Monthly Archives: June 2023

25 Small But Mighty Health Habits That Can Add Years to Your Life

health habits to live longer life

Looking for science-backed tips to help you live a healthier, longer life? You’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll share 25 simple but powerful health habits (many of which you’re probably already doing!) that have the potential to add years to your life. Let’s dive right in!

  1. Hydrate Generously: Our bodies are about 60% water, and maintaining hydration is vital for pretty much every bodily function (1). Aim for at least 8 glasses of water a day. Staying hydrated aids digestion, nutrient absorption, and even cognitive function.
  2. Prioritize Sleep: Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night (2). It’s not just about duration, but quality too. Create a relaxing pre-sleep routine, keep screens away, and ensure a dark, cool environment for optimum restorative sleep.
  3. Eat Whole Foods: Fill your plate with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Whole foods are nutrient-dense and low in added sugars and unhealthy fats, reducing risk of chronic diseases (3).
  4. Meditate Daily: Meditation reduces stress, enhances self-awareness, and promotes emotional health (4). Just a few minutes of deep breathing daily can help. Start by focusing on your breath and progressively increase the duration. Here’s a primer on how to breathe better.
  5. Stay Active: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week (5). Physical activity boosts heart health, bone health, mental health, and more. Find something you enjoy doing and you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
  6. Laugh Often: Laughter boosts mood, relieves stress, and may even strengthen your immune system (6). So, watch a funny movie or show, read a humorous book or magazine, listen to a podcast that makes you laugh, or share jokes with friends.
  7. Avoid Tobacco: Avoid all forms of tobacco, including smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes. They’re all linked to various forms of cancer and other health issues (7).
  8. Limit Alcohol: If you choose to drink, do so in moderation. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a range of health issues, including liver disease and certain cancers (8).
  9. Maintain Healthy Weight: Being overweight increases risk of chronic diseases. Keep your weight in check through balanced diet and regular exercise, aiming for a healthy BMI (9).
  10. Socialize: Staying socially active can improve mental health and longevity. Connect with loved ones, join clubs, volunteer … the key is to engage in activities that make you happy and feel connected (10).
  11. Practice Gratitude: Expressing gratitude has shown to improve mental health, reduce stress, and even improve sleep (11). Maintain a gratitude journal or simply reflect on what you’re grateful for each day.
  12. Limit Processed Foods: They’re typically high in unhealthy fats, sugars, and sodium. Excessive consumption can lead to obesity, heart disease, and other health problems (12).
  13. Floss Daily: Regular flossing reduces oral bacteria, protecting you from gum disease, tooth decay, and even heart disease (13).
  14. Stand More, Sit Less: Prolonged sitting is linked to increased risk of heart disease and early death. Try to incorporate more standing or walking into your day (14).
  15. Control Portion Sizes: This helps manage weight, lower cholesterol, and reduce risk of heart disease. Use smaller plates, check food labels, and be aware of serving sizes (15).
  16. Spend Time in Nature: Studies show that spending time in nature improves mental health, reduces stress, and increases longevity (16). Take regular walks in the park, garden, or simply enjoy a sunset.
  17. Take Regular Breaks: Take short breaks during work to reduce stress and increase productivity. Stand up, stretch, or take a short walk (17), preferably outside in nature (see above).
  18. Limit Added Sugars: Too much added sugar can lead to obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Limit sugary drinks and high-sugar foods (18).
  19. Eat Mindfully: Eating slowly and without distraction can lead to weight loss, improved digestion, and greater enjoyment of food (19).
  20. Have Regular Check-ups: Regular health screenings can detect potential health issues early. Stick to the schedule recommended by your healthcare provider (20).
  21. Cook at Home: Home-cooked meals are often more nutritious and lower in calories, sugar, and sodium than takeout meals (21).
  22. Wear Sunscreen: Protect your skin from harmful UV rays to prevent skin cancer and premature aging. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 (22).
  23. Exercise Your Brain: Activities like reading, puzzles, and learning new skills can keep your mind sharp and potentially ward off cognitive decline (23).
  24. Practice Good Posture: Good posture reduces the risk of back pain, enhances breathing, and improves physical performance (24).
  25. Embrace Aging: Accepting and embracing aging can lead to better mental health and a longer life. Aging is a natural process, so enjoy the journey (25).

