Mushrooms: The Ultimate Wellness Magic

by Travis Gerhart
Mushrooms: The Ultimate Wellness Magic

All mushrooms are magical, and by that, we mean Ultimate Wellness Magic! But some species have a significant advantage over the rest in helping our mind and body thrive.

We try to structure our days so that we can be as productive and efficient as possible. When we work, we channel our focus and concentration. While exercising, we tap into strength and stamina. The key to relaxing and unwinding is to find ways to turn off the stress of the day so that we can sleep. However, this is easier said than done.

As a result, our energy level and mood rarely match the physical demands we place on ourselves. We may look for support to rise to the occasion or to wind down after a long day. In the morning, we may be fuelled by coffee, in the gym, we may be sustained by protein powder and electrolyte drinks, and at the end of the day, we may try to relax by drinking herbal tea. Mushroom supplements are one of many products we can use to help us achieve our goals.

Since ancient times, mushrooms have been vital to Eastern medicine, providing nutritional and medicinal support. Modern health and wellness supplements have carried over this tradition of using mushrooms to support a variety of daily functions.

Here's a breakdown of the compounds that make the difference:​

BETA-D-GLUCANS

Beta-d-glucans are carbohydrate arrangements made up of a long simple sugar molecule chain called polysaccharides. [1] Polysaccharides act as energy storage and a support structure or scaffolding for cells or tissues. Cellulose, glucose, and fructose are all examples of common polysaccharides.

Beta-d-glucans are the most common polysaccharide found in the cell walls of mushrooms. Beta-d-glucans are unique polysaccharides that can interact with and help modulate our immune system or bring it into balance. Sometimes the immune system reacts too much and sometimes not enough; beta-glucans can get it back to equilibrium, also known as homeostasis. For example, immunomodulators can stimulate an increased immune response, enabling the ideal reaction for combating infections. Inversely, activating anti-inflammatory cytokine management can mitigate and reduce an overactive immune response. [2]

The extraction method used in liberating beta-d-glucans from the mushroom scaffolding will affect how it interacts with the immune system. The interaction isn't the same for each mushroom and can depend on the molecule's complexity and solubility. [3-5]

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Where are beta-glucans found?

Beta-glucans are found in many mushroom products and are isolated during the water extraction phase. Some have a higher concentration than others. The mushroom most well-known for its beta-glucan power is Turkey Tail which can possess upwards of 30% beta-glucan content. However, all medicinal mushrooms contain some levels of beta-d-glucans and can boast pretty hefty levels themselves: Cordyceps (20%), Reishi (20%), Shiitake (20%) [6], Lion's Mane (15%), Tremella (10%), and Chaga (5%).

TAKÉ: SHIITAKE | MAITAKE

Maitake mushroom contains unique beta-d-glucan versions called D-fraction and MD-fraction. [7] Shiitake mushrooms are a source of Lentinan and Eritadenine [8]. This blend is formulated to support a healthy metabolism, optimal wellness, and vibrant vitality. Shiitake and Maitake mushrooms are two of the most extensively researched medicinal mushrooms.

TURKEY TAIL: POLYSACCHAROPEPTIDES

Turkey Tail is known for its potent beta-d-glucan concentration and proteoglycan concentration of polysaccharopeptide (PSP) and polysaccharide-K (PSK). [9] Polysaccharopeptides are protein-bound polysaccharide sugars that uplevel the immunomodulatory faculties of beta-d-glucans. Turkey tail is described as a full-spectrum defense adaptogen that supports natural immune function and healthy cellular regeneration.* 

TERPENOIDS

A class of compounds called terpenoids has been studied for their antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. They are not water-soluble and need to be extracted with alcohol to make them useful to your body. A mushroom supplement described as a "dual-extract" would have gone through alcohol extraction.

Where to find terpenoids?

Some mushrooms are more well-known for these compounds than others. Various terpenoids (Monoterpenoids, sesquiterpenoids, diterpenoids, and triterpenoids) are found in almost all medicinal mushrooms. Individual terpene concentrations can vary significantly from one mushroom to the next. [10-11] Specifically, dual extracted Chaga and Reishi contain high levels of powerful triterpenes.

