Mood-Altering Mushrooms

Mental health conditions are a significant detriment to modern society. Approximately, 284 million people suffer from anxiety, and another 264 million people globally [1] have been diagnosed with depression. While there are many pharmaceutical drugs prescribed to help alleviate suffering caused by these mental health conditions, there are natural options that can provide relief as well. For those living (or maybe just existing) with anxiety or depression symptoms, anything that helps improve one’s mental state can make a significant impact to their quality of life.

Mood-Altering Mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms contain molecules that have demonstrated anti-anxiety properties and the ability to lessen depressive symptoms. In one study, a reishi mushroom extract showed similar anti-anxiety properties as the pharmaceutical drug diazepam. [2] Reishi powder also diminished fatigue, anxiety, depression, and provided a better quality of life in 48 breast cancer survivors. [3] The patients were given 1,000 mg of reishi powder three times a day for four weeks. The researchers postulated that “[o]ne explanation for the improvement in depression is that with less fatigue and more energy, these breast cancer survivors were able to do some activities that they previously had given up. These activities brought pleasure into their lives.”

Lion’s mane mushrooms and their beta- and alpha-glucan polysaccharides have also been shown to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms. [4] The four-week study included 30 females aged 35 to 47 years old, who had various ailments, but no specific diseases. They consumed four lion’s mane cookies containing 0.5 g of powdered lion’s mane fruiting bodies or placebo cookies. The study sought to understand the lion’s mane cookies’ clinical effects on menopause, including sleep quality and depression. After evaluating the participants, the researchers found that the group receiving lion’s mane cookies showed decreased depression and anxiety like symptoms. The researchers attributed these effects to the mushroom’s stimulation of nerve growth factor.

Cordyceps mushrooms have also demonstrated antidepressant properties. [5,6] One study used cordyceps mushrooms in conjunction with duloxetine, a common antidepressant (e.g., Cymbalta®). [6] Depression is reported to be 18% higher in people with diabetes compared to the rest of the world’s population. Even more significant is that research has highlighted that depressed diabetics are less likely to stick to an antidiabetic regimen, causing further long-term damage to their well-being. To analyze this, a 2009 study was conducted that suggested that vanadium-enriched cordyceps might be efficacious for diabetes-induced depression. [7] Vanadium salts can mimic insulin, thereby providing a therapeutic benefit. However, trace elements like vanadium can also be toxic in our bodies. In addition to cordyceps’ mood-enhancing properties, they have the added benefit of taking up these trace elements in our bodies, reducing toxicity while preserving the desired clinical effects.

These researchers tested their hypothesis in a follow-up study using rats. [8] They employed tests like evaluating how much the rats swam or climbed objects, which are accepted animal models for depression. The vanadium-enriched mushroom treatment resulted in increased mobility via swimming and climbing, revealing the potential of this two-pronged approach to diabetes-induced depression.

Reishi, lion’s mane, and cordyceps mushrooms provide the fungal power behind several Spore Life Sciences formulations such as Chill Out, containing reishi mushrooms and other medicinal plants such as chamomile and lemon balm which also provide anxiolytic, calming properties; or Focus Performance which includes lion’s mane and cordyceps mushrooms, as well as ashwagandha and gingko biloba. A well-thought-out wellness plan can easily include everyday great all-natural ingredients like functional mushrooms, and with the added validation from the scientific literature, it just makes natural sense.

References

[1] Sison, G. Depression Statistics 2021 . Global Health Metrics Volume 392, Issue 10159, P178901858

[2] Ali N, Muhammad A, & Akbar S.A. Anxiolytic-like activity of ethanol extract of Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) in mice. International Journal of Medical Research and Health Sciences. 2016;5:57-60

[3] 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

[4] Nagano M, Shimizu K, Kondo R, et al. Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake. Biomed Res. 2010;31(4):231-237

[5] Nishizawa K, Torii K, Kawasaki A, et al. Antidepressant-like effect of Cordyceps sinensis in the mouse tail suspension test. Biol Pharm Bull. 2007;30(9):1758-1762

[6] Chen X, Zhang X, Wang C, Feng L, & Wang G. Cordyceps sinensis combined with duloxetine improves sleep symptoms in patients with depression: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Trials: Nervous System Diseases. 2018;3:136-145

[7] Guo JY, Han CC, Liu YM. A contemporary treatment approach to both diabetes and depression by Cordyceps sinensis, rich in vanadium. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2010;7(3):387-389

Inside the Fungi: Polysaccharides and Terpenoids

With the growing emphasis on overall health and wellness, millions of individuals have begun to educate themselves on how various plants and fungi lessen their dependence on pharmaceutical drugs.

Fortunately, there are many great natural options readily available to consumers within our reach.

Inside The Fungi

Through a simple search, one can learn about the cannabinoids and terpenes contained in the trichomes of Cannabis sativa; flavonoids like anthocyanins that give many plants like elderberry or pomegranate wonderfully rich and deep shades of purple and red; or the plentiful polysaccharides and various terpenes (e.g., diterpenes, triterpenes) in medicinal mushrooms like maitake, chaga, and turkey tail.

These molecules in turn produce medicinal properties that we look to benefit from, which include antioxidative, anticancer, antiviral, mental health and antianxiety supportive properties – all of which, are increasingly important for dealing with the stressors derived from contemporary society.

The silver lining during crazy and uncertain times like today is that it has driven many individuals to research and learn the best way to use and take advantage of specific plants and fungi that hold powerful medicinal promise. And for every medicinal plant, there are specific, often unique collections of chemicals that convey the therapeutic properties as well. Just as one example, but medicinal or functional mushrooms offer polysaccharides and terpenes.

Polysaccharides

A polysaccharide is a carbohydrate consisting of a chain of sugar molecules linked together. Cellulose, for example, is like a chain-linked fence of glucose molecules, and this type of polysaccharide is known as a glucan. An α-glucan (alpha-glucan) from maitake mushrooms, called YM-2A has been evaluated for anticancer properties. This polysaccharide stimulates production of cells that enhance our immune systems like tumor necrosis factor α, different interleukins, and through macrophage cell activation. [1] β-glucans (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. [2] The polysaccharide lentinan, for example, acts as a host defense potentiator which helps hosts defend against various types of cancer. Lentinan also confers antiviral, antiparasitic, and antibacterial properties. Shiitake also contains the polysaccharide named KS-2 which has also demonstrated anticancer properties.

Another polysaccharide called krestin, or PSK in turkey tail mushrooms possesses powerful anticancer properties, with one study reporting increased survival in colon cancer patients who received PSK as an adjuvant immunochemotherapy. [3] An adjuvant therapy looks to prevent cancer from coming back post-treatment, and an immunotherapy specifically targets the immune system. PSK also activated natural killer cells and potentiated the chemotherapy drug trastuzumab. [4]

Polysaccharides like PEPS30, PEPS60, and especially PEPS80 in king trumpet mushrooms, provide strong antioxidants that hunt free radicals and promote key antioxidant enzymes like superoxide dismutase that help reduce oxidative stress. [5] King trumpet mushrooms also contain polysaccharides, offering anticancer properties through their ability to induce changes within our immune systems. Two such polysaccharides, named PEP-1, and PEP-2, showed their ability to provoke apoptosis, or cell death. [6] Like other mushrooms that display anticancer properties, king trumpet polysaccharides act on the host organism’s immune system, improving its ability to fend off the invaders, in part, by stimulating the response of natural killer cells, helping them be better at their respective immune functions. [7] One such water-soluble polysaccharide named PEPw has shown to inhibit renal cancer tumor growth.

Additionally, high-molecular weight polysaccharides from Antrodia cinnamomea have demonstrated adjuvant effects on dendritic cells and in immunotherapy vaccines for cancer. [8] The polysaccharide galactomannan provides an example of an immunostimulatory compound extracted from Antrodia that enhances resistances against bacterial attacks in the early stages of an infection, but also lessens the risk of severe infection by lessening the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. [9]

Triterpenes

Terpenes are characterized as molecules that give plants and fungi their flavors and aromas. Mushrooms contain assorted monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, diterpenes, and triterpenes. Monoterpenes contain two linked isoprene (C5H8) units whereas sesquiterpenes contain three linked isoprenes. A di- or triterpene consists of even more isoprene units. Diterpenes, for example, contain four linked isoprene units, whereas triterpenes contain six isoprene units. (Note: a terpene contains only hydrogen and carbon atoms; a terpenoid has other atoms like oxygen.)

Chaga mushrooms contain multiple triterpenoids such as the unglamorously named 3β-hydroxy-lanosta-8,24-dien-21-al, inotodiol, and lanosterol, and each of these molecules showed effectiveness against lung, stomach, breast, and cervical cancer cell lines with low toxicity to normal cells. [10] Extracts of the chaga mushrooms were further refined until three subfractions were obtained. Each subfraction conferred antitumor activity.

The triterpenoid methyl antcinate K isolated from A. cinnamomea promoted dendritic cells, which are vital leukocytes or white blood cells. [11] Dendritic cells essentially assist T-cells by processing antigens (foreign substances or toxins) and presenting them to the T-cells, which “are like soldiers who search out and destroy the targeted invaders.”

While the points I mentioned above are comprehensive, they reflect only a fraction of the potential medicinal benefits mushrooms can offer one’s health and wellness. Spore is excited to be leading the charge with its intelligent functional mushroom formulations, which have been thoughtfully blended to highlight the natural power of these mushrooms and enhanced with other highly effective all-natural ingredients. This is evident in formulations such as Protect+Defend, designed to boost one’s immune’s system, or Mike’s Mushroom Mix, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory.

References

[1] 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

[2] 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

[3] 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

[4] 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

[5] Zhang B, Li Y, Zhang F, Linhardt RJ, Zeng G, Zhang A. Extraction, structure, and bioactivities of the  polysaccharides from Pleurotus eryngii: A review. Int J Biol Macromol. 2020;150:1342-1347

[6] Ren D, Wang N, Guo J, Yuan L, Yang X. Chemical characterization of Pleurotus eryngii polysaccharide  and its tumor-inhibitory effects against human hepatoblastoma HepG-2 cells. Carbohydr Polym. 2016;138:123-133

[7] Yang Z, Xu J, Fu Q, et al. Antitumor activity of a polysaccharide from Pleurotus eryngii on mice bearing  renal cancer. Carbohydr Polym. 2013;95(2):615-620

[8] Lin CC, Pan IH, Li YR, et al. The adjuvant effects of high-molecule-weight polysaccharides purified from  Antrodia cinnamomea on dendritic cell function and DNA vaccines. PLoS One. 2015;10(2):e0116191

[9] Perera N, Yang FL, Lu YT, Li LH, Hua KF, Wu SH. Antrodia cinnamomea galactomannan elicits immuno-stimulatory activity through toll-like receptor 4. Int J Biol Sci. 2018;14(10):1378-1388

[10] 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

[11] Yu YL, Chen IH, Shen KY, et al. A triterpenoid methyl antcinate K isolated from Antrodia cinnamomea  promotes dendritic cell activation and Th2 differentiation. Eur J Immunol. 2009;39(9):2482-2491

Is There an Entourage Effect in Medicinal Mushrooms?

