Is there a pill out there that will make me smarter?

I’ll bet I’m not the only Baby Boomer searching for the Holy Grail of brain power! Some of us are beginning to wonder if we may be running on a slim margin.

As it turns out, mushrooms are not just those things the grandkids pick off their pizza and throw at each other. In fact, mushrooms have magical properties not relegated to pizza or psychedelics.

The Good news:

Mushrooms help regulate blood sugar and can even improve cognitive function.

Common Button mushrooms

These can be purchased at any grocery store and prove significant enough to be published in the Journal of Functional Foods. Their importance begins in the large intestine, where the mushrooms are fermented by good bacteria. There they produce short-chain fatty acids.

I didn’t know what short-chain fatty acids were, so, I looked them up on Google.

Google says: Your body makes many different types of short-chain fatty acids. Two common short-chain fatty acids are called acetate and butyrate. They benefit your body because they reduce inflammation.

 Short-chain fatty acids, through lowering inflammation, can change your genes along the gut-brain pathway so that glucose in your body is more effectively managed. That means less glucose fluctuation, fewer symptoms of uncontrolled blood sugar and sharper mental acuity, also.

Button mushrooms have natural vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for those of us who spend lots of time indoors. Vitamin D keeps bones and immune system strong, warding off cancer-causing tumors.

How many Button mushrooms a day will do the trick?

 Just three ounces.

What about the mental acuity mushrooms may provide?

Lion’s Mane Mushroom is a weirdly beautiful member of the mushroom family, a traditional choice in Chinese medicine due to its wide-ranging health benefits. It’s a strange-looking mushroom with a large cap and shaggy white mane. Some label it monkey-head mushroom, bearded tooth mushroom, satyr’s beard, bearded hedgehog mushroom, pom-pom mushroom, or bearded tooth fungus.

Proponents claim that lion’s mane can help with a variety of health problems, including:

Alzheimer’s disease



High cholesterol


Parkinson’s disease


What have studies shown about Lion’s Mane Mushroom?

Alleviation of stress and anxiety.

Many people have symptoms of stress and anxiety, two of the prevalent disorders of our times. A lot of us are racing to keep up, and peddling in third place. I don’t like the idea of stressed mice, but Lion’s Mane lowered stress and anxiety when fed to the rodents.

Anxiety causes atrophy of neurons in the hippocampus. If you become anxious enough, your brain is in a constant state of worry and fear, and this can be debilitating. According to,, stress can damage the brain and cause structural degeneration and impairment of the hippocampus.

The words, “I just can’t think!” Come to mind.

How is stress and anxiety alleviated?

Researchers believe that the hippocampus regulates feelings of anxiety and stress. Studies with animals indicate that Lion’s Mane Mushroom extract may lower inflammation, thus promoting regeneration of hippocampus cells, giving relief from anxiety and stress.

What about depression?

A small study was published in Biomedical Research in 2010. Thirty menopausal women ate cookies containing Lion’s Mane mushroom or a placebo for four weeks. The studies showed that the women consuming the Lion’s Mane mushroom were less irritable and anxious and had better results concentrating than the placebo women.

Wish I’d known about that! I could have been a little less ‘irritable and anxious!’

But, I digress.

Immune function and Lion’s Mane Mushroom

This mushroom works in much the same way as the above Button mushrooms, lowering inflammation through intestinal fermentation.

Will Lion’s Mane modify dementia symptoms?

Mice are closer to human models than you may suppose. From studies using mice, Lions Mane seemed to prevent the brain build-up of amyloid-beta plaques, which suffocate brain signals and cause memory loss. Although symptoms were reduced or eliminated in mice, no such studies have been done on humans at this time. However, subjective studies with older adults showed strong cognitive improvement when individuals took 3 grams of powdered Lion’s Mane every day.

That is wonderful news!

I’m all in!