The Power of Small Changes

These 25 health habits may seem simple, but their collective impact on your longevity can be profound. Start small, pick a few habits, and gradually incorporate more into your life. Remember, the journey to longevity isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. It’s not about massive changes but about a collection of small, sustainable habits that culminate in a healthier, happier, longer life.


  1. Popkin, B. M., D’Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010). Water, Hydration and Health. Nutrition Reviews, 68(8), 439–458.
  2. Hirshkowitz, M., Whiton, K., Albert, S. M., Alessi, C., Bruni, O., DonCarlos, L., Hazen, N., Herman, J., Adams Hillard, P. J., Katz, E. S., Kheirandish-Gozal, L., Neubauer, D. N., O’Donnell, A. E., Ohayon, M., Peever, J., Rawding, R., Sachdeva, R. C., Setters, B., Vitiello, M. V., Ware, J. C., & Adams Hillard, P. J. (2015). National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. Sleep Health, 1(1), 40–43.
  3. Tuso, P., Stoll, S. R., & Li, W. W. (2015). A Plant-Based Diet, Atherogenesis, and Coronary Artery Disease Prevention. The Permanente Journal, 19(1), 62–67.
  4. Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E. M. S., Gould, N. F., Rowland-Seymour, A., Sharma, R., Berger, Z., Sleicher, D., Maron, D. D., Shihab, H. M., Ranasinghe, P. D., Linn, S., Saha, S., Bass, E. B., & Haythornthwaite, J. A. (2014). Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being. JAMA Internal Medicine, 174(3), 357–368.
  5. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. (2018). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  6. Bennett, M. P., & Lengacher, C. (2009). Humor and Laughter May Influence Health IV. Humor and Immune Function. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 6(2), 159–164.
  7. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2014). The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health.
  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Fact Sheets – Alcohol Use and Your Health.
  9. World Health Organization. (2020). Obesity and overweight.
  10. Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T. B., & Layton, J. B. (2010). Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review. PLoS Medicine, 7(7), e1000316.
  11. Emmons, R. A., & Stern, R. (2013). Gratitude as a Psychotherapeutic Intervention. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69(8), 846–855.
  12. Micha, R., Peñalvo, J. L., Cudhea, F., Imamura, F., Rehm, C. D., & Mozaffarian, D. (2017). Association Between Dietary Factors and Mortality From Heart Disease, Stroke, and Type 2 Diabetes in the United States. JAMA, 317(9), 912–924.
  13. Mayo Clinic. (2020). Oral health: A window to your overall health.
  14. Biswas, A., Oh, P. I., Faulkner, G. E., Bajaj, R. R., Silver, M. A., Mitchell, M. S., & Alter, D. A. (2015). Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 162(2), 123–132.
  15. Rolls, B. J., Morris, E. L., & Roe, L. S. (2002). Portion size of food affects energy intake in normal-weight and overweight men and women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 76(6), 1207–1213.
  16. White, M. P., Alcock, I., Grellier, J., Wheeler, B. W., Hartig, T., Warber, S. L., Bone, A., Depledge, M. H., & Fleming, L. E. (2019). Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 7730.
  17. Schwartz, B. (2016). The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working. Simon and Schuster.
  18. World Health Organization. (2015). Guideline: Sugars intake for adults and children. World Health Organization.
  19. Harvard Health Publishing. (2020). Mindful eating – Harvard Health.
  20. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. (2020). Recommendations for Primary Care Practice.
  21. Wolfson, J. A., & Bleich, S. N. (2015). Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight-loss intention?. Public Health Nutrition, 18(8), 1397–1406.
  22. Harvard Health Publishing. (2019). Sunscreen: How to Help Protect Your Skin from the Sun.
  23. Park, D. C., Lodi-Smith, J., Drew, L., Haber, S., Hebrank, A., Bischof, G. N., & Aamodt, W. (2014). The Impact of Sustained Engagement on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: The Synapse Project. Psychological Science, 25(1), 103–112.
  24. Neumann, D. A., & Kinesiology, T. P. (2010). Kinesiology of the Musculoskeletal System: Foundations for Rehabilitation. Mosby/Elsevier.
  25. Levy, B. R., Slade, M. D., Kunkel, S. R., & Kasl, S. V. (2002). Longevity increased by positive self-perceptions of aging. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83(2), 261–270.

