Skip to content

6 Popular Health Goals Mushrooms Can Help With and the Best Mushroom Supplements for Them

You might be familiar with mushrooms – as a tasty addition to your meal. But, in the past few years, we’ve been learning more and more about medicinal mushrooms. Due to their long history of use in traditional medicine, these medicinal mushroom supplements are becoming more popular.  These fungi offer many health benefits, and the…


blue eyed woman

You might be familiar with mushrooms – as a tasty addition to your meal. But, in the past few years, we’ve been learning more and more about medicinal mushrooms. Due to their long history of use in traditional medicine, these medicinal mushroom supplements are becoming more popular.  These fungi offer many health benefits, and the research is slowly catching up.

From a culinary standpoint, mushrooms offer flavor and depth to dishes – in fact, the Japanese have coined the term “umami” to describe their savory flavor. As food, mushrooms add plenty of flavor to your favorite dishes, but they also have other compounds that can pack a big punch when it comes to supporting health. 

While different mushrooms have varying compositions, they tend to share similar properties that make them a great addition to your current health program:

  • High in essential nutrients: mushrooms, despite being low in calories and fat, make great sources of essential vitamins and minerals. They contain B vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, selenium, and copper – and are one of the few dietary and plant-based sources of vitamin D!
  • Beta-glucans: many mushrooms contain beta-glucans, a type of soluble fiber that can support immune health.
  • Bioactive compounds: polysaccharides, terpenoids, and phenolic compounds give mushrooms many of their health-promoting properties. They have been studied for their potential to support heart health, balance blood sugar, and support brain function.

In this article, we break down which ones have the best evidence for various health goals, including brain, metabolic, and immune health, and more. Most of these studies are animal and cell-based studies, which may apply to human health. 

However, the limited amounts of clinical evidence, anecdotes, and history of use seem to confirm these health benefits. This is why we explain the evidence available so you can make an informed decision.

happy couple

Best Mushroom Supplement for Brain and Cognitive Function

For those of you who are looking for ways to support brain health and cognitive function, look no further than Lion’s Mane. Scientifically known as Hericium erinaceus, this fungi resembles a waterfall or white beard with its long, cascading spines. 

Typically found growing on the trunks of hardwood trees, Lion’s Mane has a long history of use in traditional medicine, with Buddhist monks consuming it to help enhance concentration during their meditative practices. Over the past decade, there has been a growing body of studies showing its benefits for brain health.


Lion’s Mane contains multiple bioactive compounds like hericenones and erinacines, which stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF) in nerve cells. This protein helps promote the growth, maintenance, regeneration, and survival of neurons in the brain, helping to improve cognitive function and memory


Studies find that Lion’s Mane can help protect neurons from day-to-day factors that contribute to cognitive decline, such as oxidative stress and pollution exposures

Enhance and Balance Neurotransmitters

Recent studies looking closer at Lion’s Mane mechanisms also find benefits with neurotransmission – or how your brain cells communicate. This happens more so in a region of the brain associated with memory and learning called the hippocampus. So, various animal and clinical studies demonstrate that Lion’s Mane may help with memory. 

  • In middle-aged mice, Lion’s Mane supplementation improved recognition memory, a type of long-term memory that helps you remember facts, events, and people
  • In mice, Lion’s Mane supplementation improved memory performance, and increased activity in certain regions of the brain linked to learning and memory.
  • In a small pilot study of 41 healthy adults, supplementing with Lion’s Mane helped participants think faster and achieve better stress resilience – after only one dose of 1.8 grams
  • In another randomized controlled trial of 31 participants over a 12-week period, participants who took a Lion’s Mane supplement (0.8 – 2 grams) had improved cognition scores on a mental status exam and helped prevent deteriorating scores over time.

Best Mushroom Supplement for Weight Loss


While no supplement can serve as a single magic bullet for weight loss, Reishi mushrooms may offer some support. Reishi mushrooms, or Ganoderma lucidum, contain compounds that might support healthy blood sugar control and metabolism – which can indirectly impact weight management.

  • Based on cell studies, Reishi extracts may reduce fat cell formation by dialing down readouts from genes involved in making and storing fat
  • Researchers also found that glucose was better taken up into cells, helping utilize it more efficiently.
  • In a mouse study, those fed with Reishi had lower levels of weight gain, consumed less food, and increased water intake over 30 days
  • In another, the mice ate either normal or high-fat (equivalent to human junk food) diets for 12 weeks. Those fed with Reishi supplements gained less weight, had better glucose metabolism, and lower fat accumulation in the liver despite the high-fat diet. Researchers think these effects came from the activation of a special protein called AMPK, which helps regulate metabolism.

