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Mushroom Supplements: Lion's Mane, Reishi, Shiitake, AHCC

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-stamets/mushroom-memory_b_1725583.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

 

Mushrooms provide a vast array of potential medicinal compounds. Many mushrooms -- such as portobello, oyster, reishi and maitake -- are well-known for these properties, but the lion's mane mushroom, in particular, has drawn the attention of researchers for its notable nerve-regenerative properties.

 

Lion's mane mushrooms are not your classic looking cap-and-stem variety. These globular-shaped mushrooms sport cascading teeth-like spines rather than the more common gills. From these spines, white spores emerge. Lion's mane mushrooms also have other common names: sheep's head, bear's head and the Japanese yamabushitake. I like the clever name "pom pom blanc" -- a reference to their resemblance to the white pom-poms cheerleaders use. The Latin name for lion's mane is Hericium erinaceus; both names mean "hedgehog."*

2012-08-08-Images1and2.jpg

 

Lion's mane mushrooms are increasingly sold by gourmet food chains. This nutritious mushroom is roughly 20 percent protein, and one of the few that can taste like lobster or shrimp (Stamets, 2005). Lion's mane is best when caramelized in olive oil, deglazed with saké wine, and then finished with butter to taste. Lion's mane can be bitter if not cooked until crispy along the edges. It takes some practice to elicit their full flavor potential.

 

Lion's mane mushrooms are increasingly studied for their neuroprotective effects. Two novel classes of Nerve Growth Factors (NGFs) -- molecules stimulating the differentiation and re-myelination of neurons -- have been discovered in this mushroom so far. These cyathane derivatives are termed "hericenones" and "erinacines." The levels of these compounds can vary substantially between strains, based on the measurements our team has conducted.

 

About a dozen studies have been published on the neuroregenerative properties of lion's mane mushrooms since 1991, when Dr. Kawagishi first identified NGFs in Japanese samples. Since his original discovery, in vitro and in vivo tests have confirmed that hericenones and erinacines stimulate nerve regeneration. In 2009, researchers at the Hokuto Corporation and the Isogo Central and Neurosurgical Hospital published a small clinical study. Giving lion's mane to 30 Japanese patients with mild cognitive impairment resulted in significant benefits for as long as they consumed the mushrooms:

 

"The subjects of the Yamabushitake group took four 250 mg tablets containing 96 percent of Yamabushitake dry powder three times a day for 16 weeks. After termination of the intake, the subjects were observed for the next four weeks. At weeks eight, 12 and 16 of the trial, the Yamabushitake group showed significantly increased scores on the cognitive function scale compared with the placebo group. The Yamabushitake group's scores increased with the duration of intake, but at week four after the termination of the 16 weeks intake, the scores decreased significantly." (Mori, 2009)

 

 

Recently, mice were injected with neurotoxic peptides in an experiment to assess the effects of lion's mane on the type of amyloid plaque formation seen in Alzheimer's patients. The mice were then challenged in a standard "Y" maze, designed for testing memory. Mice fed with a normal diet were compared to those supplemented with lion's mane mushrooms. As the peptide-induced plaque developed, the mice lost the ability to memorize the maze. When these memory-impaired mice were fed a diet containing 5 percent dried lion's mane mushrooms for 23 days, the mice performed significantly better in the Y maze test. Interestingly, the mice regained another cognitive capacity, something comparable to curiosity, as measured by greater time spent exploring novel objects compared to familiar ones.

 

The reduction of beta amyloid plaques in the brains of mushroom-fed mice vs. the mice not fed any mushrooms was remarkable. The formation of amyloid plaques is what many researchers believe is a primary morphological biomarker associated with Alzheimer's. Plaques linked to beta amyloid peptide inflame brain tissue, interfere with healthy neuron transmission, and are indicated in nerve degeneration.

 

The medical community is bracing for an increase of patients with Alzheimer's and senile dementia as the baby boomer population ages. Mortality trends related to Alzheimer's are outpacing death rates of many other diseases. This makes preventive and curative treatments of age-related cognitive diseases hot subjects of research. In the past 10 years, deaths from Alzheimer's disease have surged roughly 66 percent, while deaths from other primary diseases have generally declined.