Vitamin D Guide: Sources, Deficiency, Benefits, Foods, and Supplements

Vitamin D, commonly known as the “sunshine vitamin,” plays a pivotal role in our overall health and well-being. It’s involved in various bodily functions, including bone health, immune system support, and mental well-being. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll help you better understand all things related to Vitamin D, covering sources, dosing, deficiency, benefits, foods, and supplements.

Sources of Vitamin D

Sunlight Exposure and its Role in Vitamin D Synthesis

Sunlight exposure is an important source of Vitamin D as it triggers the synthesis of Vitamin D in the skin through the conversion of cholesterol. When ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from sunlight interact with the skin, a chemical reaction occurs, leading to the production of Vitamin D3. Optimal sun exposure recommendations vary based on factors such as latitude, time of day, season, and skin color. Individuals with lighter skin produce Vitamin D more efficiently than those with darker skin tones due to variations in melanin levels.

Can you get enough vitamin D from sunlight alone?

Yes, you can, but it’s important to strike a balance between obtaining adequate Vitamin D from sunlight exposure and protecting the skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation. Generally, short periods of sun exposure, particularly during midday when the UVB rays are strongest, can contribute to Vitamin D synthesis. However, it is advisable to wear sunscreen and take other sun protection measures to prevent sunburn and reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.

Recommended Intake and Dosing of Vitamin D

Vitamin D requirements: how much do you need per day based on age and life stage?

Individual vitamin D requirements may vary based on factors such as health conditions, sun exposure, and specific needs. Seniors, especially those above the age of 70, may have higher Vitamin D requirements due to potential age-related changes in Vitamin D metabolism.

Age/Life Stage Recommended Daily Intake of Vitamin D (IU)
Infants (0-12 months) 400-1,000
Children (1-18 years) 600-1,000
Adults (19-70 years) 600-2,000
Seniors (Above 70 years) 800-2,000

Daily Reference Intakes (DRIs) for Vitamin D

Daily Reference Intakes (DRIs) for Vitamin D serve as guidelines for Vitamin D intake. These recommendations are established by various organizations and may differ between countries.

For example, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in the United States recommends a daily intake of 600-800 IU for most adults, while the Endocrine Society suggests higher intakes of 1,500-2,000 IU for adults at risk of deficiency.

Factors affecting Vitamin D synthesis and absorption

Several factors affect Vitamin D synthesis and absorption in the body, including:

  • Geographic location: individuals living closer to the equator having more access to sunlight and therefore potentially higher Vitamin D synthesis.
  • Seasonal variations: sunlight intensity is reduced during winter months.
  • Sunscreen use: although crucial for skin protection, can hinder Vitamin D synthesis.
  • Skin pigmentation: affects the skin’s ability to produce Vitamin D, with individuals with darker skin tones requiring longer sun exposure to generate adequate levels.
  • Individual factors such as genetics, health conditions, and lifestyle also play a role in influencing Vitamin D needs. Some individuals may have difficulties absorbing or metabolizing Vitamin D efficiently, leading to a higher risk of deficiency.

Regular testing helps monitor Vitamin D levels and enables healthcare professionals to provide tailored recommendations for supplementation based on the individual’s unique needs.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Prevalence and risk factors for deficiency

Limited sun exposure, age, obesity, and certain medical conditions are common risk factors associated with Vitamin D deficiency. Sunlight exposure is the primary source of Vitamin D, and people who live in regions with limited sunlight or spend minimal time outdoors are at higher risk. Age-related changes in the skin’s ability to synthesize Vitamin D, as well as obesity and conditions affecting fat absorption, can also contribute to deficiency.

