Medicinal Mushrooms

MedicinalMushroomsJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Since at least 3000 BCE, traditional medical systems have utilized foods as medicines. Due to their numerous and significant health promoting properties, edible mushrooms have played a very old and continuously substantial role. Early records show that ancient Egyptian and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners used mushrooms to promote health and longevity, as well as to treat certain maladies and diseases. Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), medicinal mushrooms are considered to be cardiovascular- and hepato-protective, and have been proven to possess anti-allergic, anti-cholesterol, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-microbial, anti-diabetic and anti-tumor properties. Additionally, it is well established that mushrooms are adept at immune modulation, positively affecting hematopoietic stem cells, lymphocytes, macrophages, T cells, natural killer cells and more.

Medicinal mushrooms are high in protein, essential amino acids, and complex carbohydrates, as well as vitamins, minerals, fiber and trace elements. Perhaps more significantly, mushrooms possess non-digestible, bioactive polysaccharides, or prebiotics, that can stimulate the immune system, encourage the growth of beneficial gut microbes, and depress endogenous pathogens found within the gastrointestinal tract. A Chinese study on edible mushrooms revealed that mushrooms possess substantial antioxidant and metal chelating activity due to their phenolic (natural antioxidant) composition. Numerous studies focusing on the benefits of a healthy microbiome have shown that probiotics and prebiotics, or a synbiotic combination of both, can stimulate the microbiota, enhancing immune and general health.

Studies suggest that mushrooms are probiotic foods that help strengthen the body, restore and maintain homeostasis and provide natural resistance to disease. Extremely important to overall wellbeing, the gastrointestinal system is largely responsible for critical digestive and immune functions, hormone regulation, vitamin production, toxin elimination and micronutrient absorption; as well as mood, energy regulation, and mental health. On a daily basis, the microbiome plays many key roles in promoting efficient operations of bodily processes. In a healthy body, pathogenic and symbiotic microbiota naturally coexist without causing problems. An imbalance, or dysbiosis, brought on by factors such as poor diet, illness, and medications, can lead to obesity and inflammatory conditions, leaving the body more susceptible to disease. The human microbiome is a living dynamic environment subject to constant fluctuations, dependent upon our state of health, the foods we ingest, whether or not we exercise, and a host of environmental exposures.

Supplementing with medicinal mushrooms is any easy way to support overall wellness and healthy functioning of the gastrointestinal and immune systems:

Reishi: Highly praised as the King of mushrooms, strictly medicinal Reishi mushrooms are rich in complex carbohydrates, anti-inflammatory agents, and other components that support hormonal balance, and energy production; as well as immune, cardiovascular, blood vessel, liver, and overall health. Reishi’s antioxidant compounds help protect cellular DNA and mitochondria from oxidant damage, thereby combating signs of aging.

Lion’s Mane: Like other medicinal mushrooms, Lion’s Mane contains polysaccharides and antioxidants that support immune and overall healthy function. While research continues regarding this mushroom’s effects on the brain and nervous system, studies have shown that Lion’s Mane may support cognition and concentration, as well as a healthy mood.

Maitake: In addition to anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, Maitake has been shown to have anti-diabetic constituents, helping to decrease insulin resistance and increase insulin sensitivity.

Cordyceps: Used traditionally as a health tonic and asthma treatment, Cordyceps supports increased energy levels by helping to deliver oxygen to the cells. In addition to immune modulation, Cordyceps aids athletic performance by increasing metabolic efficiency.

Turkey Tail: As one of the most extensively studied medicinal mushrooms, Turkey Tail provides a full spectrum of polysaccharides, essential for natural immune support. Research has shown that in addition to its immune boosting effects, Turkey Tail has anti-tumor and antiviral activity, as well as moderating effects on blood sugar and cholesterol.

Professional Supplement Center carries many well respected medicinal mushroom formulas:

MyCommunityMyCommunity® by Host Defense®: This unique complex of 17 potent mushroom species includes the mycelium, fruitbodies, and a diverse range of constituents to help support and balance the immune system. Gluten, contaminant and pesticide free, Non-GMO, vegetarian formulation. Certified organic mushrooms are grown and processed in the USA.

M/R/S Mushroom...M/R/S Mushroom Formula by Pure Encapsulations®: This dynamic blend of Maitake, Reishi, and Shiitake is formulated with whole plant bodies for optimal immune health and broad spectrum physiological support. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO, hypoallergenic, vegetarian formulation.

