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5 Reasons To Start Using Medicinal Mushrooms in 2024

5 Reasons To Start Using Medicinal Mushrooms in 2024

Medicinal mushrooms have garnered significant attention due to their prominent role in modulating the immune system.

An intriguing hypothesis has emerged to shed light on our profound affinity for mushrooms. This hypothesis suggests that the prevalence of fungal spores in our environment might account for our robust physiological response to these organisms.

An investigation by Gutenberg University in Mainz revealed that with every breath we draw, we inadvertently inhale approximately 1 to 10 fungal spores. Consequently, from an evolutionary perspective, our bodies have evolved mechanisms to contend with these potential pathogens.

Remarkably, some experts even propose that our daily inhalation regimen might include an astonishing 10 billion mushroom spores. Furthermore, they discussed that our evolutionary journey has been closely intertwined with inhaling these spores, offering an explanation for our body's favorable reactivity towards these fungi, particularly in terms of fortifying our immune defenses. 

Within the vast realm of approximately 1.5 million fungal species, a select few have emerged as especially noteworthy for their potential health advantages. 

Now, you might wonder: What exactly do we mean by medicinal mushrooms? What insights has scientific research uncovered about the array of health benefits these mushrooms may confer?

Continue reading to find out.

What are Medicinal Mushrooms?

First and foremost, let's clarify: the medicinal mushrooms in question here don't fall into the psychedelic category. Instead, we're delving into a realm of medicinal mushrooms—also known as functional mushrooms—that are brimming with health-enhancing compounds.
These medicinal mushrooms commonly find their way into our routines as extract powders thoughtfully blended into beverages and soups, or encapsulated for convenient consumption. 
While Eastern medicine has embraced mushrooms for countless centuries, it's only in recent times that scientific exploration has illuminated the intricate mechanisms through which these functional mushrooms contribute to the well-being of the human body.

Medicinal Mushroom Benefits

1. Manage Energy Levels

At times, even your morning coffee might fall short of providing the boost you need, but there's a fascinating solution residing within mushrooms such as turkey tail.
Scientifically referred to as Trametes Versicolor, turkey tail boasts an array of compounds recognized as immune modulators—agents that wield the power to positively influence our immune system, particularly in terms of its responsiveness.
Now, you might be wondering: What's the link between immune modulators and combating fatigue? Interestingly, fatigue can be viewed through the lens of an immunity challenge.
Intriguing findings from a study highlight the impact of turkey tail compounds on alleviating fatigue. Over a span of five weeks, participants administered these compounds exhibited reduced sensations of fatigue in contrast to those on a placebo. Astonishingly, even after the treatment concluded, the "turkey tail" group continued to experience diminished fatigue for up to two weeks. [1]

2. Improve Immune Health

Building upon the prior discussion, it's evident that mushrooms like turkey tail and chaga harbor a rich reservoir of substances uniquely poised to modulate the body's immune system. The immunomodulatory effects of functional mushrooms are underpinned by the following attributes:

Antioxidant Abundance: Within its composition lies a profusion of antioxidants, valiant defenders against the onslaught of oxidative stress—culprits behind cellular damage, inflammation, and premature aging. Phenols and flavonoids, renowned for their inflammation-dampening capabilities and ability to invigorate immune cells, are among turkey tail's assets. This fungal marvel showcases a symphony of over 35 phenolic compounds, complemented by flavonoids like quercetin and baicalein. [2]
Immune-Boosting Emissaries: The vitality of turkey tail's immune-supporting demeanor is fortified by active agents such as beta glucans, orchestrators of immunity elevation and inflammation mitigation.
Championing Gut Wellness: The essential interplay between robust immunity and a flourishing gut finds its advocate in turkey tail. The role of a healthy gut in fostering a potent immune response is undeniable, considering that our immune cells trace their origin to this enigmatic enclave. In a striking revelation, researchers underscore that the consumption of turkey tail extracts can foster the propagation of "good bacteria" while stifling the growth of their "bad" counterparts. [3]

3. Boost Cognitive Health

The Lion’s mane mushroom is perhaps the most popular functional mushroom for brain health. Studies suggest its brain-boosting properties are because of its two unique compounds: hericenones and erinacines.
Hericenones and erinacines have been shown to illicit brain-protective properties, which can reduce risks of Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, and lower symptoms of depression. These two compounds can also stimulate Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). They are proteins the brain primarily uses to stimulate brain cell generation. [4]
  • BDNF: The brain uses BDNF for brain plasticity, sometimes called neuroplasticity. Brain plasticity is the brain’s way of adapting to stress or symptoms of neurodegenerative ageing.
  • NGF: NGF plays a major role in myelin sheath repair and formation. The myelin sheath forms around our nerves and serves as an electrical conductor. If damaged, it can severely slow our response times and even affect balance and vision.
In addition to the lion's mane mushroom, there are other mushrooms recognized for their positive effects on cognitive health. Discover more about them here.

4. Promote Gut Health

With over 75% of immune cells present, our gut is at the centre of our immunity. It is therefore important to keep our gut healthy and its resident gut microbes happy. One way is by taking medicinal mushrooms like ReishiChaga, and Maitake mushrooms.

