Week 3 Recap of the Spore 30-Day Mushroom Challenge

Our first 30-Day Mushroom Challenge will help you learn all about mushrooms, incorporate stress management techniques, and track your health to improve your energy and overall health. From connecting with the Spore Mushroom Community on Facebook, to free health coaching and Q&A sessions with Spore Director of Education Dr. Michele Ross, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

If you’re new to the challenge, don’t worry! You can start at any time. Here’s everything you need to start the third week of the Spore 30-Day Mushroom Challenge.

30-Day Mushroom Challenge: Week 3 Recap

download the Spore 30-Day Mushroom Challenge Workbook

Day 15

If you’ve been keeping up with the challenge, congrats, you get a day off! If you need to catch up, here’s your chance. Don’t forget to fill out your Health Tracker & Mushroom Mindset pages either way in the Challenge Workbook.

Subscribe to our new Youtube channel to get notified when the latest episodes of Mushroom Mondays drop live.

scientist testing beta-glucan levels in spore functional mushrooms

Day 16

Which functional mushrooms boost your immune system? Trick question! They all do. Mushrooms are rich in compounds called beta-glucans that modulate the immune system, protecting you against bacteria, viruses, mold and even cancer.

Some specific types of medicinal mushrooms have higher levels of beta-glucans, as well as other unique ingredients that support the immune system. You can find these mushrooms, like Turkey Tail mushrooms, in our Spore Protect & Defend blend.

use spore chill out blend to get 8 hours of solid sleep

Day 17

One of the best ways to protect heart health is to make sure you have a solid 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Read our blog post on “How To Fix Your Sleep Schedule” to get to sleep faster, have more energy in the day, and boost the effects you are seeing from the 30-Day Mushroom Challenge.

Reishi Mushroom that fight cancer growing on tree

Day 18

Almost 1 in 2 people will have cancer in their lifetime. It’s important to reduce your cancer risk by eating healthy, and that includes mushrooms. Medicinal mushrooms like reishi work on specific anti-cancer pathways to prevent cancer growth and kill cancer cells.

What are 2 specific ways mushrooms work against cancer? Write the answer in your Challenge Workbook. Check your supplement label to see if your Spore mushroom blend contains cancer fighters.

Dr. Michele Ross, Director of Education at Spore Life Sciences, talks ways to boost energy naturally

Day 19

Many people use medicinal mushrooms to boost energy, reduce stress, and support a healthy immune system. Spore Director of Education, Dr. Michele Ross, goes over tips to boost energy naturally and explains why caffeine isn’t the answer to your fatigue problems.

In this episode of Wellness Wednesdays, available inside our Spore Mushroom Community Facebook group or on our Youtube channel, Dr. Ross shares how natural lifestyle changes like eating blueberries, breathing exercises, and medicinal mushrooms have helped her and her clients boost energy even with chronic illness.

3 ways to reach Spore Director of Education Dr. Michele Ross for questions about mushrooms or health

Day 20

We’re here for you on your wellness journey. Did you know there are 3 ways you can get your questions about mushrooms and health answered from health professionals at Spore?

If you’re shy, don’t worry, you can ask us privately. Learn how by reading our latest Instagram post.

which do you need more of energy or focus

Day 21

Energy, focus, sleep, or pain relief. Almost everyone needs help in one of those buckets. If you need work in more than one area, consider getting an additional Spore blend or two. Mike’s Mushroom Mix is a great way to restore balance to the immune system and boost overall health. It’s a great addition to any Spore blend you’re already taking.

Which of the four areas do you want to improve? Write it in your Challenge Workbook or join the convo in our Spore Mushroom Community Facebook group.

What’s Ahead For Week 4
As we head into Week 4, the final week of the 30-Day Mushroom Challenge, we’ll be diving in deep into medicinal mushroom benefits and providing coaching and support to help you on your wellness journey with mushrooms. We’ll be sharing weekly recaps here on our blog so you can follow along with the challenge no matter when you start.

Looking for the Week 1 Recap or Week 2 Recap of the 30-Day Mushroom Challenge? Click on the link!

How Medicinal Mushrooms Help Fight Cancer

Unfortunately, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that hasn’t been touched by cancer in some way or another. There is a deep need for therapeutic options that can be readily utilized to inhibit Cancer cells.

Fungi may have effective anticancer properties, and the properties that medicinal or functional mushrooms provide demonstrate the fungi’s impressive potential. One can simply visit Semantic Scholar and search for keywords like “mushrooms” and “anticancer” and find thousands of results.

How Medicinal Mushrooms Help Fight Cancer

Reishi mushrooms are one ancient example of a medicinal mushroom, as they are mentioned in the Chinese text Shen Nung Ben Cao Jing (The Classic of Herbal Medicine), thought to be written between 200 and 250 CE. [1] A vigorous immune system is vital in cancer treatment, and reishi mushroom polysaccharides and triterpenes stimulate cancer resistance through their immune-enhancing capabilities. This activity may be caused by inducing apoptosis (cell death) of cancerous cells or through their ability to boost immune response activity. [2,3] Reishi triterpenes, such as ganoderenic acid B, offer anti-cancer properties as well, through their toxicity to cancer cells, anti-metastatic effects, and induction of apoptosis. [4, 5]

Other mushrooms offer anticancer properties as well. An α-glucan from maitake mushrooms offers anti-tumor activity by promoting the production of cells that enhance our immune systems like tumor necrosis factor α, different interleukins, and through macrophage cell activation. [6] Another polysaccharide called maitake Z-fraction (MZF) also inhibited tumor growth in a preclinical model of colon cancer. [7]

