What are Beta-Glucans and Why Do They Matter?

There are a plethora of different compounds found in mushrooms, many of which can be valuable to your health. This includes several types of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. These ingredients have been lauded for their myriad of health benefits including neuroprotection, anti-inflammatory, and immune-supporting.

 

Beta-glucans have been getting a lot of attention lately thanks to their wide range of wellness benefits. They’re often present in mushrooms. But what exactly are beta-glucans and why are they good for you? Read on to learn more!

 

What is a Beta-Glucan?

 

A type of polysaccharide, beta-glucans are soluble fiber molecules that live in the cell walls of mushrooms as well as certain bacteria, yeast, and even some plants. They have been found to aid in digestion by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates and cholesterol. Further analysis found consuming beta-glucans can help reduce “bad” cholesterol levels in the body, thereby promoting cardiovascular health.

 

In addition to aiding in controlling bad cholesterol, beta-glucans may also benefit heart health by boosting metabolic function. They may also help keep blood sugar levels in check, further helping prevent and treat diabetes.

 

Beta-Glucans and Immune System Function

 

Beta-glucans have also been shown to help boost immunity. The compounds act as immunomodulatory agents, stimulating certain cells within the immune system to help it perform better. Beta-glucans also boost white blood cell function, making it easier for them to fight back against attack.

 

Beta-glucans have been used in Japan to help aid cancer treatments for decades. One Japanese study saw beta-glucans reduce tumor cells in mice, leading healthcare professionals in the country to encourage the use of the compounds in immunoadjuvant therapy.

 

Final Thought

 

With so many different mushroom products on the market, it can be hard to determine which are the best. Blends chock full of beta-glucans can help promote heart health as well as immune system function so always be sure to check for them before purchasing.

 

Slim Winkel’s line of functional mushroom extracts contains high levels of beta-glucans. Want to try them for yourself? Sign up for our newsletter now and you’ll get a discount code for 10% off your first order!


What is a CoA and Why Does it Matter?

Understanding what we consume goes deeper than the ingredient list on a package. We also need to trust the ingredients themselves are safe and exactly what they claim to be. But how do we know what a brand says is true?

 

One way is through proper documentation throughout the supply chain. Required regulatory checks, as well as the voluntary third-party examination of manufacturing practices and products themselves, help companies put out dependable and effective offerings. 


A certificate of analysis (CoA) is one tool brands use to guarantee product quality. Some heavily regulated industries require the use of CoAs to ensure consumer safety and maintain compliance. 

 

But what exactly is a CoA and why is it important? Read on to find out!

 

What is a Certificate of Analysis?

 

According to Law Insider, a certificate of analysis is “a document, signed by an authorized representative of the manufacturer, describing specifications for, and testing methods applied to the product, and the results thereof.”

 

In layman’s terms, a CoA helps ensure product makers receive exactly what they ordered while simultaneously increasing consumer confidence. These verified documents outline product specifications, laboratory testing results, manufacturing and transport dates, and other pertinent information that proves a company is delivering what it promises.

 

CoAs live at the intersection of materials suppliers, production facilities, and labs with the function of confirming important data while also providing a chain of custody. They may differ slightly between industries but serve the same purpose: to guarantee safety and quality.

 

Differences in CoAs - Going Above and Beyond

 

As we mentioned previously, CoAs may vary from supply chain to supply chain. They can also differ within industries depending on the type of business or individual brand preference. 

 

Some companies can add on certain types of testing to boost confidence, going above and beyond to prove their products are the best. For example, they may choose to opt-in to check for the presence of certain toxic compounds even if not required in order to show they’re willing to go the extra mile for their customer. Slim Winkel, unlike very few other companies, chooses to make their CoAs available for the end consumer to offer full transparency.

 

Final Thought

 

A certificate of analysis is an important part of the production process for many finished goods. It confirms company claims, protects consumers, and provides an opportunity to boost consumer confidence. 

 

Curious about what Slim Winkel has in their Mycowerx Infinite 6-in-1 blend? Check it out now!


Synergistic Stacking - Combining Compounds for Maximum Benefit

The world is full of synergy. Different beings coexist throughout complex ecosystems creating perfect harmony. Chefs create cuisines combining unique ingredients that somehow come together in an orchestra of flavor.