Lion's Mane Memory...Lion’s Mane by Host Defense: This certified organic formula provides the full spectrum of constituents of Lion’s Mane best known for providing support for brain, immune, and nervous system functions. Sustainably cultivated and freeze dried to preserve nutrients. Gluten free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

LifeShield ReishiLifeShield® Reishi by New Chapter®: Formulated with mycelium, fruiting bodies, spores and extracellular compounds to deliver whole life cycle, activated, organic Reishi mushrooms in support of vitality and overall wellness. Guaranteed minimum 15% beta-glucans for optimal potency and benefit. Naturally gluten free, Non-GMO, vegan formulation.

MycoceuticsMycoceutics® by Douglas Laboratories®: This formula contains an array of beta-glucans and other active constituents derived from 10 species of mushrooms including Cordyceps, Reishi, Maitake and Shitake, providing support for the natural immune response. These mushrooms are cultivated under carefully monitored conditions and contain no pollutants, heavy metals or contaminants.

Cordyceps 750 mgCordyceps 750 mg by Now Foods: Traditionally used for its energizing, adaptogenic, and free radical scavenging properties, Cordyceps mushrooms have numerous bioactive constituents. Cordyceps 750 is formulated to support a healthy immune response and promote normal vascular function. Gluten, soy, and dairy free, Non-GMO, organic, kosher, vegan formulation.

Turkey TailTurkey Tail by Host Defense®: This well documented mushroom species provides a wide spectrum of beneficial properties essential for supporting natural immunity and a healthy microbiome. Gluten free, Non-GMO, organic, vegetarian formulation.

Anti-inflammatory and Immunomodulating Properties of Fungal Metabolites.
Amino Acid Composition of the Protein from a Mushroom.
A Critical Review on Health Promoting Benefits of Edible Mushrooms through Gut Microbiota.
Phenolic Compounds in Food.
Why the Gut Microbiome is Crucial for Your Health.



Douglas Laboratories® – Featured Brand

DouglasLaboratoriesSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

For over 60 years, Douglas Laboratories® has developed and manufactured innovative, science-backed nutritional supplements designed for long-term health, healthy aging and the maintenance of an active lifestyle. Douglas is dedicated to delivering safe and effective high quality products manufactured in a third party registered NSF International GMP compliant facility. They use research-based ingredients in creating new formulations to support key aspects of healthy aging, including cardiovascular, joint, cognitive, vision, and skin health. All raw materials and finished products are tested to ensure identity, purity and potency.

Douglas Labs is heavily invested in understanding the relationship between nutrition and healthy aging; as such, they participate in rigorous clinical trials in collaboration with respected academic partners. Their goal remains to provide support for the best possible health; today and in the future. Douglas products are designed for a functional medicine approach to wellness and are available through healthcare professionals.

To see more products from Douglas Laboratories®, please visit

Multi-Probiotic 40...Multi-Probiotic 40 Billion: This synbiotic blend of 16 potent strands of beneficial microflora plus FOS provides 40 billion CFU per vegetarian capsule. These helpful bacteria colonize both the large and small intestine to assist optimal bowel, immune and digestive health. Gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, yeast, sugar, preservative and artificial ingredient free, Non-GMO formulation.

Vitamin D 5,000 IUVitamin D 5,000 IU: Adequate vitamin D status is essential for ensuring normal calcium absorption and maintenance of healthy plasma calcium levels. In addition to bone support, vitamin D plays a role in cell growth modulation, as well as neuromuscular and immune function. One capsule provides 5,000 IU of natural, bioavailable vitamin D3 as cholecalciferol. Gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, yeast, sugar, preservative and artificial ingredient free, Non-GMO formulation.

B-Complex with...B-Complex with Metafolin®: This product provides a comprehensive blend of highly bioavailable essential B vitamins along with intrinsic factor, a necessary nutrient for efficient and optimal B12 absorption. Gluten, soy, yeast, dairy, sugar, preservative and artificial ingredient free, Non-GMO formulation.

Beauty Box - Skin...Beauty Box – Skin Support: This kit includes one bottle of Skin Protect and one bottle of Skin Nourish. Skin Protect delivers a clinically studied blend of antioxidants to promote smooth healthy skin from the inside out, while helping to defend against harmful effects of UV sunlight exposure and environmental stresses. Skin Nourish provides vitamins, minerals and polyphenolic compounds to support radiant skin, hydration, elasticity and a nourished appearance.

