“Medicinal” mushrooms have a magic all their own. In Part 1, we learned why they’re showing up in more supplements. Now, learn how you can use them for better health.
Here are a few of our favorite ’shrooms with potential health benefits backed by research:
Cordyceps supports respiration, oxygen delivery and ATP synthesis for energy creation. It became famous in 1993 when Chinese runners won world championships and attributed their performance, in part, to cordyceps. One study showed 600 mg per day of cordyceps, combined with fellow adaptogen rhodiola at 1,400 mg per day, improved aerobic performance when training at altitude.
Lion’s mane is considered the “brain mushroom” because studies show it stimulates the creation of nerve growth factor, which keeps neurons ticking away upstairs and may inhibit the Alzheimer’s disease process. It may also provide benefits in the cardiovascular and immunity categories.
Reishi is known in Traditional Chinese Medicine as the “mushroom of immortality.” Besides being a masterful tonic, reishi has been found to improve immune function among patients with late-stage cancer. Also, a 2017 study found when healthy people took 225 mg of reishi per day for six months, it acted as a substantial antioxidant with healthy liver effects.
Turkey tail is another immune-enhancer, thanks to the presence of beta-glucans. The National Institutes of Health and the FDA have been funding clinical trials of turkey tail to help with conventional cancer treatments. Six grams per day improved various markers of immune function.
Maitake contains beta-glucans for immune health. In fact, it might be the king of immunity—and not just in the mushroom set. It has been examined in breast cancer lab studies and seems to kill cancer cells by inducing apoptosis, or programmed cell death. In a published study of six individuals with various forms of cancer who were treated with maitake D-fraction, along with standard care, improvements were seen at doses ranging from 50–150 mg per day.
Mushrooms are not just a fungus in the forest. They have potential health benefits that make them worthy of more attention.
Betsy’s Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Consult your healthcare provider before taking a supplement, especially if you take OTC and/or prescription medications and/or have a medical condition. For example, many mushrooms thin blood.