 

The influence of lion's mane influence on neurological functions may also have other added benefits -- making you feel good. In another small clinical study (n=30), post-menopausal women who consumed lion's mane baked into cookies vs. those without showed less anxiety and depression yet improved in their ability to concentrate (Nagano et al., 2010).

2012-08-08-Image3.jpg

 

Dusty Yao with lion's mane cultivated three months from the time the wild specimen, featured in photograph, was collected.

 

Is this data conclusive thus far? No.

 

Is this data suggestive of positive outcomes? Absolutely.

 

In another small Japanese study with a randomized sample of 30 women, ingesting lion's mane showed that "HE intake has the possibility to reduce depression and anxiety, and these results suggest a different mechanism from NGF-enhancing action of H. erinaceus." (Nagano et al. 2010).

 

In light of the numerous diseases related to neurodegeneration, lion's mane deserves more clinical attention. If lion's mane enhances memory and is an antidepressant, can consuming this mushroom alter the course of Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases? Could this mushroom help Parkinson's patients or those with multiple sclerosis, or maybe maintain your mental acumen as you age? Lion's mane is a relatively inexpensive, easily-cultivated fungal food that may prove to be therapeutic in ways beyond being tasty.

 

Lion's mane may be our first "smart" mushroom. It is a safe, edible fungus that appears to confer cognitive benefits on our aging population. Unfortunately, lion's mane is not available in most grocery stores. But you can buy kits to grow them at home, and organic lion's mane supplements are available at some health food stores. If you are skilled enough and looking for adventure, you can forage for them by hunting in the hardwood forests of North America, Europe and Asia during the summer and fall.**

2012-08-08-Images4and5.jpg

Left: Fresh, organically grown lion's mane ready for sale. Right: Close up of spore-producing spines.

 

 

*Hedgehog is a name more commonly associated with Hydnum species, specifically the edible Hyndum repandum.

 

**Before consuming any wild mushroom, make positively sure that it is accurately identified. For a list of mycological societies, which may be able to help you, go to the North American Mycological Association website: www.namyco.org.

 

 

References:

 

Kawagishi, H., Ando, M., Sakamoto, H., Yoshida S., Ojima, F., Ishiguro, Y., Ukai, N., Fukukawa, S. 1991. "Hericenone C, D and E, stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF) synthesis from the mushroom Hericium erinaceum." Tetrahedron Lett 32, 4561-4564.

 

Ma, Bing-Ji , Jin-Wen Shen, Hai-You Yu, Yuan Ruan, Ting-Ting Wu & Xu Zhao, 2010. "Hericenones and erinacines: stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF) biosynthesis in Hericium erinaceus." Mycology: An International Journal on Fungal Biology. 1(2): 92-98.

 

Mori, K., Inatomi, S., Ouchi, K. Azumi, Y and Tuchida T. 2009. "Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double blinded, placebo controlled clinical trial." Phytother Res. 23:367-372.

 

Mori, K., Obara, Y., Moriya, T., Inatomi, S., Nakahata, N. 2011. "Effects of Hericium erinaceus on amyloid β(25-35) peptide-induced learning and memory deficits in mice." Biomed Res. 32(1):67-72.

 

Nagano, M., Shimizu, K., Kondo, R., Hayashi, C., Sato, D., Kitagawa, K., Ohnuki, K. 2010. "Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake." Biomed Res. 31(4):231-7.

 

Stamets, P., "Notes on nutritional properties of culinary-medicinal mushrooms." International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 2005; 7:109-116.

 

Thal, L.J., Kantarci, K., Reiman, E.M., Klunk, W.E., Weiner, M.W., Zetterberg, H., Galasko, D., Praticò, D., Griffin, S., Schenk, D., Siemers, E. 2006. "The role of biomarkers in clinical trials for Alzheimer disease." 20(1):6-15.

 

For more by Paul Stamets, click here.

 

For more on natural health, click here.

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Improving

I've got a question for any of you who might be familiar with this, or might have some knowledge to help me decide on something. 

 

I'm currently med free for several months now (Effexor, with Celexa bridge, finished about a month and a half ago). Only taking fish oil, an occasional vitamin B and multi, with a half a magnesium at night. I'll admit, I haven't been religious with my supplements lately, and I'm doing quite well despite that. I am considering a different supplement though that I've had in the past (but pre-antidepressant meds, and issues). Reishi mushroom (aka Ganoderma). This stuff was SO awesome for me previously, energy was fantastic, slept incredibly well, felt healthy and my mood was great, but, thanks to everything involved with my bout with Effexor (and the other meds and such in my signature), I'm pretty paranoid about what I'm taking, especially when it is a little....different. 

