| Catherine Anise

Celebrate Father's Day With Mushroom Benefits For Men!

As Father’s Day approaches, let us seize this opportunity to honor all dad’s with the invaluable gift of good health!

I had earnestly wished to start this article on a positive note. However, it is important to acknowledge the undeniable truth. Are you aware that men have a lower life expectancy compared to women? More men succumb to preventable diseases in contrast to their female counterparts.

We may rejoice in the fact that life expectancy has significantly increased over the past century. But it is disheartening to note that men’s life expectancy has experienced a gradual decline in the last decade.

man at doctors office

Common Health Challenges Faced by Men

In the 21st century, men face significant health challenges, encompassing the following five major issues:

  • Cardiovascular diseases pose a heightened risk for men. Contributing factors include high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, an unhealthy diet, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and stress.
  • Men frequently face conditions such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. They may hesitate to seek professional support due to stigma and societal expectations to appear strong and self-reliant.
  • Compared to women, men have a higher likelihood of being overweight or obese, thereby increasing their vulnerability to developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Numerous men struggle with acquiring adequate and restorative sleep. Factors such as long work hours, extensive use of electronic devices, and stress contribute to this challenge.
  • Insufficient sleep not only raises the risk of obesity, diabetes, and cognitive impairment but also contributes to cardiovascular diseases and depression.
  • Testicular cancer ranks as the most prevalent form of cancer among young men, while prostate-related issues become a significant concern as men age.

What Are the Health Benefits of Mushrooms For Men?

Over the years, there has been a notable increase in the prevalence of obesity and lifestyle diseases, coinciding with a decline in sperm count. These trends persist despite the growing availability of health supplements such as multivitamins and whey protein.

However, it is important to recognize that artificial supplements carry potential risks and side effects. Thankfully, there is hope for men as these trends can be reversed.

The first step to better health for men is to trust nature-based solutions and in this case – mushrooms! These little wonders of nature come with amazing health benefits for men. Let us delve into a few of their health benefits:

man holding blue ribbon

  1. Mushrooms May Enhance Cognitive Health and Prevent Age-Related Cognitive Impairment

Mushrooms possess specific compounds that enhance cognitive abilities and promote overall brain health. Certain mushroom species are particularly advantageous in this aspect, with Lion’s Mane and Reishi deserving special recognition for their nootropic properties.

Lion’s Mane facilitates neurogenesis and neuroprotection by stimulating the production of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), while also contributing to the growth of the myelin sheath and regulation of nerve impulses.

There is compelling evidence demonstrating that consuming mushrooms can effectively reduce the risk of cognitive decline, especially among older adults. A study conducted in the United States involving senior citizens directly linked higher mushroom intake to improved cognitive performance.1

Researchers believe that mushrooms’ neuroprotective properties stem from compounds such as glutathione and ergothioneine, as well as vitamin D and other nutrients present in them.

Furthermore, the potent antioxidants found in Lion’s Mane, Reishi, and various other mushrooms safeguard nerve cells and brain tissue, consequently reducing the likelihood of age-related cognitive decline.

Similarly, a study carried out in Singapore yielded identical results. Participants who consumed two or more portions of mushrooms per week exhibited a lower risk of developing Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) compared to those with lower mushroom intake.2 This is why our Mushie BRAINY organic Lion’s Mane gummies are packed with 2,000mg of organic Lion’s Mane per serving (that’s just 2 gummies!). It’s important to note that 1,000mg per day of mushroom extract is considered a preventative dose, while 3,000mg per day is considered a standard therapeutic dose. We like to be right in the middle!

macro mushroom

  1. Mushroom Supply the Body With Essential Nutrients

I distinctly recall a time when my father would complain of fatigue, knee pain, and stomach issues. In response, my grandfather, although not a doctor or nutritionist, would advise him to adopt a healthy diet rich in greens, vegetables, fruits, and mushrooms. My grandfather understood the importance of essential vitamins and minerals for optimal bodily function.