Young at Heart

YoungAtHeartJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

A small but significant study that looked specifically at heart function found that adults in their sixties who had actively engaged in exercise over the course of their lives had more youthful mid-sized and large central arteries, as compared to those who exercised less intensely or less often. Unlike other studies that look to improved risk factors such as lowered blood pressure and blood sugar for better cardiovascular health, this study, published in The Journal of Physiology, focused solely upon the effects of exercise frequency and intensity on heart muscle and blood vessel plasticity. The researchers found that those who routinely participated in moderate- to high-intensity exercise four or more days per week over a period of years decreased their “heart age” by 15 to 20 years.

Those with a history of exercising two to three times a week showed some benefit for mid-sized arteries that supply blood to the head and neck. However, those who exercised four to five times a week had healthier large central arteries that supply blood to the chest and abdomen. Even when we are healthy, as we age the heart and blood vessels naturally lose flexibility. This can result in breathlessness, reduced oxygen efficiency, and an inability to effectively pump blood to the lungs and throughout the body. While the study showed that any amount of exercise reduced the risk of heart problems, the right amount of exercise at the proper time appears to slow the cardiovascular aging process, increasing the chances of a longer, healthier lifespan.

Poor fitness in middle age is a risk factor for heart failure; largely through increased ventricular stiffness, a consequence of sedentary aging. The researchers concluded that those who develop a regular exercise routine ideally before age 65 may see dramatic improvements in heart and whole body health. Dr. Benjamin Levine, professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center and founding director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, recommends a high intensity workout at least once per week, moderately intense exercise two or three times a week, and an hour of fun physical activity on the weekend. Fortunately, for those in midlife who haven’t been avid exercisers, getting in shape now may head off decline and help restore an aging heart.

In a similar study recently published in the American Heart Association Journal Circulation, researchers discovered that previously sedentary healthy middle-aged adults who engaged in two years of exercise training improved their maximal oxygen intake and decreased cardiac stiffness. In conclusion, they noted that “Regular exercise training may provide protection against future risk of heart failure with a preserved ejection fraction by preventing the increase of cardiac stiffness attributable to sedentary aging.” No matter what your age, starting and sticking with a long-term exercise plan supports increased oxygen capacity, energy production and cardiovascular, psychological and physiological health. Perhaps, becoming physically active on a regular basis is a perfect example of what it truly means to be “young at heart.”

Professional Supplement Center carries many high quality formulations in support of long-term cardiac and overall health and wellness:

L-Arginine Complete...L-Arginine Complete Pineapple by Fenix Nutrition: In addition to specific vitamins and minerals, this product is formulated to provide L-Arginine and L-Citrulline, amino acids that have been shown in scientific studies to increase nitric oxide production, resulting in cardiovascular, immune boosting and sexual health benefits.

BergaMet™ Metabolic...BergaMet™ Metabolic Support by BergaMet™: BergaMet’s bergamot extract has been clinically shown to have beneficial uses that support and promote healthy cholesterol, as well as cardiovascular, immune, and metabolic health. This naturally sourced organic superfruit provides high levels of antioxidant polyphenols. Gluten, wheat, dairy, egg and lactose free formulation.

Cardio Plus CoQ10Cardio Plus® CoQ10 by Priority One®: Formulated to promote energy production in heart muscle cells, this synergistic blend of balanced nutrients provides support for a healthy cardiovascular system. Ingredients include CoQ10, hawthorne berries, selenium and chondroitin sulfate.

CurcuminRich Cardio...CurcuminRich® Cardio Optimizer by Natural Factors: This product provides highly bioavailable turmeric extract, as well as pharmaceutical grade EPA and DHA in support of healthy heart function. Gluten, wheat, soy, yeast, dairy and sugar free, Non-GMO formulation.

Reversing the Cardiac Effects of Sedentary Aging in Middle Age—A Randomized Controlled Trial: Implications for Heart Failure Prevention.
Exercising regularly ‘can keep heart and arteries young.’
Scientists have figured out exactly how much you need to exercise to slow your heart’s aging process.
Hearts Get ‘Younger,’ Even At Middle Age, With Exercise.
What exercise can do for your heart.