Medicinal mushrooms have a wide range of benefits, from fighting inflammation, to boosting cognitive function, to supporting the immune system, and increasing energy. But how do these magic mushrooms do it? While all mushrooms are beneficial for immune system support, each functional mushroom has its own strengths when it comes to specific health benefits. Some mushrooms are better for energy, some are better for focus, and some are better for relaxation. Is there an entourage effect happening in mushrooms like there is in other plant. Medicines?

What is the Entourage Effect?

The Entourage Effect, first posed by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and Dr. Shimon Ben-Shabat in 1998 and expanded on by Dr. Ethan Russo, suggests that compounds in the cannabis plant such as cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids work synergistically to deliver more medicinal benefits together than the sum of each of the isolated compounds.[1,2] It is believed many botanical medicines, including magic mushrooms and kratom, also have an entourage effect, whereby their numerous components work better together than an isolated extract of any active ingredient. This means taking a full-spectrum extract of mushroom may be more effective for some wellness needs than taking extracts of its single active ingredients, for example.

We know that different strains of functional and psychedelic mushrooms contain different amounts of active chemicals, just like different strains of cannabis or other botanical medicines including kratom and ayahuasca. Medicinal mushrooms are made of four major classes of active compounds: polysaccharides, polypeptides, alkaloids, and triterpenes.[3] Let’s explore what they do.

What are Polysaccharides in Functional Mushrooms?

While polysaccharides exist in bacteria, yeast, plants, and fungi, the specific type that are in mushrooms are called alpha-glucans and beta-glucans. Alpha-glucans are starches that can help regulate blood sugar and are helpful in the prevention of diabetes.[4] However, when it comes to medicinal benefits, beta-glucans are much more powerful than alpha-glucans. It’s important to make sure your mushrooms supplement is high in beta-glucans as opposed to alpha-glucans, as different methods of growing mushrooms can alter their content.

Certain mushrooms naturally contain high amounts of beta-glucans compared to other functional mushrooms. These include reishi mushroom, turkey tail mushroom, and maitake mushroom. While there are hundreds of beta-glucans, some of the most well researched ones include lentinan, schizophyllan, ganoderan, grifolan, and polysaccharide-krestin (PSK). Ganoderan, for example, is found in reishi mushrooms and works as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory, promoting heart health.[5] PSK is found in turkey tail mushrooms and is powerful at killing cancer cells.[6]

Polypeptides

Polypeptides are the building blocks of proteins, and found in many of the foods we eat, including mushrooms. Each of these polypeptides can have health benefits. Lentinus squarrosulus, for example, is an wild edible mushroom that contains polypeptides that have anticancer properties.[7] There are likely many more medicinal polypeptides in mushrooms that we will identify after more research into these amazing fungi.

What are Terpenoids in Medicinal Mushrooms?

Terpenoids are the largest class of chemicals extracted from plants, as over 20,000 terpenoids have been identified. The term terpenoid is often used interchangeably with the word terpene, but in fact, these are two different compounds. Many people are familiar with terpenes, the chemicals that give cannabis and essential oils their smell, flavor, and health benefits. They are also found in other plants, such as mushrooms. When the chemicals are in the live plant, they are terpenes. When they have been exposed to oxygen, which happens in the process of drying plants for consumption, these terpenes are oxidized into terpenoids.

Medicinal mushrooms contain over 275 terpenoids and are further divided into classes with a least five monoterpenes, 70 sesquiterpenes, 44 diterpenes and 166 triterpenes discovered. [8] The difference between the triterpenes, diterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and monoterpenes is the number of carbon units in their chemical structures. Each of the terpenoids in mushrooms has significant medicinal benefits, and each mushroom variety has their own combination of terpenoids. Some anticancer and neuroprotective triterpenoids found in reishi mushroom include gandoderic acid and its derivatives.

What are Alkaloids in Functional Mushrooms?

Alkaloids are one of the most the active ingredients in mushrooms, responsible for hallucinogenic effects and neuroprotection in some species. Scientifically, the term alkaloid refers to organic compounds containing at least one nitrogen atom and are usually basic as opposed to acidic. Plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi can all produce alkaloids, and most have pharmacological activities in the human body. Plant-based alkaloids include caffeine, cocaine, morphine, and nicotine, while the two major fungi alkaloids, found in species of psychedelic “magic mushrooms” are psilocybin and psilocin.

Not all mushroom alkaloids cause hallucinations or get you high. For example, cordycepin is an alkaloid found in cordyceps mushroom that has many potential benefits, including killing leukemia cells, acting as an antidepressant, and enhancing cellular energy.[9]

Taking Multiple Mushrooms Together may be More Effective Than Taking Just One

Functional mushrooms contain many health-promoting chemical compounds, but no single mushroom contains them all. By combining mushrooms, you’ll have exposure to even more active ingredients and be able to increase the entourage effect of medicinal mushrooms. Many of our formulas have more than one mushroom, and our favorite formula, Mike’s Mushroom Mix, contains a mix of ten functional mushrooms. So, if you’re looking to experience the entourage effect in mushrooms, Mike’s Mushroom Mix is your best bet, with agarikon, antrodia, chaga, cordyceps, king trumpets, lion’s mane, maitake, reishi, shiitake, and turkey tail mushrooms.

What About Combining Medicinal Mushrooms With Other Plants?

Medicinal mushrooms pair really well with adaptogens, which are herbs that lower stress hormones. You’ll find Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha in our Chill Out formula paired with reishi mushroom, and panax ginseng paired with cordyceps mushrooms in our Energy Performance formula. Certain chemicals in reishi mushrooms like genistein and kaempferol boost the endocannabinoid system, so taking reishi, found in many of our formulas, pairs well with using CBD and other hemp products.

References:

[1] Ben-Shabat S, Fride E, Sheskin T, Tamiri T, Rhee MH, Vogel Z, Bisogno T, De Petrocellis L, Di Marzo V, Mechoulam R. An entourage effect: inactive endogenous fatty acid glycerol esters enhance 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol cannabinoid activity. Eur J Pharmacol. 1998 Jul 17;353(1):23-31.

[2] Russo EB. Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. Br J Pharmacol. 2011;163(7):1344-1364

[3] Phan CW., Tan E.YY., Sabaratnam V. (2018) Bioactive Molecules in Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms for Human Wellness. In: Mérillon JM., Ramawat K. (eds) Bioactive Molecules in Food. Reference Series in Phytochemistry. Springer, Cham

[4]Hong L, Xun M, Wutong W. Anti-diabetic effect of an alpha-glucan from fruit body of maitake (Grifola frondosa) on KKAy mice. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2007;59:575–582

[5]Feng ZL, Fang TJ, Qian YX, Rong WH (2014) The clinical research for Ganoderan’s effect on preventing and treating cerebral arteriosclerosis through inhibiting NADPH oxidizing enzyme expression. Pak J Pharm Sci 27:1107–1111

[6] PDQ Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Therapies Editorial Board. Medicinal Mushrooms (PDQ®): Patient Version. 2020 Apr 21. In: PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Cancer Institute (US); 2002-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK424937/

[7] Prateep A, Sumkhemthong S, Suksomtip M, Chanvorachote P, Chaotham C. Peptides extracted from edible mushroom: Lentinus squarrosulus induces apoptosis in human lung cancer cells. Pharm Biol. 2017 Dec;55(1):1792-1799

[8] Dasgupta A, Acharya K. Mushrooms: an emerging resource for therapeutic terpenoids. 3 Biotech. 2019 Oct;9(10):369

[9] Tuli HS, Sandhu SS, Sharma AK. Pharmacological and therapeutic potential of Cordyceps with special reference to Cordycepin. 3 Biotech. 2014;4(1):1-12

All About Our Chill Out Formulation

What Is It?

This adaptogenic blend contains a plethora of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals for calming, anti-stress blend that offers exactly what you need to slip into that sweet relaxation at the end of the day.

What’s In It?

This formula combines the power of the Reishi mushroom with natural herbs like chamomile, lemon balm, and valerian root.
Reishi – to enhance immune function and flood the body and mind with tranquility.
Chamomile – used as a mild sedative to calm nerves
Lemon Balm – can help reduce anxiety
Passionflower – helps calm the mind and support sleep cycle
Valerian Root – to help with sleep disorders and migraines

What Does It Do?

Chill Out offers a dense well rounded nutritional profile that allows customers to enjoy this blend in the evening and flood your body with tranquility so you’re ready to enjoy deep, restorative sleep every night.

How Does It Work?

The Chill Out formula provides an intelligent array of fungal molecules demonstrated in the scientific literature to offer wellness properties.

