrooms’ healing properties may help improve your skin’s overall appearance. (10)
As we've said above, you've probably heard us going on about the benefits of adding mushroom powders to your coffee, and now you know some of the benefits of supplementing with mushrooms - you may be tempted to add some into your diet. So how do you add mushroom powders into your diet?
Mushrooms are commonly added to teas & coffees and also to cooking recipes due to their bitter taste. Mushroom supplements are also being added to soups & sauces like curries, pasta, ramen and many more.
How to add mushroom powders to your coffee? You don't need to learn a new recipe or anything fancy, its as simple as making your normal morning brew and adding between 2-5gs of mushroom powder (make sure you check the recommended dose for the supplements your using). If you do fancy trying some new recipes here are our two favourite mushroom coffee recipes.
Choosing the right mushroom supplements for you?
Like all supplements, we advice you do your own research before purchasing mushroom supplements. Research both the supplement and the company you are purchasing from. We also advise you to talk to your doctor before taking any new supplements. Because each mushroom is a little bit different. Understanding which one you’d want to take will depend on where you’re at, what your goal is, and what effects are specific and unique to each medicinal mushroom.
At Peak Supps® we have a growing range of mushroom supplements, our range includes organic mushroom powders, blends and capsules with a vast range of mushrooms, including Reishi, Chaga, Shiitake, Maitake, Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, White Fungus & Cordyceps Sinensis.
Make sure to share this blog with your friends & family!
IMPORTANT NOTICE* Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.
Sources tagged within blog & below:
|(4)||© 2021 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center||https://www.hyperionherbs.com/blogs/news/key-differences-between-lions-mane-reishi-cordyceps-chaga|
|(7)||The Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation||https://www.alzinfo.org/articles/treatment/can-mushrooms-help-your-memory/|