Scientists are also looking into a host of other species that could help combat conditions affecting the mind, such as neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and common mental illnesses.
Fungi have long attracted scientific inquiry. For starters, they’re known to offer diverse, powerful collections of compounds called secondary metabolites that help them compete in the wild. These compounds have already provided us with a range of life-saving drugs, such as the antibiotic penicillin, the chemotherapy treatment Taxol, and the cholesterol medication Lovastatin.
Many types of fungi are sold in the U.S. as supplements in the form of ground powders. Lab experiments, meanwhile, typically extract biologically-active compounds using ethanol, certain enzymes or other agents that seem to boost their positive effects.
And while recent epidemiological studies have identified a possible link between regularly eating mushrooms and a reduced risk of cognitive decline, researchers hope to incorporate the powerful fungi-derived compounds into more targeted treatments.
Currently, the vast majority of studies have analyzed the effects of fungi extracts and certain isolated compounds on cells and rodents, along with relatively tiny samples of humans, so it’s far too early to make any conclusions.
Still, some results have nevertheless been encouraging. Here are some varieties that are currently being studied for their potential brain benefits:
While it’s one of the most popular edible mushrooms worldwide, you may not know that Lentinula edodes has also received attention in labs for its possible neurological applications. Shiitake are particularly prized for carbohydrates called polysaccharides, specifically beta-glucans, that are also found in the cell walls of various fungi. Beta-glucans offer a variety of possible advantages, including their ability to reduce inflammation, regulate the immune system and combat infections.
In recent years, scientists have found that beta-glucans can improve gut microbiome diversity in mice. This is a win for the brain, because the two are closely linked via a two-way communication channel called the gut-brain axis. In fact, feeding mice beta-glucans from Shiitake mushrooms helped counteract the cognitive impairments caused by a high-fat diet — which wreaks brain inflammation — a 2021 Journal of Translational Medicine study found.
The hairy-looking Hericium erinaceus, commonly referred to as lion’s mane, is found in Asia, Europe and North America on decaying or dead trees. Research has indicated that it could help treat or prevent a wide range of conditions, including cancer, diabetes and high cholesterol. Among other medicinal mushrooms, this species has received particular attention for its potential neuroprotective properties. These may stem from chemical compounds that can promote cell growth, fight inflammation and regulate reward pathways within the brain.
Studies in mice and cells have accordingly suggested that lion’s mane may improve mental function in people with Alzheimer’s and help treat epilepsy. Small human trials suggest it could mitigate depression, improve sleep quality and alleviate early-stage cognitive decline, but researchers have called for more rigorous studies in people.
This parasitic genus of fungus is known to get gruesome. For example, the Ophiocordyceps unilateralis species can infiltrate the bodies of ants via spores and turn them into “zombies” before sprouting out of the insects’ heads. Fittingly, Cordyceps even inspired a zombie-themed horror video game series.
Despite their frightening behavior toward insects, humans have long prized these Cheeto-like fungi. Chinese medicine has used the Ophiocordyceps sinensis species to promote lung and kidney health since at least the 18th century. Natural forms of O. sinensis, which grow high in the Tibetan Plateau and Himalayas on ghost moths, can cost up to $63,000 a pound. Research teams therefore commonly study samples of this species that have been cultivated in labs.
In recent years, various varieties of Cordyceps have been studied for their anti-inflammatory, antitumor, immune system-regulating and neuroprotective properties, among others. Their various powers are thought to come from a unique compound called cordycepin, along with polysaccharides and sterols, which are somewhat similar to the cholesterol produced by humans.
Experiments with animal models have demonstrated that the compounds within Cordyceps could help mitigate learning and memory impairment, symptoms associated with neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. This could occur through various mechanisms, including cordycepin’s ability to prevent neuronal cell death.
The Inonotus obliquus fungus, commonly called chaga, typically grows as a parasite on birch trees in cold climates. It has long been incorporated in folk medicine in China, Korea, Japan and eastern Europe. And historical sources claim that 12th-century Kiev Prince Vladimir Monomakh used chaga to get rid of a lip tumor.
