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Top 5 Reasons to Start Your Mushroom Journey - Antiooxi

5 Reasons To Start Using Medicinal Mushrooms in 2024

You can find mushrooms everywhere. 

Some experts even say we inhale up to 10 billion mushroom spores every day. They also suggest humans evolved while inhaling mushroom spores, thus explaining why the human body positively responds to these fungi, especially regarding immunity.

There are about 1.5 million species of fungi, but a select few seem to stand out in terms of health benefits. 

What are medicinal mushrooms? What does the research say about their health benefits? Read on to find out.



What are Medicinal Mushrooms?

Let’s get this out of the way: the medicinal mushrooms we’re talking about aren’t the psychedelic kind. However, these medicinal mushrooms, sometimes referred to as functional mushrooms, are packed with health-boosting compounds that may make them seem magical.

Medicinal mushrooms are often taken as powders added to beverages and soups, or as capsules. Eastern medicine has used mushrooms for thousands of years, but it’s only recently that science has shed light on how these functional mushrooms actually help the human body.


5 Reasons To Start Using Medicinal Mushrooms

1. Manage Energy Levels

Sometimes your morning coffee just isn’t enough to get you going, but mushrooms like turkey tail could help.

Turkey tail, scientifically known as Trametes Versicolor, contains active compounds polysaccharide krestin (PSK) and polysaccharide peptide (PSP). Both PSK and PSP are immune-modulators, meaning they can positively affect our immune system, especially regarding response time. 

What do immune-modulators have to do with fatigue? As it turns out, fatigue can be considered an immunity problem. 

One study found that turkey tail compounds helped subjects feel less fatigued compared to placebo after five weeks. The “turkey tail” subjects also experienced reductions in fatigue up to two weeks after the treatment ended. [1]

2. Improve Immune Health

As suggested previously, mushrooms like turkey tail are well-equipped with substances capable of boosting the body’s immunity. Turkey tail’s immune-boosting benefits stem from the following properties:

- Rich in antioxidants: Antioxidants fight oxidative stress that can cause cellular damage, inflammation, and premature ageing. Phenols and flavonoids are known to reduce inflammation and stimulate immune cells, and turkey tail includes over 35 different phenolic compounds together with flavonoids quercetin and baicalein. [2]

- Contains substances that boost immune response: As discussed earlier, turkey tail contains PSK and PSP, active compounds that promote immunity and reduce inflammation. Both PSK and PSP are also commonly used as part of anti-cancer agents together with chemotherapy.

- Supports gut health: Having a healthy gut is imperative in having strong immunity, especially since our immune cells are generated in our gut. Researchers say taking turkey tail extracts can promote the growth of “good bacteria” while inhibiting the growth of “bad bacteria.” [3]

3. Boost Cognitive Health

Lion’s mane is perhaps the most popular functional mushroom for brain health. Studies suggest its brain-boosting properties are because of its two unique compounds: hericenones and erinacines. 

Hericenones and erinacines have been shown to illicit brain-protective properties, which can reduce risks of Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, and lower symptoms of depression. These two compounds can also stimulate Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). They are proteins the brain primarily uses to stimulate brain cell generation. [4]

- BDNF: The brain uses BDNF for brain plasticity, sometimes called neuroplasticity. Brain plasticity is the brain’s way of adapting to stress or symptoms of neurodegenerative ageing. 

- NGF: NGF plays a major role in myelin sheath repair and formation. The myelin sheath forms around our nerves and serves as electrical conductors. If damaged, it can severely slow our response times and even affect balance and vision.

Learn more about the best mushrooms for cognitive health.

4. Promote Gut Health

With over 75% of immune cells present, our gut is at the centre of our immunity. It is therefore important to keep our gut healthy and its resident gut microbes happy. One way is by taking medicinal mushrooms like reishi, chaga, and maitake.

- Reishi: Reishi contains beta-glucans, triterpenes, and polysaccharides, which improve gut health primarily by reducing inflammation and supporting “good bacteria” growth. [5]

- Chaga: Chaga’s black appearance is because of its melanin content, which has shown potent immune strengthening benefits. One study suggests taking chaga can help alleviate symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. [6]

- Maitake: Maitake is rich in beta-glucans and antioxidants. The fungus has been shown to fight excessive inflammation by inhibiting enzymes and other substances that cause inflammation in the first place. [7]

Learn more about the best mushrooms for your gut health

5. Improve Mood

Mushrooms contain an antioxidant known as ergothioneine, an amino acid with potent antioxidant properties. Humans can’t produce ergothioneine, so we have to obtain it from our diet, with mushrooms being the primary source. 

