Lifestyle

Understanding Lion's Mane Effects on the Brain

Understanding Lion’s Mane Effects on the Brain

Lion’s Mane or Hericium erinaceus mushrooms have a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine to treat, cure, or prevent digestive issues. However, recent research into the fungi’s bioactive compounds is demonstrating great potential for preventing and treating brain and nerve health-related issues. While this early research is still very limited, it’s making the popular culinary mushroom with seafood-like flavor a strong candidate in promoting positive brain and nerve health-related activities.

Does Lion’s Mane Effect the Brain?

Lion’s Mane is believed to affect the brain’s nerve cells through its ability to induce the nerve growth factor (NFG). As the name implies, NFG plays a role in the growth, maintenance, proliferation, and survival of nerve cells or neurons — and your brain has approximately 80 billion nerve cells.

In fact, Lion’s Mane mushrooms and extracts have demonstrated the ability to reduce symptoms of memory loss in animal studies as well as prevent the neural damage caused by amyloid-beta plaques, which are known to accumulate in the brains of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

In 2009, researchers investigated the brain health of Japanese men and women with ages ranging from 50-80 who’ve been diagnosed with mild cognitive impartment. Half of the 30 participants were given four 250 mg tablets containing 96 percent Lion’s Mane mushroom dry powder three times a day for 16 weeks and observed for four more weeks. The published study found that the Lion’s Mane group showed significantly increased scores on the cognitive function scale compared with the placebo group, with no adverse side effects. The findings of this relatively small study show that Lion’s Mane was effective in improving mild cognitive impairment.

To date, most of our research has been limited to animal studies and test tubes in laboratory settings. While the findings are promising, we certainly need more research before we definitely claim that Hericium erinaceus is an appropriate treatment for brain health-related issues.

What Makes Lion’s Mane Unique?

To understand how Hericium erinaceus may be used as a preventative measure or to help treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, researchers have been focusing on the fungi’s unique biologically active compounds, specifically, hericenones and erinacines — two natural substances isolated from Hericium erinaceus. To date, only erinacine A has confirmed pharmacological actions in the central nervous system in rats, but it has been shown potent stimulating activity of nerve growth factor synthesis in laboratory settings.

In a study published in 2014, researchers investigated whether Hericium erinaceus and isolated Erinacine A could function as an anti-inflammatory with neuroprotective properties for stroke victims. High doses of Lion’s Mane extract were given to rats immediately after a stroke, successfully reducing the inflammation and size of their stroke-related brain injuries by 44 percent. The study was able to conclude that the treatment does offer neuroprotective effects after ischemic brain injury, scavenge free radicals, and inhibit inflammation. These findings paint Lion’s Mane as a promising agent to help with neuroprotection, which may reduce ischemic brain damage.

Potential Side Effects

While there are no human studies that have examined the side effects of Lion’s Mane mushrooms or extracts, they are available for sale in their natural form at many grocery stores for cooking or health food retailers in dietary supplement form. If you’re sensitive or allergic to other mushrooms, you should avoid Lion’s Mane, as there have been documented cases of breathing difficulty and skin rashes after exposure to the product — both of which are likely related to an allergic reaction.

In a 2016 animal study using rats to evaluate the potentially toxic effects of the extract when orally administered, researchers concluded that “ that oral administration of HEAE is safe up to 1000mg/kg and H. erinaceus consumption is relatively non-toxic.”

Lion’s Mane Benefits — Final Thoughts

Hgh-quality clinical studies to investigate how Lion’s Mane mushrooms, Hericium erinaceus extracts, or isolated compounds such as erinacine A may affect the human brain are still needed, but the published results from limited animal studies and in vitro experiments are very promising. As with any changes to your diet or wellness regimen, it’s always a good idea to seek advice from a licensed medical provider. But for aging patients whose brains struggle to maintain or form new connections, the future may one day become much better thanks to the natural ingredients contained in this fascinating fungi.


How stress affects the body

The Effects of Stress, and What You Can do About it!

What are the effects of Stress?

It's no secret that stress can harm the body. Women are especially susceptible to it. We're constantly multitasking at home, between work and caring for our children- which leaves us feeling overwhelmed and anxious about everything we need to get done by tomorrow morning. So what are the affects of stress and how does it show up in our lives? 

There is a lot of scientific evidence that shows how stress affects the body in many different ways: from increasing inflammation in the body (which has been linked with arthritis) to causing insomnia or difficulty sleeping at night. It also impacts your immune system, so your immune system becomes weaker and more vulnerable when you're more stressed out. While this may seem like an impossible task, there are some things you can do today to feel less stressed out before bedtime tonight! But first, lets' look at the signs! 

How can you tell if you are stressed out? 

The more stressed you are, the worse your health will be. This is because stress can cause many symptoms like sleeplessness and headaches, to name just two. And if that wasn't bad enough, it also exacerbates other problems such as digestive or sexual issues! That's why when we feel anxious, our body starts breaking down from all this excess pressure. Do you recognize any physical symptoms on this list? 

 How Can We Reduce The Affects Of Stress?

Stress is a constant reality for many women. It can be hard to find time and space to care for yourself when you have kids or work and responsibilities. Luckily there are plenty of ways you can decrease your stress levels in order to live a healthier lifestyle. In this blog post, we will share ten tips that may help with reducing stress levels!  

1) Meditate- If you're looking for a way to reduce stress levels and unwind, look no further than meditation. All it takes is an open mind that's willing to be patient with yourself as your practice gets off the ground. Your body will thank you for taking time out of each day just for itself! Meditation doesn't always feel natural, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives. 