Mushrooms, known for their abundance of fiber, vitamins, proteins, minerals, and other important nutrients, hold particular significance for men with hearty appetites. Additionally, mushrooms are low in calories, fat, and sodium. These remarkable fungi contain a variety of vital nutrients that can help men prevent certain lifestyle disorders.3 In fact, mushrooms are a true powerhouse, offering:

Vitamins: Mushrooms are abundant in vitamins B9 (Folate), B5 (Pantothenic acid), B3 (Niacin), and B2 (Riboflavin). These vitamins support the optimal functioning of the nervous system, energy metabolism, and the protection of red blood cells.

Vitamin D: Crucial for mood regulation, hormone balance, immune function, and bone health.

Zinc: An essential mineral for male fertility and reproductive health. Furthermore, zinc plays a key role in hormone balance, DNA synthesis, and immune function.

Potassium: This mineral aids in regulating blood pressure and supports fluid balance, as well as normal nerve and muscle function.

Copper: Mushrooms provide a moderate amount of copper, which is vital for optimal nervous system functioning, maintaining normal bone and tissue health, and supporting the production of red blood cells.

Selenium: With its potent antioxidant properties, selenium can combat certain cancers, improve immune function, and regulate thyroid function.

cordyceps

  1. Mushrooms May Improve Energy Levels, Endurance, and Exercise Performance

Mushrooms possess numerous nutrients and compounds that have the potential to enhance energy levels, stamina, and exercise performance. Vitamins, particularly B6 and B12, play a vital role in supporting normal energy metabolism.

Moreover, various vitamins within the B-Complex group aid in converting macronutrients into usable energy. Additionally, the vitamins and minerals found in mushrooms contribute to improved energy utilization in the body, ensuring an abundant supply of energy for both mental processing and physical activities.

While most mushrooms contain energy-boosting compounds, Cordyceps deserves special recognition. This particular mushroom is renowned for its ability to enhance stamina, endurance, and exercise performance.

Cordyceps achieves this by promoting the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which serves as the primary energy source for cells.4 Furthermore, this mushroom enhances stamina by optimizing oxygen utilization.5 You can find 2,000mg of organic Cordyceps in our Mushie ENERGY gummies!

Mushrooms also indirectly enhance energy, stamina, and endurance by mitigating the impact of various stressors that can negatively affect mood and drain energy.

Several mushrooms, including Cordyceps, possess adaptogenic effects that enable the body to perform well even in the face of intense physical and mental stress.6

Lion’s Mane, known for its cognition-enhancing properties, improves mental energy and clarity. Similarly, Shiitake and other mushrooms with immune-boosting properties help reduce fatigue caused by illness and overall poor health.

turkey tail mushrooms

  1. Mushrooms May Support the Immune System and Regulate Immune Response

During my childhood, it required the combined effort of our entire family to convince my father to visit a doctor whenever he experienced an infection or fever. His typical response was, “It’s not a big deal. I’ll sleep it off.”

Research has revealed that there are disparities in infections based on sex. Specifically, studies indicate that women possess a stronger immune system, while men are more susceptible to pathogens, particularly bacterial infections.7Additionally, men are generally less inclined to prioritize their health and seek prompt medical assistance.

The immune-boosting properties of mushrooms can bring immense relief to family members. Consistently consuming mushrooms ensures that our first line of defense, the immune system, remains vigilant and robust enough to withstand the attack of harmful pathogens.

Numerous bioactive compounds found in mushrooms play a crucial role in influencing the immune system. Particularly, potent compounds like beta-glucan and other polysaccharides are known to enhance immunity. It is believed that beta-glucans attach to receptor sites on immune cells, effectively triggering immune activity whenever foreign cells pose a threat to our well-being.

Mushrooms are also recognized for their immunomodulatory effects, as they regulate our immune response and prevent excessive reactions that could lead to autoimmune conditions.