Ergothioneine can help reduce stress levels, which can help with symptoms of depression and anxiety. 

Outside of antioxidant power, mushrooms are nutritionally dense if we compare them to typical dietary sources, including “superfood” plants and animal products. 

Mushrooms are generally a rich source of fibre, B vitamins, vitamin D, minerals, and other potent antioxidants mentioned earlier. From a wellness perspective, getting adequate amounts of the nutrients mentioned can lead to better emotional and mental wellbeing. [8]



Medicinal mushrooms can help boost immunity, boost energy, and promote brain health. They have potential as alternative treatments to common health problems including chronic inflammation, anxiety and depression, and chronic fatigue. 

We’ve only scratched the surface of what medicinal mushrooms can do for the human body, but the future is promising.


1. Silverman MN, Heim CM, Nater UM, Marques AH, Sternberg EM. Neuroendocrine and immune contributors to fatigue. PM R. 2010;2(5):338-346. doi:10.1016/j.pmrj.2010.04.008

2. Janjušević L, Karaman M, Šibul F, Tommonaro G, Iodice C, Jakovljević D, Pejin B. The lignicolous fungus Trametes versicolor (L.) Lloyd (1920): a promising natural source of antiradical and AChE inhibitory agents. J Enzyme Inhib Med Chem. 2017 Dec;32(1):355-362. doi: 10.1080/14756366.2016.1252759. PMID: 28097907; PMCID: PMC6010034.

3. Pallav K, Dowd SE, Villafuerte J, Yang X, Kabbani T, Hansen J, Dennis M, Leffler DA, Newburg DS, Kelly CP. Effects of polysaccharopeptide from Trametes versicolor and amoxicillin on the gut microbiome of healthy volunteers: a randomized clinical trial. Gut Microbes. 2014 Jul 1;5(4):458-67. doi: 10.4161/gmic.29558. Epub 2014 Jul 9. PMID: 25006989.

4. Li IC, Lee LY, Tzeng TT, Chen WP, Chen YP, Shiao YJ, Chen CC. Neurohealth Properties of Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Enriched with Erinacines. Behav Neurol. 2018 May 21;2018:5802634. doi: 10.1155/2018/5802634. PMID: 29951133; PMCID: PMC5987239.

5. Delzenne NM, Bindels LB. Gut microbiota: Ganoderma lucidum, a new prebiotic agent to treat obesity? Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015 Oct;12(10):553-4. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2015.137. Epub 2015 Aug 18. PMID: 26284561.

6. Hu Y, Teng C, Yu S, Wang X, Liang J, Bai X, Dong L, Song T, Yu M, Qu J. Inonotus obliquus polysaccharide regulates gut microbiota of chronic pancreatitis in mice. AMB Express. 2017 Dec;7(1):39. doi: 10.1186/s13568-017-0341-1. Epub 2017 Feb 14. PMID: 28197985; PMCID: PMC5309192.

7. De Giani A, Bovio F, Forcella ME, Lasagni M, Fusi P, Di Gennaro P. Prebiotic Effect of Maitake Extract on a Probiotic Consortium and Its Action after Microbial Fermentation on Colorectal Cell Lines. Foods. 2021 Oct 21;10(11):2536. doi: 10.3390/foods10112536. PMID: 34828817; PMCID: PMC8617840.

8. Zajac IT, Barnes M, Cavuoto P, Wittert G, Noakes M. The Effects of Vitamin D-Enriched Mushrooms and Vitamin D3 on Cognitive Performance and Mood in Healthy Elderly Adults: A Randomised, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2020 Dec 16;12(12):3847. doi: 10.3390/nu12123847. PMID: 33339304; PMCID: PMC7766163.

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The information on this blog is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult a healthcare professional before using medicinal mushrooms, especially if you are on medication or have a health condition. We do not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. Use at your own risk. Statements about health benefits have not been evaluated by regulatory authorities. By using this blog, you agree to this disclaimer.