Celebrities like Meghan Markle, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Elle Macpherson are raving about the health benefits of medicinal mushroom supplements. But is there any truth to the hype? Functional funghi were examined in great detail. Celebs like Meghan Markle, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Elle Macpherson are big proponents of adding mushrooms to their daily lattes, but not the kind you might expect.
Medicinal mushrooms are the newest wellness craze with claims ranging from boosting libido and beautiful skin to helping people battle burnout. This so-called “functional” kind is gaining popularity. The Duchess of Sussex supported a powdered coffee brand called Clevr Blends, which incorporates medicinal mushrooms, adaptogens, and probiotics.
Her Hollywood BFF, Oprah Winfrey, also publicly praised the firm. Shroom Town, a new adaptogenic coffee cafe in Piccadilly Circus, opened in London only a few weeks ago. It has been a while since we have seen the rise of functional funghi. What is the scientific basis for these findings? What, if anything, may I know? You do not have to do any legwork; we have done it for you. Thank you very much.
History of Medicinal Mushrooms
For millennia, Chinese herbalists have prescribed medicinal mushrooms as a cure-all. Polysaccharides, which include beta-glucans, are currently being utilized to treat intestinal tumours in Japan. Many Western drugs, such as penicillin, are also made from mushrooms.
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When a mushroom is labelled as “medicinal,” what makes it so?
Medicinal mushrooms, often known as “functional” mushrooms, contain higher concentrations of antioxidants and beta-glucans than the more common paper bag varieties, such as button, chestnut, oyster, and portobello. Although medicinal mushrooms are non-psychoactive, a surprising amount of scientific evidence supports their therapeutic potential, just like CBD.
Esteban Sinde Stompel, the chief research and innovation officer at Spanish mushroom specialist Hifas da Terra, claims that medicinal mushrooms have been examined and used, notably in the form of extracts, for the prevention, relief, or healing of many diseases and disorders. “They are great immunomodulators, prebiotics which balance the microbiome and adaptogens that regulate stress.”
He explains that Reishi, the “queen of mushrooms,” has been revealed to have more than 400 active biomolecules in a single mushroom. In numerous clinical investigations, beta-glucans and triterpenes have positively affected the immune system.” Reishi, Chaga, lion’s mane, and cordyceps are four of the most popular medicinal mushrooms.
In the last several years, there has been a surge of new supplements and adaptogenic coffee brands that include these antioxidant powerhouses. According to Stompel, the study discovered that 75 per cent of items on the market contained only trace amounts or no fungus. However, like with any supplement, not all products are manufactured similarly.
So, how can you differentiate a good one from a bad one? In order to find a high-quality shrooms supplement, we sought advice from specialists.
Is there anything you should look for in a high-quality medicinal mushroom supplement?
Clarissa Berry, a holistic nutritionist with the supplement business Dirtea, says that high-quality supplements should contain the mushroom’s fruiting body, whether in capsule or coffee form. Natural health benefits are provided by the high concentration of active substances in this product.
The supplement’s extraction method should also be considered. If your body easily absorbs the active substances, this can help determine their bioavailability and thus their potency,” Berry explains further. You should employ both an alcohol and a water extraction method to get the best results.
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Using both water and alcohol will ensure you get the most out of functional mushrooms, as some of their active chemicals can be dissolved. Zain Peer, a co-founder of London Nootropics, one of the companies co-hosting London’s Shroom Town pop-up cafe, recommends fruiting body extracts over raw powders because they are more bioavailable.
“A high concentration of active chemicals in the extract is what you are looking for. Since our digestive system cannot break down the cell wall of mushrooms (like we do plants to extract the beneficial chemicals), utilizing an extract implies the active compounds have been made accessible for us to absorb, even if medicinal mushrooms like lion’s mane are edible.
The fruiting body contains more active chemicals than a mycelium extract. However, mycelium does contain some as well. Amy Peacock, the founder of Earths Secret, agrees. You can not tell the ratio of mycelium to fruiting bodies if it says “full spectrum” or “some combination of mycelium and fruiting bodies.”
Ninety-nine per cent grain and 1% mushrooms might make up the final result. Most people prefer a product to be completely open and honest about its ingredients.” If at all possible, look at the product’s colour as well.
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Depending on which mushrooms are used, the colour of the mixture should be dark and rich. Especially, “Reishi and Chaga” are dark in colour. Look at the location where the mushrooms were cultivated next.
As Berry points out, “the most potent mushrooms come from wild harvest, but they are also the most expensive due to their difficulty in obtaining,” he explains. If you want a high-quality mushroom supplement at a reasonable price, look no further than mushrooms grown on natural substrates such as trees and logs. These mushrooms are grown in a manner similar to that seen in the wild but on a bigger scale.