 

Have any of you ever tried this supplement during of after a bout with antidepressants? I still feel that the drugs made a bit of a mess of me, and I'm not completely back to normal (but still getting closer to it!! Feeling great in comparison to even a couple of months ago!). I just don't want to toss an herb into the mix that could go badly for reasons I don't yet know or haven't thought of. I've read a fair bit on various sites, but honestly, I've read enought through this community and would weigh any personal experience from here a bit more than "random internet guy who may be selling a product". Plus, I've heard no real downsides to it, so that makes me a little nervous as well (aside from not recommended for people on blood thinners...). Any input anyone? 

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UnfoldingSky

I've taken it and didn't have problems with it.  Mind you that was several years after reacting to drugs, after the acute withdrawal phase had elapsed.  Prior to that I was sensitive to almost everything, so maybe I would have had an issue with it.  Hard to say. 

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Improving

Well, I do find it encouraging that someone who has had an AD, and a past reaction to a med and (albeit after the sensitivity went away), didn't have problems with it.

I've been planning on going to a naturopath with some supplement questions (this one included) but I want to wait until I have my blood tests so I can take results with me....but I would like to start taking the ganoderma/reichi sooner than when the blood tests come back (chances are that'll be after Christmas). I just remember how awesome I felt when I was taking it previously....but can't help but be nervous. If it works like it did before though, I'll likely find it unnecessary to go to a natuopath. 

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UnfoldingSky

If you are going to take it just make sure you start with a tiny dose and don't mix it with anything, that way if it is causing a problem you'll know right away.  Hope it goes well for you! 

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Improving

Thanks UnfoldingSky. I'm going to make sure I'm not taking anything else when I try it, including stopping my other supplements (I miss them occasionally....which isn't the end of the world, just feel kinda tired without my vitamin B). My husband is doing some research to decide which brand is the best quality, and we're going to order some (he'd used it as well in the past and had great results too, though never had any significant meds). Fingers crossed it does what I'm hoping!! Most brands seem to suggest taking 3 (or more) a day...definitely starting with just one. 

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UnfoldingSky

I need to get some more too.

 

When you were taking it before was it for a health problem or just to boost general well being? I have severe fatigue since reacting to drugs which hasn't yet been diagnosed properly, I wonder if it might help... 

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UnfoldingSky

I wonder if anyone here has tried this.  In severe acute withdrawal I was so sensitive to everything but later on could tolerate Reishi tea so wondering if maybe I might be able to stand this too.

 

It's said it helps with nerve regeneration and memory. I am reluctant to buy it though not knowing if it might help, so any feedback from people who have taken it is welcome.

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erer

Anyone taking Shiitake or AHCC supplements?

 

...and if you are/have, how are they influencing your wellbeing?

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JanCarol

My husband was on these for his Prostate Cancer.  He took a pretty aggressive dose for 1.5 years.  

 

The cancer advanced (or the screening techniques did) and the aggressive cancer still had to be surgically removed.

 

I understand it helps with inflammation, but have not tried it myself.  As it's expensive we will not be continuing.  We frequently used Puritan's Pride, NOW, and later VitaCost brands.  No harm was done, but it wasn't a withdrawal situation.

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Unknown

I've been taking a medicinal mushroom blend (reishi, maitake, shiitake, coriolus, agaricus) for some months now, and am wondering if I should suspend use during this time. (I've just reinstated a very small dose of Cymbalta as per my sig.) Looking through this post, I'm not seeing any red flags indicating I should discontinue. Does anyone else have experiences to share on this topic?

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Sampo

I have tried Lion's Mane but I stoped taking it because I wasn't sure could it worsen my condition somehow in long run. I took it about two weeks and I didn't notice any good or bad effects in that short period. If someone had positive experiental information how it works in SSRI WD I will try it again.

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JanCarol

What I have read about Lion's Mane and nerve regrowth actually sounds somewhat disturbing.  

 

It might be a healthy food for a healthy person, and could possibly help Traumatic Brain Injury, Parkinson's, dementia, and other conditions.