Signs and symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency is important for early detection and intervention. Fatigue, muscle weakness, bone pain, and increased susceptibility to infections are common manifestations of deficiency. Fatigue may be a prominent symptom, impacting energy levels and overall well-being. Muscle weakness can lead to decreased strength and endurance. Bone pain, particularly in the back, hips, and legs, may indicate compromised bone health. Additionally, Vitamin D deficiency weakens the immune system, increasing the risk of infections.

Health conditions associated with Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with various health conditions:

  • Inadequate Vitamin D levels can contribute to the development of osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weakened bones and increased fracture risk.
  • Rickets, a condition primarily affecting children, leads to soft, weak bones due to Vitamin D and calcium deficiency.
  • Autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, have been linked to Vitamin D deficiency.
  • Mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD), have shown associations with low Vitamin D levels.

Diagnosis and interpretation of blood test results

Diagnosis of Vitamin D deficiency is typically done through blood tests, specifically measuring 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels.

Optimal levels of Vitamin D may vary, but generally, a range of 30-50 ng/mL is considered adequate. Interpretation of test results should take into account individual factors, such as age and overall health.

Levels below the recommended range indicate deficiency and may require intervention through sunlight exposure, dietary modifications, or Vitamin D supplementation.

The Benefits of Vitamin D

Maintaining bone health and preventing osteoporosis

Vitamin D plays a vital role in maintaining bone health and preventing osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weakened bones and an increased risk of fractures. Vitamin D works synergistically with calcium to promote bone health by enhancing the absorption of calcium from the intestines and ensuring its deposition into the bones.

Without sufficient Vitamin D, the body struggles to absorb and utilize calcium efficiently, leading to weakened bones and an increased risk of fractures. Numerous studies have shown a significant association between Vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of fractures, particularly in older adults.

Ensuring adequate Vitamin D levels is essential for preserving bone density and reducing the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures. [sources:,,]

Immune system support and impact on respiratory health

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in modulating the immune system, making it an essential nutrient for immune system support and respiratory health. Adequate Vitamin D levels have been associated with a reduced risk and severity of respiratory infections.

Research suggests that Vitamin D helps regulate the immune response, enhancing the body’s defense mechanisms against pathogens. Studies have shown that individuals with higher Vitamin D levels have a lower risk of developing respiratory conditions such as asthma.

Moreover, recent research has investigated the association between Vitamin D and COVID-19, indicating that maintaining optimal Vitamin D levels may have potential benefits in reducing the risk of severe illness and complications. [sources:,]

The relationship between Vitamin D and mental health

Some evidence suggests that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of mental health disorders such as depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and cognitive decline. Vitamin D receptors are present in various areas of the brain that are involved in mood regulation. Low levels of

Vitamin D have been linked to depressive symptoms, and studies have shown that Vitamin D supplementation may help alleviate symptoms of depression and improve overall mood. Additionally, Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of SAD, a type of depression that occurs seasonally, often during the winter months when sunlight exposure is limited.

Furthermore, research suggests that maintaining optimal Vitamin D levels may be beneficial for cognitive function and reducing the risk of cognitive decline, including conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. [,]

Vitamin D from Food Sources

While sunlight exposure and supplementation play significant roles in maintaining optimal Vitamin D levels, obtaining Vitamin D from food sources adds an extra layer of support.

A well-balanced diet that includes Vitamin D-rich foods ensures that you are not solely relying on a single source for this vital nutrient. It also allows for the synergistic benefits of other nutrients found in these foods, promoting overall health and well-being.

What foods are high in Vitamin D?