Chaga mushrooms contain compounds such as 3β-hydroxy-lanosta-8,24-dien-21-al, inotodiol (a triterpene), and lanosterol, and each of these molecules showed effectiveness against lung, stomach, breast, and cervical cancer cell lines with low toxicity to normal cells. [8] These researchers first extracted the mushrooms, and subsequently purified multiple fractions that contained different phytochemicals. While all fractions had cytotoxic activity against the cancer cells, doses of 100 and 200 micrograms of one of the fractions reduced tumor volume by 24% and 34%, respectively. Molecules extracted from chaga using hot water have also shown anticancer properties against human colon cancer cells. [9]

The polysaccharide called krestin, or PSK in turkey tail mushrooms has also shown powerful anticancer properties, with one study measuring an increased survival in colon cancer patients who received PSK as an adjuvant immunochemotherapy. [10, 11] An adjuvant therapy seeks to keep the cancer from coming back post-treatment, and an immunotherapy targets the immune system. PSK’s effectiveness is thought to stem from its ability to invoke immunomodulation and potentiation of the process by which our immune cells identify and eradicate pre-malignant or malignant cells. [12] PSK from turkey tail mushrooms are regularly used for cancer treatment in Japan. [13]

Beta-glucans in shiitake mushrooms are known to interact with receptors on several types of immune cells. The mushrooms offer anti-tumor properties, not because they directly engage the tumor, but because they activate immune responses in the host. [14] The polysaccharide lentinan, for example, acts as a host defense potentiators which help hosts defend against various types of cancer.

These are just a few examples of the polysaccharides and triterpenes within several mushroom species that have demonstrated anticancer activity. As we rekindle our relationship with nature, it’s important to understand how medicinal fungi like mushrooms can convalesce our well-being. Mushrooms like reishi have been with us for antiquity, and as we evolve into the future, the power of these ancient species are being validated with science.

References

[1] Unschuld, Paul U. Medicine in China: A History of Pharmaceutics. Berkeley: Univ. of California Pr. 1986

[2] Cör D, Knez Ž, Knez Hrnčič M. Antitumour, antimicrobial, antioxidant and antiacetylcholinesterase effect of Ganoderma lucidum terpenoids and polysaccharides: A review. Molecules. 2018;23(3):649

[3] Paterson R.R.M. Ganoderma—A therapeutic fungal biofactory. Phytochemistry. 2006;68:1985–2001

[4] Sohretoglu D, Huang S. Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides as an anti-cancer agent. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2018;18(5):667-674

[5] Liu DL, Li YJ, Yang DH, et al. Ganoderma lucidum derived ganoderenic acid B reverses ABCB1- mediated multidrug resistance in HepG2/ADM cells. Int J Oncol. 2015;46(5):2029-2038

[6] Masuda Y, Nakayama Y, Tanaka A, Naito K, Konishi M. Antitumor activity of orally administered maitake α-glucan by stimulating antitumor immune response in murine tumor. PLoS One. 2017;12(3):e0173621

[7] Masuda Y, Ito K, Konishi M, Nanba H. A polysaccharide extracted from Grifola frondosa enhances the anti-tumor activity of bone marrow-derived dendritic cell-based immunotherapy against murine colon cancer. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2010;59(10):1531-1541

[8] Chung MJ, Chung CK, Jeong Y, Ham SS. Anticancer activity of subfractions containing pure compounds of Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) extract in human cancer cells and in Balbc/c mice bearing Sarcoma-180 cells. Nutr Res Pract. 2010;4(3):177-182

[9] Lee SH, Hwang HS, Yun JW. Antitumor activity of water extract of a mushroom, Inonotus obliquus, against HT-29 human colon cancer cells. Phytother Res. 2009;23(12):1784-1789

[10] Lu H, Yang Y, Gad E, et al. TLR2 agonist PSK activates human NK cells and enhances the antitumor effect of HER2-targeted monoclonal antibody therapy. Clin Cancer Res. 2011;17(21):6742-6753

[11] Sakamoto J, Morita S, Oba K, et al. Efficacy of adjuvant immunochemotherapy with polysaccharide K for patients with curatively resected colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of centrally randomized controlled clinical trials. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2006;55(4):404-411

[12] Fritz H, Kennedy DA, Ishii M, et al. Polysaccharide K and Coriolus versicolor extracts for lung cancer: a systematic review. Integr Cancer Ther. 2015;14(3):201-211

[13] National Cancer Institute. Medicinal Mushrooms (PDQ®)–Health Professional Version. www.cancer.gov; accessed February 24, 2021

[14] Wasser S. Shiitake (Lentinus edodes). In Coates P, Blackman MR, Betz J, Cragg GM, Levine M, Moss J, & White JD. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. 2010

Week 2 Recap of the Spore 30-Day Mushroom Challenge

Our first 30-Day Mushroom Challenge will help you learn all about mushrooms, incorporate stress management techniques, and help you track your health to improve your energy and overall health. From meeting our Spore Co-Founder Michael Zavet, to free health coaching and Q&A sessions with Spore Director of Education Dr. Michele Ross, PhD., we’re here to support you every step of the way.

If you’re new to the challenge, don’t worry! You can start at any time. Here’s everything you need to start the second week of the Spore 30-Day Mushroom Challenge.

30-Day Mushroom Challenge: Week 2 Recap

download the Spore 30-Day Mushroom Challenge Workbook

Day 8

If you’ve been keeping up with the challenge, congrats, you get a day off! If you need to catch up, here’s your chance. Don’t forget to fill out your Health Tracker & Mushroom Mindset pages either way in the Challenge Workbook.