 

There are also synergies between different compounds, especially in the world of plant medicine. People may opt to combine ingredients in a practice called stacking. It is a concept that is being more widely explored as people become more inspired to take control of their health (and their understanding of it).

 

Stacking is becoming more prevalent in the realm of functional mushrooms — read on to learn more!

 

What is Stacking?

 

The art of stacking sees people choosing ingredients that can work together synergistically and taking them in conjunction with one another. This may be in the form of powders or all-in-one capsules. The compounds may increase the potency of each other and certainly maximizes the efficiency of the overall regimen.

 

Some mushrooms have been found to work even better when used alongside other fungi or similar natural ingredients. But how did the practice of stacking become so prevalent?

 

“Stacking” Mushrooms for Maximum Benefit

 

The term “stacking” became popularized by famed mycologist Paul Stamets thanks to his “Stamets Stack” protocol that has been widely adopted by those seeking the benefits of both activated and functional mushrooms. His recipe calls for equal parts activated mushroom, lion’s mane, and niacin. The addition of the niacin specifically promotes the performance of the fungi components. 

 

As research and development into functional mushrooms continues, the number of products meant to tap into the synergistic stacking potential has continued to rapidly evolve. 

 

Mycowerx: 6 Mushrooms in One Tiny But Powerful Package

 

The Mycowerx line from Slim Winkel contains six powerful functional mushrooms meant to boost wellness in one convenient and potent package. A well-curated blend of chaga, lion’s mane, cordyceps, reishi, turkey tail, and maitake offers a wide array of benefits from improved cognitive function to the promotion of good gut bacteria in an easy-to-consume capsule. Mycowerx takes stacking to the next level, providing a simple way to get the best out of six fantastic fungi.

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Benefits of Turkey Tail

There are many fantastic functional mushrooms offering a myriad of potential wellness benefits. One popular fungus revered for its medicinal properties is turkey tail. Also referred to by its scientific names Trametes Versicolor and Coriolus Versicolor, turkey tail mushrooms have brilliant streaks of brown and red hues resembling — you guessed it, the tail of a wild turkey.

Used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years, turkey tail is treasured for its wide range of health benefits. These mushrooms, most often found growing on dead hardwood trees, are rich in immune system-improving compounds. People also love turkey tail for its reputation as a longevity booster and its effectiveness in aiding gut health.

Want to learn more about how turkey tail can enhance your overall health? Read on for our complete breakdown!

 

Turkey Tail — Chock Full of Antioxidants

Trametes Versicolor is packed with several different antioxidants including flavonoids and phenols. In fact, one 2017 analysis found turkey tail mushrooms contain over three dozen phenolic compounds. These molecules are capable of everything from eliminating free radicals (useful in anti-aging efforts) to reducing inflammation. They also release immunoprotective proteins, which can help ensure your body is able to fight off illness when you start to feel under the weather.

Turkey tail also contains compounds called polysaccharopeptide (PSP) and polysaccharide-K (PSK). These powerful constituents are immune-system enhancers, working to increase the type of white blood cells that battle infections while simultaneously activating cells to protect against harmful bacteria. PSK and PSP have shown an ability to limit the growth of cancer cells, and PSK is even approved in Japan as an adjunct anticancer treatment.

 

Turkey Tail and Gut Health

In addition to its impressive ability to boost immune function, turkey tail is also lauded for its positive impacts on gut health. Turkey tail contains prebiotics, which helps sustain healthy gut bacteria and keep your digestive system functioning optimally. One 2014 study found that the PSP extracted from turkey tail mushrooms reduced the development of potentially dangerous E. coli bacteria while at the same time boosting the microbiome within the gut, an important factor in overall digestive performance.

Turkey tail mushrooms may also help fight obesity. In 2019, Chinese researchers discovered that beta-glucans found in the mushroom helped reduce obesity in animals by strengthening gut bacteria responsible for metabolic performance. For those struggling with diabetes, a 2020 study revealed the mushroom appeared to reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance in laboratory mice, a promising result that could impact the ways in which doctors treat diabetes in the future. 