There are several varieties of mushrooms that offer immune support. This list includes Turkey Tail, Chaga, Oyster, Shiitake, Maitake, Lion's Mane, and Cordyceps. All of these can be found in our Mushie Power Bundle, where you get a whopping 8,000mg of organic super mushrooms per serving! Plus an added 1,000IU of vitamin D!

brain health

  1. Mushrooms May Help Men Relax, Relieve Anxiety, and Prevent Depression

Stress accompanies us constantly, plaguing mankind. The burdens of work, societal expectations, and economic instability have only exacerbated this situation. Additionally, our dependence on technology and addiction to smartphones has contributed to increased levels of stress and anxiety.

Furthermore, anxiety and depression are prevalent issues among men. Although more men are now seeking help and support, a significant majority still perceive discussing depression as a sign of weakness. However, even the current statistics are alarming. One in five individuals experience anxiety at some point in their lives, while one in eight men report suffering from depression.8

Fortunately, mushrooms offer a solution for men to address these mental health concerns at a fundamental level. Varieties such as Lion’s Mane, Reishi, Cordyceps, and others possess properties that promote a calm mind and relaxed body.

The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a crucial protein for maintaining brain health. Individuals with anxiety and depression often exhibit low BDNF levels in the hippocampus.9 However, compounds like erinacines and hericenones have been found to enhance BDNF production. In a study, animal subjects displayed reduced levels of anxiety and depression after supplementation with Lion’s Mane.10

Similarly, Reishi influences the release of 5-HTP, a precursor to the mood-related neurotransmitter serotonin. Numerous mushrooms possess adaptogenic properties that enable the body to respond effectively to stress and anxiety. This is why we have included 1,000mg of organic Reishi extract in our Mushie UNWIND formula, to help you relax and get a better nights rest.

sexual health

  1. Mushrooms May Boost Sexual Health and Support Sexual Performance

Men can be affected by various sexual health issues, but the three most common complaints are infertility, erectile dysfunction (ED), and low libido.

In the United States alone, more than half of men experience one of these problems at some point after the age of 40. Additionally, at least one in three infertility cases reported are related to men.11 As an expert once wisely stated, sexual problems in men are influenced by both physical factors and mental factors.

Mushrooms contain bioactive compounds that address both anatomical and psychological causes of male infertility and sexual problems.

Cordyceps, also known as Himalayan Viagra, is a natural aphrodisiac that increases hormonal activity and boosts sexual desire.12 You can read more about this in an older blog post, Can Mushrooms Do Wonders For Your Sex Life? Furthermore, this mushroom reduces fatigue, enhances sexual stamina and performance.

Cordyceps, Chaga, and other specific mushrooms improve sexual desire and performance by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to estrogen, ensuring higher levels and activity of testosterone in the body. Mushrooms, known for their higher zinc content, are effective in treating male infertility by improving sperm count.

As mentioned earlier, psychological factors contribute to these issues as well. Stress, anxiety, and depression can increase the risk of erectile dysfunction. Moreover, lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol can also cause ED. Mushrooms possess adaptogenic properties and are rich in nutrients that help prevent various health conditions, thus supporting a healthy sex life.13

man holding apple heart over chest

  1. Mushrooms May Improve Cardiovascular Health and Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

Cardiovascular disease stands as the primary cause of death among men globally. In the United States alone, one out of every four males succumbs to heart disease. Remarkably, men are prone to developing cardiovascular disease a decade earlier than women. Alarmingly, half of all heart-related deaths in men occur without any preceding symptoms.14,15

Nevertheless, the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases can be mitigated by effectively addressing metabolic syndrome. Experts recognize two crucial warning signs of cardiovascular disease: erectile dysfunction and low testosterone. Timely intervention in these conditions can aid in averting the onset of coronary artery disease.

In the Himalayas, herders observed peculiar behavior in cattle that consumed certain herbs, later identified as Cordyceps. The herders’ fascination with the robust behavior of the bulls led to the recommendation of the fungus as a tonic to enhance men’s sex drive.

In a study involving mice models, the supplementation of Cordyceps demonstrated an improvement in sex drive by augmenting testosterone production.16 Furthermore, Cordyceps and other mushrooms exhibit the ability to treat erectile dysfunction through vasodilation.