Of course, weight loss requires a multifaceted approach – including changing nutrition habits and increasing physical activity. However, adding Reishi mushrooms to your routine can be extremely helpful as you make these changes.

Other medicinal mushrooms do not seem to offer the same benefits or have limited evidence to support their use. Lion’s Mane, while it has benefits for brain health and cognition, has little research behind its use for weight loss specifically.

Best Mushroom Supplement for the Immune System

happy man

Most functional mushrooms have components that affect immune health. Let’s look at some of them:

Reishi contains a small molecule known as ganopoly, which can help boost cytokine production. Cytokines are small proteins that help regulate the immune response. Reishi seems to work by balancing out these cytokines. It also helps enhance the effects of natural killer cells, which help kill off abnormal cells, and improve the function of T-cells. The polysaccharides found in Reishi also help activate immune cells – dendritic cells, neutrophils, and macrophages

In one clinical study of 157 subjects they found one substance in Reishi to be particularly beneficial for immune function, Reishi β-glucan. The group that was given this molecule had increases in important immune markers – CD3+, CD4+, and CD8+ T cells, which play key roles in your body’s immune responses. They also found an increase in natural killer cell. Importantly, they found the beta-glucagon was safe without any side effects. 

 Another big mushroom for immune health is Turkey Tail. It has been extensively studied for its immune-enhancing effects. It contains two important compounds, polysaccharopeptides (PSP) and polysaccharide-K (PSK)

PSP can increase the expression of TNF-α, a powerful substance that can destroy abnormal cells. PSP also raises levels of IL-12, a cytokine that helps support your body’s natural defenses. Both PSP and PSK can stimulate white blood cell production and support overall immune function.

Best Mushroom Supplement for Gut Health


Turkey Tail, or Coriolus versicolor, stands out as a mushroom particularly helpful for gut health. This mushroom contains compounds like polysaccharides and beta-glucans, which act like prebiotics in your digestive tract. These special compounds help nourish the “good” gut bacteria and promote a healthy balance of gut microbes.

One study specifically looked at how a prebiotic compound from Turkey Tail impacted the gut flora, in 22 participants. When compared against a control, researchers found that the 8 participants who received the prebiotic caused positive changes in the gut microbiome composition when consumed over the 8-week study period.

Another study found that it could reduce pro-inflammatory molecules that tend to make digestive disorders worse. Finally, the beta-glucans found in Turkey Tail seem to improve the gut microbiome composition, increasing the abundance of Akkermansia muciniphilia – a probiotic strain that has roles in metabolic health. In mice, this specific beta-glucan upregulated genes that helped the gut colonize this specific strain, especially in mice with depleted gut bacteria.

Indirectly, Turkey Tail seems to modulate immune function, which can support gut health and promote a healthy immune response in the digestive tract.

Best Mushroom Supplement for Energy

There is a reason that there are so many mushroom coffee substitutes out there! Functional mushrooms have energy-boosting properties without the jitters that commonly arise after a few cups of jo. Cordyceps and Reishi are the big ones for fighting fatigue through different mechanisms in the body.

Some of the peptides found in these mushrooms support heart heat by helping promote healthy circulation. This can help get oxygen and nutrients into muscles. These compounds can also help keep glucose levels healthy, and scavenge free radicals which contribute to reducing fatigue levels.

Cordyceps are often used in Chinese Medicine as a means to improve vitality, but they also seem to improve exercise performance. The benefits seem to come from increasing the production of ATP, the energy currency of the cell. ATP helps supply energy to working muscles and improves how your body uses oxygen. The compound called cordycepin seems to be the one responsible for these effects.

Cordyceps also help increase glycogen stores, a form of energy that your body can use later on, and reduce lactic acid buildup after strenuous exercise. In a study of 30 healthy older adults using a stationary bike, those who took 3 grams per day of a synthetic Cordyceps strain for six weeks had a 7% increase in VO2 max, which is a tool often used to measure someone’s fitness level. Those who got the placebo had no change. In another study, VO2 max levels did not change, but other indicators of exercise performance did improve, including their lactate threshold.

Similarly, Reishi also helps increase glycogen storage, and improve the clearance of waste products like blood urea nitrogen, reducing lactic acid buildup and enhancing the activity of lactate dehydrogenase which is an enzyme important for energy production

Reishi is commonly referred to as an “adaptogen”, which is a fancy word for something that supports your body’s stress response.  So, you might be more able to handle the day-to-day challenges that arise.

Best Mushroom Supplement for Hormones and Sexual Health


Cordyceps mushrooms are one of the most-studied medicinal mushrooms when it comes to hormones and sexual health. Certain compounds in Cordyceps have a structure similar to a hormone that your body makes called luteinizing hormone. Because of this, these compounds can interact with receptors in reproductive organs to help boost testosterone production.