Reishi mushrooms, for example, called “the mushroom of immortality” [1], have been studied for their immune-enhancing, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-tumor, and antimicrobial properties. [2] Ganoderma lucidum – the species relevant to this formula – is reported to have over 400 bioactive compounds mostly comprised of polysaccharides and triterpenoids. The immune-enhancing properties of reishi polysaccharides work by increasing the amounts of key immune cells such as natural killer, B-lymphocyte, T-lymphocyte white blood cells, dendritic cells, phagocytes that protect our bodies from foreign particles and may also be examples of white blood cells. A more robust immune system, in turn, is vital in cancer treatment, and reishi polysaccharides stimulate cancer resistance through their immune-enhancing capabilities, by inducing apoptosis (cell death) of cancerous cells, and through their anti-cancer preventing activity. [3,4] Reishi triterpenes offer anti-cancer properties as well, through their toxicity to cancer cells, anti-metastatic effects, and induction of apoptosis. [3-5] Reishi polysaccharides and triterpenes have shown antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, with the terpenes presenting higher antioxidative capacities. The mushroom’s polysaccharides have also demonstrated anti-aging properties through their ability to protect fibroblasts (cells that provides structural framework in mammalian tissue and aids wound healing) from harmful ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. [6] The UVB treated cells revealed increased signs of aging and reactive oxygen species and decreased cell viability, but when cells were treated with UVB and reishi polysaccharides, the UVB reactive oxygen species were eliminated. Reishi mushrooms also have been used for their sedative, calming properties. In one study, a reishi extract showed similar anti-anxiety properties as the pharmaceutical drug diazepam. [7] Reishi powder also diminished fatigue, anxiety, and depression, and provided a better quality of life in 48 breast cancer survivors. [8]

The elegance of chamomile cannot be understated. Chamomile contains the terpene alcohol called alpha-bisabolol that imparts significant anti-cancer properties. [9] In addition, chamomile offers well-known anxiolytic, calming properties. Sedative properties have been linked to the flavonoid apigenin. [10] Pre-clinical studies have demonstrated anti-convulsant properties and a depression of the central nervous system. [11] Chamomile tea exhibited a sedative activity similar to benzodiazepines, a class of drugs used in treating anxiety and depression. [12] In a clinical trial, chamomile also showed anxiolytic activity in patients with general anxiety disorder. [13]

The herb Lemon Balm offers another option for stress relief. [14] Records of the use of lemon balm have existed for at least a millennium. A drink containing 300 mg of lemon balm conferred anxiolytic properties as well as providing a better working memory at test durations of 1- and 3-hours after ingestion, demonstrating sustained effects like benzodiazepines. Pre-clinical studies have shown that a lemon balm extract provides similar antidepressant and anxiolytic activity as diazepam, a common drug used to treat anxiety. [15] A double-blind clinical trial involving 24 participants evaluated 3 doses (600, 1200, 1800 mg) of a product containing lemon balm and valerian. [16] The 600 mg dose led to decreased anxiety as demonstrated by the Defined Intensity Stressor Simulation, a series of tasks meant to invoke anxiety.

The Passionflower plant offers a tempting fruit and another source of natural medicine. Passionflower’s anxiolytic properties have been known through folklore and through clinical trials. [17] The clinical trial considered 36 patients diagnosed with general anxiety disorder. Eighteen of the patients received 45 drops of passionflower extract per day while the others received oxazepam, a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety. There were no significant differences between the effects of the natural substance and pharmaceutical drug, highlighting the power of nature. Another study considered the sleep habits of 41 participants who either ingested passionflower or a placebo tea. [18] The participants who ingested passionflower reported better ratings of sleep quality compared to those who received the placebo. A meta-analysis of nine clinical trials found similar results. [19]

Valerian Root is a common ingredient in many natural sleep aids. A meta-analysis of 60 studies covering a whopping 6,894 participants sought to provide solid conclusions as to whether valerian root improved sleep quality and reduced anxiety. [20] While the studies used extracts that varied in their constituents due to the extraction methods employed, the study authors conclude that “This study demonstrated that valerian could be a safe and useful herb alone and also in combination in treating sleep problems, anxiety, and associated comorbidities.” Valerian root combined with hops presents another option as a sleep remedy. [21] When compared to diphenhydramine (aka Benadryl®), the valerian-hops mixture provided a similar, mildly hypnotic effect to the drug. Study participants reported an increased quality of life at the end of the 28-day treatment compared to the placebo group. Discontinuation of the valerian-hops treatment did not cause insomnia.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

References

[1] Stamets P. (2000). Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press.
[2] Sanodiya BS, Thakur GS, Baghel RK, Prasad GB, Bisen PS. Ganoderma lucidum: a potent pharmacological macrofungus. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2009;10(8):717-742.
[3] 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.
[4] Paterson R.R.M. Ganoderma—A therapeutic fungal biofactory. Phytochemistry. 2006;68:1985–2001.
[5] Sohretoglu D, Huang S. Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides as an anti-cancer agent. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2018;18(5):667-674.
[6] Zeng Q, Zhou F, Lei L, et al. Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides protect fibroblasts against UVB-induced photoaging. Mol Med Rep. 2017;15(1):111-116.
[7] Ali N, Muhammad A, & Akbar S.A. Anxiolytic-like activity of ethanol extract of Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) in mice. International Journal of Medical Research and Health Sciences. 2016;5:57-60.
[8] 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.
[9] Cavalieri E, Mariotto S, Fabrizi C, et al. alpha-Bisabolol, a nontoxic natural compound, strongly induces apoptosis in glioma cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004;315(3):589-594.
[10] Avallone R, Zanoli P, Corsi L, Cannazza G and Baraldi M. Benzodiazepine compounds and GABA in flower heads of Matricaria chamomilla. Phytother Res. 1996;10:177-179.
[11] Srivastava JK, Shankar E, Gupta S. Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Mol Med Rep. 2010;3(6):895-901.
[12] Shinomiya K, Inoue T, Utsu Y, et al. Hypnotic activities of chamomile and passiflora extracts in sleep-disturbed rats. Biol Pharm Bull. 2005;28(5):808-810.
[13] Amsterdam JD, Li Y, Soeller I, Rockwell K, Mao JJ and Shults J: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral Matricaria recutita (Chamomile) extract therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2009;29:378-382.
[14] Scholey A, Gibbs A, Neale C, et al. Anti-stress effects of lemon balm-containing foods. Nutrients. 2014;6(11):4805-4821.
[15] Taiwo AE, Leite FB, Lucena GM, et al. Anxiolytic and antidepressant-like effects of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) extract in rats: Influence of administration and gender. Indian J Pharmacol. 2012;44(2):189-192.
[16] Kennedy DO, Little W, Haskell CF, Scholey AB. Anxiolytic effects of a combination of Melissa officinalis and Valeriana officinalis during laboratory induced stress. Phytother Res. 2006;20(2):96-102.
[17] Akhondzadeh S, Naghavi HR, Vazirian M, Shayeganpour A, Rashidi H, Khani M. Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety: a pilot double-blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2001;26(5):363-367.
[18] Ngan A, Conduit R. A double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation of the effects of Passiflora incarnata (passionflower) herbal tea on subjective sleep quality. Phytother Res. 2011;25(8):1153-1159.
[19] Janda K, Wojtkowska K, Jakubczyk K, Antoniewicz J, Skonieczna-Żydecka K. Passiflora incarnata in neuropsychiatric disorders-A systematic review. Nutrients. 2020;12(12):3894.
[20] Shinjyo N, Waddell G, Green J. Valerian root in treating sleep problems and associated disorders-A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Evid Based Integr Med. 2020;25:2515690X20967323.
[21] Morin CM, Koetter U, Bastien C, Ware JC, Wooten V. Valerian-hops combination and diphenhydramine for treating insomnia: a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. Sleep. 2005;28(11):1465-1471.

What’s Inside Our Focus Performance

What Is It?

This nootropic blend combines the cognitive boosting power of Lion’s Mane with sustained energy from Cordyceps to help you unlock your peak mental performance each day.

What’s In It?

Combines the cognitive boosting power of Lion’s Mane, the sustained energy from Cordyceps, and supported by Ashwagandha and Gingko Biloba to provide increased cognitive enhancement and a mood-stabilizing effect:

Lion’s mane – to help with cognitive function, memory support, and immune function
Cordyceps – for all-natural energy production and increase Vo2 Max
Ashwagandha – to enhance immune function and mood stabilizing properties
Ginkgo Biloba – for cognitive function, mental awareness

What Does It Do?

Focus Performance improves working memory, expanded creativity, and complete support for your brain’s neurological functioning. On top of all that, we added Lion’s Mane proven neuroprotective benefits. The formulation offers a rich profile of phytochemicals such as polysaccharides, triterpenoids, amino acids, and polyphenols, as well as additions of vitamins B, B-12, C, and D and minerals will support your overall health.

How Does It Work?

The Focus Performance formula provides an intelligent array of fungal molecules demonstrated in the scientific literature to offer wellness properties.

Polysaccharides in lion’s mane mushrooms can promote neuronal health. [1] An extract of lion’s mane, for example, stimulated the production of nerve growth factor which is involved in regulating and maintaining specific neurons. [2] Mice given lion’s mane mushrooms in their feed (5% w/w) for 7 days had increased nerve growth factor mRNA expression in the hippocampus, a region of the brain instrumental in learning and memory. [3] These properties have been implicated in lion’s mane’s ability to reduce neurodegenerative-induced cell death. [4] In a double-blind study of Japanese men and women aged 50-80 and diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. [5] The study participants consumed 250 mg of mushroom tablets containing 96% lion’s mane 3 times per day for 16 weeks. Cognitive function scores increased with the timeframe that the participants ingested the mushrooms.

Traditional uses of cordyceps mushrooms include promotion of health, longevity, and athletic power and endurance. [6] In 1993, Chinese runners who had ingested cordyceps achieved records in several running events, thrusting these mushrooms on the world stage as potential energy enhancers. Thus, cordyceps is used in Spore products to provide a burst of energy. One study demonstrated that, with or without exercising, cordyceps improved exercise endurance by activating skeletal muscle metabolic regulators and increasing antioxidants. [6] A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial also demonstrated these findings in older adults (ages 50-75 years) who ingested 333 mg of dried mushrooms. [7] Aerobic performance improved and the ingestion of the mushrooms pointed to resistance to fatigue.
The shrub knows as Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a recurrent remedy in Ayurvedic medicine. It is used to promote “youthful vigour” by augmenting muscle strength, endurance, and overall health. [8] The withanolides within ashwagandha bestow intrinsic therapeutic properties including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-anxiety, and immune-enhancing effects. [9] Pre-clinical models have shown anti-anxiety, anti-depressive, and neuroprotective properties. [10] A 60-day, double-blind clinical trial demonstrated these effects in humans. [9] Contrasted with the study participants who ingested the placebo, those who consumed ashwagandha daily experienced reductions in cortisol levels, anxiety, and stress. Additionally, testosterone levels increased in male participants. The combination of ashwagandha and maitake extracts demonstrated a synergy for enhancing immune responses to stress via phagocytosis (ingestion of bacteria or other foreign invaders by phagocytes) and increased cytokine levels. [11] While the ashwagandha extract worked well on its own, the beta-glucans within the maitake extract potentiated the immune-enhancing activity.

