Microdosing Benefits

Microdosing Benefits

Humans have been consuming mushrooms since our evolution over 7 million years ago. The spiritual, medicinal, and recreational use of activated mushrooms is an ancient practice that dates back thousands of years. Prior to 1971, scientists were engaged in avid research about the benefits and potential of activated mushrooms. After decades of work to destigmatize the practice, scientists and advocates are conducting new research. In recent years, the medicinal and therapeutic use of activated mushrooms has grown in popularity. 

In particular, the practice of microdosing, or taking small doses of activated mushrooms, is trending throughout entire communities. In Silicon Valley, many programmers microdose activated mushrooms to enhance their creativity, energy, focus, and critical thinking. Online microdosing communities have grown exponentially in the last few years. Over 40,000 users subscribe to the microdosing subreddit on Reddit.com. 

What is a Microdose?

A microdose is generally considered a dose between 5 and 10 percent of a standard dose. The purpose of microdosing is to bring about the benefits observed with a full dose without the full experience. Microdosing frequency is different for everyone, some dose daily and some dose weekly. The practice is most commonly repeated every 3 to 4 days. 

Those who microdose do it for a variety of reasons. Those who microdose have found relief and improvement in their mental, physical, spiritual, social wellbeing. Some people microdose to increase their energy, some to find peace, and some to enhance their creativity. Because the benefits reported by those who microdose are so numerous, the diversity of the microdosing community continues to grow. 

What are the Benefits of Microdosing?

The intake of activated mushrooms primarily affects the serotonin in the human brain. Serotonin is a chemical messenger that helps with mood stabilization, cognition, sleeping, eating, and other physiological processes. Currently, scientists hypothesize that microdosing can improve the functionality of serotonin in the brain, as well as increase neuroplasticity, which may explain microdosers’ reports of improved outlooks and overall wellbeing. 

Most of the official research on activated mushroom use was conducted before 1970 and focused on full-dose studies. The colloquial popularity of microdosing has inspired further research. Rotem Petranker is a leader in the scientific exploration of microdosing activated mushrooms and determined to expand the limited research on the practice. Currently, he is conducting a placebo-controlled study to substantiate the reported benefits of microdosing effects. In his previous research, published in 2019, Petranker developed a codebook of microdosing benefits and challenges. Most participants reported no challenges or negative side effects aside from illegality. Over 90 percent of participants reported improved mood, over half reported reduced anxiety, and a vast majority of participants reported improvements in their physiological health. 

This study revealed a wide array of perceived benefits from microdosing. In addition to the previously mentioned benefits, participants reported improved focus and energy, cognitive and creative enhancement, increases in self-efficacy, reduced symptoms, and increased social capabilities. Other studies across the globe are also being conducted to learn about the effects of microdosing activated mushrooms on people with a variety of conditions. At Johns Hopkins, scientists are focusing on how activated mushrooms affect behavior, mood, cognition, brain function, and biological health. Through their research, the team hopes to uncover the potentially activated mushrooms have to help with Alzheimer’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, eating disorders, and opioid, nicotine, and alcohol addiction. 

Microdosing Benefits – Final Thoughts

According to anecdotal testimony, microdosing activated mushrooms may help people relieve a variety of negative symptoms and enhance an array of positive human attributes. Those who microdose have reported increases in happiness, sense of peace, optimism, appreciation of life, spiritual insight, extraversion, and empathy, as well as a reduction in fear. Microdosing enables the consumer to unlock the benefits of activated mushrooms in an approachable way. 

As the practice of microdosing continues to grow in popularity, scientific research will continue expanding alongside it. Activated mushrooms offer incredible potential and may provide powerful abilities for future society as we develop further research. In fact, in November 2020, findings were published in Neurotherapeutics through an exploratory controlled study that provides preliminary evidence that activated mushrooms provide long-lasting therapeutic benefits to migraine sufferers. 

Best Mushrooms For Brain Health

Mushrooms are fascinating organisms that have existed on this planet since the beginning of time. Used both in the culinary and wellness realms for almost as long, fungi run the gamut of both flavor and effect. In terms of medicinal mushrooms, the compounds have been touted for their perceived abilities for everything from digestive health to immune system function.

Certain fungi may also have a dramatic effect on cognitive function. But which are the best mushrooms for brain health? Read on to find out.

Mushrooms for Brain Health – A Brief Overview

There are thousands of varieties of mushrooms in the natural world, with several unique species represented. Research on which specific mushrooms boost brain health remains somewhat limited but typically focuses on three types: reishi, cordyceps, and lion’s mane (more on them later). However, it turns out even commonly used culinary mushrooms like oyster and shiitake could bode well for our brains.

Researchers at the University of Singapore recently found increased mushroom consumption may protect the brain from decline. The six-year study followed 663 Chinese adults over the age of 60, revealing those who ate mushrooms as part of their regular diet twice a week performed better on cognitive function tests and processed information faster than those who only had one serving per week or less. The correlation is surprising and encouraging, with scientists eager to continue exploring how the unique antioxidants in mushrooms could impact efforts to prevent conditions like dementia.

Now let’s explore how the three mushrooms mentioned earlier (reishi, cordyceps, and lion’s mane) may boost brain health.

Reishi — The “Mushroom of Immortality”

Ganoderma mushrooms, typically referred to by their Japanese name reishi, was nicknamed “the mushroom of immortality” thanks to its multitude of perceived benefits. One of the most interesting abilities lies in its neuroprotective properties. A 2012 study published in the journal Neuropharmacology found reishi extract promotes the production of nerve growth factor, an important protein for peak neurological performance. While this research was conducted on mice, it can be deduced the compound would serve a similar purpose in humans.

Cordyceps — A Rare and Powerful Fungus

Cordyceps is not technically a mushroom, but it is a fungus. Typically found on certain types of caterpillars in Himalayan mountains (making it exceedingly hard to come by), most commercial cordyceps are synthesized in labs at scale. Highly desired for its myriad of potential health benefits, this compound has revealed itself to be an excellent aid for cognitive function. A 2018 Chinese study suggests cordyceps improved learning and memory in mice by destroying oxygen free radicals and thus preventing oxidative damage.

Another study published in the Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences showed the compound helps protect the brain’s hippocampus and may be a beneficial treatment for certain neuroinflammatory conditions. These studies have encouraged researchers to continue to examine the possibilities cordyceps may have in preventing and treating such issues.

Lion’s Mane — The Brain’s Best Friend

If there’s one mushroom that seems to be most impactful on neurological health, it’s lion mane. This superhero fungi has been shown time and time again to boost brain function and help protect the organ from future damage. In mice, the compound has decreased memory loss and prevented the build-up of amyloid-beta plaques known to lead to Alzheimer’s, according to research.

In humans, lion’s mane has also indicated promise. A survey of older adults with mild cognitive impairment showed those who took three grams of powdered lion’s mane mushroom daily for four months had increased mental function. Scientists believe lion’s mane abilities come from the presence of hericenones and erinacines, two compounds known to stimulate brain cell growth.

Mushrooms For Brain Health — Final Thoughts

Mushrooms are a fantastic dietary source of a wide range of compounds known to have a positive impact on brain health. Many of these, such as lion’s mane, cordyceps, and reishi, may also have an effect on cognitive decline, helping prevent devastating conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. While more research is needed to cement these findings, the current research is indeed promising. Beginning a mushroom regimen may help boost brain function, but always consult with your primary care provider for medical advice prior to starting.