In an animal study, researchers found that cordycepin, a specific compound in the Cordyceps mushroom could benefit sperm. In those who got the intervention, they found better sperm motility and sperm count.

Cordyceps can also impact estrogen – another important reproductive hormone. It is high in isoflavones, natural compounds that modulate estrogen balance in the body. These molecules can affect how your body produces estrogen, enhancing production by increasing proteins involved in estrogen synthesis.

Estrogen is especially helpful for maintaining strong bones, and in women who enter menopause, this can be a big issue. In one study, researchers gave animal subjects who were in menopause Cordyceps and looked at how it impacted bone health. They found that the isoflavones from the mushroom helped reduce markers of bone breakdown and increased bone formation markers.

There is also some evidence that Cordyceps can help boost your sex drive. In one study of 189 participants, those who got the Cordyceps supplement reported 66% improvements in libido and sexual desire. Another in women specifically found similar results, with an 86% improvement.  


Final Notes

To wrap up, functional mushrooms offer a diverse range of health benefits – making them a great addition to your daily routine. Whether you want to support brain function, enhance immune health, or just better cope with stress – these fungi can be the support you need. Let’s sum up the big points:

  • Lion’s Mane for supporting cognitive function and memory
  • Reishi mushrooms for weight management and metabolic health
  • For immune support, Reishi and Turkey Tail help boost immune cell function
  • Turkey Tail, with its prebiotic properties, can keep gut health in check
  • Cordyceps and Reishi for keeping energy levels high
  • Cordyceps for hormone health & improving libido

Here at BIOptimizers, we have crafted the perfect blend of Lion’s Mane, Chaga, Cordyceps, and Reishi – plus collagen. Mushroom Breakthrough is our new powdered blend of five potent superfoods. Each mushroom included in this new formula has been concentrated into the 50:1 ratios, helping maximize their benefits. 

Plus, it comes in three delicious flavors – Chai, Chocolate, and Salted Caramel. It is dairy-free, rich in vitamins and minerals, and gives you the sustained energy you need to optimize your day.

