If you've been keeping an eye on the natural health market, a new trend may have caught your attention: mushrooms! Beyond the shiitakes, portobellos, and button mushrooms you can find in the produce section, the market offers much more.
Chaga, Reishi, Lion's mane, and Cordyceps are just a few of the exotic varieties that have suddenly started to appear in everything from extracts to powders. These are popping up in teas, coffees, chocolates, broths, smoothies, broths, shower gels, and face creams!
Many people are curious about mushroom powders for health and why they might want to use them. Yes, they are delicious and do offer a calorie-efficient source of B vitamins, proteins, and minerals.
You can utilize the bioactive properties of different mushrooms to support a variety of your body's healthy functions if you know the benefits of each species' mushroom powder. Additionally, the powder is more shelf-stable (than fresh mushrooms) and prepared to be incorporated into your diet in various ways after being grown, dried, and ground.
How is mushroom powder good for you? Below, we will look at medicinal mushroom powder benefits and pick the best mushroom powders that suit your health needs!
Let’s begin by understanding what mushroom powder is.
What Is Mushroom Powder?
Mushroom powders are dried mushrooms that have been ground into a fine powder. Of course, the type of mushroom you consume depends on which powder you take, but taking it in powder form means you're getting more of the fungi's natural nutrients!
Typical grocery store mushrooms like white button mushrooms or even wild gourmet varieties like porcini mushrooms are used to make culinary mushroom powders. They usually taste strongly of mushrooms and are used for the fifth taste, umami.
However, medicinal mushroom powders are different. They are used for their potent health benefits and are more of a functional superfood. Several health-promoting nutrients, such as a long list of micronutrients, prebiotic fibers, antioxidants, and amino acids, can be found in one scoop of a powdered medicinal mushroom. They also have a higher nutritional value per serving because it is much more concentrated.
Types Of Medicinal Mushroom Powders
In stores, there are numerous varieties of mushroom powder. They can be produced using just one type or a mixture of several.
There are organic mushroom powders, and then there are full-spectrum mushroom powders. The latter combines the advantages of each stage of the mushroom life cycle while leaving out any nasty byproducts. This translates to a higher-quality product with antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties that other mushroom extracts lack.
Each medicinal mushroom has its unique combination of polysaccharides, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and other enzymes, all of which have various effects on the body.
However, particular polysaccharides known as beta-glucans(1) give medicinal mushrooms their true healing potential. Because beta-glucans have an intriguing impact on the immune system, science and the medical sector have begun to pay close attention to them. This is because they balance immune function rather than stimulating or suppressing it.
Mushroom powder is an excellent alternative to other natural supplements for inflammation, cholesterol, and other conditions that may cause autoimmune flare-ups because of its immune-balancing qualities.
Here are the types of mushrooms that are available as powders:
The name "Lion's mane" refers to the mushroom's flowing appearance that resembles a mane, but it is also considered the "king" of all mushrooms. Because of their ability to sharpen the mind, the mushroom is regarded as a nootropic food. It's frequently added to mushroom coffee in powder form.
By stimulating Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) proteins, Lion's mane(2) powder can protect against diseases like dementia and multiple sclerosis while fighting anxiety symptoms and improving cognitive function.
For thousands of years, Chinese medicine has valued Reishi mushrooms. It is referred to as the "mushroom of immortality" and aids immune system balancing and anti-aging defense. Additionally, it functions as an adaptogenic herb that aids the body in overcoming the damaging effects of stress.
One of the best medicinal mushroom powders for supporting antioxidants and healthy aging is Chaga. According to studies, Chaga can lessen oxidative stress and slow cancer growth.
Chaga also protects from bacteria, inflammation, colds, and even severe illnesses by encouraging the production of beneficial cytokines.
Turkey tail mushroom powder stimulates your body’s natural killer cells. As a result, the mushrooms are a cancer-fighting powerhouse.
It also benefits cardiovascular, gut, and liver health, maintains vitality, balances blood sugar, and improves strength and endurance.
In addition to improving oxygen uptake, boosting exercise endurance, and assisting with muscle recovery, Cordyceps is also being researched for its potential to fight tumors(5), lower blood sugar, and reduce inflammation(6), among many other things.
Maitake powder is frequently used in managing type-2 diabetes, as it balances blood sugar levels. Some studies suggest that Maitake may help improve insulin sensitivity(7) and reduce insulin resistance to some extent. Additionally, the mushroom helps control inflammation, improve gut health, decrease blood pressure, and fight off cancer.
6 Health Benefits of Mushroom Powder
It's a good idea to note that taking medicinal mushrooms in the form of a powder or extract is the best option before discussing the health benefits of mushroom powder.