Ginkgo Biloba (Leaf) is often associated with mental health and cognition. Cognitive decline is associated with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and gingko biloba extract has shown promise in depressive patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. [12] An extract of gingko biloba contains flavonoids, terpene lactones, and ginkgolic acids that have provided increased neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to adapt or change), prevented brain edema (swelling), and offered neuroprotection. [13-15] A 2016 meta-analysis of ten reviews of ginkgo biloba extract concluded that “medication with [gingko biloba extracts] showed improvement in cognition and daily activities.” [15] Other reviews have provided similar conclusions. [16] In fact, the Physician’s Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines suggests taking 120 mg of dry extract divided up in multiple doses. [17]

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

References

[1] Park YS, Lee HS, Won MH, Lee JH, Lee SY, Lee HY. Effect of an exo-polysaccharide from the culture broth of Hericium erinaceus on enhancement of growth and differentiation of rat adrenal nerve cells. Cytotechnology. 2002;39(3):155-162.
[2] Kawagishi H, Shimada A, Shirai R, Okamoto K, Ojima F, Sakamoto H, et al. Erinacines A, B, and C, strong stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF)-synthesis, from the mycelia of Hericium erinaceum. Tetrahedron Lett. 1994;35:1569–72.
[3] 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.
[4] Nagai K, Chiba A, Nishino T, Kubota T, Kawagishi H. Dilinoleoyl-phosphatidylethanolamine from Hericium erinaceum protects against ER stress-dependent Neuro2a cell death via protein kinase C pathway. J Nutr Biochem. 2006;17:525–30.
[5] Mori K, Inatomi S, Ouchi K, Azumi Y, Tuchida T. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2009;23(3):367-372.
[6] Kumar R, Negi PS, Singh B, Ilavazhagan G, Bhargava K, Sethy NK. Cordyceps sinensis promotes exercise endurance capacity of rats by activating skeletal muscle metabolic regulators. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011;136(1):260-266.
[7] Chen S, Li Z, Krochmal R, Abrazado M, Kim W, Cooper CB. Effect of Cs-4 (Cordyceps sinensis) on exercise performance in healthy older subjects: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(5):585-590.
[8] Kulkarni SK, Dhir A. Withania somnifera: an Indian ginseng. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2008;32:1093–105.
[9] Lopresti AL, Smith SJ, Malvi H, Kodgule R. An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019;98(37):e17186.
[10] Bhattacharya SK, Bhattacharya A, Sairam K, Ghosal S. Anxiolytic-antidepressant activity of Withania somnifera glycowithanolides: an experimental study. Phytomedicine. 2000;7(6):463-469.
[11] Vetvicka V, Vetvickova J. Immune enhancing effects of WB365, a novel combination of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and Maitake (Grifola frondosa) extracts. N Am J Med Sci. 2011;3(7):320-324.
[12] DeFeudis FV, Drieu K. Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) and CNS functions: basic studies and clinical applications. Curr Drug Targets. 2000;1(1):25-58.
[13] Tchantchou F, Xu Y, Wu Y, Christen Y, Luo Y. EGb 761 enhances adult hippocampal neurogenesis and phosphorylation of CREB in transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. FASEB J. 2007;21(10):2400-2408.
[14] Yoshitake T, Yoshitake S, Kehr J. The Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761(R) and its main constituent flavonoids and ginkgolides increase extracellular dopamine levels in the rat prefrontal cortex. Br J Pharmacol. 2010;159(3):659-668.
[15] Zhang HF, Huang LB, Zhong YB, et al. An overview of systematic reviews of Ginkgo biloba extracts for mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Front Aging Neurosci. 2016;8:276.
[16] Diamond BJ, Shiflett SC, Feiwel N, et al. Ginkgo biloba extract: mechanisms and clinical indications. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2000;81(5):668-678.
[17] Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR) for Herbal Medicines. 1st ed. Montvale (NJ): Medical Economics Company; 1998.

The Magic Behind Mike’s Mushroom Mix

What Is It?

Powerful functional mushroom blend to keep your body balanced and optimized to perform all day, every day.

What’s In It?

Ten of the most renowned functional mushrooms combined into an all-around daily supplement.
Agarikon – for anti-inflammatory, antiviral abilities
Antrodia – to support live tonic
Chaga – to fight harmful bacteria and viruses
Cordyceps – natural energy booster
King Trumpets – to lower cholesterol, help manage diabetes
Lion’s Mane – for cognition function and memory support
Maitake – for metabolism support and immune-boosting power.
Reishi – to enhance immune function and flood the body and mind with tranquility
Shiitake – to support heart health and skin health
Turkey tail – for its immune boosting, anti-cancer, and gut health properties

What Does It Do?

Mike’s Mushroom Mix Anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and immunity booster. Keeps harmful pathogens in check and your body in an optimal state of balance. With a rich profile of phytochemicals such as polysaccharides, triterpenoids, amino acids, and polyphenols, as well as additions of vitamins B, B-12, C, and D and minerals will support your overall health and keep your body’s defense operating at its full capacity. It also helps with metabolism support, anti-aging, and longevity, and strengthening liver function and gut health.

How Does It Work?

The Mike’s Mushroom Mix formula provides an intelligent array of fungal molecules demonstrated in the scientific literature to offer wellness properties.

As with many mushrooms, Agarikon mushrooms offer strong immune-enhancing properties, including activity against viruses including those in the pox family, herpes simplex virus-1 and 2, influenza A and B, bird influenza (H5N1) and tuberculosis. [1-3] Agarikon also offers antimicrobial properties, showing efficacy against some Bacillus, Staphylococcus, Klebsiella, Aspergillus, and Enterobacter species. [4,5] Chlorinated coumarins within Agarikon have provided treatment of pulmonary diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. [5] Triterpenoids in Agarikon can inhibit nitric oxide production which is involved in inflammatory diseases including asthma.

The fungus Antrodia cinnamomea, or AC mushroom provides immune-enhancing properties like many of the mushrooms selected for use in Spore products. [6-8] The triterpene methyl antcinate K isolated from A. cinnamomea promotes dendritic cells which are vital leukocytes or white blood cells. [7] Additionally, high-molecular weight polysaccharides from A. cinnamomea have demonstrated adjuvant effects on dendritic cells and in immunotherapy vaccines for cancer. [8] The polysaccharide galactomannan provides an example of an immunostimulatory compound extracted from Antrodia that enhances resistances against bacterial attacks in the early stages of an infection but also lessens the risk of severe infection by lessening the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. [9]

Chaga mushrooms offer anticancer, immune-enhancing, antioxidant, anti-hyperglycemic, and anti-mutagenic (gene-protecting) properties. [10] Chaga contains compounds such as 3β-hydroxy-lanosta-8,24-dien-21-al, inotodiol (a triterpene), and lanosterol and each of these molecules showed effectiveness against multiple cancer cell lines with low toxicity to normal cells. [11] Polysaccharides extracted from chaga have reduced tumor size. [12] Chaga mushrooms also provide immune support, antimutagenic, antimicrobial, and antioxidant activity, and anti-hyperglycemic properties. [10] For example, chaga mushroom dosing led to decreased DNA damage and an improvement in deformed structures in zebrafish exposed to UVB radiation. [13] Chaga antioxidant capability prevented the formation of reactive oxygen species helping lessen oxidative stress induced by UV treatment and reduced the amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines brought about by the radiation. [14] Like reishi mushrooms, chaga aids as an antihyperglycemic agent due to its antioxidative properties and its ability to provide protection against cellular damage. [15] Chaga mushrooms also provide protection against liver injury by eliminating free radicals, inhibiting the leakage of key enzymes from the induced damage, and decreasing malondialdehyde formation. [16]

Traditional uses of cordyceps mushrooms include promotion of health, longevity, and athletic power and endurance. [17] In 1993, Chinese runners who had ingested cordyceps achieved records in several running events, thrusting these mushrooms on the world stage as potential energy enhancers. Thus, cordyceps is used in Spore products to provide a burst of energy. One study demonstrated that, with or without exercising, cordyceps improved exercise endurance by activating skeletal muscle metabolic regulators and increasing antioxidants. [17] A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial also demonstrated these findings in older adults (ages 50-75 years) who ingested 333 mg of dried mushrooms. [18] Aerobic performance improved and the ingestion of the mushrooms pointed to resistance to fatigue.

Polysaccharides in king trumpet mushrooms provide powerful antioxidants that help scavenge free radicals and promote key antioxidant enzymes like superoxide dismutase that help reduce oxidative stress. [19] These polysaccharides also provide anti-tumor effects through immune system modulation. Two such polysaccharides called PEP-1 and PEP-2 demonstrated the ability to provoke apoptosis. [20] Like other mushrooms that exhibit anti-cancer properties, king trumpet polysaccharides act on the host organism’s immune system, augmenting its ability to fend off the invaders in part by stimulating the response of natural killer cells helping them be better killer. [21]

Polysaccharides in lion’s mane mushrooms can promote neuronal health. [22] An extract of lion’s mane, for example, stimulated the production of nerve growth factor which is involved in regulating and maintaining specific neurons. [23] Mice given lion’s mane mushrooms in their feed (5% w/w) for 7 days had increased nerve growth factor mRNA expression in the hippocampus, a region of the brain instrumental in learning and memory. [24] These properties have been implicated in lion’s mane’s ability to reduce neurodegenerative-induced cell death. [25] In a double-blind study of Japanese men and women aged 50-80 and diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. [26] The study participants consumed 250 mg of mushroom tablets containing 96% lion’s mane 3 times per day for 16 weeks. Cognitive function scores increased with the timeframe that the participants ingested the mushrooms.

Glucans from Grifola frondosa or maitake mushrooms provide strong antioxidant and immune-supporting properties [27-29], providing evidence for anti-aging capabilities. Antioxidative properties worked by augmenting key enzymes like superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activity, which in turn, catalyze the destruction of the superoxide radical and reduce lipid hydroperoxides to alcohols and hydrogen peroxide to water, respectively. Additionally, these glucans increased interleukine-2 (IL-2) production, an immunocytokine that has strong immune-enhancing properties providing the most effective cytokine for T cell biology (a type of white blood cell), as well as the ability to boost the activity of natural killer cells, another type of lymphocyte vital to our immune systems. Malondialdehyde (a common marker for oxidative stress) content in the liver was reduced, further demonstrating maitake’s antioxidant properties. [28] What’s more, α-glucan from maitake 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. [30] And a human clinical trial showed that maitake mushrooms led to increased antibodies in in response to influenza type A virus H1N1 after study participants took 20 maitake tablets per day. [31] Maitake mushrooms also help improve metabolism, showing increased fat metabolism [32,33] and other age-related metabolic issues such as glucose/insulin metabolism (e.g., hyperglycemia) [34].