  1. Fatty Fish: Fatty fish are among the best natural food sources of Vitamin D. Salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, and tuna are particularly high in Vitamin D. Aim to include these fish in your diet at least twice a week to boost your Vitamin D levels.
  2. Mushrooms: While not as abundant as in fatty fish, certain types of mushrooms can provide Vitamin D. Exposing mushrooms to sunlight or UV light increases their Vitamin D content. Examples include shiitake, maitake, and portobello mushrooms.
  3. Egg Yolks: Egg yolks contain small amounts of Vitamin D. Including eggs in your diet can contribute to your overall Vitamin D intake, but it is worth noting that the concentration is lower compared to fatty fish and fortified foods.
  4. Fortified Milk, Yogurt, OJ, and Cereals: Many foods are fortified with Vitamin D to help address deficiencies. Common examples include milk (both dairy and plant-based alternatives), orange juice, breakfast cereals, and yogurt. Check food labels to see if they are fortified with Vitamin D.
  5. Beef Liver: Beef liver is a nutrient-dense food that contains Vitamin D along with other essential nutrients. However, it is important to consume liver in moderation due to its high cholesterol content.
  6. Cod Liver Oil: Cod liver oil is a concentrated source of Vitamin D and other beneficial nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids. It is available in liquid or capsule form and can be taken as a dietary supplement.

Vitamin D Supplements

Types of Vitamin D supplements: D2 vs. D3

When it comes to Vitamin D supplements, two main types are commonly available: Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D3 is the form naturally synthesized in the skin when exposed to sunlight, while Vitamin D2 is derived from plant-based sources.

Vitamin D3 is considered the more effective form as it is better absorbed and utilized by the body. It has a higher affinity for the Vitamin D receptors, leading to more significant increases in Vitamin D levels compared to Vitamin D2. Studies have shown that Vitamin D3 increases and maintains blood levels of Vitamin D more effectively than Vitamin D2.

Most experts recommend choosing Vitamin D3 vs D2 supplements whenever possible, especially for individuals with limited sunlight exposure or those at risk of deficiency. However, Vitamin D2 supplements can still be suitable for individuals following a strict vegan or vegetarian diet.

Factors to consider when choosing a Vitamin D supplement

When selecting a Vitamin D supplement, factors you should consider include:

  1. Dosage Form: Vitamin D supplements come in various forms, including capsules, tablets, softgels, liquids, and gummies. Choose a form that is convenient and easy for you to take based on personal preference.
  2. Quality Standards: Look for supplements that undergo third-party testing to ensure quality, purity, and accurate labeling. Certifications such as USP (United States Pharmacopeia) or NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) provide an extra level of assurance regarding the product’s quality and safety. Bonus points for ingredients sourced from and manufactured in North America because then you’re supporting more American businesses.
  3. Potential Allergens: Check the supplement label for potential allergens such as gluten, soy, dairy, or nuts if you have specific dietary restrictions or allergies. Opt for supplements that are free from allergens or suit your dietary needs.

Potential risks and side effects of excessive Vitamin D intake

While Vitamin D is crucial for health, excessive intake can lead to potential risks and side effects. It is important to avoid excessive supplementation and follow recommended dosage guidelines. Some potential risks of excessive Vitamin D intake include:

  1. Hypercalcemia: Excessive Vitamin D can lead to an imbalance in calcium levels, resulting in symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, frequent urination, and in severe cases, kidney stones or kidney damage.
  2. Vitamin D Toxicity: Extremely high doses of Vitamin D over an extended period can result in Vitamin D toxicity. This condition can lead to symptoms like weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, and even heart rhythm disturbances.
  3. Interactions with Medications: Vitamin D supplements can interact with certain medications, including certain diuretics, corticosteroids, and anticonvulsants. It is essential to discuss with a healthcare professional if you are taking any medications to ensure safe and appropriate Vitamin D supplementation.


Maintaining adequate Vitamin D levels is essential for our overall health and well-being. By incorporating Vitamin D-rich foods, considering supplementation when necessary, and seeking professional guidance, we can support our bodies in achieving optimal Vitamin D levels and enjoy the numerous benefits it offers.

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Announcing New Pure Food Collagen Peptides Powder

pure foods collagen peptides powder

I have fantastic news to share with you! Our new product, Pure Food Collagen Peptides, is now available.

