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4 Best Mushrooms For Mental Health
Nov 07, 22
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Author: Sony Sherpa

4 Best Mushrooms For Mental Health

  • by Sony Sherpa
  • |
  • 8 min read

Medicinal mushrooms have been grabbing eyeballs due to their profound benefits on health. They are backed by numerous studies that support their ability to protect against cancers, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, maintain heart health, and fight infection.

In addition to the physical benefits of functional fungi, recent research has also realized the mental benefits of mushrooms. The fungal components are known to support our psychological well-being. And given the current state of the world, learning to take charge of our mental health and improve well-being and resilience is especially pressing.

Medicinal mushrooms like Lion's mane, Chaga, Reishi, and Cordyceps are known to maintain and restore mental health balance and improve cognition.

Below we will explore the four best mushrooms for mental health and how they can help.

Top 4 Medicinal Mushrooms For Mental Health

Medicinal fungi are a diverse group of functional foods with many health benefits and culinary applications. The more research is done on them; the more scientists discover their potential to improve our lives. Across the board, medicinal mushrooms have demonstrated potential for positive impacts on mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Here is a guide to the best mushroom for mental health, which is backed by science.

Lion's Mane Mushroom

For mental clarity, our top pick of mushrooms is the fuzzy-looking Lion's mane mushroom or Hericium erinaceus. The mushroom has been traditionally used to support the brain's health and is popularly known as "nature's brain juice" or "brain tonic." Even more, Buddhist monks have used the mushroom to heighten focus during meditation and to enhance brain power.

There is some evidence that depression may be impacted by inflammation. Lion's mane's anti-inflammatory properties elevate mood. Amycenone, extracted from Lion's mane, has antidepressant properties(1) and can be taken as a supplement to prevent depression brought on by inflammation. The brain's activity is activated by amycenone.

In postmenopausal women, the mushroom also soothes the nerves, lowering anxiety and irritability. Additionally, premenopausal symptoms like fatigue and mood swings are improved by Lion's mane.

Research has shown that Lion's mane also increases the levels of the brain's natural antidepressant, Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF).  

Patients with recurrent depressive disorder have been shown to benefit from amyloban(2), a bioactive compound extracted from the mushroom. The compounds help improve neurocognitive function.  Another study(3) discovered that the mushroom significantly decreased anxiety and depression. Three capsules containing Hericium erinaceus extracts were taken orally for eight weeks to get the results.

In 2008, researchers conducted a clinical trial(4) and discovered that Hericium erinaceus slightly enhanced cognitive function. For 16 weeks, the participants took four 250 mg tablets containing 96% Lion's mane dry powder. The older Japanese men and women who participated in the study demonstrated noticeably higher cognitive function scale scores at the end of the research.

Chaga Mushroom

Chaga is one of the so-called "adaptogens," which help the body and its systems regain balance. It seems to act on the HPA axis, promoting adrenal function and enhancing resistance to stress over time.

By inducing the necessary physiological reactions, Inonotus obliquus mushrooms assist the body and the brain in adapting to stress. It restores the body's balance and lessens fatigue. Even in clinical studies(5), it has been shown that Chaga has an anti-fatigue effect on the body. All of this can enhance mental ability even during difficult and stressful times.

Reishi Mushroom

Reishi Mushroom

Reishi has a long history of use in ancient China for treating sleep disorders, lowering stress, and calming the mind. It has the most potent anti-inflammatory properties of all mushrooms, which improves brain performance by reducing inflammation and allowing more blood and oxygen to reach the brain.

Triterpenes, a calming compound abundant in Reishi, can support deeper restful sleep and help us relax, which can be challenging to achieve if your mind is racing.

In one study(6), researchers looked into whether Reishi could help anxious mice. Reishi extract-infused mice could stay in the elevated plus maze much longer than control mice (EPM). EPM is a frequently employed index of rodent anxiety.

In a different animal study(7), the Reishi extract demonstrated a sedative effect on the central nervous system. In addition, Reishi extract-fed mice showed less anxiety-related behaviors than those that weren't, according to research.

Chronic illness can result in anxiety and depression. Anxiety can occasionally be a side effect of another condition, like fatigue. Cancer-related fatigue is frequently reported by breast cancer patients (CRF). CRF sometimes causes anxiety and emotional distress. Reishi promoted a better overall quality of life, including reduced anxiety, according to one study(8) involving 48 patients.