It is widely recognized that metabolic syndrome escalates the risk of stroke and heart disease. Mushrooms encompass an array of nutrients and compounds, including antioxidants such as beta-glucan, which assist in restoring chemical balance and reducing the risk of these clustered conditions known as metabolic syndrome.17

  1. Mushrooms May Slow Down the Effects of Aging on The Body

Scientists researching the elixir of long life are seriously considering mushrooms as a potential solution. According to a publication in Food Chemistry, researchers have discovered two antioxidants in certain mushroom species that can effectively combat aging and improve lifespan.

While various fruits and herbs contain varying levels of antioxidants, there is a consensus among scientists that mushrooms possess the highest levels, making them the optimal source of these beneficial compounds.

Recent studies have revealed the presence of not one, but two powerful antioxidants in mushrooms.18 These antioxidants, namely glutathione and ergothioneine, target free radicals and combat inflammation.

By regularly consuming mushrooms rich in antioxidants, individuals can slow down wrinkle formation, reduce the risk of cataracts, diabetes, liver damage, and atherosclerosis, as well as diminish both internal and external signs of aging.

Reishi mushrooms are particularly renowned for their anti-aging properties. In Chinese Medicine, Reishi is often referred to as the “Mushroom of Immortality” due to its ability to enhance immune function, combat inflammation, and regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Moreover, it is considered one of the best mushrooms for promoting healthy skin and hair.19,20

gut health

  1. Mushrooms May Support Gut Microbiome and Overall Gut Health

The health of your gut plays a crucial role in determining whether you merely scrape through the day with minimal energy and performance or enjoy a vibrant, energetic, and strong life. Indeed, the significance of your gut microbiome cannot be overstated.

Researchers have made an intriguing discovery, revealing notable differences in the microbiomes of men and women. It is believed that hormones like testosterone and estrogen have an influence on the composition of our gut microbes.21 Another key finding from the study is that an imbalanced gut microbiome can have a profound impact on cognition, energy levels, mood, and even the immune system.22

Functional mushrooms are a rich source of dietary fiber, which promotes regular gut movement and supports a well-balanced gut microbiome. Mushrooms serve a dual role as both prebiotics and probiotics. Acting as a prebiotic, the healthy carbohydrates in mushrooms nourish beneficial bacteria. Moreover, as a probiotic, mushrooms replenish the advantageous microbes in your intestines.23

Furthermore, beta-glucans present in mushrooms exert a potent anti-inflammatory effect on the gut. Varieties like Shiitake, Turkey Tail, Chaga, Lion’s Mane, and Reishi contribute to maintaining the health of the gut lining and preventing damage to the intestinal walls. Four of these mushrooms are found in our Mushie DEFEND formula!

  1. Mushrooms May Help Prevent and Treat Certain Types of Cancers

Prostate cancer ranks as the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men. Moreover, men face potential risks of developing other types of cancer, including testicular, lung, and skin cancer. The surge in pollution, stress levels, changes in dietary habits, and various other factors have contributed to the escalating number of cancer cases.

The utilization of mushrooms in the prevention and treatment of cancer is widely recognized, with a long-standing history in traditional medicine. In countries like China and Japan, certain mushrooms continue to be employed as supplementary treatments for cancer.

Prominent mushrooms such as Maitake, Reishi, Turkey Tail, Shiitake, and Cordyceps have been extensively studied for their anti-cancer properties. These mushrooms are believed to activate specific components of the immune system responsible for suppressing the growth of tumor cells. A study indicated that middle-aged men who consume mushrooms may lower their risk of developing prostate cancer.24

Furthermore, these mushrooms contain compounds that provide relief to advanced cancer patients due to their anti-inflammatory effects. Researchers have also discovered that mushroom supplementation helps cancer patients tolerate chemotherapy with minimal side effects.25

Over the years, numerous studies have consistently demonstrated the anticancer effects of Cordyceps. Presently, scientists are dedicated to enhancing the cancer-fighting capabilities of this mushroom through minor modifications. Encouraging preliminary results have been announced by these scientists.26

What Is the Best Method to Take Mushroom Supplements?

