Let’s continue from our previous blog post (What Is Reishi Good For?) that re-introduced the topic of Reishi mushroom here on the Health Insiders Blog. That previous post might have focused primarily on the origins of the medicinal mushroom as well as a snapshot of its main benefits but we didn't get the opportunity to explore (in depth) how reishi mushrooms can affect our brain health. Medicinal mushrooms are quickly emerging as one of the most scientifically supported ways to help improve mental well-being as well as boost overall brain health and functionality. Many studies have been conducted to support the belief that medicinal mushrooms, like reishi, can positively affect our mental health. Whilst today's post focuses on reishi three mushrooms, which are scientifically known to be the ‘best’ for supporting our brain health; reishi is not the only type of medicinal mushroom that has been widely tested. Lions Mane and Chaga mushrooms are also among the most supported medicinal mushroom for their brain-supporting abilities. Brain health is vital for our entire survival; our brain keeps our entire body functioning and moving. Therefore keeping it healthy is essential! If improving your brain health is your main health goal or priority, you might be relieved to hear that there are several medicinal mushrooms you can rely on…
Which mushroom is best for the brain?
Chaga, Lions Mane and Reishi are all within the top three medicinal mushrooms that have been studied the most to classify them as the ‘best medicinal mushrooms’ for our brain! Collectively, all three of these medicinal mushrooms have been scientifically tested and supported by the notion that they can help support brain health, aid in recovery (deterioration), and work to improve our overall mood (which could lead to mental health conditions like anxiety or depression).
Even though all three of these medicinal mushrooms are worth exploring, today's post will continue to focus specifically on just reishi mushrooms and how exactly they can our brain health as well as improve mood. You can be sure that you will see more posts on various medicinal mushrooms soon- including Lions Mane - on the Health Insiders Blog but for now, the focus remains on reishi mushrooms. So, let's now explore how exactly reishi mushrooms can help our brain health…
What does reishi do for the brain?
We previously mentioned above that there has been a significant amount of scientific study to support the claims that medicinal mushrooms can help improve brain health as well as improve functionality and mood. Reishi mushrooms have scientifically been linked to helping in several ways (regarding brain health) the main benefits being concerning:
- Reducing neuroinflammation
- Helping with anxiety and depression
- Decreasing plaque formation
- Reducing oxidative stress
- Improving cognition
- Protect neurons from damage
- Support new neural growth
Whilst the full list of benefits of medicinal mushrooms for brain health is much longer, to keep today's post from becoming a dissertation; we will only be focusing on the top two benefits listed above. They just happen to be the most popular reason individuals take reishi mushroom supplements; to help reduce neuroinflammation and aid in mood changes. So let us now explore these a little further…
How does reishi reduce Neuroinflammation?
Reishi mushrooms, and similar medicinal mushrooms, may be able to reduce neuro-inflammation that occurs when the brain’s natural immune system is disrupted following inflammatory challenges; an infection, injury, ageing or exposure to toxins (to name a few). There are findings, from studies, that suggest reishi mushrooms can help reduce the brain being at risk of inflammatory triggers as reishi is a powerful adaptogen that can offer immune-modulating support. This in turn can help enhance our immune response to avoid the severity of inflammatory triggers affecting the brain. Reishi mushrooms can do this due to their high count of bioactive polysaccharide compounds.
How does reishi help with anxiety and depression?
Reishi mushrooms have been known to be classified as the ultimate ‘anti-stress’ medicinal mushroom as studies have been able to support the mushroom's ability to be neuroprotective; to help calm an overactive nervous system by reducing stress and anxiety. Reishi can also increase antioxidants, lower internal inflammation and even have anti-depressive effects (due to its anti-stress and rebalancing capabilities). How exactly can reishi help with anxiety and depression? Reishi mushrooms can increase the efficiency of the adrenal glands and therefore can help ‘gate keep’ the balance of how much stress hormones the brain discharges into the body. Cortisol in itself is a natural anti-inflammatory although if the body is over-exposed to stress as well as cortisol then the body finds it difficult to self-regulate the (stress + cortisol) cells. This can therefore lead to an increased risk of an unbalanced state of mind; like increased anxiety and even depression. This internal ‘fight’ can unbalance our overall physical and mental state as it can cause high blood pressure, chronic fatigue and even breakdown and cause dysfunction inside the body. Reishi mushroom can help support adrenals as well as encourage and maintain healthy cortisol circulation throughout the body to help reduce anxiety and the risk of depression.
Reishi can work in response to internal processes and systems to keep hormones as well as cells in balance; to avoid the fight or flight that can occur if there are unbalanced and not regulated. An uncontrollable surge of stress or similar hormones and cells can affect our mental health; increasing our risk of anxiety and depression. Due to the internal battle that our body is feeling each time we feel stressed; it triggers our internal systems to go ‘haywire’ as it tries to cope! Reishi mushrooms can help keep the balance and regulate the discharge of stress and inflammatory cells so yes you could say that reishi medicinal mushrooms can help improve our brain health and mood disorders!We hope you are finding all of our blog posts, covering the topic of medicinal mushrooms, both helpful and informative. Plus you can also find blog posts on a wide array of topics relating to well-being and natural supplements; be sure to check out our entire post catalogue. Dont forget if you do have any personal questions that require additional support you can send us a DM on Instagram where we aim to get to you as soon as possible!