Subscribe to our new Youtube channel to get notified when the latest episodes of Mushroom Mondays drop live.

aging mother holding spore focus performance for brain health

Day 9

It’s important to remind mom and dad about taking care of their health as they get older. One of the biggest complaints older parents have is being forgetful and having problems focusing. Talk to your parents about medicinal mushrooms like Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps that can help improve their brain health when taken daily. Spore Focus Performance blend is a great product to share with them.

Have you talked to your parents about mushrooms?

Day 10

Meet Michael Zavet in our second episode of Mushroom Mondays. Mike Zavet has an incredible story of discovering functional mushrooms to improve life with multiple sclerosis. It’s why he founded Spore & created the Mike’s Mushroom Mix blend.

If you have MS, chronic pain, or an immune disorder, you don’t want to miss this.

woman holding spore focus performance blend

Day 11

Do you take your mushrooms every day? It’s easy to forget taking your vitamins and supplements every day. Using a pill organizer can make it easy, especially if you have a bad memory. To find out why you should take your medicinal mushrooms every day, check out our recent blog post, “Why It’s Important To Take Your Spore Mushrooms Every Day.”

Day 12

Many people with chronic pain and autoimmune disorders use medicinal mushrooms to boost energy, improve focus, and support a healthy immune system. Spore Director of Education, Dr. Michele Ross, PhD., has several chronic health conditions including fibromyalgia.

In this episode of Wellness Wednesdays, available inside our Spore Mushroom Community Facebook group or on our Youtube channel, Dr. Ross shares how medicinal mushrooms, psychedelic mushrooms, and other natural plant medicines have helped her live her best live with this painful condition.

cordyceps mushrooms found in Spore Energy Performance blend boost cellular energy

Day 13

When it comes to energy, you probably think of coffee or tea. You’ll get a caffeine-free boost of energy from Cordyceps mushrooms, and regular use will switch you from wired and tired to unstoppable!

Check out our blog on 5 Benefits of Cordyceps Mushrooms. Then check your bottle of Spore to find out if it has cordyceps on the label.

woman meditating outside with Spore 30-Day Mushroom Challenge

Day 14

Spending time in nature is good for the mind and body. Take a long walk around the neighborhood and look up at the blue sky and the trees. Go for a hike if you’re up to it.

Tired and unmotivated? Cordyceps mushroom, found in Energy Performance & Focus Performance blends, can help get you moving! How did you spend your time outdoors? Post a pic on Instagram and use the hashtag #30daymushroomchallenge.

What’s Ahead For Week 2

As we head into Week 3 of the 30-Day Mushroom Challenge, we’ll be diving in deep into medicinal mushroom benefits and providing coaching and support to help you on your wellness journey with mushrooms. We’ll be sharing weekly recaps here on our blog so you can follow along with the challenge no matter when you start.

Looking for the Week 1 Recap of the 30-Day Mushroom Challenge? Click on the link!

Week 1 Recap of the Spore 30-Day Mushroom Challenge

Our first 30-Day Mushroom Challenge will help you learn all about mushrooms, incorporate stress management techniques, and help you track your health to improve your energy and overall health. From meeting our Spore Director of Education, Dr. Michele Ross, PhD., to interviewing leading experts in mushrooms and health, to free health coaching and Q&A sessions, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

If you’re new to the challenge, don’t worry! You can start at any time. Here’s everything you need to start the first week of the Spore 30-Day Mushroom Challenge.

30-Day Mushroom Challenge: Week 1 Recap

Join the Spore 30-Day Mushroom Challenge

Day 1:

Welcome to the challenge! Join our Spore Facebook Community Group to get started!

If you haven’t already, follow Spore on Instagram @sporelifesciences and click on our “Challenge” highlight to catch up on our 30-Day Mushroom Challenge Instastory posts.

download the Spore 30-Day Mushroom Challenge Workbook.

Day 2:

Download our Challenge Workbook featuring health trackers, mushroom mindset worksheets, health tips, and daily prompts for mushroom education.

Mushroom Mondays episode 1 with Dr. Michele Ross, PhD.

Day 3:

Confused about how to participate in the challenge and how to use the workbook? Dr. Ross breaks it down in our episode of our new video podcast, Mushroom Mondays.

How long does it take mushrooms to work?

Day 4:

Do mushrooms work instantly? Do they make you high? Find out all the answers to how mushrooms work on our blog.

How Long Does It Take Mushrooms To Work?

No, we’re not taking about those shrooms! Comparing the effects of psilocybin-containing magic mushrooms to medicinal mushrooms is like comparing apples to oranges. While the active ingredient in magic mushrooms makes users feel high or even hallucinate, medicinal mushrooms can improve energy, mood, and overall health, helping you feel your best. Medicinal mushrooms provide these health benefits from a multitude of active ingredients with anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and neuroprotective properties.

How you respond to functional mushrooms depends on many things, including which Spore mushroom blend you used. The effects may be subtle and build up over time or result in instant changes you can feel in an hour or less. Let’s dive into how it might feel to take each of the five Spore mushroom blends.

When does Focus Performance blend start working?

You may feel more alert and focused within an hour of taking this Spore mushroom blend. Focus Performance blend contains lion’s mane mushrooms, cordyceps mushrooms, ashwagandha, and ginkgo biloba. Gingko biloba may increase blood flow to the brain, providing tension relief and focus improvement within an hour. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that helps lower stress hormone levels, and while you may see subtle results in an hour, consistent use will yield the best results. Same with the other ingredients including lion’s mane and cordyceps mushrooms, as they support brain health over time.

When does Chill Out blend start working?