Explore Nootopia Now
Share this article using the buttons below
  1. Venturella G, Ferraro V, Cirlincione F, Gargano ML. Medicinal mushrooms: Bioactive compounds, use, and clinical trials. Int J Mol Sci. 2021;22(2):634. doi:10.3390/ijms22020634
  2. Phat C, Moon B, Lee C. Evaluation of umami taste in mushroom extracts by chemical analysis, sensory evaluation, and an electronic tongue system. Food Chem. 2016;192:1068-1077. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2015.07.113
  3. Valverde ME, Hernández-Pérez T, Paredes-López O. Edible mushrooms: Improving human health and promoting quality life. Int J Microbiol. 2015;2015:1-14. doi:10.1155/2015/376387
  4. Łysakowska P, Sobota A, Wirkijowska A. Medicinal mushrooms: Their bioactive components, nutritional value and application in functional food production—A review. Molecules. 2023;28(14):5393. doi:10.3390/molecules28145393
  5. Ghosh S, Nandi S, Banerjee A, Sarkar S, Chakraborty N, Acharya K. Prospecting medicinal properties of Lion’s mane mushroom. J Food Biochem. 2021;45(8). doi:10.1111/jfbc.13833
  6. Lai PL, Naidu M, Sabaratnam V, et al. Neurotrophic properties of the lion’s mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (higher basidiomycetes) from Malaysia. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2013;15(6):539-554. doi:10.1615/intjmedmushr.v15.i6.30
  7. Mori K, Obara Y, Hirota M, et al. Nerve growth factor-inducing activity of Hericium erinaceus in 1321N1 human astrocytoma cells. Biol Pharm Bull. 2008;31(9):1727-1732. doi:10.1248/bpb.31.1727
  8. Szućko-Kociuba I, Trzeciak-Ryczek A, Kupnicka P, Chlubek D. Neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects of Hericium erinaceus. Int J Mol Sci. 2023;24(21):15960. doi:10.3390/ijms242115960
  9. Brandalise F, Roda E, Ratto D, et al. Hericium erinaceus in neurodegenerative diseases: From bench to bedside and beyond, how far from the shoreline? J Fungi (Basel). 2023;9(5):551. doi:10.3390/jof9050551
  10. Brandalise F, Cesaroni V, Gregori A, et al. Dietary supplementation ofHericium erinaceusincreases mossy fiber-CA3 hippocampal neurotransmission and recognition memory in wild-type mice. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017;2017:1-13. doi:10.1155/2017/3864340
  11. Saitsu Y, Nishide A, Kikushima K, Shimizu K, Ohnuki K. Improvement of cognitive functions by oral intake of Hericium erinaceus . Biomed Res. 2019;40(4):125-131. doi:10.2220/biomedres.40.125
  12. Wachtel-Galor S, Yuen J, Buswell JA, Benzie IFF. Ganoderma Lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi). CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011.
  13. Thyagarajan-Sahu A, Lane B, Sliva D. ReishiMax, mushroom based dietary supplement, inhibits adipocyte differentiation, stimulates glucose uptake and activates AMPK. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011;11(1). doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-74
  14. Ezurike PU, Odunola E, Oke TA, et al. Ganoderma lucidum ethanol extract promotes weight loss and improves depressive-like behaviors in male and female Swiss mice. Physiol Behav. 2023;265(114155):114155. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2023.114155
  15. Gao Y, Zhou S, Jiang W, Huang M, Dai X. Effects of ganopoly®(AGanoderma lucidumpolysaccharide extract) on the immune functions in advanced‐stage cancer patients. Immunol Invest. 2003;32(3):201-215. doi:10.1081/imm-120022979
  16. Seweryn E, Ziała A, Gamian A. Health-promoting of polysaccharides extracted from Ganoderma lucidum. Nutrients. 2021;13(8):2725. doi:10.3390/nu13082725
  17. Chen SN, Nan FH, Liu MW, Yang MF, Chang YC, Chen S. Evaluation of immune modulation by β-1,3; 1,6 D-glucan derived from Ganoderma lucidum in healthy adult volunteers, A randomized controlled trial. Foods. 2023;12(3):659. doi:10.3390/foods12030659
  18. Tieu S, Charchoglyan A, Wagter-Lesperance L, et al. Immunoceuticals: Harnessing their immunomodulatory potential to promote health and wellness. Nutrients. 2022;14(19):4075. doi:10.3390/nu14194075
  19. Tzianabos AO. Polysaccharide immunomodulators as therapeutic agents: Structural aspects and biologic function. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2000;13(4):523-533. doi:10.1128/cmr.13.4.523
  20. Li X, Chen P, Zhang P, Chang Y, Cui M, Duan J. Protein‐bound β‐glucan from Coriolus versicolor has potential for use against obesity. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2019;63(7). doi:10.1002/mnfr.201801231
  21. Pallav K, Dowd SE, Villafuerte J, et al. Effects of polysaccharopeptide fromTrametes Versicolorand amoxicillin on the gut microbiome of healthy volunteers: A randomized clinical trial. Gut Microbes. 2014;5(4):458-467. doi:10.4161/gmic.29558
  22. Geng P, Siu KC, Wang Z, Wu JY. Antifatigue functions and mechanisms of edible and medicinal mushrooms. Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:1-16. doi:10.1155/2017/9648496
  23. Choi E, Oh J, Sung GH. Beneficial effect of Cordyceps militaris on exercise performance via promoting cellular energy production. Mycobiology. 2020;48(6):512-517. doi:10.1080/12298093.2020.1831135
  24. Sharma H, Sharma N, An SSA. Unique bioactives from zombie fungus (Cordyceps) as promising multitargeted neuroprotective agents. Nutrients. 2023;16(1):102. doi:10.3390/nu16010102
  25. Chen S, Li Z, Krochmal R, Abrazado M, Kim W, Cooper CB. Effect of cs-4® (Cordyceps sinensis) on exercise performance in healthy older subjects: A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(5):585-590. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0226
  26. Panossian A, Wikman G. Effects of adaptogens on the central nervous system and the molecular mechanisms associated with their stress—protective activity. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2010;3(1):188-224. doi:10.3390/ph3010188
  27. Jiraungkoorskul W, Jiraungkoorskul K. Review of naturopathy of medical mushroom,Ophiocordyceps sinensis, in sexual dysfunction. Pharmacogn Rev. 2016;10(19):1. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.176566
  28. Lin BQ, Li SP. Cordyceps as an Herbal Drug. CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011.
  29. Huang BM, Hsiao KY, Chuang PC, Wu MH, Pan HA, Tsai SJ. Upregulation of steroidogenic enzymes and ovarian 17β-estradiol in human granulosa-lutein cells by Cordyceps sinensis Mycelium1. Biol Reprod. 2004;70(5):1358-1364. doi:10.1095/biolreprod.103.022855
  30. Zhang DW, Wang ZL, Qi W, Zhao GY. The effects of Cordyceps sinensis phytoestrogen on estrogen deficiency-induced osteoporosis in Ovariectomized rats. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014;14(1). doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-484
Posted in
You'll enjoy these posts

Leave a Comment