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We Analyzed Mushrooms For Mood: Our Expert Take
Jul 28, 23
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Author: Sony Sherpa

We Analyzed Mushrooms For Mood: Our Expert Take

  • by Sony Sherpa

    Medically reviewed by

    Sony Sherpa

    Dr. Sony Sherpa is a board-certified Clinical Doctor and dedicated advocate for holistic medicine, specializing in functional mushrooms. Her blend of medical expertise and passion for alternative wellness lends authenticity to her role as a contributor for Natures Rise.

  • |
  • 10 min read
We Analyzed Mushrooms For Mood: Our Expert Take

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, mood enhancement and stress reduction were significant issues. During that time, supplements for mood and brain health became more popular than ever, and the search for mood support continues long after high-stress pandemic conditions have passed.

In response, a slew of new snacks, beverages, and pills have hit the market, all promising to alleviate stress and promote relaxation. But one solution has been around for centuries and is becoming more popular: mushroom supplements for mood.

If you need some stress-relieving TLC, we've compiled a list of the best mushrooms for mood.

Understanding Mood And Its Influences

Understanding Mood And Its Influences

Before we dive into our favorite mushrooms for mood support, we need to chat about moods and what influences them. Remember, maintaining a balanced and positive mood for mental and emotional wellness is crucial.

Mood is more than emotions: it is an affected state, a phrase defining states connected with feeling. Food choices, exercise, sleep patterns, lifestyle habits, social interactions, and physiological diseases such as depression can all impact mood.

Neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that transfer messages between neurons in your brain, help your body manage your mood. Each neurotransmitter is linked to a particular emotion or function, such as:

  • Dopamine, widely known as the "feel-good hormone," impacts motivation and reward.
  • Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that modulates mood.
  • Norepinephrine keeps you alert and motivates you.
  • Endorphins both relieve pain and generate a sensation of reward.
  • GABA relaxes you by calming the brain.
  • Glutamate activates neurons and helps to regulate mood.
  • Oxytocin fosters connection and produces positive emotions such as love.

Neurotransmitters, including the brain, pituitary gland, adrenal glands, and gastrointestinal tract, are produced throughout the body. When this intricate system functions properly, your mood remains reasonably stable.

The Rise of Mushrooms for Mood Enhancement

The Rise of Mushrooms for Mood Enhancement

A positive mood can boost your ambition and increase your productivity, social life, and physical health. While no miraculous cure for stress exists, functional mushrooms may alleviate some elements that drive mood.

Because of their distinct bioactive components and possible effects as adaptogens, mushrooms are gaining popularity as mood boosters.

The term 'adaptogen' refers to any herb or plant (including mushrooms) that increases our tolerance to emotional, physical, chemical, environmental, and biological stressors. They not only help us cope with immediate stress, but they may also assist our bodies in controlling our overall reaction to stress and anxiety when taken in moderation.

The body's stress response is complicated and involves numerous biological systems, with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis serving as the primary stress response mechanism. The HPA axis' primary function is to release stress-related hormones known as glucocorticoids. Furthermore, adaptogens affect the HPA axis (and other stress response systems) by "hacking" how the body reacts to stress.

When responding to stress, adaptogens help to prolong the resistance phase and assist the body to establish homeostasis (or stability). Rather than a quick fix (which we all know doesn't work), adaptogens are in it for the long haul.

So, let's meet our favorite mushrooms for mood.

Notable Mood-Boosting Mushrooms

Reishi for relaxation

Reishi for relaxation

We can't discuss stress management without mentioning Reishi, the mushroom renowned as "the supreme protector." Reishi is most recognized for its relaxing and stress-relieving properties. Still, it is also high in antioxidants and compounds that assist the body in regulating stress in various ways.

When you're worried and jittery, it's usually due to increased cortisol levels in your body. And if you've had a very stressful day, your cortisol levels may be considerably higher.

Reishi not only helps lower elevated cortisol levels but may also assist control of stress reactions via polypeptides. These polypeptides work together with endorphins and neurotransmitters in your brain to calm the central nervous system.

But Reishi can help with more than just stress and anxiety; it may also help with insomnia. Have you ever had a night where your thoughts just wouldn't shut off? On the other hand, Reishi acts like a nerve tonic, preventing the alarm signal from reaching the brain. Goodbye, distracting thoughts, and hello, blissful slumber!

Lion’s mane for brain power

Lion’s mane for brain power

This unusual-looking fungus is most known for improving cognitive performance, but it doesn't end there. According to research, Lion's mane has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can even increase nerve growth, cell growth, and cell rejuvenation. This is supposed to assist in improving hippocampal function, which is responsible for processing emotions and memories in the brain.