If you’re highly stressed out, you should start feeling the effects of Chill Out blend rather quickly. Chill Out blend contains reishi mushrooms and herbs including valerian root, passion flower, chamomile and lemon balm. These herbs promote relaxation, and effects can be felt within an hour. Some consumers use this blend at night to help promote a good night’s rest. If Chill Out blend makes you too sleepy during the day, you can try taking one capsule twice a day instead of both at the same time.

When does Energy Performance blend start working?

Energy Performance blend is one of our fastest acting formulas. It contains cordyceps and maitake mushrooms as well as panax ginseng, green tea extract, and guarana powder. This formula contains natural caffeine and will provide an instant burst of energy in less than an hour. The cordyceps mushrooms in this formula help you turn oxygen you breathe in into cellular energy more quickly, further boosting energy for hours without causing a crash like other supplements.

When does Protect + Defend blend start working?

Protect + Defend blend contains turkey tail, chaga, reishi and maitake mushrooms plus a blend of vitamins and minerals. This potent formula provides strong support for the immune system, helping you respond faster to microbes that come your way. To benefit the most from this mushroom blend, take it daily, and not just when you feel the symptoms of a cold or flu coming on.

When does Mike’s Mushroom Mix start working?

As a blend of 10 functional mushrooms, Mike’s Mushroom Mix is serving as a unique multivitamin that rebalances the immune system. Due to the anti-inflammatory nature of this mushroom blend, many consumers report feeling more energized, focused, and overall healthier after taking Mike’s Mushroom Mix for a month or two.

Still don’t know if your mushrooms are working?

Confused about which Spore mushroom blend is right for you? Or taking a Spore mushroom blend and not sure if it’s working? Join our Spore Mushroom Community on Facebook to get support and ask Dr. Ross your questions about mushrooms and health. We’re here to support you on your wellness journey.

Controlling an Overactive Thyroid

The American Thyroid Association estimates that 20 million Americans have some type of thyroid disorder. Globally, this number reaches 200 million people. [1,2] Thyroid disease takes two paths: hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid where your body does not produce enough of specific hormones called T3 and T4; and hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid, where your body produces too much of these hormones.

Both types of thyroid disease are more common in women than in men. Of those diagnosed with thyroid disease, approximately 99% are affected by hypothyroidism. [3] The most common cause of the less frequent hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease, where antibodies attack the thyroid gland causing it to produce too much T3 and T4.

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism presents several symptoms, such as nervousness, mood swings, irritability, weight loss, rapid heart rate, excessive sweating, bulging eyes, and difficulty sleeping. Left untreated, an overactive thyroid can result in blood clots, stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, and an overall decreased quality of life, mirroring symptoms of depression.

Treating Hyperthyroidism

There are various methods to treat hyperthyroidism. For example, the ingestion of radioactive iodine can shrink your thyroid gland and is thought to be the best-known to cure hyperthyroidism, often after as little as one dose. [4] Anti-thyroid medications can prevent your thyroid gland from producing too much T3 and T4. Some of these drugs, however, can cause liver problems, which in severe cases can result in death. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as a racing heart, can be controlled with beta blockers, which are drugs typically used to treat high blood pressure. In more severe cases, a thyroidectomy may be required, where a substantial portion of the thyroid gland is removed.

Since Graves’ disease can affect one’s eyes, causing pain, inflammation, and sensitivity to light and wind, having access to and using artificial tears or topical products that provide anti-inflammatory properties can also provide relief.

Mitigating the Effects of Hyperthyroidism Through Lifestyle Changes

On the bright side, there are several natural ways to control hyperthyroidism too, primarily by altering one’s everyday lifestyle. One example is to avoid foods that contain iodine, such as seaweed, shrimp, fish, milk, cheese, and iodized salt. As well, because hyperthyroidism can lead to osteoporosis, taking Vitamin D and calcium supplements can help bolster your bones.

As with many medical conditions, getting appropriate cardiovascular exercise can help maximize muscle tone and increase your energy. Because bone density loss can occur with hyperthyroidism [5], resistance or strength training is recommended since it helps maintain bone density [6] and the recovery of skeletal muscle function [7]. Also, hyperthyroidism causes nervousness, anxiety, and irritability, and finding ways to relax can be vital to help reduce the impact of hyperthyroidism.

How Mushrooms Can Help

Through various studies, cordyceps mushrooms have been evaluated for treating Graves’ disease. [8] Of the 44 sufferers of the disease that participated in one study, 28 were given cordyceps mushrooms. The researchers found that the mushrooms helped restore the balance of helper and cytotoxic T cells, both integral to our body’s immune responses.

Other mushrooms help support the gut microbiome, which in turn, can provide support for thyroid function, since thyroid and intestinal conditions often coexist. [9] A diet supplemented with shiitake mushrooms led to alterations in gut microbiota when tested on rats which were fed the mushrooms over 42 days. [10] Consumption of the mushrooms increased the abundance of Clostridium
and Bacteroides microbes that play pivotal roles in regulating gut health. [11]

Chaga mushrooms can also help support gut health, and one study evaluated the effects of chaga mushrooms on patients suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, both of often coexist with thyroid dysfunction. [12,13] IBD is thought to be partially caused by oxidative stress from free radicals that induce inflammation. The chaga mushrooms provided antioxidative properties, protecting the gut from oxidative stress.