Our collagen powder is formulated using hydrolyzed bovine collagen, renowned for its exceptional bioavailability. This means that your body can absorb and utilize the collagen more effectively, maximizing its benefits, which include:

  1. Support skin health: Collagen is an essential protein in the skin, providing structure and helping maintain elasticity. Some studies suggest that collagen supplementation may improve skin hydration, elasticity, and reduce wrinkles. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food demonstrated improvements in skin elasticity and moisture content after collagen supplementation. [Source:]
  2. Improve joint, tendon, and ligament health: Collagen is a major component of cartilage, which cushions and supports joints. Research suggests that collagen supplementation may help reduce joint pain and improve joint function, particularly in people with osteoarthritis. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that collagen supplementation improved symptoms and reduced pain in individuals with knee osteoarthritis. [Source:]
  3. Support hair and nail growth: Collagen contains amino acids that are important for hair and nail growth. A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology reported that a specific collagen peptide improved hair thickness and strength. [Source:]
  4. Promoting gut health: Collagen contains amino acids, such as glycine and glutamine, which are important for maintaining a healthy gut lining and proper digestion. [Source: and]
  5. Aiding in weight management: Collagen is a satiating protein that can help you feel fuller for longer, potentially reducing cravings and supporting weight management efforts.
  6. Supporting athletic performance, lean muscle growth, and recovery: Collagen is an important component of muscle tissue and may play a role in muscle repair and recovery. [Source:]
  7. Supporting bone health: Collagen is a critical component of bones, providing structure and strength. Regular collagen intake may help maintain bone density and reduce the risk of age-related bone conditions. [Source:]

And unlike many collagen powders on the market, Pure Food Collagen Peptides Powder dissolves instantly in both hot and cold beverages and is completely odorless and tasteless. No more unpleasant odors or overpowering flavors. Simply mix it into your favorite drinks and enjoy a seamless collagen boost without compromising the taste or aroma of your beverage. Say goodbye to grainy or chalky textures like other protein sources and hello to a smooth, clump-free experience.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to be one of the first to experience our new product!

The Ultimate Guide to Mushroom Powders: Benefits, Side Effects, and Types

best mushroom powders

Mushrooms have long been valued for their medicinal properties, and their popularity as a health supplement has skyrocketed in recent years.

But with a wide array of mushroom types available in the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the best mushroom supplement that suits your needs.

In this new guide, we will break down the different types of mushroom strains and highlight their unique benefits and potential side effects, to help you make an informed decision if you’ve been considering a mushroom capsule or powder.

The Benefits of Taking Mushroom Supplements

Even though we sell a mushroom powder capsule, here’s the truth: mushrooms are not a magic pill that’s going to cure all your health ailments. 

Research on the benefits of mushroom supplements is limited. More peer-reviewed, placebo-controlled studies are needed to better understand the safety, side effects, risks and potential benefits

But for some people, mushroom supplements in powder and pill form may have a beneficial effect. 

In this article, we’ll review some of the (admittedly small) studies that have shown promise and talk about the benefits and potential risks of taking mushroom capsules and powders in supplement form.  

Types of Mushroom Supplements

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Hericium erinaceus (lion’s mane) are edible mushrooms commonly found during late summer and fall on hardwood trees like American beech and maple. Lion’s mane mushrooms contain a number of phytochemicals, including polysaccharides, such as β-glucan. 

According to a 2015 research report, Lion’s mane “is one of the well-established medicinal mushrooms for neuronal health. It has been documented for its regenerative capability in peripheral nerve.” 

A 2020 research review stated that lion’s mane mushroom “has been shown to have various health benefits, including antioxidative, antidiabetic, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antihyperglycemic, and hypolipidemic effects,” “has been used to treat cognitive impairment, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, “ and “may be a potential alternative medicine for the treatment of depression.” 

In a clinical study of 30 men and women with mild cognitive impairment, oral administration of 1 g of lion’s mane mushroom 3 times a day over 16 weeks increased cognitive function scores. There were no adverse effects according to laboratory tests. 

Research is limited on the side effects of lion’s mane mushroom. In one clinical study in which lion’s mane mushroom 1 g was taken 3 times a day over 16 weeks, mild stomach discomfort and diarrhea were reported in some study participants. 