 

Turkey Tail: Pretty AND Potent

Turkey tail isn’t just adored around the world for its visually stunning appearance — it’s also revered for its health potential. Long consumed as a staple in Eastern medicine, this mushroom is starting to gain popularity in the West thanks to its multitude of benefits. Whether you’re looking to increase immune function or improve digestive health, turkey tail can seemingly do it all.

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Benefits of Reishi

Functional mushrooms have been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years but have experienced a rise in popularity in the West over the last several years. One fungus garnering a lot of attention is reishi. Also known by its scientific name Ganoderma lucidum, reishi earned the nickname “the mushroom of immortality” thanks to its bevy of health benefits. Typically found on the base of deciduous trees, these mushrooms have a distinctive woodsy color and a glossy exterior.

From boosting immune system function to fighting depression, this adaptogen is a superfood in every sense of the word thanks to its rich mix of antioxidants. Read on to discover more about the multitude of benefits reishi has to offer.

 

Reishi and Immunity

One of the reishi mushroom’s most compelling attributes is its ability to improve immune system performance. One 2010 study found that reishi may have a positive effect on the way white blood cells perform in the body, enhancing their capacity to fight infections. Another study found that Ganoderma lucidum improved lymphocyte (another type of white blood cell) function in athletes exposed to stress. The mushroom is widely used in Asian cultures as an adjunct treatment for people battling cancer thanks to its immune-boosting capabilities as well as its potential as an anti-tumor tool.

 

Reishi and the Brain

Ganoderma lucidum is often touted for its positive effects for those suffering from fatigue and/or depression. In one trial involving 48 breast cancer survivors, the mushroom was found to be effective at reducing fatigue and anxiety while also improving volunteers’ overall quality of life. Another study focused on patients with neurasthenia, a nervous system condition, found that reishi helped ease anxiety and increased participants' sense of wellbeing.

Reishi has also been shown to act as a neuroprotectant; helping to keep the mind functioning at peak performance. The compounds found in this fungus may protect against Alzheimer’s disease by reducing the risk of oxidative stress in the brain. 

Scientists have also found that reishi reduced seizure activity in mice, a promising result that may impact future treatment.

 

Reishi and the Heart

In addition to their immune and mood-boosting powers, reishi mushrooms have demonstrated potential in keeping your heart healthy. For example, one study suggested the fungus may increase the amount of “good” cholesterol in the body while simultaneously reducing “bad” triglycerides. Researchers in Japan also concluded that reishi could help keep high blood pressure in check.

 

The Mushroom of Immortality — A Gift From Mother Earth

Reishi is quickly becoming one of the most popular functional mushrooms on the market — and for good reason. Between its abilities as an immune system booster, a mood enhancer, and its positive impacts on the heart and brain, it’s no wonder the “mushroom of immortality” is in high demand. As more research is conducted on this functional mushroom, it is all but certain that even more benefits will soon be unearthed.

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Benefits of Cordyceps

Cordyceps have been used for their medicinal benefits for thousands of years. Evidence of this use can be found in ancient eastern writings and longstanding holistic health practices. Traditional healers describe cordyceps as a tonic for all illnesses. Modernized cultivation techniques coupled with high consumer demand for cordyceps have made this functional mushroom a premium dietary supplement all around the world. It remains popular because of its wide array of health benefits that have been further legitimized by modern scientific research. 

Cordyceps are a type of parasitic fungi that grow on the larvae of insects and attack the host so that the fungi may flourish. The aspects of the mushroom that allow it to grow on its hosts have been harnessed by humans for the treatment of numerous ailments and health deficiencies. 

 

What Are the Benefits of Cordyceps?

The potential and proven health benefits of cordyceps are vast and impressive. Throughout history, cordyceps has been used to treat cancer, decrease fatigue, and support optimal sexual and athletic performance. 

When a person consumes cordyceps, the fungi deliver energy to muscles to increase physical endurance and strength. Studies have shown that consuming the fungi allows athletes to more efficiently metabolize food into energy.  Not only does it aid the metabolic process, but cordyceps studies have also shown to produce improvements in oxygen intake and to decrease the build-up of lactic acid during physical activity. The components of cordyceps that improve endurance are also thought to improve libido, which is a traditional medical use for fungi.

