I dose my grandparents up on mushrooms and am convinced you should too! I have had my grandparents using medicinal mushrooms like Reishi, Lion’s Mane, Turkey Tail and Chaga for over two years now. Their medicinal properties are extensive, but also uniquely appropriate for the older generation. Here are 5 reasons you should show your family love by getting your grandparents on mushrooms.
I don’t know about your grandparents, but mine have had their share of health crisis episodes. Heart issues, dizziness, atherosclerosis, pneumonia, muscle wasting, macular degeneration, pleural effusion and so on. Thank goodness they are relatively healthy and stable. Right now, age is the main factor working against them. My granddad is 94 and my grandmother is 86. That means big lifestyle changes are just not on the cards.
As a healthcare provider myself, adding quality to their life has always been a priority for me. The toughest part is keeping it simple.
Every year when I visit my grandparents overseas I bring them a hefty bag of mixed medicinal mushroom extract powder for them to use in their morning coffee. They come from the generation in which prescription medicines are pure gospel. Ironically, the mushrooms sit on their kitchen counter alongside their daily meds. It’s picture worthy.
For years now, they have been happy to put their grandson’s brown mushroom powder in their brew while they read the daily news. Here are 5 reasons why I make sure they do.
Brain health is priority number one. The Lion’s Mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) has well documented brain health promoting properties in conditions such as dementia, cognitive impairment and memory loss.1,2 Its Neurotrophic or nerve growth inducing properties are revered in the East and have been the subject of natural methods for supporting patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.2,3 In the case of Alzheimer’s it has the effect of reducing beta-amyloid plaque formation, one of the main factors involved in this unfortunate and widespread condition.2 With respect to Parkinson’s disease, this amazing mushroom reduces the degenerative effects on an area of the brain called the substantia nigra, part of the basal ganglia.3 Oddly enough, the Lion’s Mane mushroom even looks like a brainy mass.
The Turkey Tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor) has brain antioxidant properties which may also contribute to maintaining neurological health.4 There is no panacea in life, but when the research demonstrates favorable neurological support properties I am all about it. Brain health is reason one to have your grandparents taking mushrooms too!
Statistically speaking, heart disease is the leading cause of death. Cardiovascular and circulatory system health decline with age, there is no way around it. The culprit is atherosclerosis. Arteries clog over the years resulting from long term inflammation and cholesterol imbalances. It is rare in this day and age to find people in their 60’s and beyond not on heart or cholesterol medications especially if you live in any Western country.
Renowned physicians like Neil Barnard MD, Michael Greger MD and Michael Klapper MD teach that a whole foods plant based diet can reverse many of these effects. True indeed, but if it is difficult for the regular day individual to change their diet and lifestyle. it is late in the game for the senior generation.
Three main factors lead to heart attacks and stroke. They are lipid metabolism, coagulation and platelet aggregation ultimately causing blood pressure, cholesterol and clotting complications. Lion’s Mane mushroom studies show Cardioprotective, Anti-Coagulant, Anti-Hypertensive and Cholesterol Lowering properties.5,6,7 While it is exciting to see research demonstrating larger spectrum applications of the Lion’s Mane mushroom beyond brain health, it seems Nature had geriatric health needs in mind with this mushroom.
Slowing down in movement, metabolic function and vitality levels are inevitable in the aging process. It is a fact of life that certainly has its emotional challenges especially watching it unfold from the inside out. Supporting positive mental outlook and stress reduction has obvious implications in this department. Reishi and Lion’s Mane mushrooms can help.
Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) has been utilized in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Asian countries for promoting health and longevity in addition to treating many clinical conditions. As an adaptogen, Reishi mushrooms have anti-depressant, anti-anxiety and energy promoting effects.8-10 Lion’s Mane mushrooms exert antidepressant activity. A 2010 study demonstrated a reduction of depression and anxiety within 4 week among participants who consumed Lion’s Mane cookies versus placebo.11 It is always joyful to eat cookies, but in this case the placebo group was not as long lasting! On to reason number four.
Medicinal mushrooms are believed to have been used therapeutically as early as 3,000 BCE. The immune supportive qualities of various medicinal mushrooms is well established. Novel research over the years is demonstrating significant anti-cancer properties in certain mushrooms that slow the growth of tumors, regulate tumor genes and stimulate the immune system to better fight cancer. Medicinal mushrooms even protect healthy cells from the toxic effects of chemotherapy drugs without inhibiting the chemotherapy and radiation effects on cancer cells.12
The anti-cancer process occurs because medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi, Chaga, Turkey Tail and others stimulate T-Helper 1 or TH1 production. This turns on a cellular immune response increasing production of tumor-specific antigens, tumoricidal cytokines, Natural Killer cells, CD8+T cells and tumoricidal macrophages.12 In plain English, the military intelligence upgrades its surveillance and tactical approach together with new soldier recruits and training to combat the internal invasion.
Research is promising and more research is warranted. Here are some of the findings we reviewed. Anti-cancer activity has been demonstrated in Reishi mushroom studies with breast and ovarian cancer,13, 14,15 lung cancers such as pulmonary adenocarcinoma,16 liver cancers,17,18 bladder cancer,19 leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma20 and colorectal cancer.21 Fungi including Lion’s Mane, Chaga and Turkey Tail have researched effects in hepatocellular carcinoma,22 leukemia,23,24 brain cancer,25 breast cancer,26,27 colon cancer,28 melanoma,29 and lung cancer.30 Remarkably, these mushrooms have a protective effect against chemotherapy induced myelosuppression or immune depletion. This could give great potential to patients undergoing conventional cancer treatment with chemotherapy.12
To say that cancer is multifactorial would be an understatement. Anything that supports an immune response against cancer is worthy of consideration. That was reason four. Last but not least…. Five.
Osteoporosis is one of the most widespread chronic diseases. Combined with balance issues, one bad fall can easily break a wrist, shoulder or hip. I must have been eight years old at a family event when my Nana fell and broke her hip. It is a difficult recovery for most and may often lead to complications. Turkey Tail mushrooms, though commonly revered for their anti-cancer properties demonstrate notable effects in protecting against bone resorption (osteoclast production) and improving bone density and formation.31,32 If this property isn’t old age appropriate I am not sure what is. Reason number five!
It couldn’t be easier- I have them use 1/3 to ½ a teaspoon of our Super Mushroom Blend in their coffee every day. Simple, stress free and no added effort. Done.
Author Dr. Dov Pine is a Chiropractor with special focus in chronic degenerative disease. Hailing a Natural Hygiene background in nutrition and water fasting, his focus has two basic principles- keep it safe and keep it simple.
Disclaimer. The information represented in this article is meant to provide concepts from evidence based research. It is not intended to treat or diagnose any health condition. For appropriate treatment methods please contact your healthcare provider.
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