Brain-Boosting Mushrooms: Back-to-School Health Tips

March 12, 2024 | Dr. Silvana Jakupovic, ND

The beginning of a new school year marks a time of renewal and fresh challenges for both students and educators. As classrooms come to life with the buzz of learning, the importance of cognitive sharpness comes into focus. Good cognition is the cornerstone of learning for students, enabling them to absorb information, process complex concepts, and apply knowledge creatively. It's more than memorizing facts; it's about developing critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and the ability to focus amidst a world of distractions.

Teachers also rely heavily on cognitive acuity. Their role demands the constant juggling of lesson planning, student engagement, and adapting to diverse learning styles, all of which require a high level of mental agility and endurance. The brain's health becomes as crucial as physical fitness in this dynamic educational landscape.

Yet, maintaining optimal cognitive function is a challenge many face in the educational world. Stress, lack of sleep, and poor nutrition can all affect brain health, impacting memory, concentration, and overall mental performance. This is where the role of herbal cognitive enhancers, like medicinal mushrooms, emerges as particularly intriguing. These natural cognitive enhancers, valued for centuries in various cultures for their health benefits, offer a promising solution for those seeking to sharpen their minds for the academic year ahead.


 Cognitive Improvement with Mushrooms

Reishi Mushroom for Memory

Lion’s Mane for Focus and Concentration

Lion’s Mane Brain Health

ADHD Support with Mushrooms

Where to Buy Mushroom Supplements?


Medicinal Mushroom Cognitive Benefits: Neuroprotective Mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms have been a cornerstone of traditional medicine for thousands of years, particularly in Asian cultures. Modern science has recently begun to unravel the mysteries behind these potent fungi. These mushrooms, such as Reishi and Lion’s Mane benefits, contain many bioactive compounds that can significantly impact cognitive function.

The secret to their cognitive-enhancing abilities lies in their unique bioactive compounds, which include polysaccharides, triterpenoids, and various neurotrophic factors. These compounds interact synergistically with our central nervous system, offering a range of benefits from neuroprotection to stress reduction. For instance, the Lion’s Mane mushroom is renowned for stimulating the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), which is crucial for the growth and survival of neurons. This ability to foster neural health is a game-changer for cognitive enhancement.

Moreover, these mushrooms possess adaptogenic properties, helping the body and mind to adapt to stress. This is particularly beneficial for students and teachers who face high-stress environments and demanding schedules. Adaptogens work by modulating the release of stress hormones, thus enhancing mental clarity and focus, essential for effective learning and teaching.

Additionally, the antioxidant properties of these mushrooms play a vital role. Oxidative stress is a known factor that can lead to cognitive decline. Medicinal mushrooms can help preserve and enhance cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and problem-solving by neutralizing free radicals and reducing oxidative damage in the brain.

Reishi Mushroom: Brain Health

The Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is highly regarded for its potent stress-reducing benefits, making it a valuable tool in battling burnout. This mushroom's stress-alleviating capabilities have been illuminated by recent studies, highlighting the role of its bioactive components, especially ganoderic acids, which are a form of triterpenes. These bioactive compounds demonstrate impressive anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective qualities, positioning them as critical elements in stress management strategies [1]. 

Reishi's interaction with vital bodily systems, notably the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis – the central command in the stress response – is pivotal in managing cortisol levels and stabilizing the body's stress response system [2,3]. Additionally, Reishi exhibits strong antioxidant properties, protecting against cellular and tissue damage caused by oxidative stress [4]. Its adaptogenic properties further enhance the body's natural balance and resilience, improving its capacity to cope with and reduce stress [5]. This comprehensive approach gives the Reishi mushroom significant efficacy in mitigating stress and its harmful impacts.

Lion’s Mane Cognitive Enhancement: Herbal Nootropics for Learning

Lion’s Mane mushroom, like Reishi, falls under the category of functional mushrooms. This group is distinguished by their provision of benefits beyond mere nutrition. Functional mushrooms are rich in distinct bioactive compounds that positively influence human health and wellness. They are highly valued for their potential medicinal qualities, supporting various bodily functions and systems. Lion’s Mane, scientifically known as Hericium erinaceus, is particularly recognized for enhancing cognitive functions, clearing brain fog, supporting overall brain health, and potentially guarding against the onset of neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive impairments.

A study conducted on mice provided insightful evidence regarding the effects of standardized extracts from Lion's Mane, specifically the compounds hericenones and erinacine. This research revealed their significant impact on neurogenesis, particularly in the hippocampal and cerebellar regions of the brain [6]. While the cerebellum primarily deals with motor functions, the hippocampus plays a crucial role in learning and memory processes. Lion’s Mane has shown an impressive ability to promote the growth of neural tissues, particularly in the hippocampus. This process of neurogenesis is believed to be the key mechanism behind its capacity to enhance memory and cognitive functions.