Building upon ancient practices, modern research have confirmed that antioxidants in cordyceps have the power to produce anti-aging effects in the elderly. A 2011 study using cordyceps in mice found that the fungi reversed age-related changes in the way our DNA is converted into functional products, such as protein. The study found that the mice given cordyceps lived significantly longer than the mice to whom the fungi were not administered. Cordyceps further helps fight cell damage by neutralizing free radicals that contribute to disease and aging. 

Exciting contemporary research on cordyceps has also revealed its potential to treat lung, colon, skin, and liver cancers. Not only was the fungi found to help eliminate tumors, but it also reduced common complications with some cancer treatments. 

For people with diabetes and heart health concerns, cordyceps can also be beneficial. Cordyceps has been shown to control blood sugar levels and protect against kidney disease, a common complication experienced by people with diabetes. And in eastern countries, cordyceps is already approved as a treatment for arrhythmia, a condition causing the heart to beat irregularly. Elements of the fungi demonstrate beneficial effects on cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and other heart-protecting functions. These aspects of cordyceps may also have the potential to help with weight loss. 

 

Cordyceps - A Unique Fungi For Your Health

There are a plethora of reasons to consider including cordyceps supplements into one’s health care routine. Whether a person is looking to alleviate symptoms of chronic health conditions, protect themselves against the effects of aging, increase stamina, improve vitality, or improve mental wellbeing, cordyceps has the potential to help. 

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Benefits of Maitake

Functional mushrooms have been consistently used in Eastern cultures for centuries and are now being more widely used than ever in the West by people looking for natural ways to improve their overall wellness. Maitake, a feathered, woody-flavored fungus found on the oak and other hardwood trees, is becoming more popular thanks to its bevy of benefits. 

It’s also a mushroom of many names. In addition to its scientific name Grifola frondosa, this mushroom is known by the nicknames “hen-of-the-woods,” dancing mushroom (thanks to the way it invigorates those who eat it), and king of the mushrooms — maitakes can grow to over 100 pounds.

Packed full of powerful antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, this mushroom is especially useful, especially among those seeking to improve their immune system function. Want to discover all the ways in which maitake mushrooms may work for you? Read our guide below!

Maitake’s Antioxidant Magic

Many of maitake’s health benefits come from its potent combination of antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, minerals,  and beta-glucans. These compounds have been touted for their impressive array of abilities throughout the body. Antioxidants are revered for promoting heart health while also acting as an anti-aging aid and neuroprotectant. Foods containing antioxidants are in high demand and maitake is chock full of them.

Beta-glucans, a large molecule soluble fiber and type of polysaccharide, are well known for their array of positive health effects. A 2012 study indicated maitake-extracted beta-glucans (MBGs) could increase immune system performance. MBGs were shown to strengthen leukocytes (a type of white blood cell) and boost overall myeloid cell function in bone marrow transplants and certain cancer treatments.

Maitake’s Effects on Cholesterol and Type 2 Diabetes 

Hen-of-the-woods has also proven to be beneficial in maintaining heart health, an important distinction, especially in Western cultures. A Japanese study found maitake powder reduced cholesterol in mice while simultaneously increasing important energy-boosting fatty acids. It was theorized the extract was capable of strengthening the arteries. While the mushroom did not reduce triglycerides, the outcome was still intriguing.

Maitake has also shown promise as a potential treatment for type 2 diabetes. A 2001 case study revealed the mushroom helped maintain proper blood sugar levels and reduce insulin in a patient with the condition. In 2015, researchers discovered maitake was beneficial in regulating glucose levels in diabetic and hyperglycemic mice. While more research needs to be conducted, the results of both studies were indicators of the mushroom’s future role in diabetic treatments.

The Dancing Mushroom and You

Maitake mushrooms have been celebrated for centuries for their rejuvenating and immunity-boosting capabilities. They have also been touted for their positive benefits throughout the body and as a promising remedy for a variety of ailments. Packed with wellness-enhancing compounds like antioxidants and beta-glucans, maitake mushrooms offer quite the bang for your buck. Continued research into the Grifola frondosa fungus will certainly reveal even more exciting health uses.

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