mushrooms in little white bowl on white background with Chinese writing on the background

Can These 2 Mushrooms Fight Fatigue and Brain Fog?

Introduction

Do you struggle with RA related fatigue and brain fog? Are you so tired when you wake up in the morning you hit the snooze button on your phone and climb right back under the covers? Is your brain as foggy as pea soup? Are you just plain tired of being tired?

Believe me, I know what this feels like — I’ve been there! You feel so freaking exhausted and it’s only 8 am ! And I tried a ton of stuff — and I mean a ton — to get rid of that awful rundown, exhausted feeling.

However, I did run across something I’d like to share with you that helped me get my get up and go back and start thinking clear as day again.

What is this miracle drug you ask? It’s no drug honey, it’s a mushroom. Chaga and Lions Mane to be exact. Don’t worry . I’m gonna give you all the deets about these 2 ‘shrooms and how they may help you feel better. Keep on reading to find out what you need to know.

What are Immune Modulating Mushrooms?

Immune modulating or medicinal mushrooms may help improve your immune function whether immune function is sleeping on the job or in overdrive. They may help your body better adapt to stressors and bring it back into balance.

Immune modulators can help stabilize and balance an overactive immune system as commonly seen in autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

BLACK Chaga mushroom on a tree

What is Chaga?

Chaga ain’t pretty – unless you think a lump of burnt charcoal is pretty, but looks aren’t everything. The deep black color is due to the high melanin content, making it protective against sun damage and aging.

This fungi grows mainly on birch trees and loves the cold weather of northern Europe, northern Canada, and Alaska.

Fun fact: It’s slightly bitter taste made Chaga a good coffee substitute in Finland during WWII. Odds are, if you like the taste of coffee, you’ll like the taste of Chaga.

It’s been used for centuries in traditional medicine to boost immunity and as a health tonic. Chaga’s rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals like the B vitamins, vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, and amino acids.

There are a few studies on Chaga’s ability to enhance cognitive function in animals. Chaga extract may help restore acetylcholine levels as well as certain drug interventions. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that promotes learning and memory.

Chaga may even help gobble up cancer cells — studies have found it may help decrease these cells in the brain, liver, and lung. It may also help lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

White Lions Mane mushroom on a tree trunk

What is Lions Mane?

This mushrooms gets it’s name from it’s white, shaggy texture resembling a lion’s mane. Lions Mane is a bit chewy but with a mild taste similar to chicken or fish.

What’s responsible for this magic mushrooms’ brain boosting power? The nerve growth factors found in Lions Mane help it regenerate and protect brain tissue.

Studies have shown this ‘shroom may help boost memory and cognition. One study found that Lions Mane improved cognitive function in humans who took it compared to those who didn’t.

An added benefit is it’s potential to help reduce anxiety and depression. Lions Mane may be beneficial in the treatment of dementia, heart disease, and diabetes.

BLUE AND GRAY INFOGRAPHIC ON MUSHROOMS WITH BENEFITS

Side Effects

Adaptogenic mushrooms are usually safe for most people. However, we’re all different and what works for one person, may not be the best thing for someone else.

If you have a mushroom allergy or sensitivity, it may be best not to consume medicinal mushrooms. Skin rashes or problems breathing have been found in some people after consuming Lions Mane. These reactions may be due to allergies.

Chaga may potentially interact with diabetes medications due to it’s blood sugar lowering ability. It also contains a protein that may inhibit blood clotting. Check with your doctor before taking if you’re on blood thinners, have a bleeding disorder, or getting ready for surgery.

mushrooms cooking in a black frying pain

Best Ways to Eat Chaga and Lions Mane

Adding mushrooms to your meals when cooking is a great way to fit these into your daily routine. Go for organic varieties if possible as mushroom are super porous so they easily absorbed any chemical or toxin in their environment.

If you can’t buy fresh whole adaptogenic mushrooms in your area, you can purchase the dried variety online or even grow your own at home.

Try slicing or sautéing Lions Mane as you would fish or chicken.

If just don’t like eating mushrooms, then powders or extracts may be a better option for you. These make it super easy to add Chaga and Lions Mane to smoothies, teas, soups, baked goods, and your favorite veggie stir-fry.

The 2 extracts I’ve used are Four Sigmatics Mushroom Elixir with Lions Mane and Mushroom Elixir with Chaga. FYI, I have no affiliation with this company, I just like their products.

Try this Brain Boosting Breakfast Smoothie recipe to start your day off right. It contains Lions Mane, maca, and holy basil to help get rid of brain fog and improve mental clarity.

Due to its bitterness, Chaga goes better with spices, like those found in chai. Adding Chaga extract to chai, coffee, or smoothies works really well.

Like hot chocolate? Well, give this recipe for Chaga Mushroom Hot Chocolate a try the next time you’re craving hot cocoa!

Conclusion

Fatigue and brain fog make you forget everything, especially when you’re in extreme pain! When you live in a rundown exhausted state, you tend to hit that brick wall head-on, sometimes on a daily basis.

RA fatigue sucks! Chaga and Lions Mane may help lift that foggy veil and help you think a little more clearly.

If you decide to give them a try, leave a comment and let me know if they worked for you.

***Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice***

About the author

Susan Taylor, RDN LD is a registered dietitian / nutritionist with 20+ years experience in the nutrition field.  Susan has worked in a variety of clinical settings including hospitals, longterm care, rehab, and private practice. She currently enjoys life in the Charleston, SC area and is always looking for ways to fit in a little more beach time.