Dehydrating mushrooms can be difficult, and fresh mushrooms quickly go bad. (When was the last time you used your dehydrator properly?)
Even paleo, keto, and vegan diets can use powders and capsules because they are simple. And to top it all off, extracted powders are much more potent, delivering beneficial compounds and nutrients in a concentrated form.
Of course, the advantages of any particular powder entirely depend on the kind of mushroom. Nevertheless, here are the main benefits of medicinal mushroom powders in general.
1. Boosts Immune System Health
Polysaccharides, which have immunomodulatory effects and may improve immune system performance, are frequently found in mushrooms.
Chaga's ability to stimulate spleen lymphocytes, which regulate the immune system and increase the body's capacity to combat foreign viruses and bacteria, has been demonstrated through research.
2. Improves Brain Activity
The beneficial effects of mushroom powder on cognitive function are well known. For instance, Lion's mane powder has been shown to lessen the impact of neurodegenerative illnesses by slowing or reversing brain cell aging.
It frequently serves to encourage mental focus and clarity. As a result, it's a well-liked dietary supplement for good general cognitive health.
3. Controls Blood Sugar
It has been demonstrated that medicinal mushrooms increase insulin sensitivity and blood glucose levels, which makes them helpful for managing diabetes.
For instance, studies on the Reishi mushroom(8) indicate that it can lower mice's insulin and blood sugar levels. It was also able to change the way that blood sugar-regulating enzymes functioned.
4. Boosts Energy
As a great source of vitamin B, mushroom powder supports adrenal function and helps your body convert the nutrients you eat into usable energy. Coffees and supplements made from mushroom powder are frequently used to increase energy and combat brain fog.
5. Slows The Process Of Aging
The impressive antioxidant concentration of mushroom powder aids in the prevention of oxidative stress and the defense against free radical damage. This not only aids in disease prevention but also promotes overall health and slows aging.
6. Supports Heart Health
According to scientific research, there is a definitive link between mushrooms and heart health. For instance, Cordyceps mushroom(9) powder may help lower LDL cholesterol and prevent heart damage.
How To Use Mushroom Powder?
It's simple to incorporate mushroom powders into your diet.
Your soups and stews will taste savory with the addition of some mushroom powders. But many mushroom powders, such as Cordyceps or Reishi, can be bitter; therefore, try them out in small amounts first.
If your powder has a bitter flavor, you might try blending it into foods with more robust flavors, such as smoothies, coffee, baked goods, and pasta sauces.
Many powders are also available in capsule form. These are convenient and travel-friendly.
What Are The Side Effects Of Mushroom Powder?
A mushroom powder, that is high-quality, is considered safe when consumed in reasonable amounts. However, do not take more than is advised, and carefully read the product label for dosage recommendations.
Before taking supplements containing mushroom powder, people with autoimmune diseases should consult their doctors because some mushrooms can stimulate the immune system.
Immediately stop using mushroom supplements if you experience any adverse side effects.
How Does Mushroom Powder Make You Feel?
Different fungi have a different effects on the body. For example, some mushroom powder may energize you, while others can calm you down and help you sleep better.
Can You Take Too Much Mushroom Powder?
Too much of anything can be harmful. Therefore, it is crucial to read product labels to determine the ideal dosage and time of day to take a supplement containing mushroom powder.
There are several mushroom powder benefits. For starters, it is nutrient-dense in its compressed form. And it’s easy to incorporate into your life.
Moreover, medicinal mushrooms enhance brain function and energy levels, regulate blood sugar, boost immunity, protect the heart, and slow aging. Think about the effects of a concentrated version of fungi when you’ve now heard about the health benefits of whole mushrooms!
- Clinical and Physiological Perspectives of β-Glucans: The Past, Present, and Future, (1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5618555/
- Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake, (2)https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/biomedres/31/4/31_4_231/_article
- Extract of Ganoderma lucidum prolongs sleep time in rats, (3)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22207209/
- Antidepressant-like effects of a water-soluble extract from the culture medium of Ganoderma lucidum mycelia in rats, (4)https://bmccomplementmedtherapies.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6882-13-370
- Anti-tumor effect of Cordyceps militaris in HCV-infected human hepatocarcinoma 7.5 cells, (5)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26115996/
- Anti-inflammatory effects of Cordyceps mycelium (Paecilomyces hepiali, CBG-CS-2) in Raw264.7 murine macrophages, (6)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4371127/
- Maitake SX-Fraction: Possible Hypoglycemic Effect on Diabetes Mellitus, (7)https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/10762800152709723
- Antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic activities of aqueous extract of Hericium erinaceus in experimental diabetic rats, (8)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3852124/
- Cordycepin prevents hyperlipidemia in hamsters fed a high-fat diet via activation of AMP-activated protein kinase, (9)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20724804/