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Do mushrooms make you smarter?

Posted by Sonya Laurenssen on

Mushrooms: these plentiful fungi come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, colours, and varieties, possessing unique flavours, textures, and characteristics that humans have been using to improve their health for centuries. 

One part of the body that can benefit from consuming certain mushrooms is the brain. A growing body of research suggests that varieties like lion’s mane, reishi, and cordyceps can help to boost cognitive function, memory, and may even protect the brain from inflammation and stress that, when gone unchecked, can lead to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Lion's Mane: This type of mushroom, a round, snow-white variety sometimes referred to as the “pom pom” mushroom for its shaggy, clustered spines, is a visual stunner that can’t be missed. It has been shown in preclinical trials to improve recognition and memory. Another study showed that lion’s mane may have the potential to treat or prevent conditions associated with cognitive function, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. A study completed in Japan found that seniors with mild cognitive impairment experienced improved cognitive function while taking a lion’s mane supplement. You can find lion’s mane in our Rest and Focus blends.

Reishi, a stringy brown mushroom with white and yellow tips that resemble candy corn, is thought to have several anti-aging properties. One study found that it was able to enhance neurogenesis, or the brain’s ability to produce new neurons. Researchers behind the study believe that reishi could be used as a supplement to help treat neurodegenerative diseases like the ones mentioned above. Reishi is also thought to have neuroprotective qualities, as several studies have shown it can protect the brain from inflammation. These mushrooms have also been shown to be beneficial for stroke sufferers, potentially limiting the size of the stroke-affected area in the brain, and protecting the brain from oxygen starvation. You can find reishi in our Rest and Focus blends.

Cordyceps is an orange, finger-shaped mushroom that grows from the body of a dead caterpillar, thus a rather rare specimen and likely not something you’ll find on a walk through the forest. The brain-benefiting mushroom has been shown in studies to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Preclinical studies show that it may also act as an antidepressant, and that it can help to improve learning and memory. This is because cordyceps are high in antioxidants, molecules that fight free radicals in the body. You can find cordyceps in our Energize and Protect blends.

- Written by Amanda Siebert

cognitive function Cordyceps Functional Foods inflammation Lion's Mane Rieshi stress relief Turkey Tail

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