Although the brain remains the most mysterious organ in the body, our knowledge of the brains functions is growing rapidly. The brain’s functions have deeply intrigued doctors, psychologists, scientists, and philosophers for centuries. To this day, we do not have a set definition of consciousness as our understanding of it is constantly morphing and evolving.
We are slowly gaining a clearer understanding of things that increase and decrease brain function. One hot topic in the discussion of brain health is mushrooms. In this article, we will be going over some medicinal mushrooms that can improve brain function in humans. But first, let’s look at what medicinal mushrooms are before moving on to suggested mushrooms to improve brain function.
What are medicinal mushrooms?
Medicinal mushrooms is a blanket term for a category of fungi that contain metabolites. Some mushrooms can be induced to produce metabolites through biotechnology as well, making them fall into the medicinal mushroom category. However, in this article, I will only be mentioning mushrooms that are medicinal in their ‘true form’, without the interference of growth manipulation and/or excessive processing.
These healing mushrooms often host various benefits. Some medicinal fungi can protect against certain diseases and/or cancers. Many of these mushrooms also host powerful anti-inflammatory properties and boost the immune system. While these benefits are impressive, we will only be focusing on the brain-boosting properties of medicinal mushrooms.
Mushrooms that improve brain health
Many mushrooms are incredibly beneficial for the brain. The best suggestion for the top three most effective mushrooms is Chaga, Lion’s mane and Reishi.
These three types of fungi have demonstrated their ability to promote brain health due to a handful of scientific studies. We have observed these medicinal mushrooms reducing neuroinflammation, anxiety, depression, plaque formation, oxidative stress levels and even mild cognitive impairment.
These medicinal mushrooms work separately and as a unit to protect neurons from damage while supporting new neural growth and brain pathways. Let’s look at each of these mushrooms a bit closer, starting with lion’s mane mushroom.
How does Lion’s Mane Mushroom promote brain health?
Lion’s mane mushroom is the most well-known and well-researched of the three mushrooms we will be looking at in this article. It is known for its wide range of benefits, many of them being for the brain. In fact, this beloved mushroom is commonly referred to as a ‘Nootropic’. Essentially, a Nootropic is a category of health supplements that specifically benefit cognitive function in the brain. While many medicinal mushrooms are technically Nootropics, lion’s mane mushroom is one of the few that is commonly classed as a Nootropic. And for good reason, too!
This beautiful mushroom has strong properties that support neurons in many stages. Lion’s mane is jam-packed with a vast array of potent bioactive compounds that stimulate the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), which has been shown through multiple studies. In one double-blind study, researchers discovered that supplementing Lion’s mane regularly resulted in improved memory and increased cognitive function! This can have an array of positive effects on one’s brain. You can think more clearly, more sharply and improve your memory at the same time. Not to mention that Lion’s mane also has shown us its powerful anti-stress, anti-anxiety and anti-depression effects. This mushroom is good for the mind, body and soul.
How does Chaga Mushroom promote brain health?
While lion’s mane mushroom often gets the most hype when it comes to mushrooms for your brain, Chaga is another exceptional mushroom to introduce to your supplement stack if you are looking to treat your brain right. Like many medicinal mushrooms, Chaga contains anti-inflammatory properties. However, there is something more special to this fact. Something that many people do not know is that Chaga actually has the highest score on the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) compared to any other food. In fact, Chaga has up to 5x more anti-oxidants than any other food source in the World! Yes, you heard that right. Chaga has more antioxidants than any other food. That being said, its anti-inflammatory powers are out of this World.
Chaga is also an excellent adaptogen for reducing stress. When stress is reduced, we often sleep better. Some individuals have successfully and effectively treated mild insomnia by supplementing Chaga regularly. This medicinal mushroom is an all-around good choice if you are looking to improve the physical and mental health of your brain.
How does Reishi Mushroom promote brain health?
Like both of the mushrooms above, Reishi is also an adaptogen. Many individuals manage their stress and anxiety levels by supplementing this mushroom. Many medicinal mushrooms are beneficial for mental health, which is most definitely a part of brain health. Reishi is a powerful adaptogenic mushroom that modulates the stress response by activating the HPA axis through its polysaccharides compounds. Additionally, Reishi increases the effectiveness of the adrenal glands and also supports a balanced secretion of stress hormones! Undoubtedly, this is a great mushroom if you struggle with high stress and/or anxiety levels.
This mushroom has been applied as a longevity method for centuries. Throughout history, individuals have used the powerful compounds in Reishi to strengthen vitality, replenish energy, and support the heart, kidneys, liver and brain! All of these components contribute to promoting one’s well-being and extending general lifespan. Not only is this mushroom great for your brain, but also a fantastic supplement for many other regions of the body.
Medicinal mushrooms are quickly becoming one of the most beneficial supplements that you can take for improving brain health. Lion’s mane mushroom, Chaga and Reishi are the three most effective medicinal mushrooms for boosting cognitive function with little to no side effects.
It is no surprise to us that incorporating different medicinal mushrooms into the routine of many elite athletes, entrepreneurs and others who require heightened performance is the new norm. If you are looking to improve memory, mood, alertness, focus, concentration and more, then medicinal mushrooms are for you!
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