Reishi MushroomsReishi mushrooms contain beta-glucans and triterpenes, which improve gut health primarily by reducing inflammation and supporting “good bacteria” growth. [5]

Chaga MushroomsChaga’s black appearance is because of its melanin content, which has shown potent immune strengthening benefits. One study suggests taking chaga can help alleviate symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. [6]

Maitake MushroomsMaitake mushrooms contain beneficial compounds and are rich in beta-glucans and antioxidants. The fungus has been shown to fight excessive inflammation by inhibiting enzymes and other substances that cause inflammation in the first place. [7]

Find out more about how mushrooms can improve gut health here.

5. Improve Mood

Mushrooms such as lion's mane contain a remarkable antioxidant called ergothioneine. This amino acid boasts potent antioxidant properties that can't be produced by our bodies, making dietary intake crucial. 
The impact of ergothioneine extends beyond its antioxidant prowess. It holds the potential to alleviate stress, which in turn can offer relief from symptoms linked to depression and anxiety
Beyond their antioxidant might, mushrooms stand as nutritional powerhouses in comparison to traditional dietary sources, even surpassing the "superfood" reputation of certain plants and animal products. Mushrooms encompass a spectrum of benefits, including a rich supply of fiber, B vitamins, vitamin D, essential minerals, and the aforementioned potent antioxidants. Prioritizing these nutrients in your diet can play a pivotal role in enhancing emotional and mental well-being. [8]

Why Choose Antioxi for Your Medicinal Mushrooms?

If you are wondering where to buy medicinal mushrooms in SA, then Antioxi provides a wide range of powerful health-benefiting mushroom supplements. We provide organic and pure medicinal mushroom extracts to help relieve certain ailments and improve your well-being and everyday life.
We stock a wide range of mushroom capsules and mushroom extract powders to help treat many health issues, from fatigue to stress. Our mushroom supplements are 100% pure, and organic. We make sure our products meet the highest standards of quality, potency, purity and safety and we also supply mushrooms for dogs and cats.
Find out more about how to choose quality mushroom supplements here.

How To Take Medicinal Mushrooms

The clinical dose is 3-5g or 6-10 capsules daily (where 1 capsule contains 500mg). There is no quality difference between our powdered extracts and capsules - the only difference being preference of use. 
Split the dose throughout the day or take it all at once. If you have a sensitive constitution we recommend starting at a lower dose for the first few days as well as taking the mushroom extracts with food.

What to look out for when choosing a mushroom supplement?

Choosing a good quality mushroom supplement can be a daunting task, as there are many options available in the market. However, there are a few key things to consider when selecting a high-quality mushroom supplement.

Find Out More
References

1. Silverman MN, Heim CM, Nater UM, Marques AH, Sternberg EM. Neuroendocrine and immune contributors to fatigue. PM R. 2010;2(5):338-346. doi:10.1016/j.pmrj.2010.04.008

2. Janjušević L, Karaman M, Šibul F, Tommonaro G, Iodice C, Jakovljević D, Pejin B. The lignicolous fungus Trametes versicolor (L.) Lloyd (1920): a promising natural source of antiradical and AChE inhibitory agents. J Enzyme Inhib Med Chem. 2017 Dec;32(1):355-362. doi: 10.1080/14756366.2016.1252759. PMID: 28097907; PMCID: PMC6010034.

3. Pallav K, Dowd SE, Villafuerte J, Yang X, Kabbani T, Hansen J, Dennis M, Leffler DA, Newburg DS, Kelly CP. Effects of polysaccharopeptide from Trametes versicolor and amoxicillin on the gut microbiome of healthy volunteers: a randomized clinical trial. Gut Microbes. 2014 Jul 1;5(4):458-67. doi: 10.4161/gmic.29558. Epub 2014 Jul 9. PMID: 25006989.

4. Li IC, Lee LY, Tzeng TT, Chen WP, Chen YP, Shiao YJ, Chen CC. Neurohealth Properties of Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Enriched with Erinacines. Behav Neurol. 2018 May 21;2018:5802634. doi: 10.1155/2018/5802634. PMID: 29951133; PMCID: PMC5987239.

5. Delzenne NM, Bindels LB. Gut microbiota: Ganoderma lucidum, a new prebiotic agent to treat obesity? Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015 Oct;12(10):553-4. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2015.137. Epub 2015 Aug 18. PMID: 26284561.

6. Hu Y, Teng C, Yu S, Wang X, Liang J, Bai X, Dong L, Song T, Yu M, Qu J. Inonotus obliquus polysaccharide regulates gut microbiota of chronic pancreatitis in mice. AMB Express. 2017 Dec;7(1):39. doi: 10.1186/s13568-017-0341-1. Epub 2017 Feb 14. PMID: 28197985; PMCID: PMC5309192.

7. De Giani A, Bovio F, Forcella ME, Lasagni M, Fusi P, Di Gennaro P. Prebiotic Effect of Maitake Extract on a Probiotic Consortium and Its Action after Microbial Fermentation on Colorectal Cell Lines. Foods. 2021 Oct 21;10(11):2536. doi: 10.3390/foods10112536. PMID: 34828817; PMCID: PMC8617840.

8. Zajac IT, Barnes M, Cavuoto P, Wittert G, Noakes M. The Effects of Vitamin D-Enriched Mushrooms and Vitamin D3 on Cognitive Performance and Mood in Healthy Elderly Adults: A Randomised, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2020 Dec 16;12(12):3847. doi: 10.3390/nu12123847. PMID: 33339304; PMCID: PMC7766163.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any changes to your healthcare plan.
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