As with the other fungi on this list, the polysaccharides within I. obliquus may offer a range of helpful properties, including antitumor, anti-fatigue, antioxidant, antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects.
So far, compounds isolated from chaga have been shown to protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases in cell studies by mitigating oxidative stress, which can cause excess unstable molecules called free radicals to attack brain cells. While some medicinal fungi have received human trials, albeit tiny ones, chaga does not appear to have been tested in humans for any possible neurological benefits.
Known as the “Mushroom of Immortality” in Korea and China, reishi, or Ganoderma lucidum, sprouts up on dying or dead trees, including maple, elm and oak. In Chinese medicine, reishi is used to boost overall health and longevity. Like plenty of other sought-after fungi, reishi may get its magic from substances such as sterols, polysaccharides and peptides.
Reishi offers a laundry list of potential benefits, such as sedative, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antitumor effects. Evidence suggests that it could prove a helpful treatment for neurodegenerative conditions. Studies performed on cells and animals have highlighted the possibility that the polysaccharides from Ganoderma lucidum could, for example, slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. These substances may encourage neuron growth in the brain and alleviate cognitive decline.
Results in humans, however, haven’t been as promising. A first-of-its-kind experiment in just 42 people with Alzheimer’s disease found that spore powder made from G. lucidum failed to improve symptoms or enhance patients’ quality of life measurements, according to a 2018 Medicine study. But the authors noted that it was a brief treatment period (six weeks) and small sample size.
If future research succeeds (and plenty more is needed), this mushroom could perhaps compete with widely prescribed antidepressants. Reishi extracts seemed to exhibit an effect comparable to that of the SSRI fluoxetine in studies from 2017 and 2021 performed on mice. Its relative Ganoderma applanatum might also help ease depression and anxiety, according to another mouse experiment.
Beyond that, a small study in 64 women with fibromyalgia failed to find statistically significant effects of Ganoderma lucidum supplementation on subjective measures like feelings of happiness, depression and life satisfaction. But researchers did notice a positive trend in these outcomes post-treatment, as reported in the journal Healthcare in 2020. And in a 2011 study assessing reishi’s effect on fatigue in breast cancer patients, subjects reported reduced anxiety and depression.
By Molly Glick
Source: Beyond Psilocybin: These Mushrooms May Offer Brain-Boosting Compounds, Too | Discover Magazine
More Remote Working Apps:
https://quintexcapital.com/?ref=arminham Quintex Capital https://www.genesis-mining.com/a/2535466 Genesis Mining http://www.bevtraders.com/?ref=arminham BevTraders https://jvz8.com/c/202927/369164 prime stocks https://jvz3.com/c/202927/361015 content gorilla https://jvz8.com/c/202927/366443 stock rush https://jvz1.com/c/202927/373449 forrk https://jvz3.com/c/202927/194909 keysearch https://jvz4.com/c/202927/296191 gluten free https://jvz1.com/c/202927/286851 diet fitness diabetes https://jvz8.com/c/202927/213027 writing job https://jvz6.com/c/202927/108695 postradamus https://jvz1.com/c/202927/372094 stoodaio https://jvz4.com/c/202927/358049 profile mate https://jvz6.com/c/202927/279944 senuke https://jvz8.com/c/202927/54245 asin https://jvz8.com/c/202927/370227 appimize https://jvz8.com/c/202927/376524 