Anxiety and sleep are mutually dependent. It can be challenging to fall asleep when you're always anxious. However, sleep deprivation can affect your emotions, including anxiety. Reishi mushroom may be able to lengthen your periods of sleep by speeding up the process of falling asleep.

According to a mouse study(9), Reishi mushrooms may affect a serotonin and gut bacteria pathway. Additionally, it appears that Reishi has GABAergic activity(10), which controls sleep. Reishi may lessen occasional anxiety and stress by fostering better sleep.

Cordyceps Mushroom

Cordyceps mushrooms have been shown to improve mood. In addition, early research on humans and animals indicates that Cordyceps(11) supports a healthy inflammatory response. Theoretically, a normal inflammatory reaction may lessen occasional stress and anxiety.

According to studies on animals, Cordyceps mushrooms may help maintain stable blood sugar(12) levels. In a study, mice's mood(13) seems to be improved by this effect. 

FAQs

Are Mushrooms Good For You Mentally?

Mushrooms like Lion's mane, Reishi, Chaga, and Cordyceps help improve mood and calm frazzled nerves. Several clinical research has demonstrated the mental benefits of these functional mushrooms.

Which Mushroom Is Good For Mental Health?

Several culinary and medicinal mushrooms are good for mental health. The top functional fungi for the brain, backed by numerous research, are Lion's mane, Reishi, Cordyceps, and Chaga.

What Mushrooms Are Best For Anxiety And Depression?

Lion's Mane, Reishi, and Cordyceps are known to help with anxiety and depression. In addition, some of these mushrooms are adaptogens, helping the body improve mood and resilience to stress.

Final Thoughts

Mushrooms supplements are a great way to naturally utilize fungi's power to support mental health. Reishi, Lion's mane, Chaga, and Cordyceps are some of the best mushrooms for mental health, helping with depression, anxiety, and poor sleep. We must take all the necessary steps to support our mental health during trying times while also keeping an eye out for family members and friends who might also be struggling.

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References

  1. Effects of amycenone on serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-10, and depression-like behavior in mice after lipopolysaccharide administration, (1)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26150007/ 
  2. Marked improvement of neurocognitive impairment after treatment with compounds from Hericium erinaceum: A case study of recurrent depressive disorder, (2)https://www.infona.pl/resource/bwmeta1.element.elsevier-8b89f9d9-7a43-3cce-a194-7431268fd314 
  3. Hericium erinaceus Improves Mood and Sleep Disorders in Patients Affected by Overweight or Obesity: Could Circulating Pro-BDNF and BDNF Be Potential Biomarkers?, (3)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6500611/ 
  4. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18844328/ 
  5. Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity, (5)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3991026/ 
  6. Evaluation of Antianxiety Potential of Four Ganoderma (Agaricomycetes) Species from India in Mice, (6)https://www.dl.begellhouse.com/journals/708ae68d64b17c52,07a0495239bddf76,09cface64fd6cf48.html 
  7. CNS anti-depressant, anxiolytic and analgesic effects of Ganoderma applanatum (mushroom) along with ligand-receptor binding screening provide new insights: Multi-disciplinary approaches, (7)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405580821001564?via%3Dihub 
  8. Health anxiety and illness-related fears across diverse chronic illnesses: A systematic review on conceptualization, measurement, prevalence, course, and correlates, (8)https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0234124 
  9. Ganoderma lucidum promotes sleep through a gut microbiota-dependent and serotonin-involved pathway in mice, (9)https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-92913-6 
  10. Extract of Ganoderma lucidum potentiates pentobarbital-induced sleep via a GABAergic mechanism, (10)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S009130570700086X?via%3Dihub 
  11. Anti-inflammatory and related pharmacological activities of cultured mycelia and fruiting bodies of Cordyceps militaris, (11)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378874104005148?via%3Dihub 
  12. The anti-hyperglycemic activity of the fruiting body of Cordyceps in diabetic rats induced by nicotinamide and streptozotocin, (12)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0024320504001134?via%3Dihub 
  13. A Contemporary Treatment Approach to Both Diabetes and Depression by Cordyceps sinensis, Rich in Vanadium, (13)https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2010/871546/
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