There are several everyday ways to better control hyperthyroidism, starting with your diet, and ensuring that you are consuming foods and supplements that do not aggravate the condition. Mushrooms like cordyceps, shiitake, and chaga, all of which are in Spore Life Sciences Mike’s Mushroom Mix, have demonstrated their ability to boost gut health and immune responses, two integral pathways to quell the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

References

[1] American Thyroid Association. General information/press room. Accessed April 8, 2021.
[2] Siemens Healthineers. Women and thyroid disease. Accessed April 8, 2021.
[3] Chiovato L, Magri F, Carlé A. Hypothyroidism in context: Where we’ve been and where we’re going. Adv Ther. 2019;36(Suppl 2):47-58.
[4] Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan. Radioactive iodine for hyperthyroidism. Accessed April 8, 2021.
[5] Tuchendler D, Bolanowski M. The influence of thyroid dysfunction on bone metabolism. Thyroid Res. 2014;7(1):12.
[6] Hong AR, Kim SW. Effects of resistance exercise on bone health. Endocrinol Metab (Seoul). 2018;33(4):435-444.
[7] Bousquet-Santos K, Vaisman M, Barreto ND, et al. Resistance training improves muscle function and body composition in patients with hyperthyroidism. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2006;87(8):1123-1130.
[8] He T, Zhao R, Lu Y, et al. Dual-directional immunomodulatory effects of Corbrin capsule on autoimmune thyroid diseases. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:1360386.
[9] Knezevic J, Starchl C, Tmava Berisha A, Amrein K. Thyroid-gut-axis: How does the microbiota influence thyroid function?. Nutrients. 2020;12(6):1769.
[10] Anwar H, Suchodolski JS, Ullah MI, et al. Shiitake culinary-medicinal mushroom, Lentinus edodes (Agaricomycetes), supplementation alters gut microbiome and corrects dyslipidemia in rats. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2019;21(1):79-88.
[11] Lopetuso LR, Scaldaferri F, Petito V, Gasbarrini A. Commensal Clostridia: leading players in the maintenance of gut homeostasis. Gut Pathog. 2013;5(1):23.
[12] Najafzadeh M, Reynolds PD, Baumgartner A, Jerwood D, Anderson D. Chaga mushroom extract inhibits oxidative DNA damage in lymphocytes of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Biofactors. 2007;31(3-4):191-200.
[13] Shizuma T. Concomitant thyroid disorders and inflammatory bowel disease: A literature review. Biomed Res Int. 2016;2016:5187061.

How to Defog Your Brain

Modern living comes with many distractions that can hinder our ability to pay attention, focus, think clearly, or break through the daily brain fog. Brain fog can result from stress, a lack of sleep, a poor diet, medications, or medical conditions, and can take its toll on our work and personal lives.

How to Defog Your Brain

Our modern lives would feel rather naked without our smartphones wouldn’t they? But smartphones can also lead to brain fog as well. One study postulated that “habitual involvement with these devices may have a negative and lasting impact on users’ ability to think, remember, pay attention, and regulate emotion.” [1] The study reports that “considerable evidence implicates smartphone technology as a source of sleep disturbances, with a compound effect on cognitive functioning and work engagement the following day.”

Therefore, finding ways to harness and improve your focus, and sustain that mental clarity once its recovered, is paramount to leading a more productive work and personal life. Thankfully, there are several natural ways that can boost your mental clarity.

Lion’s mane mushrooms and the polysaccharides within them can promote neuronal health, and animal models have shown that these polysaccharides can stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (a protein that’s involved in neuronal growth, proliferation, maintenance, and survival) in the hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in memory and learning. [2]

The tree called Gingko biloba serves as another example of a botanical product marketed for its ability to augment mental clarity and focus. While more research may need to be done to validate the claims, one clinical trial conducted on 262 people aged 60 or older showed improved cognitive abilities in the group who ingested Gingko biloba versus the placebo group. [3] What’s more, Gingko biloba may help alleviate anxiety. While the “more research needs to be done” mantra applies here as well, one study of 170 people showed that those given 480 mg of Gingko biloba reported a 45% reduction in anxiety. [4] Less anxiety means less stress, and less stress may translate to better mental clarity.

There are other simple ways to treat brain fog. For example, you may not be getting enough sleep, so ensure that you allow for adequate rest. And as always, exercising regularly can also help sharpen the mind. Pairing that with a supplement designed to improve focus, such as Spore Life Science’s Focus Performance formulation, containing lion’s mane mushrooms and Gingko biloba, should get you well on your way to clearing your mind and living life to the fullest.

References

[1] Wilmer HH, Sherman LE, Chein JM. Smartphones and cognition: a review of research exploring the links between mobile technology habits and cognitive functioning. Front Psychol. 2017;8:605.
[2] Mori K, Obara Y, Hirota M, et al. Nerve growth factor-inducing activity of Hericium erinaceus in 1321N1 human astrocytoma cells. Biol Pharm Bull. 2008;31(9):1727-1732.
[3] Mix JA, Crews WD Jr. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761 in a sample of cognitively intact older adults: neuropsychological findings. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2002;17(6):267-277.
[4] Woelk H, Arnoldt KH, Kieser M, Hoerr R. Ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 in generalized anxiety disorder and adjustment disorder with anxious mood: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Psychiatr Res. 2007;41(6):472-480.

Five Ways Medicinal Mushrooms Fight Aging

Mushrooms may not be the first ingredient that comes to mind when it comes to ingredients that fight wrinkles, boost memory, and even extend your life span. We’re not talking about the mushrooms on your pizza. Medicinal mushrooms including lion’s mane mushrooms and less known ones like antrodia mushrooms are the hot new ingredient in many beauty and health products.

