How (and why) cordyceps were mistaken for steroids in the 1993 Olympic games Mushrooms have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries to treat various conditions like lung diseases, respiratory illness, and fatigue. The rest of the world was relatively unaware of the medicinal power of mushrooms until the 1993 Olympics, the female Chinese Olympic running team shattered records to the extent that they were accused of steroid use.  In 1993, a Chinese Olympics female running team broke records for 1,500, 3,000 and 10,000 meters, stirring up curiosity and suspicion. They were suspected of using performance enhancing steroids, but the rumors were shot down by their coach when their drug tests reflected zero steroids.  The coach revealed to the reporters that his team had been taking doses of cordyceps at his request after each training session.  The medicinal mushroom cordyceps was used for its energizing properties that enhance the body’s metabolism and opened up the upper respiratory tract to enhance the athletes’ performance. This event brought alternative medicine to the forefront of not only immune health, but also physical health.  What are cordyceps mushrooms? There are 2 kinds of cordyceps mushrooms, both of which are nearly identical: Cordyceps sinensis is a wild, rare fungus that grows on larvae of butterflies and moths. Some strains of cordyceps grow like fungus out of the brains of insects! When Cordyceps sinensis was first discovered in ancient China, it was so rare that it was only allowed to be consumed by royalty. Cordycepsmilitaris is easier to produce at a large scale, and has a compound that Cordyceps sinensis does not: Cordycepin. This study compares Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris side by side. how are cordyceps beneficial for athletes? Cordyceps are very popular among athletes, as these mushrooms aid in enhancing their performance and overcoming their general weakness. It also acts as a tonic for physical stamina and endurance. Cordyceps improve blood flow as well as the body’s ability to burn fat fast.  The fungus increases the availability of a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the body. ATP plays an important role in supplying oxygen to body muscles. Muscles use this oxygen to produce energy.  Cordyceps have proven to increase VO2 max. VO2 maxis defined as a measure of how fast the body delivers oxygen to muscles. Athletes or elite runners have double the VO2 max as a normal person. When the body consumes more oxygen, it also helps in combating fatigue. what are the health benefits of cordyceps? Other than their benefits for improving athletic performance, cordyceps mushrooms offer a range of health benefits: Help anti-aging process: cordyceps are loaded with antioxidant that can slow down the aging process. The antioxidants in the body help eliminate free radicals that cause diseases and speeds up aging. Manage type-2 diabetes: cordyceps contain certain sugar that mimics the action of insulin, which helps maintain sugar levels in the body. Promote healthy heart function: due to its antioxidant nature, cordyceps help in preventing heart related problems like high blood pressure and helps in maintaining low cholesterol levels Anti-tumor effects: cordyceps may inhibit the growth of cancer cells and exert anti-tumor effects in lung and livers. taking cordyceps supplEments More research is needed to understand the effects of cordyceps as most of the research is done on animals. These studies show that use of cordyceps helps in regulating blood sugar levels and also possess anti-tumor properties that help in killing cancer cells. However, cordyceps are widely available in the form of supplements that can be taken orally or added in tea. It is also advised to consult the doctor before adding them to your routine. If you are looking to feel energized, then cordyceps are a great way to start along with a good diet and healthy lifestyle -- and of course, cordyceps are one of the 9 mushrooms in Mushroom Design’s Daily Vitamin & Mushroom blend!  Experience the benefit of mushrooms in Mushroom Design’s daily supplement, which contains nine functional mushrooms plus nine essentially daily vitamins - cordyceps included! BUY NOW
Top 10 Mushroom Health Benefits from brain health to weight loss Mushrooms are (usually) edible fungi that are full of beneficial nutrients. They're so beneficial that centuries ago, only royalty was allowed access to them, as they were considered too "good" for commoners. Mushrooms have gained popularity among pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies as of late due to their nearly countless health benefits. It's projected that there are thousands of varieties of mushrooms, out of which only 10% have been identified by scientists! Common edible mushrooms you find on menus and at markets include white (button) mushrooms, portobello, shiitake, maitake, cremini, oyster, and enoki. Less common mushrooms such as agarikon are not typically found in stores and are instead consumed via powders or tinctures. The nutritional makeup of mushrooms: Mushrooms are low in carbohydrates and fat but chock full of vitamins and minerals. They are a natural source of vitamins B and D. They are also rich in calcium, protein, iron, copper, and magnesium. They contain antioxidant agents like selenium, vitamin C, and choline that help eradicate free radicals from the body. 10 Health Benefits of Mushrooms: 1. Increase energy, improve recovery, and support metabolism B vitamins, including niacin and folate, are known for giving the body a smooth, steady supply of energy (versus the jittery energy from caffeine). These B vitamins are in abundance in mushrooms! The B vitamins help the body maintain a fast and efficient metabolism by supporting the body's ability to convert food into energy. They help produce more red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. Vitamin B also helps manage balanced hormonal levels, which improves both emotional and mental health.   2. Support heart health Mushrooms are naturally high in potassium and low in sodium. Potassium supports a healthy heart and regulates blood pressure. Additionally, vitamin C in many mushrooms may reduce the risk of serious heart diseases. On top of that, the beta-glucans in mushrooms help prevent cardiovascular disease by lowering cholesterol levels.   