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Five Functional Mushrooms and their Health Benefits

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

If you do a quick search online, you'll find a ton of sources citing the many

acknowledged health benefits of functional mushrooms, also known as medicinal

mushrooms. Some of these benefits include brain and heart health, improved digestion and sleep, reduced stress, disease prevention, etc. These are definitely some intriguing claims!


But what does the data from the studies actually show? Fortunately, some recent

studies provide important findings in these special mushrooms and pave the way for further investigation.

Here are 5 functional mushrooms that we choose to source for Mindful Mushrooms’ products, along with our reason for doing so.


1. Lion’s Mane




Lion's mane mushroom has a reputation for promoting cognitive improvement and supporting brain health. Compounds found in lion’s mane called erinacines and hericenones, promote and stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF), a protein essential for the growth and survival of neurons (brain cells). This has been demonstrated to help protect against Alzheimer's disease in mice and has been connected to improved cognitive function in humans.


2. Reishi




Reishi mushrooms are known as "the mushroom of immortality" due to its capacity to fight cancer and improve the immune system. Antioxidants, most notably triterpenes or triterpenoids, and the polysaccharide beta-glucan are the bioactive components of reishi mushrooms. By promoting the formation of white blood cells, immune enhancers help the body's defense against foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. In one study, after eating reishi mushroom extract daily for six weeks, 40 male athletes' lymphocyte function improved. Because of its ability to boost tumor response, promote

immunological function, and enhance quality of life, studies have revealed that taking reishi reishi mushroom powder may be advantageous in conjunction with cancer treatments even if it is not advised as a main treatment.


3. Chaga




Chaga, like reishi, is renowned for boosting the immune system, lowering chronic

inflammation, and battling tumors. According to research, chaga strengthens the

immune system by secreting cytokines and controlling the synthesis of antigen-specific antibodies. It has been demonstrated that the birch tree chemical inotodiol, which chaga extracts from, has anti-cancer activity. According to one study, chaga has the ability to promote apoptotic cell death and stop the proliferation of cancer cells, making it potential effective antitumor agent.


4. Turkey Tail




Because it contains a variety of immune-stimulating substances, including

polysaccharide krestin (PSK), polysaccharopeptide (PSP), and antioxidants, the turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) is a notable mushroom. According to studies, PSP from turkey tail mushrooms dramatically raises the body's production of monocytes, which are white blood cells that guard against infection. Consuming turkey tail extract has been proven to considerably enhance the anti-tumor effects of cancer therapy, even if it is not a substitute for cancer treatment, by enhancing the function of natural killer cells, which are frequently compromised in cancer patients.


5. Cordyceps




The molecule ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is essential for providing energy to the muscles, is thought to be produced more frequently in the body when cordyceps mushrooms are consumed. This could explain how cordyceps enhances physical performance and combats weariness and drowsiness. In a trial of 37 healthy adults, those who took cordyceps for six weeks shown a considerable improvement in oxygen uptake during exercise (a gauge of physicalfitness), while those who received a placebo had no change.


WHAT ARE THE KEY FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN SELECTING A FUNCTIONAL

MUSHROOM PRODUCT?


Choosing a high-quality product is essential because not all functional mushroom products are made equally.

The major product categories on the market are as follows: mushroom fruiting bodies, products made from mycelium (mushroom root system) that are grown on grain and blended together, products that don't even list whether it's mycelium or fruiting bodies and it just says 'mushroom', and full spectrum which is mycelium and fruiting bodies.

The benefits and qualities of mushroom fruiting body extracts are the greatest and the only ones worth purchasing, as opposed to those of the aforementioned alternatives, whose product contains a majority of starch or grain. We will discuss this topic in moredetail in the future. At Mindful Mushrooms, we only utilize organic mushroom fruiting bodies in our extracts.


The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information in this article is intended for educational purposes. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by licensed medical physicians. Please consult your doctor or health practitioner for any medical advice.


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