Here are five medicinal mushrooms you should be using to fight aging:

1. Antrodia Mushrooms
Antrodia shows great promise as an ingredient in wrinkle creams or facial sunscreens. When applied topically to the skin, antrodia can reduce inflammation, breakdown of collagen in the skin, and water loss in skin exposed to the sun. [1] Antrodia can also be taken as a supplement, and has been used in Chinese medicine for fighting many types of cancer including lung, liver, and breast cancer. [2,3]

2. Reishi Mushrooms
Known as the “Queen of mushrooms” reishi can be applied to the skin topically or eaten as a supplement. Reishi skincare products are full of antioxidants including ergothioneine and glutathione that stop free radial formation and prevent premature aging from sun exposure.

Reishi has another nickname, the “mushroom of immortality,” and for good reason. Reishi is known to increase the length of your lifespan, as well as the quality of life in your senior years. Reishi contains many unique chemicals including polysaccharides and triterpenes that protect your DNA from oxidative stress, preventing aging and cancer. [4] Reishi even turns on the gene called daf-16 that increases lifespan in species from worms to humans. [5]

3. Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Lion’s mane is world-renowned for its effects on the brain and its ability to boost cognitive function in seniors. Two chemicals in lion’s mane, erinacines and hericenones, boost production of nerve growth factor (NGF) in the brain, which boosts brain cell growth and repair. Numerous polysaccharides and triterpenes in lion’s mane improve memory and even motor function in aging mice. [6]

4. Cordyceps Mushrooms
Cordyceps mushroom is revered in Chinese medicine as an anti-aging herb. It contains numerous chemicals that act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, which keep the brain healthy as it ages. Cordyceps reduces oxidative stress in the brain and improves memory [7]. These mushrooms also improve the way the body and brain use oxygen during exercise, which can help you stay fit and mobile as you get older. [8,9]

5. King Trumpet Mushrooms
King trumpet mushrooms are also known as king oyster mushrooms, and are a great addition to soups, pastas, and even salads. King trumpets can also be taken as a dietary supplement in the form of powders and capsules. They contain a protein called PEP that reduces inflammation and growth of colon cancer cells. [10,11]

King Trumpet are also full of ergothioneine, a master antioxidant that can fight free radical damage and oxidative stress, making it a potent mushroom for fighting aging and inflammation. While all mushrooms, including white button mushrooms, have some levels of ergothioneine, king trumpet mushrooms have much higher levels than other varieties.

Conclusion
Mushrooms are an amazing way to fight aging. To get the full health benefits of medicinal mushrooms like lion’s mane and reishi, it’s best to use a supplement like Spore’s Mike’s Mushroom Mix that includes ten of the most powerful medicinal mushrooms.

References
1. Kuo YH, Lin TY, You YJ, Wen KC, Sung PJ, Chiang HM. Antiinflammatory and Antiphotodamaging Effects of Ergostatrien-3β-ol, Isolated from Antrodia camphorata, on Hairless Mouse Skin. Molecules. 2016 Sep 10;21(9):1213.
2. Long, Huei; Hu, Chi-Tan; Prijatelj, Vesna Weng, Ching-Feng. Antrodia cinnamomea is a potentially effective complementary medicine for adjuvant therapy against breast cancer with bone metastasis, Medicine: July 02, 2020 – Volume 99 – Issue 27.
3. Huang, TT., Lan, YW., Chen, CM. et al. Antrodia cinnamomea induces anti-tumor activity by inhibiting the STAT3 signaling pathway in lung cancer cells. Sci Rep 2019;9:5145.
4. Wang J, Cao B, Zhao H, Feng J. Emerging Roles of Ganoderma Lucidum in Anti-Aging. Aging Dis. 2017;8(6):691-707.
5. Chuang MH, Chiou SH, Huang CH, Yang WB, Wong CH. The lifespan-promoting effect of acetic acid and Reishi polysaccharide. Bioorg Med Chem. 2009 Nov 15;17(22):7831-40.
6. Ratto D, Corana F, Mannucci B, et al. Hericium erinaceus Improves Recognition Memory and Induces Hippocampal and Cerebellar Neurogenesis in Frail Mice during Aging. Nutrients. 2019;11(4):715.
7. Ji DB, Ye J, Li CL, Wang YH, Zhao J, Cai SQ. Antiaging effect of Cordyceps sinensis extract. Phytother Res. 2009 Jan;23(1):116-22.
8. Hirsch KR, Smith-Ryan AE, Roelofs EJ, Trexler ET, Mock MG. Cordyceps militaris Improves Tolerance to High-Intensity Exercise After Acute and Chronic Supplementation. J Diet Suppl. 2017;14(1):42-53.
9. Yi, X., Xi-zhen, H. & Jia-shi, Z. Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial and assessment of fermentation product of Cordyceps sinensis (Cs-4) in enhancing aerobic capacity and respiratory function of the healthy elderly volunteers. Chin. J. Integr. Med. 2004;10:187–192.
10. Yuan B., Ma N., Zhao L., Zhao E., Gao Z., Wang W., Song M., Zhang G., Hu Q., Xiao H. (2017). In Vitro and In Vivo Inhbitory Effects of a Pleurotus eryngii Protein on Colon Cancer Cells. Food and Function. 10.
11. H Q., Yuan B., Xiao H., Zhao L. Wu X., Rakariyatham K., Zhong L., Han Y., Muinde Kimatu B., Yang W. (2018). Polyphenols-Rich Extract From Pleurotus eryngii with Growth Inhibitoru of HCT116 Colon Cancer Cells and Anti-Inflammatory Function in RAW264.7 Cells. Food and Function. 9(3): 1601–1611.

Five Ways Functional Mushrooms Support Healthy Weight Loss

Weight gain is something we’ve all struggled with, but for many people, it has been harder than ever this year to lose the pounds. A recent study found that over 40% of Americans gained weight during the COVID pandemic lockdown and put on average of 29 pounds. [1] Many people are looking for fast ways to shed the pounds without having to go to gyms or other public places where they might be exposed to the virus. One of the easiest ways to lose weight and keep it off is by changing your diet.