3. Promote anti-aging - internally and externally One of the main factors of aging is free radical damage - and one of the best solutions for this is the power of antioxidants, which mushrooms are full of. Free radicals are everywhere - they are a naturally occurring byproduct of nutrient breakdown within the body, but they're also created by environmental pollution such as UV and sun exposure. These free radicals damage and even destroy the cellular structures, proteins, RNA, and DNA in the body. Free radicals cause oxidative stress, resulting in loss of skin elasticity and wrinkles. The antioxidants found in mushrooms neutralize the free radicals and can stop or delay damage to cells and reduce the aging process.   4. Boost immunity Mushrooms support the body's immune system and natural defense against infections by activating the immune cells responsible for destroying pathogens, such as killer-T cells and cytokines. The beta-glucans in mushrooms also help stimulate the immune system and promote healthy gut bacteria.   5. Support brain health and memory Mushrooms support cognitive health via two main mechanisms: antioxidants and NGF. Research has shown that adding mushrooms to your diet can reduce the risks of neurological illnesses, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and help improve cognitive health (including memory!). The Lion's mane mushroom is a fan favorite fungi, as its extract stimulates nerve growth factor (NGF) and boosts the regeneration process on a cellular level. 6. Fight cancer Research on mushrooms' protective effect against cancer is ever-expanding. The sugar compounds in mushrooms known as beta-glucans stimulate the immune system and trigger specific cells and proteins to fight off cancer cells. In lab settings, a particular compound found in mushrooms known as PSK has proven to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Mushrooms also contain essential minerals that the body cannot produce itself, such as selenium, which helps detoxify cancer-causing compounds like benzene, arsenic, and asbestos.   7. Anti-inflammatory The antioxidants in mushrooms help prevent inflammation, which is the body's protective response to infections and injuries. However, too much inflammation creates even more issues, from heart disease to diabetes and cancer. The antioxidants in mushrooms help alleviate excessive inflammation and suppress excessive allergic responses.   8. Aid in weight loss The nutritional makeup of mushrooms - high in protein and fiber and lower in carbs and fat - makes them an excellent component of any diet. Fiber is known to make you feel fuller, thus reducing appetite. Meanwhile, the B vitamins in mushrooms support sustained energy and increase metabolism. Mushrooms are even keto-diet friendly!   9. Support bone health Mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D. Though it's commonly known for its immune system benefits, vitamin D is also vital for the body's ability to absorb calcium, promoting bone growth, which can prevent osteoporosis and even alleviate joint pain.   10. Reduce stress and anxiety Some mushrooms possess adaptogenic properties, meaning they help the body deal with stress and anxiety. These mushrooms improve mental health and reduce anxiety, stress, and fatigue. They also help enhance the quality of sleep, which also boosts mental health - an upward spiral, if you will! Should mushrooms be eaten raw or cooked? It is a common conjecture that vegetables should be consumed raw to get the most nutritional value, but interestingly, this may not be the case with mushrooms. Mushrooms have tough cell walls that are difficult to digest - and cooking them breaks these walls. Heating mushrooms by boiling, roasting, or grilling them causes their fungal tissues to soften, making it easier for the digestive enzymes in our bodies to get the most nutrients out of them. Additionally, even when washed thoroughly, mushrooms may have traces of toxins and pathogens like carcinogens. Boiling/cooking mushrooms destroys toxins and carcinogens, enhances beta-glucans, and increases the value of the antioxidants' activity. Takeaway: Mushrooms are an excellent source for both dietary and medicinal benefits - they're the true embodiment of food as medicine. But, mushrooms as cuisine aren't always everyone's preference, so supplements such as tinctures, powders, and capsules are readily available.   Note: always consult your medical professional before starting a new dietary or functional food program. Experience the benefit of mushrooms in Mushroom Design’s daily supplement, which contains nine functional mushrooms plus nine essentially daily vitamins.  BUY NOW
Mushrooms reduce the odds of MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment) What Is Mild Cognitive Impairment? Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) characterizes the initial stage of cognitive impairment - it is essentially the phase between good cognitive functioning and the expected cognitive aging. MCI is used to identify patients at a high risk of dementia. Common symptoms of mild cognitive impairment include:- Forgetfulness- Loss of chain of thought- Difficulty in recalling names or events These symptoms can be identified by the individual experiencing them or by their colleagues and loved ones. MCI does not pose as many challenges as Alzheimer's or dementia, as people with MCI can still go about their activities of daily living (ADL) without disruption or difficulty.If you or anyone you know experiences any of these symptoms, visit a nearby clinic. Is MCI Related to Alzheimer's or Dementia? Different definitions of MCI have evolved over the years; initially, MCI was considered to be the preliminary stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD), as its diagnostic features extended to include impaired memory and a decline in judgment and reasoning. There was a thin line distinguishing between MCI and Alzheimer's until recently. Though MCI and Alzheimer's have similarities in their causes and risk factors, including genetics and age, it is not a certainty that all cases of MCI are indicators for Alzheimer's.  