As far as drug interactions go, lion’s mane mushroom might lower blood sugar levels, and taking lion’s mane along with diabetes medications might cause blood sugar to drop too low. Lion’s mane mushroom might also slow blood clotting. Taking lion’s mane along with medications that also slow blood clotting might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

Turkey Tail Mushroom

Turkey tail mushrooms, or Coriolus versicolor, are a type of fungi that grow on tree trunks and fallen trees. It has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries in Asia and also is commonly found throughout the world, including in wooded areas in North America. It contains two compounds, in particular–polysaccharide peptide (PSP) and polysaccharide krestin (PSK)–which have been found in smaller studies to have some beneficial effects. 

In Japan, PSK is an approved anticancer drug currently used as a cancer treatment along with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. It is used as an adjunctive treatment for esophageal, lung, stomach, breast, and colon cancer. A meta-analysis of three trials involving 1094 subjects with colorectal cancer confirmed that those who took PSK showed a significant improvement in overall survival and disease-free survival.

In a 2020 study called Assessment of Bioactive Compounds and Antioxidant Activity of Turkey Tail Medicinal Mushroom Trametes versicolor (Agaricomycetes) found that turkey tail mushroom extract was a “promising source” of antioxidants. 

In a 2018 research review, study authors noted “Trametes versicolor are much more advanced in terms of medical applications due to their uncovered strong and complex immunomodulatory potential provided by rich polysaccharide and proteoglycan diversity. There are numerous clinical trials confirming applicability of these mushrooms and their extracts as components of modern anticancer chemotherapy. But the complex modes of action and molecular targets as well as exact structures of the active molecules from these mushrooms still have to be studied in more detail.” 

In terms of side effects, turkey tail mushroom is likely safe for most people. For most healthy adults, it is well-tolerated. Some people who are receiving chemotherapy and PSK have reported nausea, vomiting, low white blood cell counts, and liver problems. But it is unclear if these side effects were due to the chemotherapy or PSK.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. PSP might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.

Cyclophosphamide may interact with turkey tail mushroom. PSP might change how quickly cyclophosphamide is removed from the body.

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates) interacts with turkey tail mushroom. 

Reishi Mushroom

Reishi is a dark mushroom whose botanical name is Ganoderma lucidum. Reishi is considered an adaptogen, a compound that may help the body cope with stress and boost the immune system.

Reishi mushroom is important in traditional medicine systems of several countries in Asia, including China, Japan, and Korea. 

As far as benefits go, reishi mushrooms are believed to have immunomodulatory properties, meaning they can help regulate and enhance the immune system. They have been shown to stimulate the activity of certain immune cells, such as natural killer cells and lymphocytes, which play a crucial role in fighting infections and preventing the growth of cancer cells.

Reishi mushrooms contain bioactive compounds, including triterpenes and polysaccharides, which have demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects in studies. These compounds may help reduce inflammation in the body and potentially lower the risk of chronic diseases.

Reishi mushrooms are considered adaptogens, substances that can help the body adapt to stress and promote overall well-being. They have been traditionally used to reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and enhance mood. Some studies suggest that reishi mushrooms may regulate the body’s stress response by reducing cortisol levels and promoting relaxation.

Reishi mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, which help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. By reducing oxidative stress, reishi mushrooms may contribute to overall cellular health and potentially protect against chronic diseases associated with oxidative damage.

Side effects of reishi may include:

  • Nausea (feeling like you’re going to throw up)
  • Insomnia (trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early)
  • Liver injury

Other side effects of reishi mushrooms include dry mouth, rashes, upset stomach, diarrhea, headache, nosebleed, and dizziness.

The safety of reishi mushroom in pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding has not been thoroughly studied.

Reishi might lower blood pressure, so taking both reishi and drugs to reduce blood pressure (such as captopril, enalapril, lisinopril, amlodipine, hydrochlorothiazide) might make blood pressure too low.

