Superfood Spotlight: Medicinal Mushrooms

When people forage in the woods for wild mushrooms, it’s probably safe to say that most are only imagining the delicious umami flavor the fungi will add to their favorite dishes, and won’t pay nearly as much attention to the nutrients their forest finds offer.

But mushrooms are packed with compounds that have been linked to numerous health benefits, so how could we resist including a proprietary blend of some of the best mushrooms in the world nutritionally - Cordyceps militaris, King Trumpet, Agaricus blazei and Lion's Mane – in the top-notch product from our newest product line, Xtendlife Zupafood Elite.

Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years, and according to research, even Otzi, a man from 3300 BC who was found frozen in a glacier, was carrying two different kinds of mushrooms with him on his fateful journey. (Ref. 1)

“Mushrooms are miniature pharmaceutical factories, and of the thousands of mushroom species in nature, our ancestors and modern scientists have identified several dozen that have a unique combination of talents that improve our health,” said American mycologist (that’s mushroom expert) Paul Stamets.

Nutritional benefits of fungi

The polysaccharides in mushrooms have been linked to the activation of cells known as macrophages, which support your body in the healthy management of inflammation which is thought to reduce the risk of disease and degenerative conditions.

Mushrooms also offer the essential mineral selenium, which can help protect cells against degenerative diseases and premature aging, as well as ergothioneine, which also protects cells from damage.

Mushrooms have copper to support the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body for energy and potassium, which helps muscles recover after exercise.

Mushrooms also offer beta-glucans, which help boost immunity, especially when it comes to resistance against allergies. (Ref. 2)

Although some of us eat mushrooms as part of our regular diet, there are so many different varieties, and many are not found on store shelves or at the farmer’s market, making it impossible to take in all the of the benefits mushrooms can offer.

For our ZupaFood ELITE, we’ve looked to one of the top experts in the cultivation of medicinal mushrooms – M2 Mushrooms of San Marcos, California - and selected four of the most nutrient-dense varieties for the unique blend included in our latest powerhouse product.

Cordyceps militaris


A 2010 study looked at the benefits of this mushroom, and the results were astonishing.

Not only did the mushroom have properties that support your health inflammation management processes, it also has antioxidant and other cell health boosting properties. There is  also evidence it supports sexual function and boosts the immune system.

“The prospects for herbal biotechnology regarding drug discovery using C. militaris delivering what it has promised are high, as the technology is now extremely more powerful than before,” said the team of Japanese researchers in the journal Science Direct. “This study chiefly highlights the medicinal uses of the mushroom C. militaris including its culture techniques, also aiming to draw sufficient attention of the researchers to the frontier research.” (Ref. 3)

King Trumpet


The King Trumpet mushroom, also known as the king oyster, is so full of nutrients that even if you include it in a supplement, it should ideally also be a regular part of your diet.

The largest of the oyster mushrooms, the King Trumpet has the amino acid L-ergothioneine, which may help support the health and function of the kidneys, liver and eyes. This amino acid is also credited with protecting cells against damage from free radicals, protecting them against signs of aging.

King trumpet mushrooms also contain the natural statin lovastatin, which has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol levels, at least in rat studies. That’s especially good news for those who are concerned about the side effects of prescribed statins, which can lead to muscle pain, weakness and deterioration.

These mushrooms also offer high levels of selenium, a trace element that boosts the effectiveness of enzymes tasked with protecting against oxidative stress and also helps support normal thyroid function. (Ref. 4)

Agaricus blazei


This Brazilian mushroom has a higher concentration of protein and carbohydrates than most other mushrooms, but most importantly, it has been shown in numerous studies to boost the immune system, providing protection against illness.

Researchers have found that compounds in these mushrooms activate the body’s natural defenses by stimulating the immune system, and has been tested in mice with infectious conditions.

It may also help aid in weight management and reduce the risk of the onset of type 2 diabetes, according to research. (Ref. 5)

Lion’s Mane


The regal Lion’s Mane looks different to many other mushroom varieties, because instead of a cap and stems, they have long, flowing spines that look a lot like the mane of a lion.

One of the most majestic mushrooms of the forest, the Lion’s Mane grows hanging from logs and trees, and in some regions is also known as the hedgehog or bearded tooth mushroom.

It has been used in Asia for thousands of years, primarily as a brain enhancer. Buddhist monks reportedly consumed the mushroom in the form of tea to enhance their brain power and heighten their concentration during meditation sessions.

“The lion's mane mushroom, in particular, has drawn the attention of researchers for its notable nerve-regenerative properties,” Paul Stamets has been quoted as saying.

It earned its reputation as a brain enhancer because the mushroom appears to enhance the levels of nerve growth factor in the brain. Nerve growth factor is a hormone the helps maintain healthy brain cells and supports the fatty cells that make the process of neurons sending electrical transmissions through the cell more efficient, potentially supporting the speed of thought as well as memory recall.