Do Functional Mushrooms Work?
Mushroom-Curious? Here’s everything you need to know about Functional Mushrooms. Adding mushrooms into your beauty and health routine is exciting but also can be a tad confusing. In this blog we break down functional mushrooms, suggest optimal dosages, and share our top picks for fungi that work wonders.
We asked founder, Teagan of Amoda her take on the growing popularity of functional mushrooms.
Q: How do you discern or determine if a mushroom or mushroom product can truly be considered functional?
"This is a great question because it’s sometimes hard to tell from packaging alone, if the mushroom product you want to try is actually going to be functional! Some simple indicators is to look at if the mushrooms are fruiting body only. It’s our opinion that fruiting body extracts are the most effective. Many products include “full spectrum” mushrooms, which includes the mycelium and typically that means it also includes the grain the mushroom is grown on (rice, sorghum, etc.) This means that 1000mg of mushroom you thought you were getting is actually partially grain! For a functional food product like ours, a latte, you’re not necessarily going to get therapeutic levels like you would taking a capsule or tincture. So, when shopping for a mushroom drink, check if they list how much is included. A minimum of 500mg is what you want to look for to receive a benefit. We make sure every teaspoon of our blends contains at least that."
It is important to note that most functional mushrooms are not meant to be eaten raw, so the best way to reap the benefits of these fantastic fungi is to enjoy them as capsules, in powdered form, or as a tincture.
At SN, we only source Functional Mushroom products that use fruiting body only.
Using fruiting body only is important because it contains the most nutrients that provide the health benefits associated with functional mushrooms.
Mycelium is often grown on grains like rice or oats, which dilutes the potency of the mushroom and can also introduce unwanted substances like starch or allergens. So, by using fruiting body only, consumers can be assured they are getting the most effective and potent form of the mushroom. Only the best.
Do functional mushrooms work?
We certainly think so. Let’s take a look at a randomized, double-blinded, controlled study published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience in June 2020. Participants with mild Alzheimer's disease showed a significant benefit in reducing cognitive decline after orally taking lion's mane every day for 49 weeks when compared to the placebo group.
Another recent test was create to understand the effect Reishi had on someone with modern-day stress. The results were very intriguing.
A double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted on 132 patients suffering from neurasthenia (a condition characterized by chronic fatigue, weakness, and irritability, often accompanied by headache, depression, and insomnia). The study aimed to investigate the efficacy of Reishi mushroom in relieving stress-related symptoms.
The participants were divided into two groups: one group received a Reishi mushroom extract, and the other group received a placebo. The participants were given the treatment for eight weeks, and their symptoms were evaluated using various standardized scales.
The results of the study showed that the group that received the Reishi mushroom extract had a significant reduction in their symptoms of neurasthenia compared to the placebo group. These improvements will have a lasting effect on their lives.
Source: Chu QP, et al. (2008). "Extract of Ganoderma lucidum prolongs sleep time in rats." Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 17(2):173-8.
We believe that consistency is key when incorporating functional mushrooms into your lifestyle, just like any other good habit.
How do I integrate functional mushrooms into my daily routine?
Incorporating fungi into your life should be stress-free. Feel free to play around with what feels good. I personally really like taking tinctures by themselves. Since they are so concentrated, I feel energized afterwards. Drink powders are a really tasty way to get your daily mushroom intake as well. Depending on what you are looking for, functional mushrooms can serve as a perfect morning elixir to start your day off right or a relaxing nightcap to help you unwind.
For instance, taking the Lion's Mane and Cordyceps tinctures together in the AM (the modern life duo, as I like to call it) combines the brain boosting benefits of lion’s mane with the natural energy boost of cordyceps. This is what I personally have in the morning so start my day.
Or, if you are looking for the perfect nightcap, you will always find me reaching for this Cacao & Reishi Mood Boosting Blend. It's so cozy, I take this with me everywhere.
If you are looking for beauty benefits, I would try combining Chaga and Reishi tinctures which are both praised for being the "mushrooms of immortality. These fungi have been used for centuries to promote radiant skin and overall wellness.
