Why You May Want To Add A Mushroom Supplement Into Your Daily Routine

We all love a good glow-up story and right now, no one is having a come-up quite like mushrooms. Long relegated to lists of pizza toppings and omelet fillings, mushrooms had become undervalued players in the world of health. But you can't keep a good shroom down for long, and modern society is finally giving our fungi friends due credit, as is evidenced by the increased use of mushroom supplements.

Of course, using mushrooms as medicine isn't a new concept. A 4,000-year-old mummy was discovered with Piptoporus betulinus in his personal apothecary, which is a strain of mushroom still used today for its antibiotic and antiparasitic properties (per Spirit of Change Magazine). Deemed a gift from the gods, mushrooms were eaten by ancient Egypt's nobles and pharaohs, and ancient China considered them so valuable that they were forbidden to commoners. Aztecs used them in holy rituals, and Vikings consumed psychedelic varieties before heading into battle.

Mycological entrepreneur, William Padilla-Brown, told Artful Living that mushrooms reemergence to a place of prominence in the world of health is a matter of reconnection. "We're realizing the future is the same as the ancient past. All things new are things ancient Egyptians used to do," Padilla-Brown told the publication. So how can mushroom supplements benefit your health? Let's find out.

The benefits of mushrooms

Certain brands, like Mud/Wtr, who sell a mushroom-based coffee alternative, or Moon Juice, whose Brain Dust product was referred to as "edible intelligence" on Gwyneth Paltrow's health site Goop, claim that their products can supply us with a boost of energy while simultaneously combatting stress, thanks to the powers of lion's mane (per The Guardian). And as it turns out, it's not all marketing mumbo-jumbo. A 2011 study published in Biomedical Research reported that lion's mane improved cognition and memory in mice, and contributed to a reduction in anxiety and irritability.

Mushrooms are also high in beta-glucan, a compound that acts as both an antioxidant and probiotic (per BBC Good Food). By activating the immune system, beta-glucan increases the body's ability to ward off infection and has also been shown to slow and even stop tumor growth. It also feeds the good bacteria in the stomach, lending to a healthy gut. Mushrooms may also be great for heart health, according to a 2001 study published in Experimental Biology and Medicine. In this case, shitake mushrooms lowered cholesterol in mice. But in another 1987 study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, they found that mushrooms helped prevent the buildup of arterial plaque and promote healthy circulation in rats.