6: Plant Medicines & Mushrooms for Depression, Focus & Improved Immunity
I sat with Scott Ohlgren and we discussed his company Synaptic Scientific whos product line includes potent blends of cognitive and immunity focused formulas. We get into lots of interesting subjects including how other suppliers are selling inferior products from non fruiting bodies, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), and scary statistics regarding prescription drug use in the United States.
Benefits Of Mushrooms
There is a lot of science that suggests eating mushrooms may help your immune system, fight off cancer, manage diabetes, and prevent obesity and heart disease. Some preclinical and clinical studies have suggested effects of mushrooms on cognitive function, weight control, dental health, and risk for cancer. There is some evidence that such medicinal mushrooms could have benefits for treating and managing neurodegenerative diseases, and possibly Alzheimers. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25633675/
Some animal and cell studies suggest mushrooms may provide several health benefits, including anti-oxidant and anti-cancer benefits. In addition, mushrooms may have the ability to change the intestinal bacteria for the better, which could even help with obesity, according to a 2015 study published in the journal Nature. Eating mushrooms also might help prevent respiratory infections, according to a 2012 study published in the journal Nutrition. A study conducted by researchers from Malaysias University of Malaya found that including mushrooms in the diet may boost the health of the brain, because it can boost cerebral neural growth and greatly reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimers disease.
A meta-analysis focused on the health benefits of mushrooms found a strong correlation between prebiotic fungus powers and immune function, weight, intestinal inflammation, colon cancer, and risk for neurological diseases. In fact, studies have identified over 200 conditions that could benefit from eating mushrooms, and over 100 different beneficial effects that they may have on the body. Because some of this data indicates there are specific foods with which mushrooms are typically consumed (74) mushrooms can be used to facilitate other healthy foods as well. In addition to providing direct nutrition and health benefits, analyses of data from the US Food Intake Survey suggest that mushrooms are associated with higher nutritional quality.
Different types of mushrooms provide varying amounts of nutrients, but in general, mushrooms are excellent sources of potassium and selenium, says nutrition professor Joan Slegers Blake, based at Boston University. Several other minerals that can be hard to get on a vegan diet–such as selenium, potassium, copper, iron, and phosphorus–are available in mushrooms. Mushrooms also provide a number of essential nutrients, including B vitamins, selenium, potassium, copper, and (when exposed to sunlight) vitamin D. Mushrooms also provide B vitamins, along with a powerful antioxidant called selenium, which helps to support the immune system and prevents cell and tissue damage.
Mushrooms are also a leading dietary source of ergothioneine, an antioxidant known for supporting your immune system. Mushrooms are a potent source of ergothioneine, an amino acid and antioxidant that prevents or slows down cell damage. Mushrooms also contain a protein type called lectin, which can bind with tumor cells and serve as a signal to our immune system that they must be destroyed. Mushrooms also provide nutrients and plant compounds which can help keep cells from sticking to the walls of your blood vessels and creating plaque accumulation.
The wide array of B vitamins contained in mushrooms helps to build red blood cells, as well as helping the body absorb energy from other foods better. The vitamin C, potassium, and fiber that mushrooms provide may all help improve cardiovascular health. The selenium, alpha-, and beta-glucan content found in mushrooms may enhance immune function and help your body fight off infections. Compounds found in mushrooms, including the beta-glucan, seem to function as prebiotics, stimulating growth of beneficial gut bacteria and contributing to a favorable intestinal environment.
Your gut contains trillions of bacteria, and eating mushrooms can help to repopulate the gut with an appropriate balance of bacteria, keeping the gut healthy and strengthening your immune system, according to a review in September 2017 of International Journal of Molecular Sciences. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, adding mushrooms to our diet can help make up for deficiencies in several nutrients, including vitamin D, potassium, fiber, copper, and selenium. Antioxidants found in medicinal mushrooms such as chaga may help reduce your blood pressure, and therefore reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular conditions. Mushrooms have the potential to drastically alter our microbiome, helping to repopulate with an array of different, beneficial bacteria.