With the exception of one or two varieties, most functional mushrooms are not readily available at local grocery stores. However, you can still incorporate these beneficial mushrooms into your daily routine by taking mushroom supplements! In our previous blog post, we’ve outlined things to look out for when buying mushroom supplements.

Nowadays, supplements come in various forms such as powder, tinctures, capsules, and gummies. While there are multiple ways to consume mushroom supplements, we highly recommend gummies like our Mushie Organic Super Mushroom Gummies due to their unique advantages!

Easy to Carry and Consume: Gummies are widely favored among supplement users because they are easy to carry, whether you’re heading to work or going on vacation. Unlike tinctures and powders, gummies do not require water for consumption. Simply pop one or two gummies into your mouth, and enjoy the chewy, flavorful experience!

Customizable Dosage: Certain situations, such as an office presentation, a new client meeting, or an extra workout session, may call for additional support from your supplements. Mushroom gummies make it easy to customize your dosage. Keep in mind that you can adjust the dosage by adding half or one more gummy, but be careful not to exceed the maximum daily limit.

Improved Compliance: Even adults may make unpleasant faces when consuming bitter tinctures or powders. However, the sweet and chewable nature of gummies can enhance compliance among users, making the experience more enjoyable. Our gummies also have less than 1g of sugar, which is the lowest of all mushroom gummies on the market!

Enhanced Absorption: Gummies typically contain minimal fillers, making them not only safe but also easy to digest. Their high digestibility ensures better absorption of the nutrients and compounds found in mushroom extracts.

Final Thoughts

Mushrooms possess great potential in supporting various aspects of health. The abundance of nutrients and compounds found in mushrooms aids in combating both internal and external stressors. By incorporating mushroom supplements into their wellness routine, men can benefit from a natural and nutrient-dense addition that enhances their overall well-being.