REISHI

It is estimated that Reishi contains over 130 different triterpenoid compounds, primarily composed of Ganoderic and Lucidenic acids. [12] Reishi seems to excel at promoting a healthy stress response and is supportive of our natural immune processes. Bringing us back to balance.

CHAGA

Chaga boasts Betulinic acid derivatives and Melano-glucan complexes [13] that encourage healthy cellular aging, regeneration, and metabolic vibrance. They support a natural and healthy inflammation response and immune function and promote healthy enzymatic antioxidant pathways.

LION'S MANE

Lion's Mane mushroom contains 20 out of 24 known diterpenoids, of which Erinacines and Hericenones are the two leading families of compounds. [14-15] These compounds act as a superfood to support healthy brain, nerve, and eye function.

TIAGA

Red-belted polypore mushrooms are a source of Fomitopinic Acid A and Trametenolic Acid. [16] The red-belted polypore (Fomitopsis pinicola) is native to the Pacific Northwest. Tiaga is a calming adaptogen that brings balance and optimal wellness to the entire system while promoting a healthy inflammation response, cellular regeneration, and optimal digestive function.*

CORDYCEPIN

Cordycepin is a super-unique compound similar to a naturally occurring compound in our bodies called adenosine. [17]

Adenosine helps in cellular energy transfer in the body by forming molecules like adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and adenosine diphosphate (ADP). Adenosine also plays a role in signaling various pathways and functions in the body by forming signaling molecules like cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). It has different functions in the body depending on the location of the action. [18]

ATP is the "energy currency" of the body. This is why cordycepin has been studied for its energy-boosting abilities. Cordycepin has also been shown to have the ability to activate AMPK and reduces mTOR signaling, which are believed to be longevity supportive activities. [19]

Where is cordycepin found?

This one is unique- and only found in one mushroom…. Cordyceps!

Cordyceps is referred to as the "energy mushroom," used by performance, endurance athletes, and anyone looking for a boost.

PHENOLS

Phenolic compounds are phytochemicals found in most plants, including fruits and vegetables. [20]

The main phenols in mushrooms are phenolic acids [21] and are known for their antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory potential. [22]

Polyphenols and phenolic acids have been shown to stimulate the activity of SIRT1, which exerts neuroprotective effects. [23-24]

SIRT1 acts as a "rescue gene," capable of repairing damages caused by the action of free radicals and preventing premature death of cells. The gene also signals the mitochondria to produce greater amounts of energy, which is typical for the metabolism of younger cells. As a result, SIRT1 is believed to be a principal regulator of lifespan. [24]

One study in 2017 found that turkey tail mushrooms contain 35 different phenolic compounds. [25]

FINAL THOUGHTS

Beta-d-glucans, terpenes, cordycepin, and phenols are just some of the compounds found in mushrooms that have been studied for their health benefits. New information and research are coming out all the time, which makes us even more excited about the potential of mushrooms now and in the future.

Whether you are looking to add one or all of the compounds mentioned above to support your daily routine, it's pretty clear that mushrooms contain the Ultimate Wellness Magic. And like so many aspects of life, it's what's inside that counts. 

THRIVE & BESUPERVITAL®

We are huge fans of optimizing what we interact with daily: physical, mental, and emotional in the pursuit of Supervital Active Longevity. We control what we apply to our body, what we consume, and our well-being approach. Our strategy for life can set us up to exceed our goals or exponentially get in the way of where we are going and what we are trying to accomplish. Follow along with us in The Supervital for more. Thrive & Besupervital®​

Travis Gerhart, DC, RYT-500

Travis Gerhart, DC, RYT-500

Founder of Best Health Co & The Supervital Journal. Topics focus on the mind, body, & soul aspects of Supervital Active Longevity. Dr. Gerhart enjoys studying the latest developments in biochemistry, phytochemistry, epigenetics, & aging.
@traviswgerhart • @besthealthco

*Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information provided by this website or this company is not a substitute for individual medical advice.

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