 

But the thing that is wrong withdrawal is stimulating Nerve Growth Factor (NGF); it's exactly the opposite of what someone in withdrawal wants.

 

I believe that one of the reasons the symptoms is that nerves are regenerating naturally in withdrawal, and new nerves are raw and ragged and need to "learn" how to function in the system.  When the system is compromised (as in psych drug withdrawal) you don't want to change your natural nerve regeneration rate.

 

If you imagine a radio satellite array, and it's struck by lightning - each of those relay points is a point of pain or symptom.  (I know, metaphor, but bear with me).  IF there are MORE points on the grid, that would be more symptoms, more points of pain to deal with.  I think Nerve protection may be fine - but nerve generation - maybe not so good.

 

Isn't it hard enough?  Without adding more nerves into the mix?  I think you chose wisely, Sampo.

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bluebalu86

Yes, makes sense. 

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Asjf

What I have read about Lion's Mane and nerve regrowth actually sounds somewhat disturbing.

 

It might be a healthy food for a healthy person, and could possibly help Traumatic Brain Injury, Parkinson's, dementia, and other conditions.

 

But the thing that is wrong withdrawal is stimulating Nerve Growth Factor (NGF); it's exactly the opposite of what someone in withdrawal wants.

 

I believe that one of the reasons the symptoms is that nerves are regenerating naturally in withdrawal, and new nerves are raw and ragged and need to "learn" how to function in the system. When the system is compromised (as in psych drug withdrawal) you don't want to change your natural nerve regeneration rate.

 

If you imagine a radio satellite array, and it's struck by lightning - each of those relay points is a point of pain or symptom. (I know, metaphor, but bear with me). IF there are MORE points on the grid, that would be more symptoms, more points of pain to deal with. I think Nerve protection may be fine - but nerve generation - maybe not so good.

 

Isn't it hard enough? Without adding more nerves into the mix? I think you chose wisely, Sampo.

Was researching mushrooms and came across this older thread and couldn't help but respond.

This 'warning' is entirely speculative, not referencing anything even remotely factual. Do you have any evidence based info to support this theory?

I've been taking Reishi supplement now for about a month and feel better than I have felt in the 2 years I've been in withdrawal.

Although these forums are WONDERFUL as a place for peer support, I see so many examples of completely uninformed and speculative answers based on flawed logic and ZERO facts. It's a shame because in withdrawal many of us are very afraid and possibly missing opportunities for aid because of reading misinformed fear-based opinions disguised as information.

I'VE HAD WONDERFUL RESULTS WITH REISHI MUSHROOMS--and take them because I did a lot of research and made an informed decision based real research and facts.

EXAMINE.com has been a very valuable resource for me.

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GiaK

I take a lot of medicinal mushrooms now and Reishi is one of the main ones. Of note however is the first time I took Reishi it made me trip big time we're talking feeling like I was on LSD. Again I didn't tolerate anything for a few years. Now medicinal mushrooms are fundamentally important part of my process. With reishi mushrooms I'm lucky because they grow locally and I have a friend who's a forager so I'm supplied with large quantities of free local reishi.

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GiaK

Also lion's mane is one of my main ones and foods that help regrow nerves and neurons excetera are very important but yes early on it was all way too much

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GiaK

Lastly of note there are times when I actually feel my brain growing as a result of the foods and supplements I eat. That sensation of brain growth is not entirely comfortable and sometimes renders me inert and horizontal needing a lot of rest. I have learned to discern the difference between Growing Pains and what is essentially too much. All of it was once a reaction that I couldn't tolerate. Getting better requires biting the bullet sometimes I have found. But only when you're ready can't be done prematurely.

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Asjf

Thanks for the perspective GiaK.

Gonna try Lion's Mane at some point.

I've really enjoyed the effects of Reishi. Just taking a 'cheap' brand right now (Organika) but have read that there's a huge quality range with reishi and just ordered some fancy stuff at almost $100 for 60 capsules (Mikei Red Reishi Essence). I'm interested to see if it makes a big difference or not.

 

I've also been taking Rhodiola, Bacopa, and Ashwagandha with very good results. Any thoughts on those herbs?

 

I'm really grateful to have found the 'adaptogen' family of herbs. I'm in my last stretch of weaning off of Lyrica (currently taking 20mg per day) and can't believe how much easier the wd and restabilizing on new doses has gotten. It's nice to find that herbs (unlike pharmaceuticals) are improving the quality of my life without a deficit to pay back later in the form of negative side effects. Almost too good to be true.