The old saying “let food be thy medicine” should be your go-to line when it comes to weight loss. But which food? You might be surprised that mushrooms are a food packed with active ingredients that support metabolism and healthy eating habits. This isn’t just based on anecdotal evidence; most medicinal mushrooms have been deeply researched by scientists due to their use in ancient medicine.

From regular white button mushrooms to exotic functional mushrooms like lion’s mane, reishi, and chaga, you have many ways to incorporate mushrooms in your diet and exercise program. While some people cook functional mushrooms like lion’s mane and add them to pasta or eat them like burgers, you can get immense benefits by taking them in capsule form as a supplement.

Here are five health benefits of functional mushrooms for weight loss:

1. Stop Stress-Eating

A lot of people cope with stress by eating junk food, their favorite comfort food, or a calorie-heavy bottle of wine. Even if you’re consciously trying to avoid junk food, it’s super easy to fall off the health food wagon and relapse into stress eating. Thankfully, several functional mushrooms contain compounds that ease stress and reduce symptoms of anxiety.

Research studies have found several compounds in lion’s mane mushrooms, including erinacine A and amycenone, that have anti-anxiety and antidepressant like effects in mice. [2, 3] Reishi mushroom is also known for its mood lifting properties as proven in studies on mice. [4] By consuming functional mushrooms, you may feel more relaxed and reduce mindless eating as well as cravings for high-fat, high-sugar, and high-salt foods.

2. Boost Fat Metabolism

Most people think about benefits for the immune system or the brain when they think about medicinal mushrooms. What they don’t realize is that mushrooms can have amazing potential to treat obesity and reduce the harm from unhealthy diet and lifestyle habits. When mice were given lion’s mane extract for a month along with a high fat diet, they gained less body weight and fat. [5] Reishi mushrooms given to mice fed a high fat diet for a month had a similar effect of reducing body weight and fat gain. [6] Additionally, mice fed reishi also had lower levels of inflammation, suggesting they were healthier all around.

3. Reduce Fatigue

One of the main excuses people have for not exercising is that they are too tired after a long day of work. And if even if they do have the energy to get to the gym or start that yoga class online, they fizzle out and stop in the middle of their session and don’t get the full benefits. Taking medicinal mushrooms that boost energy can help you start exercising and extend the length or intensity of your cardio session. Cordyceps mushroom is the go-to mushroom for people who are tired, as it increases your body’s ability to turn oxygen into energy and increases athletic performance. [7,8] Reishi mushroom has also been heavily researched for its ability to improve energy and quality of life in patients with chronic illness such as breast cancer and nerve pain. [9,10]

4. Level Blood Sugar

Reishi mushroom, known as the “Queen of Mushrooms,” is known for its ability to balance blood sugar, which can stop food cravings and weight gain. The polysaccharides in reishi mushroom may help sensitize insulin receptors in the pancreas so that they respond better to insulin release after meals. While some studies suggest reishi mushroom is effective for leveling blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes, it is unclear whether it does the same thing for patients without diabetes. [11] Lion’s mane mushroom is also amazing for lower blood sugar in both normal and diabetic mice, and it does so by blocking enzymes that break down carbohydrates in the gut. [12,13]

5. Reduce Hunger

If you choose to eat your mushrooms whole instead of using mushroom supplements in powder or capsule form, you’ll get even more health benefits when it comes to weight loss. Mushrooms are chock full of beta-glucan fiber that helps your stomach feel full and reduce appetite. As a bonus, mushrooms also contain mevinolin, an enzyme that inhibits cholesterol production and is now prescribed as the prescription drug Lovastatin. [14] Mushrooms are also a great source of protein that doesn’t come from animals, making it a great choice for vegetarians and vegans. Meals that are high in protein tend to reduce hunger for more hours than meals high in carbohydrates, like pasta and bread.

Conclusion

Mushrooms can be a powerful tool in your weight loss journey. Try swapping meat for mushrooms for one to two meals a week to cut down on calories and reap the benefits of the fiber, vitamins, and beta-glucans in mushrooms. To get the full health benefits of functional mushrooms like lion’s mane or reishi, it’s best to use a supplement like Mike’s Mushroom Mix from Spore that includes ten of the most powerful medicinal mushrooms.