super backdrop https://jvz6.com/c/202927/302715 audiencetoolkit https://jvz1.com/c/202927/375487 4brandcommercial https://jvz2.com/c/202927/375358 talkingfaces https://jvz6.com/c/202927/375706 socifeed https://jvz2.com/c/202927/184902 gaming jobs https://jvz6.com/c/202927/88118 backlink indexer https://jvz1.com/c/202927/376361 powrsuite https://jvz3.com/c/202927/370472 tubeserp https://jvz4.com/c/202927/343405 PR Rage https://jvz6.com/c/202927/371547 design beast https://jvz3.com/c/202927/376879 commission smasher https://jvz2.com/c/202927/376925 MT4Code System https://jvz6.com/c/202927/375959 viral dash https://jvz1.com/c/202927/376527 coursova https://jvz4.com/c/202927/144349 fanpage https://jvz1.com/c/202927/376877 forex expert https://jvz6.com/c/202927/374258 appointomatic https://jvz2.com/c/202927/377003 woocommerce https://jvz6.com/c/202927/377005 domainname marketing https://jvz8.com/c/202927/376842 maxslides https://jvz8.com/c/202927/376381 ada leadz https://jvz2.com/c/202927/333637 eyeslick https://jvz1.com/c/202927/376986 creaite contentcreator https://jvz4.com/c/202927/376095 vidcentric https://jvz1.com/c/202927/374965 studioninja https://jvz6.com/c/202927/374934 marketingblocks https://jvz3.com/c/202927/372682 clipsreel https://jvz2.com/c/202927/372916 VideoEnginePro https://jvz1.com/c/202927/144577 BarclaysForexExpert https://jvz8.com/c/202927/370806 Clientfinda https://jvz3.com/c/202927/375550 Talkingfaces https://jvz1.com/c/202927/370769 IMSyndicator https://jvz6.com/c/202927/283867 SqribbleEbook https://jvz8.com/c/202927/376524 superbackdrop https://jvz8.com/c/202927/376849 VirtualReel https://jvz2.com/c/202927/369837 MarketPresso https://jvz1.com/c/202927/342854 voiceBuddy https://jvz6.com/c/202927/377211 tubeTargeter https://jvz6.com/c/202927/377557 InstantWebsiteBundle https://jvz6.com/c/202927/368736 soronity https://jvz2.com/c/202927/337292 DFY Suite 3.0 Agency+ information https://jvz8.com/c/202927/291061 VideoRobot Enterprise https://jvz8.com/c/202927/327447 Klippyo Kreators https://jvz8.com/c/202927/324615 ChatterPal Commercial https://jvz8.com/c/202927/299907 WP GDPR Fix Elite Unltd Sites https://jvz8.com/c/202927/328172 EngagerMate https://jvz3.com/c/202927/342585 VidSnatcher Commercial https://jvz3.com/c/202927/292919 myMailIt https://jvz3.com/c/202927/320972 Storymate Luxury Edition https://jvz2.com/c/202927/320466 iTraffic X – Platinum Edition https://jvz2.com/c/202927/330783 Content Gorilla One-time https://jvz2.com/c/202927/301402 Push Button Traffic 3.0 – Brand New https://jvz2.com/c/202927/321987 SociCake Commercial https://jvz2.com/c/202927/289944 The Internet Marketing Newsletter PLR Monthly Membership https://jvz2.com/c/202927/297271 Designa Suite License https://jvz2.com/c/202927/310335 XFUNNELS FE Commercial Drag-n-Drop Page Editor https://jvz2.com/c/202927/291955 ShopABot https://jvz2.com/c/202927/312692 Inboxr https://jvz2.com/c/202927/343635 MediaCloudPro 2.0 – Agency Rights https://jvz2.com/c/202927/353558 MyTrafficJacker 2.0 Pro+ https://jvz2.com/c/202927/365061 AIWA Commercial https://jvz2.com/c/202927/357201 Toon Video Maker Premium https://jvz2.com/c/202927/351754 Steven Alvey’s Signature Series 3rd Installment https://jvz2.com/c/202927/344541 Fade To Black https://jvz2.com/c/202927/290487 Adsense Machine https://jvz2.com/c/202927/315596 Diddly Pay’s DLCM DFY Club https://jvz2.com/c/202927/355249 CourseReel Professional https://jvz2.com/c/202927/309649 SociJam System https://jvz2.com/c/202927/263380 360Apps Certification Masterclass https://jvz2.com/c/202927/359468 LocalAgencyBox https://jvz2.com/c/202927/377557 Instant Website Bundle https://jvz2.com/c/202927/377194 GMB Magic Content https://jvz2.com/c/202927/376962 PlayerNeos VR