References

  1. Ba, Djibril M. et al. “Mushroom intake and cognitive performance among US older adults: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2011-2014.”The British journal of nutrition  128,11 (2022): 2241-2248. doi:10.1017/S0007114521005195
  2. Feng, Lei et al. ‘The Association Between Mushroom Consumption and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Community-Based Cross-Sectional Study in Singapore’. 1 Jan. 2019: 197 – 203.
  3. Valverde, María Elena et al. “Edible mushrooms: improving human health and promoting quality life.”International journal of microbiology  2015 (2015): 376387. doi:10.1155/2015/376387
  4. Xu, Yan-Feng. “Effect of Polysaccharide from Cordyceps militaris (Ascomycetes) on Physical Fatigue Induced by Forced Swimming.”International journal of medicinal mushrooms 18,12 (2016): 1083-1092. doi:10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.v18.i12.30
  5. Chen, Steve et al. “Effect of Cs-4 (Cordyceps sinensis) on exercise performance in healthy older subjects: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.”Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.)  16,5 (2010): 585-90. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0226
  6. Koh, Jong-Ho, et al. “Antifatigue and Antistress Effect of the Hot-Water Fraction from Mycelia of Cordyceps Sinensis.”Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, vol. 26, no. 5, 2003, pp. 691–694, https://doi.org/10.1248/bpb.26.691. 
  7. Dias, Sara P et al. “Sex and Gender Differences in Bacterial Infections.”Infection and immunity  90,10 (2022): e0028322. doi:10.1128/iai.00283-22
  8. “Anxiety and Depression in Men.”Better Health Channel, 20 Feb. 2001, www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/anxiety-and-depression-in-men. 
  9. Janke, Kellie L et al. “Investigating the Role of Hippocampal BDNF in Anxiety Vulnerability Using Classical Eyeblink Conditioning.”Frontiers in psychiatry  6 106. 24 Jul. 2015, doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2015.00106
  10. Ryu, Sun et al. “Hericium erinaceus Extract Reduces Anxiety and Depressive Behaviors by Promoting Hippocampal Neurogenesis in the Adult Mouse Brain.”Journal of medicinal food 21,2 (2018): 174-180. doi:10.1089/jmf.2017.4006
  11. “Men’s Sexual Health: 5 Things You Need to Know.”Sexual Health for Men: 5 Things You Need to Know | Mass General Brigham, www.massgeneralbrigham.org/en/about/newsroom/articles/sexual-health-for-men. Accessed 15 June 2023. 
  12. Jiraungkoorskul, Wannee, and Kanitta Jiraungkoorskul. “Review of Naturopathy of Medical Mushroom, Ophiocordyceps Sinensis, in Sexual Dysfunction.”Pharmacognosy Reviews, vol. 10, no. 19, 2016, p. 1, https://doi.org/10.4103/0973-7847.176566. 
  13. Pohsa, S. et al. "Effects of Cultured Cordycep militaris on Sexual Performance and Erectile Function in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Male Rats", BioMed Research International, vol. 2020, Article ID 4198397, 10 pages, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/4198397
  14. “Men and Heart Disease.”Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 May 2023, www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/men.htm. 
  15. Contributors, WebMD. “Men and Heart Disease.” https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/heart-disease-men. Accessed 6 Aug. 2023.
  16. Huang, B M et al. “Effects of Cordyceps sinensis on testosterone production in normal mouse Leydig cells.”Life sciences  69,22 (2001): 2593-602. doi:10.1016/s0024-3205(01)01339-x
  17. Tung, Yu-Tang et al. “Edible Mushrooms: Novel Medicinal Agents to Combat Metabolic Syndrome and Associated Diseases.”Current pharmaceutical design  26,39 (2020): 4970-4981. doi:10.2174/1381612826666200831151316
  18. Kalaras, Michael D et al. “Mushrooms: A rich source of the antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione.”Food chemistry  233 (2017): 429-433. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2017.04.109
  19. Wachtel-Galor, Sissi et al. “Ganoderma lucidum ("Lingzhi"), a Chinese medicinal mushroom: biomarker responses in a controlled human supplementation study.”The British journal of nutrition  91,2 (2004): 263-9. doi:10.1079/BJN20041039
  20. Chu, Tanya T W et al. “Study of potential cardioprotective effects of Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi): results of a controlled human intervention trial.”The British journal of nutrition  107,7 (2012): 1017-27. doi:10.1017/S0007114511003795
  21. Haro, Carmen, et al. “Intestinal Microbiota Is Influenced by Gender and Body Mass Index.”PLOS ONE, vol. 11, no. 5, 2016, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0154090. 
  22. Hills, Ronald D Jr et al. “Gut Microbiome: Profound Implications for Diet and Disease.”Nutrients  11,7 1613. 16 Jul. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11071613
  23. Jayachandran, Muthukumaran et al. “A Critical Review on Health Promoting Benefits of Edible Mushrooms through Gut Microbiota.”International journal of molecular sciences  18,9 1934. 8 Sep. 2017, doi:10.3390/ijms18091934
  24. Zhang, Shu et al. “Mushroom consumption and incident risk of prostate cancer in Japan: A pooled analysis of the Miyagi Cohort Study and the Ohsaki Cohort Study.”International journal of cancer  146,10 (2020): 2712-2720. doi:10.1002/ijc.32591
  25. MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Heather Alexander. “Can Mushrooms Help during Cancer Treatment?”MD Anderson Cancer Center, 14 Apr. 2021, www.mdanderson.org/cancerwise/can-medicinal-mushrooms-help-during-cancer-treatment.h00-159460056.html. 
  26. Schwenzer, Hagen, et al. “The Novel Nucleoside Analogue Protide NUC-7738 Overcomes Cancer Resistance Mechanisms in Vitro and in a First-in-Human Phase I Clinical Trial.”Clinical Cancer Research, vol. 27, no. 23, 2021, pp. 6500–6513, https://doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.ccr-21-1652.