References

1. American Psychological Association, “Stress in America” pandemic survey https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2021/data-charts-march-weight-change
2. Chiu CH, Chyau CC, Chen CC, Lee LY, Chen WP, Liu JL, Lin WH, Mong MC. Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects through Modulating BDNF/PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β Signaling in Mice. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Jan 24;19(2):341.
3. Yao W, Zhang JC, Dong C, Zhuang C, Hirota S, Inanaga K, Hashimoto K. Effects of amycenone on serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-10, and depression-like behavior in mice after lipopolysaccharide administration. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2015 Sep;136:7-12.
4. Matsuzaki H, Shimizu Y, Iwata N, Kamiuchi S, Suzuki F, Iizuka H, Hibino Y, Okazaki M. Antidepressant-like effects of a water-soluble extract from the culture medium of Ganoderma lucidum mycelia in rats. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Dec 26;13:370.
5. Hiwatashi K, Kosaka Y, Suzuki N, Hata K, Mukaiyama T, Sakamoto K, Shirakawa H, Komai M. Yamabushitake mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) improved lipid metabolism in mice fed a high-fat diet. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2010;74(7):1447-51.
6. Chen Diling, Guo Yinrui, Qi Longkai, Tang Xiaocui, Liu Yadi, Feng Jiaxin, Zhu Xiangxiang, Zeng Miao, Shuai Ou, Wang Dongdong, Xie Yizhen, Burton B. Yang, Wu Qingping. Metabolic regulation of Ganoderma lucidum extracts in high sugar and fat diet-induced obese mice by regulating the gut-brain axis. Journal of Functional Foods. 2020,65:103639.
7. Hirsch KR, Smith-Ryan AE, Roelofs EJ, Trexler ET, Mock MG. Cordyceps militaris Improves Tolerance to High-Intensity Exercise After Acute and Chronic Supplementation. J Diet Suppl. 2017;14(1):42-53.
8. Yi, X., Xi-zhen, H. & Jia-shi, Z. Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial and assessment of fermentation product of Cordyceps sinensis (Cs-4) in enhancing aerobic capacity and respiratory function of the healthy elderly volunteers. Chin. J. Integr. Med. 2004;10:187–192.
9. Zhao H, Zhang Q, Zhao L, Huang X, Wang J, Kang X. Spore Powder of Ganoderma lucidum Improves Cancer-Related Fatigue in Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Endocrine Therapy: A Pilot Clinical Trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:809614.
10. Tang W, Gao Y, Chen G, Gao H, Dai X, Ye J, Chan E, Huang M, Zhou S. A randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled study of a Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide extract in neurasthenia. J Med Food. 2005 Spring;8(1):53-8.
11. Gao, Yihuai & Lan, Jin & Dai, Xihu & Ye, Jingxian & Zhou, Shufeng. A Phase I/II Study of Ling Zhi Mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (W.Curt.:Fr.)Lloyd (Aphyllophoromycetideae) Extract in Patients with Type II Diabetes Mellitus. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 2004;6. 33-40.
12. Liang B, Guo Z, Xie F, Zhao A. Antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic activities of aqueous extract of Hericium erinaceus in experimental diabetic rats. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013;13:253.
13. He X, Wang X, Fang J, Chang Y, Ning N, Guo H, Huang L, Huang X, Zhao Z. Structures, biological activities, and industrial applications of the polysaccharides from Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane) mushroom: A review. Int J Biol Macromol. 2017 Apr;97:228-237.
14. McCune SA, Jurin RR. Effect of mevinolin on cholesterol metabolism in obese and lean Zucker rats. Biochem Pharmacol. 1987 Mar 15;36(6):875-9.

Why Men Have A Weaker Immune System Than Women

Men and women differ by gender in a lot of physiological differences, from body fat to height, hormones and lifespan. One big difference between the sexes that might surprise you is how the immune system functions in women versus men. So how did men up end up with a weaker immune system than women?

Women Have Stronger Mast Cells

Mast cells are immune system cells that recognize specific proteins on pathogens like viruses and bacteria and cause inflammation when activated. Unfortunately, mast cells can also react to foods, medications, stress, heat, and even strong smells. Mast cells are responsible for allergic reactions and food sensitives. Prolonged activation of mast cells can result in conditions like leaky gut, chronic rashes, headaches, and gut pain.

Women have over 4,000 genes that more active in their mast cells than men. [1] Women are more likely to have oversensitive and hyperactive mast cells, leading to higher rates of allergies and autoimmune disorders. Because stress can hyperactivate mast cells, it’s important for women to lower their stress levels. Spore’s Chill Out Blend contains reishi mushroom and other botanical ingredients that support relaxation.

X Marks The Spot

Women have two copies of the X chromosome and men only have one. The X chromosome contains strains of ribonucleic acid called microRNAs, and it’s estimated that ten percent of all microRNAs are on that gene. Many microRNAs have been found to regulate genes for the immune system. Women likely have a more robust immune system than men because more of the genes for the immune system are turned on. [2]

Women Live Longer

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), women live six to eight years longer than men in most countries. Because women have stronger immune systems, they are in a better position to fight off pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and mold. Interestingly, women are also two to five times less likely to have cancer than men, and this is because our immune system is our first defense against small cancer cells growing into tumors.

Women Have More Autoimmune Diseases

Having a stronger immune system than men isn’t always a plus for women. Women have a higher rate of autoimmune disorders like lupus or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which happen when the immune system attacks the body instead of pathogens. Women also are more likely to have health conditions where the immune system plays a role, including allergies and migraines.

Women Have More Severe Reactions to Vaccines

Because women have a more robust immune system, they respond more strongly to vaccinations. This includes things like measles, hepatitis B, the flu, and even the new COVID-19 vaccines. With the new COVID vaccines, women are more likely to report more severe and longer lasting side effects like fever, headache, fatigue, and pain than men. Women even account for 80 percent of all allergic reactions to all vaccines. [3]

Conclusion

Whether you’re a man or a woman, it is still important to support a healthy immune system. Mushrooms can both boost the immune system when it’s suppressed or suppress an overactive immune system in the case of autoimmune diseases. One way to easily balance your immune system is with Spore’s Protect & Defend Blend, which contains turkey tail, reishi, maitake, and chaga mushrooms, and other all-natural ingredients.

References

1. Mackey, E., Ayyadurai, S., Pohl, C.S. et al. Sexual dimorphism in the mast cell transcriptome and the pathophysiological responses to immunological and psychological stress. Biol Sex Differ 2016;7:60.
2. Pinheiro, I., Dejager, L. and Libert, C. (2011), X‐chromosome‐located microRNAs in immunity: Might they explain male/female differences? Bioessays, 33: 791-802.
3. Su JR, Moro PL, Ng CS, Lewis PW, Said MA, Cano MV. Anaphylaxis after vaccination reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, 1990-2016. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2019;143(4):1465-1473.