Reishi mushrooms, for example, called “the mushroom of immortality” [35], have been studied for their immune-enhancing, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-tumor, and antimicrobial properties. [36] Ganoderma lucidum – the species relevant to this formula – is reported to have over 400 bioactive compounds mostly comprised of polysaccharides and triterpenoids. The immune-enhancing properties of reishi polysaccharides work by increasing the amounts of key immune cells such as natural killer, B-lymphocyte, T-lymphocyte white blood cells, dendritic cells, phagocytes that protect our bodies from foreign particles and may also be examples of white blood cells. A more robust immune system, in turn, is vital in cancer treatment, and reishi polysaccharides stimulate cancer resistance through their immune-enhancing capabilities, by inducing apoptosis (cell death) of cancerous cells, and through their anti-cancer preventing activity. [37,38] Reishi triterpenes offer anti-cancer properties as well, through their toxicity to cancer cells, anti-metastatic effects, and induction of apoptosis. [37-39] Reishi polysaccharides and triterpenes have shown antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, with the terpenes presenting higher antioxidative capacities. The mushroom’s polysaccharides have also demonstrated anti-aging properties through their ability to protect fibroblasts (cells that provides structural framework in mammalian tissue and aids wound healing) from harmful ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. [40] The UVB treated cells revealed increased signs of aging and reactive oxygen species and decreased cell viability, but when cells were treated with UVB and reishi polysaccharides, the UVB reactive oxygen species were eliminated. Reishi mushrooms also have been used for their sedative, calming properties. In one study, a reishi extract showed similar anti-anxiety properties as the pharmaceutical drug diazepam. [41] Reishi powder also diminished fatigue, anxiety, and depression, and provided a better quality of life in 48 breast cancer survivors. [42]

The consumption of shiitake mushrooms has been shown to improve our immune systems. [43-45] Shiitake’s immune-enhancing properties stem from several mechanisms including an increase in key immune cells such as natural killer T cells. [43] 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. [45] The polysaccharide lentinan, for example, acts as a host defense potentiators which help hosts defend against various types of cancer. Shiitakes are also known to improve gut health and have led to diminished levels of C-reactive protein, a common marker for inflammation.

Like the other mushrooms in Mike’s Mushroom Mix, turkey tail mushrooms provide strong antioxidant properties. [46] In addition to polysaccharides and triterpenes, turkey tail offers many phenolic species like flavonols and flavonoids like quercetin. And also like other mushrooms within Mike’s Mushroom Mix, turkey tail mushrooms demonstrate genoprotective capabilities. [47] In addition to its polysaccharides, turkey tail contains polysaccharides that are also bound to proteins in complexes called polysaccharopeptides. Krestin (PSK) and polysaccharide peptide (PSP) are two such molecules that have strong immune-enhancing properties. PSP, for example, has been shown to increase white blood cells [48] and PSK stimulates natural killer immune cells. [49] PSK has also shown powerful anticancer properties, with one study measuring an increased survival in colon cancer patients who received PSK as an adjuvant immunochemotherapy. [50] An adjuvant therapy seeks to keep the cancer from coming back post-treatment, and an immunotherapy targets the immune system. Turkey tail mushrooms also increase gut health since they contain prebiotics. One study found that consuming 3.6 g per day of PSP from turkey tail led to beneficial microbiome changes and reduced the growth of infectious bacteria such as E. coli and Shigella. [51] Another study measured higher concentrations of beneficial gut bacteria such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus while detrimental bacteria like Clostridium and Staphylococcus were lessened. [52]

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

References

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[2] Stamets P. Medicinal polypores of the forests of North America: screening for novel antiviral activity. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 2005;7:362.
[3] Teplyakova TV, Psurtseva NV, Kosogova TA, Mazurkova NA, Khanin VA, Vlasenko VA. Antiviral activity of polyporoid mushrooms (higher Basidiomycetes) from Altai Mountains (Russia). Int J Med Mushrooms. 2012;14(1):37-45.
[4] Girometta C. Antimicrobial properties of Fomitopsis officinalis in the light of its bioactive metabolites: a review. Mycology. 2018;10(1):32-39.
[5] Elkhateeb W, Daba G, Elnahas M, & Thomas P. Fomitopsis officinalis mushroom: ancient gold mine of functional components and biological activities for modern medicine. Egyptian Pharmaceutical Journal. 2019;18:285-289.
[6] Lin IY, Pan MH, Lai CS, et al. CCM111, the water extract of Antrodia cinnamomea, regulates immune-related activity through STAT3 and NF-κB pathways. Sci Rep. 2017;7(1):4862.
[7] Yu YL, Chen IH, Shen KY, et al. A triterpenoid methyl antcinate K isolated from Antrodia cinnamomea promotes dendritic cell activation and Th2 differentiation. Eur J Immunol. 2009;39(9):2482-2491.
[8] Lin CC, Pan IH, Li YR, et al. The adjuvant effects of high-molecule-weight polysaccharides purified from Antrodia cinnamomea on dendritic cell function and DNA vaccines. PLoS One. 2015;10(2):e0116191.
[9] Perera N, Yang FL, Lu YT, Li LH, Hua KF, Wu SH. Antrodia cinnamomea galactomannan elicits immuno-stimulatory activity through toll-like receptor 4. Int J Biol Sci. 2018;14(10):1378-1388.
[10] Balandaykin ME, Zmitrovich IV. Review on chaga medicinal mushroom, Inonotus obliquus (higher basidiomycetes): realm of medicinal applications and approaches on estimating its resource potential. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2015;17(2):95-104.
[11] 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.
[12] Mizuno T, Zhuang C, Abe K, Okamoto H, Kiho T, et al. Antitumor and hypoglycemic activities of polysaccharides from the sclerotia and mycelia of Inonotus obliquus (Pers.: Fr.) Pil. (Aphyllophoromycetideae). International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 1999;1:301-316.
[13] Eid JI, Mohanty S, & Das B. Genoprotective effects of Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) polysaccharides in UVB-exposed embryonic zebrafish (Danio rerio) through coordinated expression of DNA repair genes. bioRxiv. 2020.
[14] Softa M, Percoco G, Lati E, & Bony P. Birch sap (Betula alba) and chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) extracts show antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and DNA protection/repair activity in vitro. Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications. 2019;09:188-205.
[15] Diao BZ, Jin WR, Yu XJ. Protective effect of polysaccharides from Inonotus obliquus on Streptozotocin-induced diabetic symptoms and their potential mechanisms in rats. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:841496.
[16] Hong KB, Noh DO, Park Y, Suh HJ. Hepatoprotective activity of water extracts from chaga medicinal mushroom, Inonotus obliquus (higher Basidiomycetes) against tert-butyl hydroperoxide-induced oxidative liver injury in Primary cultured rat hepatocytes. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2015;17(11):1069-1076.
[17] Kumar R, Negi PS, Singh B, Ilavazhagan G, Bhargava K, Sethy NK. Cordyceps sinensis promotes exercise endurance capacity of rats by activating skeletal muscle metabolic regulators. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011;136(1):260-266.
[18] Chen S, Li Z, Krochmal R, Abrazado M, Kim W, Cooper CB. Effect of Cs-4 (Cordyceps sinensis) on exercise performance in healthy older subjects: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(5):585-590.
[19] Zhang B, Li Y, Zhang F, Linhardt RJ, Zeng G, Zhang A. Extraction, structure, and bioactivities of the polysaccharides from Pleurotus eryngii: A review. Int J Biol Macromol. 2020;150:1342-1347.
[20] Ren D, Wang N, Guo J, Yuan L, Yang X. Chemical characterization of Pleurotus eryngii polysaccharide and its tumor-inhibitory effects against human hepatoblastoma HepG-2 cells. Carbohydr Polym. 2016;138:123-133.
[21] Yang Z, Xu J, Fu Q, et al. Antitumor activity of a polysaccharide from Pleurotus eryngii on mice bearing renal cancer. Carbohydr Polym. 2013;95(2):615-620.
[22] Park YS, Lee HS, Won MH, Lee JH, Lee SY, Lee HY. Effect of an exo-polysaccharide from the culture broth of Hericium erinaceus on enhancement of growth and differentiation of rat adrenal nerve cells. Cytotechnology. 2002;39(3):155-162.
[23] Kawagishi H, Shimada A, Shirai R, Okamoto K, Ojima F, Sakamoto H, et al. Erinacines A, B, and C, strong stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF)-synthesis, from the mycelia of Hericium erinaceum. Tetrahedron Lett. 1994;35:1569–72.
[24] 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.
[25] Nagai K, Chiba A, Nishino T, Kubota T, Kawagishi H. Dilinoleoyl-phosphatidylethanolamine from Hericium erinaceum protects against ER stress-dependent Neuro2a cell death via protein kinase C pathway. J Nutr Biochem. 2006;17:525–30.
[26] Mori K, Inatomi S, Ouchi K, Azumi Y, Tuchida T. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2009;23(3):367-372.
[27] Vetvicka V, Vetvickova J. Immune-enhancing effects of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) and Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) extracts. Ann Transl Med. 2014;2(2):14.
[28] Hong L, Weiyub W, Qina W, Shuzhena G, and Lebin W. Antioxidant and immunomodulatory effects of a a-glucan from fruit body of maitake (Grifola frondosa). Food and Agricultural Immunology. 2013;24(4):409-418.
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[41] Ali N, Muhammad A, & Akbar S.A. Anxiolytic-like activity of ethanol extract of Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) in mice. International Journal of Medical Research and Health Sciences. 2016;5:57-60.
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[50] 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.
[51] Pallav K, Dowd SE, Villafuerte J, et al. Effects of polysaccharopeptide from Trametes versicolor and amoxicillin on the gut microbiome of healthy volunteers: a randomized clinical trial. Gut Microbes. 2014;5(4):458-467.
[52] Eliza WL, Fai CK, Chung LP. Efficacy of Yun Zhi (Coriolus versicolor) on survival in cancer patients: systematic review and meta-analysis. Recent Pat Inflamm Allergy Drug Discov. 2012;6(1):78-87.

How the Protect+Defend Works to Help Boost Your Immune System

What Is It?

This adaptogenic blend contains a plethora of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to supercharge your immune system, boost your metabolism, and improve your gut health every day.