2) Take care of your mental health- Make an appointment with a therapist or counsellor if needed.

3)It's easy to see why people who exercise regularly often become hooked; the benefits feel great! Exercise releases endorphins that make us feel good about ourselves. Endorphins are chemicals that your brain releases during and after exercising. 

4) Organize your time and tasks so that you know what needs to be done next. 

5) Take a timeout if you are too hard on yourself—you're not a toddler, but it helps relieve any pent-up energy after all! Spend some "me" time once in a while-- take an hour at lunch for whatever makes you happy (whether that's reading; going out with friends). 

6) Be sure to get enough sleep because lack of shut-eye can cause anxiety levels to skyrocket as well as make us more susceptible to illness/infection.

7)No matter what the song, sometimes belting out the lyrics to a favorite tune will make everything seem alright. Just listening to music can provide temporary relief from bad moods as well. Classical music by Bach or Mozart is often great for relaxing before bedtime.

8) When worries are running rampant, try slowly counting back ten numbers, then count them again forward until you feel calm down enough to sleep peacefully.

9) Pets can boost self-esteem and even ease the sting of social rejection. Studies show this really works! After a rough day, snuggle up with your pet. 

10) Laughter is one of the sillier ways to beat stress, but there's science behind it. A fit of hysterics can increase blood flow and boost immunity. Check out a hilarious YouTube video (maybe an adorable pug?) for a quick pick-me-up.

Bonus Tip!

Every day, many people turn to functional mushrooms for their high levels of stress. These fungi are not only a potential cure but also an important part of the human diet. 

Would you believe that there is even more than meets the eye when it comes to these serene little guys? Functional mushrooms have been shown time after time again to reduce feelings of anxiety by lowering cortisol concentrations which lower blood pressure while improving moods; all without any side effects! 

Curious about trying some functional mushroom products? 

Explore our mushroom extracts here! 

 


What makes functional mushrooms beneficial to our health?

Functional mushrooms are not usually found in the aisle of your local grocery store — they are rarer than the baby bellas you see in the produce section. Functional mushrooms and fungi grow on plant and animal surfaces in the wild, prospering in the most hostile conditions nature can produce. Their defining ability to thrive in almost any environment is enabled by the antioxidants, vitamins, essential minerals, and powerful sugar complexes stored in the body of the fungi.   So what makes functional mushrooms beneficial?

Functional mushrooms are known to be a reliable source of pantothenic acid, phosphorous, low-calorie protein, vitamin D, vitamin B, and selenium. And beta glutens, a sugar complex found in fungi, are known to catalyze and strengthen the human immune system. However, scientists still do not understand the reason beta glutens have this effect on the immune system. It is theorized that the sugar complex mimics infection and triggers a rapid response from the immune system. Modern research has found antiviral, antifungal, antibiotic, and antidepressive applications for chemical components in functional mushrooms. 

Much like the medicines that come from plant-based life forms, functional mushrooms contain many of the same survival chemicals that are active in humans. In fact, humans are more closely related to fungi than plants. Scientists have yet to discover the vast powers of the functional mushroom in medicine and healthcare. The vegetative part of the mushroom, called the mycelium, contains healing potential that researchers are slowly uncovering over time. For example, using solvents other than water has revealed a whole new set of active chemical complexes in fungi. 

 

 

Popular Functional Mushrooms and Their Potential Benefits

 

There are numerous species of functional mushrooms with a wide variety of health benefits. Many of these mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in medicinal practices. Today, the study of functional mushrooms is multidisciplinary, and researchers are finding new applications for functional mushroom components all the time. Just about a century ago, scientists discovered the antibiotic, Penicillin, through the study of functional mushrooms. Here’s a brief breakdown on the benefits of some of the most popular functional mushrooms on the market today:

 

Lion’s mane 

Lion’s mane is used in ancient medicinal practices, as well as in contemporary medicines. This functional mushroom produces a protein called the nerve growth factor, which helps regenerate nerve tissue in the brain, and has the potential to fight dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, lethargy, weight gain, and distractedness. 

 

Cordyceps 

The cordyceps mushroom can be found in worldwide medicines as it grows on a living host. For thousands of years, China has used the functional mushroom as a daily supplement for its ability to increase energy levels and endurance. Cordyceps also has components that activate anti-aging processes in the human body.  Modern research has proven the legitimacy of these ancient medicinal practices. When consumed, cordyceps have been shown to increase lung functions and ameliorate issues with breathing, specifically in those with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Cordyceps reduces oxidative stress and improves cold intolerance, dizziness, fatigue, and tinnitus. 

 

Reishi 

Reishi is one of the most extensively studied mushrooms in the world and is known as the mushroom of immortality for its neuroprotective properties and nerve growth factor protein (also found in lion’s mane). The fungi are bitter tasting because of their terpenoids, an active component with powerful anti-inflammatory properties, immunity complexes, and antioxidant effects. Contemporary research has revealed that the sugar complexes in reishi produce substances that mimic toxins and control the growth of malignant cancer cells. Reishi is a whole-body tonic that supports many aspects of health through its detoxifying properties. 

 

Turkey Tail 

Turkey tail is a common mushroom that can be found growing in the forests of North America on the bodies of fallen trees and dead plant life. Traditionally, turkey tail is used in cooking and teas. It is praised for its prebiotic and antioxidant components, which assist in digestion and gut health. Beta gluten in turkey tail, called Krestin, is the most frequently prescribed anticancer agent in Japan. 


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 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 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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