  • Reishi might slow blood clotting, so combining reishi with drugs that slow clotting (for example, clopidogrel, ibuprofen, naproxen, heparin, and warfarin) might increase the chance of bleeding and bruises.
  • Reishi could make some chemotherapy drugs less effective (although conversely it may make some chemotherapy drugs more effective).
  • Reishi may interfere with a lab test for a serum tumor marker (CA72-4) that indicates the presence of certain types of cancers.

Porcini Mushroom

Porcini (Boletus edulis) is a highly prized edible mushroom known for its distinct flavor and nutritional value. While scientific research on Porcini mushroom supplements is limited, the mushroom itself has several potential health benefits.

Porcini mushrooms contain various bioactive compounds, including phenolic compounds and polysaccharides, which have shown antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities in preclinical studies. These properties may contribute to their potential health benefits.

Porcini mushrooms are a good source of essential nutrients such as vitamins B, D, and minerals like copper, potassium, and selenium. These nutrients play important roles in supporting overall health and immune function.

As for side effects, Porcini mushrooms are generally considered safe for consumption and are widely consumed as a food source. However, some individuals may be allergic or sensitive to mushrooms in general. If you have known allergies or sensitivities to mushrooms, it is advisable to avoid Porcini mushroom supplements. Additionally, always ensure that you obtain Porcini mushrooms from trusted sources and properly cook them to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Shiitake Mushroom

Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) mushrooms are widely consumed in Asian cuisines and are renowned for their potential health benefits. 

Shiitake mushrooms contain a unique polysaccharide called lentinan, which has demonstrated immunomodulatory effects in preclinical studies. Lentinan may help enhance immune function and support overall immune health.

Some studies suggest that compounds found in Shiitake mushrooms, such as eritadenine and beta-glucans, may contribute to cholesterol management and overall cardiovascular health. However, more research is needed to establish the extent of these effects in humans.

Shiitake mushrooms are generally safe to consume as a food source. However, some individuals may develop an allergic reaction or experience digestive issues such as stomach discomfort or diarrhea. It is advisable to start with small doses when incorporating Shiitake mushroom supplements into your routine and monitor your body’s response.

Chaga Mushroom

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a fungus that primarily grows on birch trees in cold regions. It has been used in traditional medicine for centuries and is gaining popularity as a functional mushroom. 

Chaga mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, particularly a group of compounds called triterpenes. These antioxidants may help protect against oxidative stress and support overall well-being.

Some studies suggest that Chaga mushrooms may have immunomodulatory effects, enhancing immune function and potentially supporting the body’s defense against infections and diseases. However, more human research is needed to validate these effects.

Chaga mushroom supplements may interact with certain medications, such as anticoagulants and immunosuppressants. If you are taking any medications or have underlying health conditions, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating Chaga mushroom supplements into your routine.

It’s important to note that while these mushrooms show possible health benefits, further research is needed to understand their mechanisms of action, optimal dosages, and potential side effects. As with any dietary supplement, it is recommended to choose reputable sources and consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new supplement regimen.

Risks and Side Effects of Mushroom Capsules and Powders 

Mushroom capsules and powders have gained popularity as dietary supplements, but as we’ve covered, some  come with risks and side effects. Allergic reactions can occur, although they are rare.

Contamination is also a concern, as mushrooms can absorb pollutants during cultivation, harvesting, or processing.

Interactions with medications are possible, as mushrooms can interfere with drug metabolism.

Excessive consumption may lead to digestive issues like bloating and diarrhea. Some mushrooms have anticoagulant properties, which can be beneficial or increase bleeding risk for certain individuals.

To minimize risks, consult a healthcare professional if you have allergies, are on medications, or have pre-existing conditions. Choose reputable brands that conduct quality control and testing.

Conclusion: What to Look for in Mushroom Pills and Powders 

Mushroom supplements, such as lion’s mane, turkey tail, chaga, and reishi, have gained popularity for their potential health benefits. These mushrooms are believed to have immune-boosting, antioxidant, and adaptogenic properties.

While preliminary research is promising, it’s important to note that more studies, especially on humans, are needed to fully understand the effects and determine optimal dosages. If you’re considering taking mushroom supplements, it’s advisable to consult with your healthcare provider to ensure they are safe and suitable for you, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications.