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Cracking The Code On Nature’s Best Kept Secret: Medicinal Mushrooms.

Before I recorded today's podcast, I skipped my usual morning dark, black cup of aero-pressed coffee, and instead opted for something called “mushroom coffee”, which is a powdered blend of arabica coffee, chaga mushroom and cordyceps extract. 

So could drinking a tea made out of a specific mushroom lower your stress levels? Or even choosing to top your risotto with champions help prevent you from cancer? Out of the 150,000 known species of fungi about 300 have shown a wide variety of medicinal properties. Some “‘shrooms” have a hormonal balancing effect and some enhance the immune system, just to give a few examples.

So today, with Tero Isokauppila, the Co-Founder and President of Four Sigma Foods, we take a deep dive into these type of medicinal mushroom extracts, and you'll discover…

-The story behind Four Sigma Foods and how Tero got so interested in mushrooms…

-The important difference between a medicinal mushroom and a regular mushroom…

-How big pharmaceutical companies use mushrooms (and the mistake they make)…

-The best mushroom extract to use for stress…

-The best mushroom extract to use for immune system…

-The best mushroom extract to use for balancing blood sugar…

-The best mushroom extract to use for liver detox…

-The crazy story of where cordyceps mushroom extract actually comes from…

-Why most mushroom products are ineffective because they are grown on grain or rice and are simply full of starch rather than the beneficial bioactive compounds…

-Whether you should take mushroom extracts on an empty stomach or take with a meal…

-If adaptogens and mushrooms are safe for kids…

-The process via which a mushroom is harvested and then turned into something like a powdered extract or a tea…

-Whether you need to heat mushroom extract, or if you can simply add it to cold water…

Tero Isokauppila is the Co-Founder and President of Four Sigma Foods. Four Sigma Foods is a startup dedicated to democratizing the healing powers of mushrooms by making them accessible to everyone. The company currently sells superfood teas, mushroom-infused coffees and mushroom chocolates, and you can use discount code “ben-greenfield” to get 15% off anything from Four Sigma Foods.

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about medicinal mushrooms, Four Sigma Foods extract, or any of the other topics that Tero and I discuss? Leave your thoughts below!

16 thoughts on “Cracking The Code On Nature’s Best Kept Secret: Medicinal Mushrooms.

  1. Also, can Chaga be taken along with other mushrooms: Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, and Turkey Tail? A friend who has brain cancer has been taking all of these at once with meals…. I am not sure if thats a good idea… can you please help clarify this and tell me which which is best taken with… or without… others and if they be taken on empty stomach, too?

  2. Hello, I am currently taking Chaga by Host Defense. Is this one absorbable? Pls let me know when is the best time to drink to take capsule of Chaga? First thing in the morning on an empty stomach? or should it be taken with food? Pls let me know asap. Thanks!

  3. Just did some searching on Cordyceps as I have heard others tout them for Endurance such a Rich Roll…this blog post seems to break down the “studies” pretty well. Any counter evidence?

    http://www.citadelnutrition.com/_blog/Blog/post/C…

    (I AM NOT AFFLIATED IN ANYWAY WITH THAT SITE)

    1. Steve,

      The Pharmanex/Nuskin references seem typical to network/multi-level marketing. I'm always alarmed when words "proprietary blend" come up. This means somebody thinks they have outsmarted the natural/original product. A lot of the other marketing references go back to this study on mice, which is neither exactly optimal proof of anything http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26043568

      On the other hand there's a huge volume of proving health benefits of cordyceps, which is proven to contain polysaccharides, a nucleoside called cordycepin and a sterol known as ergosterol. All of these –especially the polysaccharides– are widely studied. Quickly searching there is 1,444 studies at PudMed on them. You can read more here: http://www.foursigmafoods.com/wp-content/uploads/…

      Also note that the cordyceps family was used in creating Novartis MS disease drug called Gilenya. In general this seems to be the direction of cordyceps research with more and more focus on autoimmune, including lupus. So saying that it does nothing is kind of extreme as well as even though I'm not fan of pharmaceuticals they still go through fairly extensive testing to get approved. Finally I think with all products the proof is in the pudding. With or without extensive research does it work on your body? Personally cordyceps is one of the most instantly noticeable health foods out there. In the last three years we've also seen time after time athletes report similar finding on themselves after using it.

  4. Hey Ben,

    After listening to this podcast I bought a cordyceps supplement and I don't seem to be able to digest it as it repeats on me for ages after I take it and I have it before my meals, so I've had to stop taking it now. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Angelo

    1. Which supplement did you buy? Some are more absorbable than others. For example, the cordyceps in CREO2 and the cordyceps in the NaturalForce product both seem to work just fine with most folks…I'd also check Examine.com for proper dosage and timing too…javascript:void(0);

  5. I collect Chaga for myself , family and friends quite a bit while hiking and trail running. We boil it for tea. Info is all over the place how to process it. Some say boil it for hours and use the same chunks multiple times. After that use it to make a tincture with alcohol. Some say scrape off the black out side while others say that part is the best cancer fighting portion. Also people use the tea bags one time. That seems a waste. What do you and your guest recommend regarding these thoughts?

    1. Great questions David!

      First and foremost, awesome that you are foraging. Just make sure you don't collect the whole chaga unless you know the tree will be cut. Otherwise it will die.

      So to your questions. You should boil the chaga chunks as long as they extract black color. You can only boil it for 1-2 hours and drink a milder "tea" and drink a lot of it…or boil for 12-24 hours for a medicinal decoction that you only need to drink few cups. So yes, you can and you should use the same chunks several times.

      After extracting all the immune system supporting ingredients with hot water you should –as you said– put it in alchohol to get the more adaptogenic fat soluble compounds out. It's also true that the black outer layer has different benefits than the inner brown part, BUT I think there's no reason why you wouldn't take the best of both worlds. So extract the whole chaga. The more ground up it is, the more there's surface to extract. Depending on your alcohol 4-8 weeks should do the trick.

      Our products are already pre-extracted with both water and alchohol. So in that case we've already done this few week process for you. But foraging yourself is always special experience so keep on doing that.

  6. Great Article! Thank you for sharing this content with us. Chaga mushroom is consumed mostly in the form of Chaga Extract or chaga tea. Herbalists tend to think that a liquid herbal extract contains more of its medicinal properties than capsule or tablet supplements offer to its consumers. Chaga has adapted agonic and other benefits that can help treat several diseases such as: Anti-inflammatory, anti-viral quality, Reduces hypertension, cancer etc. You can know more benefits of chaga mushrooms here: https://buytincture.com/chaga_tincture

  7. Hey Ben,

    In this podcast you mentioned you have found bitter melon extract to be effective at reducing postprandial glucose levels. What dose do you use to see this effect?

  8. Love the show, but please just one teeny tiny adjustment. It's becoming apparent that "segue" is Ben's favorite word and I'm glad he pronounces it correctly now :) But sometimes it's used when really "tangent" is more appropriate (e.g., when rambling on some side topic irrelevant to main topic). Nitpicking I know. Very grateful for your show regardless!

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