What’s In It?

This formula contains a mix of different mushrooms designed for supercharged immune function and longevity including:
Turkey tail – for its immune boosting, anti-cancer, and gut health properties,
Chaga – to support overall health,
Reishi – to enhance immune function and flood the body and mind with tranquility
Maitake – for metabolism support and immune-boosting power.
Elderberry – for rich nutritional and antioxidants profile
Vitamin C – to boost immunity and risk of chronic disease
Vitamin D – strengthen immune function and fights disease
Zinc – rich in antioxidants

What Does It Do?

Protect + Defend’s rich profile of phytochemicals such as polysaccharides, triterpenoids, amino acids, and polyphenols, as well as additions of vitamins B, B-12, C, and D and minerals will support your overall health and keep your body’s defense operating at its full capacity. It also helps with metabolism support, immune strength and support, anti-aging, and longevity, and strengthening liver function and gut health.

How Does It Work?

The Protect + Defend formula provides an intelligent array of fungal molecules demonstrated in the scientific literature to offer wellness properties.

Reishi mushrooms, for example, called “the mushroom of immortality” [1], have been studied for their immune-enhancing, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-tumor, and antimicrobial properties. [2] Ganoderma lucidum – the species relevant to this formula – is reported to have over 400 bioactive compounds mostly comprised of polysaccharides and triterpenoids. The immune-enhancing properties of reishi polysaccharides work by increasing the amounts of key immune cells such as natural killer, B-lymphocyte, T-lymphocyte white blood cells, dendritic cells, phagocytes that protect our bodies from foreign particles and may also be examples of white blood cells. A more robust immune system, in turn, is vital in cancer treatment, and reishi polysaccharides stimulate cancer resistance through their immune-enhancing capabilities, by inducing apoptosis (cell death) of cancerous cells, and through their anti-cancer preventing activity. [3,4] Reishi triterpenes offer anti-cancer properties as well, through their toxicity to cancer cells, anti-metastatic effects, and induction of apoptosis. [3-5] Reishi polysaccharides and triterpenes have shown antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, with the terpenes presenting higher antioxidative capacities. The mushroom’s polysaccharides have also demonstrated anti-aging properties through their ability to protect fibroblasts (cells that provides structural framework in mammalian tissue and aids wound healing) from harmful ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. [6] The UVB treated cells revealed increased signs of aging and reactive oxygen species and decreased cell viability, but when cells were treated with UVB and reishi polysaccharides, the UVB reactive oxygen species were eliminated. Reishi mushrooms also have been used for their sedative, calming properties. In one study, a reishi extract showed similar anti-anxiety properties as the pharmaceutical drug diazepam. [7] Reishi powder also diminished fatigue, anxiety, and depression, and provided a better quality of life in 48 breast cancer survivors. [8]

Glucans from Grifola frondosa or maitake mushrooms provide strong antioxidant and immune-supporting properties [9-11], providing evidence for anti-aging capabilities. Antioxidative properties worked by augmenting key enzymes like superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activity, which in turn, catalyze the destruction of the superoxide radical and reduce lipid hydroperoxides to alcohols and hydrogen peroxide to water, respectively. Additionally, these glucans increased interleukine-2 (IL-2) production, an immunocytokine that has strong immune-enhancing properties providing the most effective cytokine for T cell biology (a type of white blood cell), as well as the ability to boost the activity of natural killer cells, another type of lymphocyte vital to our immune systems. Malondialdehyde (a common marker for oxidative stress) content in the liver was reduced, further demonstrating maitake’s antioxidant properties. [10] What’s more, α-glucan from maitake 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. [12] And a human clinical trial showed that maitake mushrooms led to increased antibodies in in response to influenza type A virus H1N1 after study participants took 20 maitake tablets per day. [13] Maitake mushrooms also help improve metabolism, showing increased fat metabolism [14,15] and other age-related metabolic issues such as glucose/insulin metabolism (e.g., hyperglycemia) [16].

Chaga mushrooms offer anticancer, immune-enhancing, antioxidant, anti-hyperglycemic, and anti-mutagenic (gene-protecting) properties. [17] Chaga contains compounds such as 3β-hydroxy-lanosta-8,24-dien-21-al, inotodiol (a triterpene), and lanosterol and each of these molecules showed effectiveness against multiple cancer cell lines with low toxicity to normal cells. [18] Polysaccharides extracted from chaga have reduced tumor size. [19] Chaga mushrooms also provide immune support, antimutagenic, antimicrobial, and antioxidant activity, and anti-hyperglycemic properties. [17] For example, chaga mushroom dosing led to decreased DNA damage and an improvement in deformed structures in zebrafish exposed to UVB radiation. [20] Chaga antioxidant capability prevented the formation of reactive oxygen species helping lessen oxidative stress induced by UV treatment and reduced the amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines brought about by the radiation. [21] Like reishi mushrooms, chaga aids as an antihyperglycemic agent due to its antioxidative properties and its ability to provide protection against cellular damage. [22] Chaga mushrooms also provide protection against liver injury by eliminating free radicals, inhibiting the leakage of key enzymes from the induced damage, and decreasing malondialdehyde formation. [23]

Like the other mushrooms in Protect + Defend, turkey tail mushrooms provide strong antioxidant properties. [24] In addition to polysaccharides and triterpenes, turkey tail offers many phenolic species like flavonols and flavonoids like quercetin. And also like other mushrooms within Protect + Defend, turkey tail mushrooms demonstrate genoprotective capabilities. [25] In addition to its polysaccharides, turkey tail contains polysaccharides that are also bound to proteins in complexes called polysaccharopeptides. Krestin (PSK) and polysaccharide peptide (PSP) are two such molecules that have strong immune-enhancing properties. PSP, for example, has been shown to increase white blood cells [26] and PSK stimulates natural killer immune cells. [27] PSK has also shown powerful anticancer properties, with one study measuring an increased survival in colon cancer patients who received PSK as an adjuvant immunochemotherapy. [28] An adjuvant therapy seeks to keep the cancer from coming back post-treatment, and an immunotherapy targets the immune system. Turkey tail mushrooms also increase gut health since they contain prebiotics. One study found that consuming 3.6 g per day of PSP from turkey tail led to beneficial microbiome changes and reduced the growth of infectious bacteria such as E. coli and Shigella. [29] Another study measured higher concentrations of beneficial gut bacteria such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus while detrimental bacteria like Clostridium and Staphylococcus were lessened. [30]

The use of elderberry extract provides a well-known supplement for combating the common cold and influenza and has provided respiratory benefits to air travelers. [31,32]

Vitamin C is an antioxidant and supports cellular functions that improve immunity, in part through its supporting in the proliferation of key white blood cells. [33] It also helps treat and prevent respiratory and systemic infections.

Vitamin D3 helps fight disease such as reducing one’s risk of heart disease [34] and reducing the probability of influenza infection [35]. It also has been implicated as improving the symptoms of depression. [36]

Zinc citrate is a dietary supplement that provides antioxidant properties, strengthens the immune system, and promotes healthy aging. [37]

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

References

[1] Stamets P. (2000). Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press.
[2] Sanodiya BS, Thakur GS, Baghel RK, Prasad GB, Bisen PS. Ganoderma lucidum: a potent pharmacological macrofungus. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2009;10(8):717-742.
[3] 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.
[4] Paterson R.R.M. Ganoderma—A therapeutic fungal biofactory. Phytochemistry. 2006;68:1985–2001.
[5] Sohretoglu D, Huang S. Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides as an anti-cancer agent. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2018;18(5):667-674.
[6] Zeng Q, Zhou F, Lei L, et al. Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides protect fibroblasts against UVB-induced photoaging. Mol Med Rep. 2017;15(1):111-116.
[7] Ali N, Muhammad A, & Akbar S.A. Anxiolytic-like activity of ethanol extract of Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) in mice. International Journal of Medical Research and Health Sciences. 2016;5:57-60.
[8] 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.
[9] Vetvicka V, Vetvickova J. Immune-enhancing effects of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) and Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) extracts. Ann Transl Med. 2014;2(2):14.
[10] Hong L, Weiyub W, Qina W, Shuzhena G, and Lebin W. Antioxidant and immunomodulatory effects of a a-glucan from fruit body of maitake (Grifola frondosa). Food and Agricultural Immunology. 2013;24(4):409-418.
[11] Yeh JY, Hsieh LH, Wu KT, Tsai CF. Antioxidant properties and antioxidant compounds of various extracts from the edible basidiomycete Grifola frondosa (Maitake). Molecules. 2011;16(4):3197-3211.
[12] 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.
[13] Nishihira J, Sato M, Tanaka A, Okamatsu M, Azuma T. et al. Maitake mushrooms (Grifola frondosa) enhances antibody production in response to influenza vaccination in healthy adult volunteers concurrent with alleviation of common cold symptoms. Functional Foods in Health and Disease. 2017; 7:462-482.
[14] Kabir Y, Hoshino T, Komai M, Kimura S. Histopathological changes in spontaneously hypertensive rats after feeding shiitake (Lentinus edodes) and maitake (Grifola frondosa) mushroom diets. J Clin Biochem Nutr 1989;6:187-193.
[15] Kubo K, Nanba H. The effect of maitake mushrooms on liver and serum lipids. Altern Ther Health Med 1996;2:62-66.
[16] Talpur NA, Echard BW, Fan AY, Jaffari O, Bagchi D, Preuss HG. Antihypertensive and metabolic effects of whole Maitake mushroom powder and its fractions in two rat strains. Mol Cell Biochem. 2002;237(1-2):129-136.
[17] Balandaykin ME, Zmitrovich IV. Review on chaga medicinal mushroom, Inonotus obliquus (higher basidiomycetes): realm of medicinal applications and approaches on estimating its resource potential. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2015;17(2):95-104.
[18] 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.
[19] Mizuno T, Zhuang C, Abe K, Okamoto H, Kiho T, et al. Antitumor and hypoglycemic activities of polysaccharides from the sclerotia and mycelia of Inonotus obliquus (Pers.: Fr.) Pil. (Aphyllophoromycetideae). International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 1999;1:301-316.
[20] Eid JI, Mohanty S, & Das B. Genoprotective effects of Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) polysaccharides in UVB-exposed embryonic zebrafish (Danio rerio) through coordinated expression of DNA repair genes. bioRxiv. 2020.
[21] Softa M, Percoco G, Lati E, & Bony P. Birch sap (Betula alba) and chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) extracts show antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and DNA protection/repair activity in vitro. Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications. 2019;09:188-205.
[22] Diao BZ, Jin WR, Yu XJ. Protective effect of polysaccharides from Inonotus obliquus on Streptozotocin-induced diabetic symptoms and their potential mechanisms in rats. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:841496.
[23] Hong KB, Noh DO, Park Y, Suh HJ. Hepatoprotective activity of water extracts from chaga medicinal mushroom, Inonotus obliquus (higher Basidiomycetes) against tert-butyl hydroperoxide-induced oxidative liver injury in Primary cultured rat hepatocytes. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2015;17(11):1069-1076.
[24] Janjušević L, Karaman M, Šibul F, et al. The lignicolous fungus Trametes versicolor (L.) Lloyd (1920): a promising natural source of antiradical and AChE inhibitory agents. J Enzyme Inhib Med Chem. 2017;32(1):355-362.
[25] Knežević A, Živković L, Stajić M, Vukojević J, Milovanović I, Spremo-Potparević B. Antigenotoxic effect of Trametes spp. extracts against DNA damage on human peripheral white blood cells. Scientific World Journal. 2015;2015:146378.
[26] Sekhon BK, Sze DM, Chan WK, et al. PSP activates monocytes in resting human peripheral blood mononuclear cells: immunomodulatory implications for cancer treatment. Food Chem. 2013;138(4):2201-2209.
[27] 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.
[28] 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.
[29] Pallav K, Dowd SE, Villafuerte J, et al. Effects of polysaccharopeptide from Trametes versicolor and amoxicillin on the gut microbiome of healthy volunteers: a randomized clinical trial. Gut Microbes. 2014;5(4):458-467.
[30] Eliza WL, Fai CK, Chung LP. Efficacy of Yun Zhi (Coriolus versicolor) on survival in cancer patients: systematic review and meta-analysis. Recent Pat Inflamm Allergy Drug Discov. 2012;6(1):78-87.
[31] Tiralongo E, Wee SS, Lea RA. Elderberry supplementation reduces cold duration and symptoms in air-travellers: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Nutrients. 2016;8(4):182.
[32] Zakay-Rones Z, Thom E, Wollan T, Wadstein J. Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. J Int Med Res. 2004;32(2):132-140.
[33] Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and immune function. Nutrients. 2017;9(11):1211.
[34] Wang TJ, Pencina MJ, Booth SL, et al. Vitamin D deficiency and risk of cardiovascular disease. Circulation. 2008;117(4):503-511.
[35] Urashima M, Segawa T, Okazaki M, Kurihara M, Wada Y, Ida H. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(5):1255-1260.
[36] Jorde R, Sneve M, Figenschau Y, Svartberg J, Waterloo K. Effects of vitamin D supplementation on symptoms of depression in overweight and obese subjects: randomized double-blind trial. J Intern Med. 2008;264(6):599-609.
[37] Mocchegiani E, Giacconi R, Cipriano C, Malavolta M. NK and NKT cells in aging and longevity: role of zinc and metallothioneins. J Clin Immunol. 2009;29(4):416-42