According to recent research, about 20% of the older adult population with mild cognitive impairment develop Alzheimer's disease. Hence, not all cases of Alzheimer's develop from MCI, and not all MCI cases progress to Alzheimer's. Nonetheless, the prognosis of MCI is good, such that people experiencing it may maintain the symptoms or even become better. How Can Functional Mushrooms Help Reduce Cognitive Impairment? Mushrooms are beneficial for many conditions, one of those being cognitive decline. Mushrooms are rich in fiber and antioxidants, which help protect the brain cells from degeneration. There are different types and classes of mushrooms, but according to research conducted by the National University of Singapore, the particular element which may be responsible for the antioxidant activity in mushrooms is ergothioneine (ET). Ergothioneine is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that the body cannot synthesize on its own, hence its need from external food sources.  The research showed that ET's plasma concentration in people without MCI was higher than that of those who had MCI (all subjects were in the same age bracket).   Basically, the study showed that the risk of developing MCI in people who consumed more than 2 servings of mushrooms per week was approximately 50% less than people who did not. In addition, mushrooms are also rich in Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and other compounds that help prevent neuron damage and promote improved cognitive functioning.  Therefore, people who include mushrooms in their diet are less likely to develop cognitive impairment. What Do Mushrooms Do To Support The Brain? Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disease that targets the Central Nervous System (CNS) in the brain and destroys the cells within. In the body, there is something called the nerve growth factor (NGF) that stimulates the production of new neurons. This production may not be enough in the presence of AD.  The ergothioneine in mushrooms helps produce more growth factors in the body and, through its anti-inflammatory action, protects the brain from inflammation.  Furthermore, lentinan, another compound in mushrooms, helps regenerate the CNS.  Mushrooms, therefore, can be considered essential in reducing the risk of developing MCI or even Alzheimer's disease.  Shop Mushroom design now
“The elixir of long life” The Greek physician Dioscordes named the agarikon mushroom “elixirium ad longam vitam,” which literally translates to the elixir of long life. It’s useful for a variety of ailments, from tuberculosis to cancer… to perhaps even menstrual symptoms. In fact, the English herbalist John Gerard wrote at some point in the 1500s: “[agarikon] provoketh the urine and bringeth down the menses... and purgeth stools.”        What’s so great about agarikon mushrooms? Agarikon mushrooms are lesser known, but equally (if not more) powerful than many medicinal mushrooms, specifically for their antiviral and antibacterial properties. Agarikon are the oldest and longest living mushrooms with a lifespan between 70 to 100 years (most mushrooms live for a few months - a year or two at the most)!    Most often found in the branches of old trees, they are large in size – as big as a 5 gallon bucket – and resemble a beehive with white and brown lines on the outside.   Agarikon mushrooms have been famously used as a healing tonic for over 2000 years. They are used in central and eastern Europe, Siberia, and throughout North America as a treatment for many ailments and infectious diseases   They are beautiful to look at but their growth rate is very slow. Because of this, they are considered rare and valuable. They do not taste particularly good - they have a very bitter taste and thus are best consumed in capsules (even tinctures can taste quite…strong)         Health Benefits of Agarikon Agarikon as an antiviral:A plethora of research on agarikon is now underway based on the preliminary finding that this mushroom possesses antiviral abilities to combat viruses and bacteria. Research has found that agarikon reduces the impact of cellular damage created by viruses and that the routine intake of agarikon aids the body’s defense system against many viruses.In fact, the chlorinated coumarins from agarikon mycelia has proven to be useful for the treatment of pulmonary diseases, especially tuberculosis and pneumonia. On that note, the agaric acid found in agarikon is a treatment that’s often used as an anhidrotic agent to stop excessive sweating in patients with tuberculosis. In the past, agaric acid was also used as an irritant, an antidiarrhoeal and a bronchial secretions reducer.Consuming agarikon can reduce inflammation while also helping to combat both bacterial and viral infections. The triterpenoid compounds in agarikon are the most active defenders against cowpox, bird flu, swine flu, tuberculosis, and HIV. Agarikon as an immune system supporter:Mushrooms like agarikon are power houses for your immune system. The beta glucans present in them prevents diseases from entering the body. Other polysaccharides in agarikon activate important immune cells such as cytokines, T cells, and natural killer cells which boost the immune system. Agarikon as an anti-inflammatory:Agarikon is a strong anti-inflammatory agent. Inflammation helps to protect the body against harmful exposure such as infection, trauma, and bacteria. Access to inflammation may harm the tissues and is associated with inflammation related diseases. Agarikon helps fight against pain caused by arthritis, joint issues, sciatica, and other inflammatory diseases.         Agarikon is an age-old, trusted, and versatile mushroom with many benefits that are constantly being studied. Outside of its already known benefits as an antiviral immune support agent, agarikon is also being studied in relation to its anti-tumor properties.   Due to their bitter taste, they are generally not recommended for eating but are safe for consumption via capsule and/or powder form. As always, it is advisable to consult your doctor before self medication.                         Agarikon is 1 of the 9 functional mushrooms in Mushroom Design’s daily supplement. Experience the benefits of Fomitopsis officinalis today!   Buy now