Cheers

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GiaK

Yes I take all those adaptogens and more -- as well-- again there were years that I didn't tolerate any of those herbs. This is however the way to rebuild the endocrine system as well as the nervous system these are the substances that I'm finding helpful there are others as well. I have found colostrum helpful and various Marine algae helpful too. Most notably Chlorella and Marine phytoplankton. Also it's been very important to know when to take them and when to take breaks. They all offer slightly different advantages and when we have Global damage to our systems it seems rotating through a lot of these different substances is very helpful. Although one needs to be very careful too.

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Asjf

Great. Thank you!

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GiaK

the other thing that's helped a whole lot with bringing everything together is deep remineralization...

 

I write about that here: Remineralization…a good thing to do in preparation for drug withdrawal (as well as for general well-being) – Everything Matters: Beyond Meds https://beyondmeds.com/2017/01/22/remineralization/

 

there are so many *very important* pieces to my process...I never know where to start!! (when sharing info...because it's really different for everyone...when and if some factor is important etc) 

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Asjf

Fantastic. Thanks so much. This is invaluable stuff....

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Asjf

Hey Gia,

If you don't mind sharing, I'm wondering what brand(s) of Shilajit you take. I've been researching it on your recommendation and am reading a lot about how the vast majority of products are either poor quality or even dangerous with toxic fillers. I've found a brand called PURBLACK that looks reputable but I thought I'd check with you to see what you have to say.

As always, thanks for your guidance.

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GiaK

yes, that's true. 

 

I've used two brands that I carefully researched...the first was highly recommended by Paul Pitchford, the author of Healing with Whole Foods...

 

that's from http://www.authenticshilajit.com/

 

the other which I buy from now because it's far more affordable and I can take more of it is this one: http://amzn.to/2lxnkaM

 

I've gotten to know one of the women that works for them and they sent me lab reports and told me how they collect it etc. It was also highly recommended by the guy at the superman diet website...he's a bit radical in his detox methods but he does carefully research stuff. 

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Asjf

Thanks Monica!

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Priscilla

Did lion's mane help?

 

Edited by ChessieCat
removed quote

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GiaK

My latest experience with medicinal mushrooms is that they were extraordinary helpful for a while and then I started reacting quite radically. I've gone through a few cycles of this now . It turns out that they enliven a hardcore glutamate sensitivity. I'm suspecting that as I back off glutamate for some time, that's including no meat at all because it triggers me at the moment, I will heal the glutamate sensitivity just as I healed the histamine sensitivity by avoiding High histamine foods for a few years.

 

It seems to me as I mindfully avoid and then add these Foods I heal my sensitivity slowly it's been a decade after all.

 

Anyway lion's mane, Reishi, cordycep, maitake, shiitake, and really any mushroom at all during critically appropriate times have been awesomely helpful and I also need to know when to stop and take breaks. There has been a learning curve involved -- a very steep and long oneg.

 

Anyway I'm a weirdo with that yo yo stuff going on but I know a lot of us have sensitivity so I'm just sharing this.

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PabloHoney825

 "Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) is an extract derived from Shiitake, as well as other species of Basidiomycete family of mushrooms. AHCC is a mixture of polysaccharides, amino acids, lipids, and minerals. Oligosaccharides make up about 74 percent of AHCC."

 

Does anyone with experience here know if polyshaccharides or lipids affect us? 

 

I would like to stimulate my immune system but am scared to death of a setback. I'm not stable or healed yet. 

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PabloHoney825

I've been taking AHCC for the last 5 days and notice some extra prickling burning acid parasthesia and organic fear creeping in. I can't find anything about it effecting neurotransmitters- especially GABA or glutamate. Perhaps this is just a normal wave as that's been my pattern- windows and waves. I'm not trying to fear monger this stuff as it's very beneficial and I really don't know what's going on yet. I may take a break and see what happens, or I may continue. If anyone has any experience with AHCC I'd love to hear it. I do feel more head pressure and mild anxiety after taking it, but this could be due to the high glutamate content of the aminos in shiitake. I tend to react paradoxical to GABAergics so I hope it's not setting me back from benzo WD. 

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