A mushroom powder or supplement that has been developed on grain is not going to have the same concentration of active chemicals and useful medicinal components as mushrooms that have been cultivated from their natural source. Last but not least, she recommends verifying the supplement’s concentration of active ingredients and whether or not a third party has tested it.
Buy organic whenever possible to avoid exposure to harmful chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals.
How to stack mushrooms for maximum effect
Many mushroom supplements are coupled with other adaptogens (herbs that are said to aid the body’s ability to cope with stressful situations). “A ‘stack’ of medicinal mushrooms and other adaptogens can be beneficial because they work synergistically,” Peer explains.
There is a lot of Rhodiola Rosea in our Flow blend because it is an adaptogen with both physical and cognitive advantages.” They work well together to help us maintain mental clarity and concentration throughout the day.
Reishi, for example, is a great complement to ashwagandha. As Berry points out, “Reishi and Ashwagandha work synergistically to improve overall health, balance mood, increase stress resilience, and help promote sleep,” if you have decided to take Reishi for better sleep and anxiety relief.
Holy basil, maca, and turmeric are all good companions to Reishi’s mellow taste and calming effects. For many health advantages, mushrooms can be stacked with other adaptogenic herbs or antioxidants.
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Most common medicinal mushrooms and what they may do for you.
All medicinal mushrooms have in common is their ability to boost the body’s ability to fight against the disease. Relaxation, sleep, and lifespan are all benefits of Reishi — take it! According to Stempel, Reishi is the “mushroom of endless youth.
One of the best known and most studied medicinal mushrooms, it is recognized for its ability to improve immunity and neurological and immunological modulation. As Berry points out, it is widely considered an effective supplement for reducing stress and anxiety.
“Anxiety symptoms can be alleviated by taking Reishi, which has a calming effect on the nervous system. The natural antihistamine action of this plant has also been shown to help with hay fever and improve sleep quality and duration. Other studies have shown that it can assist in maintaining a healthy microbiota in the stomach and promote overall well-being.
Take Lion’s Mane for better concentration, memory, and overall mental well-being. Peer refers to the lion’s mane as the “brain mushroom.” In addition, “Its active compounds are known to cross the blood-brain barrier and stimulate the growth of new neurons in our brain.”
Berry explains that it is linked to better mental function, including better memory and concentration and increased concentration. “As a result, it is a fantastic addition to your morning ritual. Thanks to this supplement, you will also feel better, have less inflammation and have a better digestive system. Given its potential to encourage the growth and regeneration of nerve cells, research suggests it may also be a protective factor against dementia.”
To boost immunity, slow down the signs of ageing, and give you glowing skin, try taking Chaga. Chaga, a type of mushroom, is known as the “king of mushrooms,” for its high antioxidant content. “Chaga is an immune-boosting powerhouse,” adds Peacock. Increasing the immune system’s support protein, cytokines have been shown to assist the body fight viral infections.
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Charcoal-coloured fungi, known as Chaga mushrooms, thrive in frigid Taiga forests. Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to help reduce oxidative stress and counteract free radicals, which means “hello, anti-aging!” As Berry points out, Chaga is particularly beneficial to the skin.
“It has the highest antioxidant potential of all foods known, with one spoon of DIRTEA’s Chaga extract powder containing more antioxidants than 600 blueberries.” Additionally, melanin, the pigment that gives skin its colour and protects it from the sun, is a major source of melanin.
It tastes great in hot water but may also be used for other hot drinks and smoothies for an earthy flavour. I recommend taking it every day for at least one to two months for the best results, although its effects can be felt in as little as a few days.” The herb Cordyceps boosts energy, athletic performance, and libido.
Cordyceps have been linked to an increase in stamina and vitality. According to Peer, we know that it increases our aerobic capacity, oxygen flow throughout the body and the amount of the energy molecule known as ATP that is produced in our bodies. A recent study discovered that it could aid in the recovery of our circadian rhythms during jet lag, making it an excellent choice for travellers.
This natural energy boost from cordyceps does not have the crash we have come to expect from other stimulants, says Dr Berry. Additionally, it aids the body’s energy systems, oxygen supply, and respiratory function and alleviates stress. In addition to being a popular pre-workout supplement, studies show that it may benefit those with asthma.
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The antioxidants in this fruit protect against the ravages of ageing while also increasing libido and reducing weariness. Cordyceps, in a nutshell, can organically improve your self-image.”
Seven good quality mushrooms supplements
- DIRTY Mushroom Coffee Super Blend, £39.99
- Hifas Da Terra Mico-Rei-70 Capsules, £58.90
- London Nootropics Flow Coffee, £15 for 12 sachets
- Earths Secret’s Thrive complex, £35 for 60 capsules
- Wunder Workshop Superior Chaga Mushroom Powder, £25
- Anatomy Cognitive Focus + Memory Support Supplement, £24
- The Nue Co. Nootro-Focus, £65 for 60 capsules