Medicinal Mushrooms for ADHD: Natural Brain Boosters for Students

ADHD, short for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, is a prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder that affects numerous students and teachers in educational environments. It is characterized by various symptoms that can significantly hinder a student's academic achievement and overall experience at school. These symptoms often manifest as challenges in maintaining concentration, following instructions, completing tasks, and engaging effectively with peers, which can impact classroom dynamics and learning processes.

An important aspect of ADHD is the observed reduction in levels of BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) in those affected [7]. BDNF, a vital protein in the brain's cortex and hippocampus, regulates brain circuits that control attention, thought processes, emotions, social behaviour, and motor skills [7]. These circuits are closely linked to the symptoms associated with ADHD. 

Research has shown that components extracted from Lion’s Mane mushrooms can potentially elevate BDNF levels and other neurotrophic factors in the brain [8]. This increase in BDNF and related factors might contribute to alleviating the signs and symptoms commonly associated with ADHD.

How to Use Mushroom Supplements: Natural Study Aids

Mushroom supplements come in various forms, making them easy to incorporate into daily life. Mushroom pillsor capsules are a popular option, offering a straightforward and precise dosage. This form is especially suitable for those who prefer a quick and straightforward way to consume supplements. 

For more versatility, mushroom powders are available, allowing for adjustable dosages and creative use in cooking. These powders can be added to various dishes, such as soups, stir-fries, and smoothies, enriching your meals with the nutritional benefits of mushrooms. Also, for coffee enthusiasts, mushroom coffee is an innovative and tasty option. This blend combines mushroom extracts with traditional coffee, creating a unique beverage perfect for a morning energy boost.

Where to Buy Back-to-School Health Supplements?

Knowing the ingredients and quality is essential when shopping for medicinal mushroom products. Pay attention to whether the product contains grain-based ingredients, which should be listed under "other ingredients." Labels may mention terms like "full spectrum," "mycelial biomass," or "extracellular compounds," indicating the product is derived from the grain substrate used for growing the mushrooms and may include various parts of the mushroom, often not in extract form. 

While "full spectrum" might sound appealing, it often means the product is less concentrated, requiring more consumption to achieve the same benefits as a product made solely from 100% fruiting body extracts.

At Eversio Wellness, we focus on providing top-grade mushroom extracts sourced exclusively from the fruiting body of the mushrooms. We emphasize transparency and offer each product a Certificate of Analysis (COA). These COAs are a testament to the quality, confirming the precise content of beneficial compounds through thorough laboratory testing. They also include checks for heavy metals and microbial presence, ensuring our supplements meet the highest quality standards. 

By choosing Eversio Wellness, you're assured of our commitment to providing transparent and high-quality mushroom supplements, enabling you to make well-informed decisions for your health and wellness.

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[1] Gao Y, Zhou S, Jiang W, Huang M, Dai X. Effects of ganopoly (a Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide extract) on the immune functions in advanced-stage cancer patients. Immunol Invest. 2003;32(3):201-215. doi:10.1081/IMM-120018857

[2] Lai CS, Yu MS, Yuen WH, et al. The neuroprotective effects of ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides against oxidative stress-induced neuronal apoptosis. Int J Mol Sci. 2014;15(5):7495-7510. doi:10.3390/ijms15057495

[3] Jin X, Ruiz Beguerie J, Sze DM, Chan GC. Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi mushroom) for cancer treatment.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;4(4):CD007731. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD007731.pub3

[4] Lin ZB. Cellular and molecular mechanisms of immuno-modulation by Ganoderma lucidum. J Pharmacol Sci. 2005;99(2):144-153. doi:10.1254/jphs.crj05014x

[5] Wachtel-Galor S, Tomlinson B, Benzie IFF. Ganoderma lucidum ("Lingzhi"), a Chinese medicinal mushroom: biomarker responses in a controlled human supplementation study. Br J Nutr. 2004;91(2):263-269. doi:10.1079/BJN20041083

[6] Ratto D, Corana F, Mannucci B, Priori EC, Cobelli F, Roda E, Ferrari B, Occhinegro A, Di Iorio C, De Luca F, Cesaroni V, Girometta C, Bottone MG, Savino E, Kawagishi H, Rossi P. Hericium erinaceus Improves Recognition Memory and Induces Hippocampal and Cerebellar Neurogenesis in Frail Mice during Aging.Nutrients. 2019 Mar 27;11(4):715. doi: 10.3390/nu11040715. PMID: 30934760; PMCID: PMC6521003.

[7] Galvez-Contreras AY, Campos-Ordonez T, Gonzalez-Castaneda RE, Gonzalez-Perez O. Alterations of Growth Factors in Autism and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Front Psychiatry. 2017 Jul 13;8:126. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2017.00126. PMID: 28751869; PMCID: PMC5507945.

[8] Ryu SH, Hong SM, Khan Z, Lee SK, Vishwanath M, Turk A, Yeon SW, Jo YH, Lee DH, Lee JK, Hwang BY, Jung JK, Kim SY, Lee MK. Neurotrophic isoindolinones from the fruiting bodies of Hericium erinaceus. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2021 Jan 1;31:127714. doi: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2020.127714. Epub 2020 Nov 25. PMID: 33246107.

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