Lion's mane has also been shown to improve blood flow, providing your body with more oxygen. Of course, this includes the brain. What happens when the brain receives additional oxygen? It performs much better, which aids in improving focus, mood, and emotional regulation (especially in managing various states of worry and stress).

Animal studies(1) have revealed that Lion's mane mushroom extract contains anti-inflammatory properties that help alleviate anxiety and depression symptoms in mice. While there are numerous reasons for anxiety and depression, chronic inflammation may be a substantial influence.

Cordyceps for an energy burst

Cordyceps for an energy burst

Have you ever had a difficult day followed by a nearly crippling sense of fatigue? That's because anxiety and stress stimulate our neurological systems, raising our heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and inflammation. Cordyceps can help with this.

Cordyceps is characterized as a "deep energy awakener" because of its capacity to replenish energy after over-exertion, tiredness, and stress. One of the mushroom's most notable characteristics is its ability to produce the chemical Adenosine Triphosphate, or ATP.

ATP is our body's primary energy source, which we require to feed our muscles and keep us going throughout the day. Recent research has even linked good ATP levels and cellular energy to stress and anxiety management, so it's no surprise that Cordyceps can assist in inducing antidepressant benefits. Its slow-burning energy can help counteract weariness (a typical symptom of depression), boost memory, and stimulate libido — a win-win!

Finally, Cordyceps is an adaptogen that can help the body cope with stress. Cordyceps has been found in studies to activate the adrenal glands and control the neurological system, which may aid in decreasing stress and anxiety.

Maitake for enhancing mood

Maitake for enhancing mood

Another mushroom for mood is Maitake or Grifola frondosa. Maitake is a fungus and adaptogen with numerous health advantages in Eastern traditional medicine. It may also have nootropic properties that can improve mood and cognition.

Depression is a complex illness that is currently poorly understood. According to research(2), there is a decrease in the expression of AMPA receptors. Supplementation with Grifola frondosa, on the other hand, has shown antidepressant effects via reversing this mechanism.

Incorporating Mushroom Mood Boosters into Your Routine

Incorporating Mushroom Mood Boosters into Your Routine

You don't have to look for these mushrooms to reap their mood-boosting health advantages. Functional mushrooms are so simple to incorporate into a variety of dishes. Our favorite applications include smoothies, oatmeal, and soups! Simply blend or mix in the amount of mushroom powder recommended.

And who doesn't enjoy homemade beverages such as matcha lattes, chai tea lattes, and hot chocolate? We do! Simply add some useful mushroom powders, and you're ready to go.

Complementary Lifestyle Factors

Complementary Lifestyle Factors

Looking for more strategies to maintain your balance, calm, and focus? Consider the following stress-relieving options:

Include adaptogens. Adaptogens are foods, herbs, and supplements that assist your body in coping with stress and hence boost your mood.

Make plans to focus more. Distraction-reducing lifestyle behaviors can help you get more done every day. You're likelier to be happy when you're not rushing to fulfill deadlines!

Consider nootropics. Nootropics may increase brain function, allowing for better concentration and stress reduction.

Make time to relax. Creating regular habits and routines that allow you to relax will help you reduce stress and enhance your sleep for a better overall mood.

FAQs About Mushrooms For Mood

Can Mushrooms Be Used As Natural Remedies For Mood Disorders Like Depression And Anxiety?

Reishi, Lion's mane, Chaga, and Cordyceps mushrooms can help alleviate anxiety and depression symptoms. These mushrooms are adaptogens, which help the body adapt to stress and boost mood.

Are There Any Potential Side Effects Or Precautions When Using Mushrooms For Mood Enhancement?

Medicinal mushrooms are safe but have adverse effects, just like anything else. However, research has shown that these adverse effects are so rare that therapeutic mushrooms such as Turkey tail, Lion's mane, Chaga, Cordyceps, and Reishi are all considered safe to take.

Can Mushroom Supplementation Replace Traditional Mood-Enhancing Medications?

Mushroom supplementations are not intended to replace traditional mood-enhancing medications. They should be used alongside the drugs after approval from a healthcare provider.

Key Takeaways

Medicinal mushrooms, whether nootropic or adaptogen, can be an ally in improving mood. Lion's mane, Reishi, Cordyceps, and Maitake mushrooms are famous mood-boosting mushrooms that can aid you in the long run. Taking these mushrooms for mood regularly over a more extended time can assist in regulating physiological functioning based on the person.

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  1. Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects through Modulating BDNF/PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β Signaling in Mice, (1) 
  2. Griflola frondosa (GF) produces significant antidepressant effects involving AMPA receptor activation in mice, (2)

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