Are Mushrooms the New Kale?
‘Shrooms. These babies are no joke. Some medical experts in the wellness arena have become completely obsessed with the healing powers of mushrooms, even saying that eating medicinal mushrooms is the single most important thing you can do for your health! I mean, that is like a really big claim.
When we say medicinal mushrooms, we don’t mean the cute little white button ones you pick up in a blue container at Whole Foods. We are talking about the weird shaped, wild mushrooms with names you can’t even halfway pronounce and might be really hard to get your hands on. We generally try to stay away from supplementing whenever possible and get most of our nutrients from true whole foods, BUT we are willing to make an exception for our wild growing friends. Finding an awesome, high-quality capsule or powder is a great way to ensure that you are getting all these fungi have to offer on a daily basis.
Lucky for us, Alex Pesola is kind of obsessed with the shrooms, and has spent a ton of time researching the benefits and importance of them. He has offered to shed a little more light on what he knows, as well as recommend some awesome supplements that he has taken with great success.
It is pretty hard to keep up with proper nutrition in this day and age, huh? The more I’ve learned about taking care of ourselves over the last few years, the more I’ve realized the importance of protecting our neurological systems. With so much going on in our day-to-day, most people never even consider their neurological health, let alone what causes its decline.
As we are all aware, we live in a time where hormone levels are out of whack, neurological diseases like; Alzheimer's, dementia, and even depression are on the rise, and people are losing focus on many day-to-day tasks and goals. Fortunately, there are many ways to protect our nervous system and our brain through proper dieting and supplementing. Some of my favorite examples of these would be; taking omega fatty acids (i.e., fish oils, hemp seeds, chia seeds, etc.), taking neurotropics (i.e., huperzine A, GPC) and eating proper diets consisting of organic fruits and veggies.
But. One of the most overlooked aspects of protecting our neurological system is medicinal mushrooms! Organically grown mushroom mycelium and fruit bodies can dramatically help support a healthy immune system, as well as crank up our nervous system. The reason for this is due to the compatibility of the mycelium and our nerves. The mycelium almost identically mimics our neurons and nerves. There are many types of medicinal mushrooms out there such as reishi, lions mane, chaga, cordyceps, turkey tails, and so on which have been used for thousands of years by all sorts of ancient cultures around the planet. This isn't new information; it's just been simply forgotten or overlooked. Along with boosting neurological health many of these medicinal mushrooms have anti-aging, anti-cancer, anti-fungal (ironic), anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties as well hosting a plethora of essential vitamins and minerals. Below I’m going to list some of the best medicinal mushrooms that you should add to your daily regimen to help prevent a lot of the immunological and neurological degenerative diseases/symptoms that we currently have bombarding our population today.
*Eyes glaze over when you read Science? Scroll to the bottom and check out my recommendations for my favorite mushroom supplement products
Lion's Mane Mushrooms (Hericium Erinaceus):
Lion's mane mushrooms are generally considered the number one mushroom for neurological functioning. These beautiful little sea anemone looking fungi contain high amounts of different polysaccharides, beta-glucans, hericenones, and erinacines which are key compounds in helping to reduce oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress is one of the main reasons for neurological degeneration. Because of these compounds found within the lion's mane mushrooms, the stimulation of the protein NGF (Nerve Growth Factor) is being demonstrated in the body after taking the fungi for short periods of time. NGF is essential for cognition and neural growth as it reduces inflammation in the brain. It's also responsible for neurogenesis which is the process of creating new neurons, leading to permanent improvements in brain health! This mushroom is perfect for anyone currently suffering from Alzheimer's, dementia, substance abuse, muscular dystrophy, depression or brain fog.
Reishi Mushrooms (Ganoderma Lucidum):
Reishi mushrooms are incredible for cardiovascular health. Proteins found in these fungi are known to potently lower blood pressure with effects lasting up to 6 or more hours at a time! Due to its dramatic ability to decrease blood pressure, the body experiences a significant decrease in hypertension. Being in a state of hypertension is usually what leads to damaged blood vessels. Once blood vessels start to degrade it becomes much easier for them to clot which can lead to heart attacks, strokes, or heart failure. Through taking these mushrooms, you can regulate your blood pressure much more effectively helping to prevent such situations from arising. Reishi also acts as an antioxidant and are phenomenal anti-inflammatories which are great for protecting the brain against seizures.
Cordycep Mushrooms (Ophiocordyceps Sinensis):
Cordyceps, along with Lion's Mane and Reishi mushrooms are another great fungi for boosting cognition, mental clarity and stamina. The reasoning for this is due to their ability to greatly reduce inflammation in the brain caused by stress as well as lowering the overstimulation of receptors for excitatory amino acids such as glutamate and aspartate, also caused by stress. When receptors are constantly firing off causing these amino acids to flood the brain it can lead to neurological injury (such as decreases in cognition and memory) and even death.
Other Species of Medicinal Mushrooms:
Turkey Tails (Trametes Versicolor)
•Aids in digestion
•Rich in Vitamin E
Sun Blazei Mushrooms (Agaricus Subrufescens)
•Contains High Levels of Zinc, Phosphorus, and Magnesium
•Protect the Liver
Shiitake Mushrooms (Lentinula Edodes)
•Host of B Vitamins
•Great source of Vitamin D
As you can see, mushrooms have a myriad of potential health benefits. The coolest thing? All you need to do to take part in these health benefits is simply add it into their day to day diet. I know it might be unrealistic for you to be able to track down, cook, and intake all of these wild mushrooms every day, which is why mushrooms are a great candidate to supplement.
After searching through many different supplement options, I finally stumbled upon Paul Stamets, also known as the mushroom man. He is one of the leading supporters and manufacturers of these incredible gifts of nature. He currently resides in Seattle, Washington where he carefully cultivates and packages the highest quality certified organic (this is very important) mushrooms in the world! He grows and harvests over 17 different species of mushrooms and sells them in liquid or capsulized supplements. This product line is called "Host Defense" and he offers dozens of different mushroom supplements all the way from lion's mane, reishi, cordyceps, chaga, turkey tails, maitake, zhu ling and even the rare agarikon! He offers concentrates of each and also provides blends of different types combined!
Through my years of taking his products, I've personally seen incredible breakthroughs with not only my brain health, memory and cognition but also my overall immune and cardiovascular health.
I hope you've enjoyed learning more about the medicinal effects of mushrooms and are pumped up to start adding them into your day to day regime. I can guarantee you that if you decide to invest in your health now, you'll be very thankful in future! Until then, may you all be blessed with superior health and the spirit of divinity.
Love and Light,