Mushrooms have been used for their healing properties for thousands of years, dating back to ancient Chinese medicine around 3500 BCE.
But today, they are hailed for their ability to boost brain function, energy levels, and combat physical side effects of stress.
So let’s dive into the research, and decide once and for all: Are mushrooms the brain food of the future, or just another superfood fad?
Can Medicinal Mushrooms Really Improve Productivity?
Whether you’re looking to be more productive at work, have more energy for taking care of your kids, or want to protect your brain from age-related mental decline – naturally boosting brain function with mushrooms is a promising tactic.
There are many different varieties of mushrooms, but their medicinal properties come down to one thing: Beta Glucans.
Mushrooms are one of the best food sources of this soluble fiber which has been shown to support a healthy heart, cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, immune health, memory, and focus.
The higher the concentration of beta glucans, the better your mushroom product will be. Let’s look at the most common benefits of medicinal mushrooms and see if the research supports their purported benefits.
1)Improve Cognitive Function
Maybe the most popular medicinal mushroom, Lion’s Mane, has a laundry list of health benefits, mostly related to brain health.
But the most impressive? Studies show Lion’s Mane contains two compounds that can help stimulate the growth of brain cells, specifically something called Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).
This is essential for healthy brain function, especially for anyone concerned about mental decline with age.
As we grow older, the brain's ability to form new connections weakens, which is why many people struggle with memory and overall cognitive function with age.
By stimulating the growth of brain cells, Lion’s Mane can help prevent this decline in brain function!
In one study, 20 men and women aged 50-80 were either given Lion’s Mane for 16 weeks, or a placebo. At the end of the trial, the group that took Lion’s Mane had significantly increased scores on a cognitive function exam compared to the group that took nothing!
Lion’s Mane isn’t just beneficial for overall cognitive function.
2) Reduce Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
Another study found Lion’s Mane reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety in just 4 weeks!
Animal studies suggest this can be attributed to Lion’s Mane’s ability to improve functioning in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and emotional response.
This little forest floor mushroom is clearly powerful when it comes to supporting healthy brain function. But Lion’s Mane isn’t the only mushroom worth looking into.
When considering all the varieties of mushroom, there are so many with powerful healing benefits.
3) Boost Energy Levels
Another mushroom, called cordyceps, (nicknamed cordysex) has been used for thousands of years in asian medicine to increase sex drive, physical performance, and energy levels.
But it gained modern day interest in 1993, when female runners broke records in three separate events, and their coach attributed their success to cordyceps!
How does it work? Research shows cordyceps can increase the body's production of ATP, the compound that stores and transfers energy between cells.
As we age, our production of ATP slows down. While there are multiple factors that cause fatigue, a drop in ATP production is one of them.
Which is why boosting ATP production with cordyceps can give you an energy boost!
In one study, a group of older adults supplemented with cordyceps for 12 weeks and saw an increase in length of the time they could work out until out of breath, and an increase in the time until they reached muscle fatigue.
4) Combat Stress
Medicinal mushrooms are known as adaptogens – meaning they help the body physically respond to stress. One mushroom in particular that is known for its calming effects is Reishi.
In one study on a compound found in Reishi, patients reported less discomfort and irritability after treatment.
5) Improve immune health
In addition to its brain and energy boosting effects, medicinal mushrooms are incredible immune boosters. Thanks to their high antioxidant content, they can feed the immune system just what it needs to keep you healthy.
There are four mushrooms in particular that are incredible for immune support: Chaga, Turkey Tail, Shiitake, and Maitake.
Studies have shown these different mushrooms can modulate the immune system to help stave off infection, illness and disease.
One study showed Shiitake mushrooms improved cell function, gut immunity, and inflammation levels in 52 healthy men and women.
Finally, there is one mushroom known as the beauty booster of the mushroom world, Tremella.
Oxidative stress is theorized to be a driving cause of aging, particularly of the skin. It is responsible for increased appearance in fine lines and wrinkles, age spots, and more.
Which is where Tremella comes in. Studies show tremella can reduce oxidative stress in the skinand can encourage moisture retention to keep skin hydrated.
Its rich antioxidant levels and vitamin D content just add to the list of why tremella and beauty go hand in hand!
Harnessing the Power of Mushrooms
If you’re interested in harnessing these brain, immune, and beauty benefits of medicinal mushrooms, you don’t want to just get any product you can find.
Remember how the power of mushrooms lies primarily in their beta-glucan content? Well unfortunately, most mushroom products are processed in a way that significantly diminishes their beta-glucan content.
In order to grow more mushrooms, many manufacturers grow just a portion of the mushroom, called mycelium, on grain. They then take this whole mycelium and grain combination and grind them into a powder.
This results in a product that is up to 50% grain and very little of the powerful beta glucans.
For a product that has all of the healing benefits of mushrooms, you want to look for one that is sourced from whole mushrooms.
Also, higher quality mushroom products will often reveal their beta glucan content, proving it contains medicinal qualities.
My Go To Mushroom Product
When searching for a product, I wanted one with a variety of the most potent mushrooms, made from whole organic mushrooms, and to be grain free.
Those three requirements alone significantly reduced my options – and I found just one product that met my standards.
Made from whole, organic mushrooms, this product contains all of the mushrooms we talked about today:
- Lion’s mane
- Turkey Tail
Amounting to 2,100 mg of whole, organic mushrooms, and >26mg beta-glucans! It’s grain free, non GMO, with no fillers or harsh processing ingredients.
But what really sets this product apart is the addition of organic coffee fruit.
It has been clinically shown to increase levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is a key neuro-protein necessary for learning, memory, and mental clarity.
In one study, coffee fruit extract increased BDNF 143% in under 2 hours! And don’t let the name fool you, this is NOT a heavy dose of caffeine. In fact, one serving of NeuroEffect contains only 2 mg of caffeine (equal to about 5% of what you’d get in a cup of green tea).
Instead, you get the energizing, brain boosting effects of coffee fruit without the jittery side effects of caffeine.
If you’re interested in trying NeuroEffect, I have good news. My friends over at Paleovalley are allowing me to give you a 15% OFF discount on your order.
Autumn Smith, co-founder of Paleovalley, is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner and personally formulated this product after extensive research. It is her goal to spread information about the power of natural, whole foods for our health.
Which is why she didn’t hesitate to offer a big discount on NeuroEffect. If you’re interested in claiming this discount, and supporting healthy brain and immune health with a side of glowing skin…