The Natural Power Behind Energy Performance

What Is It?

This energy blend combines the power of functional mushrooms with natural energy enhancers to keep you running at peak performance – even on your toughest days.

What’s In It?

This potent formula is centered around the Cordyceps mushroom, and Maitake mushrooms, enhanced with a potent mix of all-natural energy boosting ingredients.

Cordyceps – for their natural energy properties and metabolism boosting functionality and help with oxygen intake for better endurance
Maitake – for metabolism support and immune-boosting power
Guarana – for natural energy production
Green tea extract – increase metabolic function
Panax ginseng – reduce fatigue
Turmeric root – helps with inflammation

What Does It Do?

Energy Performance with its scientifically proven ability to help the lungs absorb oxygen more efficiently at the cellular level, this potent mushroom will provide you with increased endurance and energy whenever you need it. Packed with rich profile of phytochemicals such as polysaccharides, triterpenoids, amino acids, and polyphenols, as well as additions of vitamins B, B-12, C, and D and minerals will support your body ability to product natural sustained energy, on top of boosting metabolism support, immune strength and support, anti-aging, and longevity.

How Does It Work?

The Energy Performance formula provides an intelligent array of fungal molecules demonstrated in the scientific literature to offer wellness properties.

Traditional uses of cordyceps mushrooms include promotion of health, longevity, and athletic power and endurance. [1] In 1993, Chinese runners who had ingested cordyceps achieved records in several running events, thrusting these mushrooms on the world stage as potential energy enhancers. Thus, cordyceps is used in Spore products to provide a burst of energy. One study demonstrated that, with or without exercising, cordyceps improved exercise endurance by activating skeletal muscle metabolic regulators and increasing antioxidants. [1] A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial also demonstrated these findings in older adults (ages 50-75 years) who ingested 333 mg of dried mushrooms. [2] Aerobic performance improved and the ingestion of the mushrooms pointed to resistance to fatigue.

Glucans from Grifola frondosa or maitake mushrooms provide strong antioxidant and immune-supporting properties [3-5], providing evidence for anti-aging capabilities. Antioxidative properties worked by augmenting key enzymes like superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activity, which in turn, catalyze the destruction of the superoxide radical and reduce lipid hydroperoxides to alcohols and hydrogen peroxide to water, respectively. Additionally, these glucans increased interleukine-2 (IL-2) production, an immunocytokine that has strong immune-enhancing properties providing the most effective cytokine for T cell biology (a type of white blood cell), as well as the ability to boost the activity of natural killer cells, another type of lymphocyte vital to our immune systems. Malondialdehyde (a common marker for oxidative stress) content in the liver was reduced, further demonstrating maitake’s antioxidant properties. [4] What’s more, α-glucan from maitake 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] And a human clinical trial showed that maitake mushrooms led to increased antibodies in in response to influenza type A virus H1N1 after study participants took 20 maitake tablets per day. [7] Maitake mushrooms also help improve metabolism, showing increased fat metabolism [8,9] and other age-related metabolic issues such as glucose/insulin metabolism (e.g., hyperglycemia) [10].

Guarana seeds contain more caffeine than any other plant including approximately four times as much as coffee. [11,12] Thus, guarana provides a source of natural energy exemplified by the surge in energy drinks containing it. The stimulating effects of guarana are longer lasting than caffeine.

Green Tea Extract provides a panoply of various molecules that are beneficent for our health, such as antioxidants and polyphenols like the catechins which include epicatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechingallate, and epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG. In addition to antioxidant and anti-cancer properties [13], green tea extract is beneficial for metabolism, specifically lipid metabolism in overweight people [14]. A meta-analysis concluded that drinking green tea can reduce total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL). EGCG helps prevent an enzyme from breaking down norepinephrine, a hormone, leading to an increase in the hormone’s concentration. [15,16] This results in the breaking down of fat, and the caffeine and EGCG in green tea may potentiate the effect. [17]

Panax ginseng (ginseng) is a well-known natural stimulant for energy and vitality. A steroid within ginseng called dammarane steroid has demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects on skeletal muscle after muscle-damaging exercise. [18] The dominant molecule within a ginseng extract, called ginsenoside Ro, is also thought to combat inflammation and boost skeletal muscle performance. [19] The mechanism of ginseng’s ability to help prevent fatigue, especially following exercise, is thought to reside in its decreasing plasma lactate, ammonia, and creatine kinase, while increasing serum glucose levels. Other studies have reported ginseng’s ability to decrease oxidative stress in skeletal muscle. [20]

Long used in the culinary industry to provide color to dishes, turmeric root has become much more of a household spice in recent times due to the medicinal properties it bestows. For example, turmeric and its phytochemicals such as curcumin are known anti-inflammatory agents as has been demonstrated in pre-clinical and clinical investigations. [21-23] Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric and curcumin have been studied as a treatment option for diseases where inflammation plays a strong role, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and arthritis. [22] As an example, curcumin provided relief in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. [23]

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

References

[1] Kumar R, Negi PS, Singh B, Ilavazhagan G, Bhargava K, Sethy NK. Cordyceps sinensis promotes exercise endurance capacity of rats by activating skeletal muscle metabolic regulators. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011;136(1):260-266.
[2] Chen S, Li Z, Krochmal R, Abrazado M, Kim W, Cooper CB. Effect of Cs-4 (Cordyceps sinensis) on exercise performance in healthy older subjects: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(5):585-590.
[3] Vetvicka V, Vetvickova J. Immune-enhancing effects of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) and Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) extracts. Ann Transl Med. 2014;2(2):14.
[4] Hong L, Weiyub W, Qina W, Shuzhena G, and Lebin W. Antioxidant and immunomodulatory effects of a a-glucan from fruit body of maitake (Grifola frondosa). Food and Agricultural Immunology. 2013;24(4):409-418.
[5] Yeh JY, Hsieh LH, Wu KT, Tsai CF. Antioxidant properties and antioxidant compounds of various extracts from the edible basidiomycete Grifola frondosa (Maitake). Molecules. 2011;16(4):3197-3211.
[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] Nishihira J, Sato M, Tanaka A, Okamatsu M, Azuma T. et al. Maitake mushrooms (Grifola frondosa) enhances antibody production in response to influenza vaccination in healthy adult volunteers concurrent with alleviation of common cold symptoms. Functional Foods in Health and Disease. 2017; 7:462-482.
[8] Kabir Y, Hoshino T, Komai M, Kimura S. Histopathological changes in spontaneously hypertensive rats after feeding shiitake (Lentinus edodes) and maitake (Grifola frondosa) mushroom diets. J Clin Biochem Nutr 1989;6:187-193.
[9] Kubo K, Nanba H. The effect of maitake mushrooms on liver and serum lipids. Altern Ther Health Med 1996;2:62-66.
[10] Talpur NA, Echard BW, Fan AY, Jaffari O, Bagchi D, Preuss HG. Antihypertensive and metabolic effects of whole Maitake mushroom powder and its fractions in two rat strains. Mol Cell Biochem. 2002;237(1-2):129-136.
[11] Beck HT. Caffeine, alcohol, and sweeteners. In: Prance GT (ed). The Cultural History of Plants. New York: Routledge. 2005;173–90.
[12] Smith N, Atroch AL. Guaraná’s Journey from regional tonic to aphrodisiac and global energy drink. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2010;7(3):279-282.
[13] Musial C, Kuban-Jankowska A, Gorska-Ponikowska M. Beneficial properties of green tea catechins. Int J Mol Sci. 2020;21(5):1744.
[14] Yuan F, Dong H, Fang K, Gong J, Lu F. Effects of green tea on lipid metabolism in overweight or obese people: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2018;62(1):10.1002/mnfr.201601122.
[15] Lu H, Meng X, Yang CS. Enzymology of methylation of tea catechins and inhibition of catechol-O-methyltransferase by (-)-epigallocatechin gallate. Drug Metab Dispos. 2003;31(5):572-579.
[16] Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Green tea catechins, caffeine and body-weight regulation. Physiol Behav. 2010;100(1):42-46.
[17] Dulloo AG, Seydoux J, Girardier L, Chantre P, Vandermander J. Green tea and thermogenesis: interactions between catechin-polyphenols, caffeine and sympathetic activity. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000;24(2):252-258.
[18] Yu SH, Huang CY, Lee SD, et al. Decreased eccentric exercise-induced macrophage infiltration in skeletal muscle after supplementation with a class of ginseng-derived steroids. PLoS One. 2014;9(12):e114649.
[19] Ma GD, Chiu CH, Hsu YJ, Hou CW, Chen YM, Huang CC. Changbai Mountain Ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Mey) extract supplementation improves exercise performance and energy utilization and decreases fatigue-associated parameters in mice. Molecules. 2017;22(2):237.
[20] Zhuang CL, Mao XY, Liu S, et al. Ginsenoside Rb1 improves postoperative fatigue syndrome by reducing skeletal muscle oxidative stress through activation of the PI3K/Akt/Nrf2 pathway in aged rats. Eur J Pharmacol. 2014;740:480-487.
[21] Chattopadhyay I, Biswas K, Bandyopadhyay U, Banerjee R. Turmeric and curcumin: Biological actions and medicinal applications. Current Science. 2004;87:44-53.
[22] Ghosh S, Banerjee S, Sil PC. The beneficial role of curcumin on inflammation, diabetes and neurodegenerative disease: A recent update. Food Chem Toxicol. 2015;83:111-124.
[23] Deodhar SD, Sethi R, Srimal RC. Preliminary study on antirheumatic activity of curcumin (diferuloyl methane). Indian J Med Res. 1980;71:632-634.