If you're looking to get a bit more creative with your mushroom intake, I've included some of my favorite recipes that use drinks powders and tinctures :)
Strawberry Matcha Latte Popsicles
Adding these mushrooms into your daily routine is simple, and can be adjusted based on your unique wellness goals.
Are functional mushrooms safe while breastfeeding?
While there are a few foods to avoid eating too much when breastfeeding, mushrooms are not one of them. They are full of vitamin D and other nutrients that will support your health and the baby's health.
YOUR SKIN, ON SHROOMS
Mushrooms are believed to have properties beyond their nutritional makeup that can be beneficial to your health and skin.
We asked Joanna Ryglewicz of Oio Lab to weigh in.
We hear the term “functional mushroom” quite often now in the wellness space (drinks blends, mushroom tinctures, etc) What exactly does functional mushroom mean when it comes to skincare?
A: “The term "functional mushrooms" refers to the mushrooms that functional medicine advocates believe have properties beyond their nutritional makeup that can be beneficial to your health. Functional mushrooms include, among others, Chaga, Reishi, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, Shiitake and Turkey Tail. Mushrooms can help the overall health and appearance of your skin. They have the ability to draw water into the skin and are rich in fatty acids that help to retain moisture and maintain the skin barrier."
Which mushroom is best for skin? Do different mushrooms have different effects on the skin?
A: The process of obtaining mushroom extract is very important. At Oio Lab we used utilise raw material obtained from three mushrooms: Reishi, Maitake and Shiitake extracts obtained through a unique green extraction method called “Mycelysis Extraction™”. It helps to protect the skin cells and regulates pH. This mushroom extract helps to improve skin immunity, reduce roughness of the epidermis, boost skin’s density and reinforce its protective, lipid barrier. Those extracts can be found in Calming Facial Emulsion THE FOREST RETREAT.
We also used the beneficial effects of the Tremella Fuciformis Mushroom Polysaccharide - traditionally used in Chinese medicine for years. Tremella mushroom is known for its strong antioxidant and anti-ageing effects. It is considered the most effective plant alternative to hyaluronic acid. This natural extract helps to boost moisture levels and leaves the skin feeling soft and silky. It can be found in Supercharged Glow Serum GEL-LOTION FUSION.
All of these mushrooms differ in action. Tremella is primarily intended to provide hydration.
According to Joanna from Oio Lab, the brand's commitment to the planet is just as strong as its commitment to healthy skin. "At Oio Lab, we care about our planet as much as we care about your skin. That's why we use packaging made of natural mycelium, combined with agricultural waste such as hemp, cork, and sawdust. This way, we deliver products in packaging that is kind to our planet. The mushroom packaging is compostable in home gardens and biodegradable at home."
Functional mushrooms offer an array of remarkable health benefits, however, it is crucial to discern the right products and proper consumption method. Opting for products that solely use fruiting bodies is recommended, as it is the most efficacious and potent form of the mushroom. At SN, we hold ourselves to a minimum of 500 mg per serving when sourcing functional mushrooms.
Undoubtedly, mushrooms have become a mainstay in the health and wellness world. The so-called "hype" has subsided, leaving a genuine excitement for the incorporation of fungi into daily life.
Our favorite mushrooms recommendations if you don't know where to start ↓
Lion's Mane Tincture
Experience mental and emotional clarity, improved cognitive function, and overall health and wellness with Rainbo's potent Lion's Mane Mushroom tincture. My personal favorite!
A creamy and delicious take on the classic London Fog, infused with 500mg lion's mane extract to enhance concentration and memory and 300mg ashwagandha powder for stress relief giving you a cozy and focused experience to conquer your day.
An herbal + mushroom blend formulated by recovering coffee addicts to provide a potent and delicious coffee alternative packed with adaptogens for calm and focused energy, and fruiting body mushroom extracts for maximum potency and nourishment. This highly concentrated blend is 8 times more potent than the average functional mushroom product on the market.
Indulge in a deliciously mood-boosting hot cacao that'll have you feeling like a goddess! The Cacao & Reishi blend is infused with powerful reishi and maca, as well as the antioxidant-packed matcha and velvety cacao. The perfect nightcap does exist.
As with all supplements, you should discuss the products with a medical professional before using.
Great post. Had no idea what made something “functional” vs not. My eye is on the london fog!