Best Nootropic Mushroom Extracts for Brain Health

Feeling like your brain just isn’t working anymore? The effects of daily stress and Zoom call burnout are enough to zap your brain power and your energy. If you’re looking for a solution that won’t leave you wired and tired like slamming 4 cups of coffee will, nootropic mushrooms are for you.

What are nootropics?

A nootropic is any substance that boosts brain performance. These cognitive enhancers are used to boost focus, improve memory, foster creativity, and decrease mental fatigue at work. While some nootropics are synthetic and have been made in a lab, the safest nootropics come from nature. Some of the most effective and safe nootropics are medicinal mushrooms.

Are magic mushrooms nootropic mushrooms?

There’s been a lot of buzz about magic mushrooms, which are any mushroom that contains the active ingredient psilocybin. When used at low doses, called microdosing, these normally psychedelic mushrooms are used more in a more subtle way as a nootropic for focus and creativity. However, psilocybin mushrooms or microdosing with them remains illegal to use in most countries because they can cause hallucinogenic experiences.

Best nootropic mushrooms

So what are the best nootropic mushrooms then, and more importantly what are the legal nootropic mushrooms, which are ones you can buy and consume without risk of jail time. In this article, we’ll focus on the best nootropic mushrooms extracts that are safe to use and lab-tested for any impurities. The most popular and effective nootropic mushrooms include lion’s mane, cordyceps, and chaga mushrooms.

Lion’s mane mushroom benefits

Lion’s mane mushrooms are eaten as both a popular food and medicine in Asian countries such as China and Japan. Lion’s mane has numerous health benefits as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which may help promote healthy blood flow in the brain, enhance cognitive function, and reduce memory loss. Lion’s mane mushroom contains two chemicals, erinacines and hericenones, that can stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF) to promote brain cell growth and potentially repair brain injury. Finally, lion’s mane extract may promote changes in the brain that reduce the neurological effects of depression.

Cordyceps mushroom benefits

Cordyceps mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries for everything from increasing sex drive to improving fatigue. They are packed with antioxidants that protect the brain from inflammation and memory loss due to aging. Cordyceps may even boost mood, but through a different pathway than traditional antidepressants. This is likely due to the cordyceps mushrooms containing a chemical called cordycepin that can activate AMPA receptor signaling in the brain, improving focus and memory.

Chaga mushroom benefits

Chaga mushrooms are found naturally growing on birch trees in countries with cold weather such as Canada, Russia, and Alaska. These mushrooms have been used in traditional indigenous medicine for boosting immunity and improving overall health, but recent research suggests they have many benefits for brain health. Learning and memory may be boosted by taking chaga mushrooms due to increasing levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Chaga mushrooms contain a chemical called DBL which is a powerful antioxidant that may protect brain cells against Parkinson’s disease or other types of cellular stress.

Other herbs that support brain health

When using medicinal mushroom extracts to support brain health, you’ll get an even bigger boost by using natural herbs that work on different pathways to improve memory, focus, and health aging. Several herbal supplements stand out as nootropics include ginkgo biloba, ashwagandha, and rhodiola rosea, which all work to reduce the negative effects of stress on the brain.

One of the easiest ways to support brain health is by taking a supplement that contains multiple nootropic mushrooms extracts and herbs. Our Focus Performance blend features cordyceps and lion’s mane extracts, ashwagandha, and ginkgo biloba, intelligently formulated to help you perform at your highest level.

References

International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ethanol Extract of Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Agaricomycetes), in Mice with Ulcerative Colitis

Biomedical Research, Effects of Hericium erinaceus on amyloid β(25-35) peptide-induced learning and memory deficits in mice

International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, Neurotrophic properties of the Lion’s mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia

International Journal of Molecular Science, Protective effects of Hericium erinaceus mycelium and its isolated erinacine A against ischemia-injury-induced neuronal cell death via the inhibition of iNOS/p38 MAPK and nitrotyrosine

International Journal of Molecular Science, Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects through Modulating BDNF/PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β Signaling in Mice

Phytotherapy Research, Antiaging effect of Cordyceps sinensis extract

Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin, Antidepressant-like effect of Cordyceps sinensis in the mouse tail suspension test

International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 3’-Deoxyadenosine (Cordycepin) Produces a Rapid and Robust Antidepressant Effect via Enhancing Prefrontal AMPA Receptor Signaling Pathway

Food & Function, Amelioration of scopolamine induced cognitive dysfunction and oxidative stress by Inonotus obliquus – a medicinal mushroom

Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, 3,4-dihydroxybenzalacetone protects against Parkinson’s disease-related neurotoxin 6-OHDA through Akt/Nrf2/glutathione pathway

Five Benefits of the Reishi Mushroom

Often dubbed the “elixir of long life” or “mushroom of immortality,” Reishi is one of the most potent and respected functional mushrooms on the planet. It’s been used medicinally for over 2,000 years and contains a wonderful array of vitamins, nutrients, and compounds to support immunity and overall health.

If you’re interested in functional mushrooms, then Reishi is one that you don’t want to miss.

Reduces Stress

One of the most common uses of Reishi is for its calming, anti-stress effect. It has shown to be effective at relieving anxiety and depression, as well as helping to lower blood pressure.

This is thanks to the adrenal support that Reishi provides. It’s a potent adaptogen –– i.e. a plant that helps the body deal with all kinds of physical, chemical, or biological stress. When you’re able to relieve stress and keep your body in a state of balance, you’ll be less fatigued, have better cognitive function, and be able to maintain a sharper focus throughout the day.

As well, Reishi contains an array of different antioxidants, polysaccharides, polypeptides, triterpenes, and other compounds that work to mitigate the body’s response to stress.

If you need to cool down at any point in the day, Reishi can be a great option. That’s why it’s at the core of our Chill Out blend.

Supports Immune Function

No matter what season of the year we’re in, it’s always important to have a well-functioning immune system. Reishi has been clinically proven to have a positive impact on white blood cells and the immune response. This leads to a powerful anti-inflammatory effect that increases your body’s ability to deal with pathogens, viruses, and stress.

Much of this effect is due to Reishi’s high concentration of beta-glucans, which have potent immune-boosting properties. Reishi also promotes the development of B and T lymphocytes, immune cells that are vital for the production of antibodies and the overall regulation of immune function.

Anti-Cancer Properties

Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases on our planet and finding a cure has been a focus of our medical system for generations. Functional mushrooms are beginning to show a lot of promise in their ability to help fight cancer, and Reishi is leading the charge, as the mushroom has shown to inhibit the development of cancer as well as targeting and destroying existing cancer cells. A 2010 study related Reishi’s anti-cancer effect to a compound called ganoderic acid, which is a triterpenoid found in the mushroom that attacks the development and metastasis of tumors.

More research is needed, but the beneficial nutrients in Reishi are showing significant promise in cancer research and may be an integral part of treatment for the disease in the future.

Reduces Inflammation

Managing chronic inflammation in the body is essential for overall health. Over time, inflammation damages healthy cells, tissues, and organs, and plays an important role in the development of more debilitating diseases and conditions.

The rich antioxidant profile of Reishi targets inflammation throughout the body, lowering oxidative stress and ensuring that your systems are always functioning at their best.

Helps with Insomnia

Part of Reishi’s potent calming effect is its ability to help you comfortably drift off to sleep every night. Because of this, it’s a fantastic functional mushroom to add to your evening routine when you want to wind down at the end of a long day. This is particularly the case when you’re having a hard time calming your mind before bed.

Our Chill Out blend is centered around Reishi and is designed exactly for this –– to help you relax and prepare for a restful night of sleep. Head over to our online shop to check it out.

References:

National Center for Biotechnology Information, Ganoderma Lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi)
National Center for Biotechnology Information,Spore Powder of Ganoderma lucidum Improves Cancer-Related Fatigue in Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Endocrine Therapy: A Pilot Clinical Trial
National Center for Biotechnology Information,Hypotensive and neurometabolic effects of intragastric Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) administration in hypertensive ISIAH rat strain
National Center for Biotechnology Information, Cellular and molecular mechanisms of immuno-modulation by Ganoderma lucidum
Life Extension Magazine, Fight Immune Decline with Reishi
Science Direct,Ganoderic acid T inhibits tumor invasion in vitro and in vivo through inhibition of MMP expression