Treatment-Resistant Depression: Can this mental health condition be fixed? Increasingly, the answer is yes. Treatment-resistant depression is when a person has tried every therapy to help with his/her depression to no reward. It is the single-most contributor to worldwide disability. Fortunately, recent results show that some species of fungus can help with treatment-resistant depression. These include psychedelic and adaptogenic mushrooms.
However, some of the best mushrooms against depression are illegal; these are magic mushrooms. They contain psilocybin, which is a Schedule controlled substances. Studies show it has the same effects in the brain as electroconvulsive therapy and could just be the jolt individuals need to get out of their depressive states.
Mushrooms rich in psilocybin include Liberty Caps and Amani. Under the influence of psilocybin, more brain cells interact with each other bringing flexibility to an otherwise rigid thought process. Clinical trials suggest Psychedelics like psilocybin could be effective against PTSD, anorexia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other personality disorders.
Magic mushrooms are illegal to grow, possess, or distribute in any form. There is no way to take them unless you bend to the ground and graze them if they are growing in your property, and no police officer is around to slap the cuffs on you.
But while you cannot get your mitts on magic mushrooms, it does not mean your depression can’t be helped with other types of mushrooms. Adaptogenic mushrooms are useful against depression too. They fight against physical, chemical, and biological stressors. They also improve sleep, reduce fatigue, and promote optimum blood sugar levels. Some have even got antitumor and antiviral properties, making them effective against certain cancers and cold.
Here is a breakdown of the best medicinal mushroom for depression. You can buy them fresh, dried in supplements, or tincture forms in your local stores without worrying about the law.
Shiitakes are savory magical mushrooms. They have been part of Asian culture for centuries. They are sort for their medicinal and culinary value. They were originally discovered by the Japanese but can be found in most parts of central Asia. Because they are versatile, tasty, and readily available, shiitakes are a wonderful way to start your shrooms journey.
Where to look for them
You will find fresh shiitakes in most fresh markets in the U.S. You can also look for them in health food stores, grocery shops, or Asian markets. You can also get powdered forms, tinctures, or supplements.
Shiitakes are one of the best mushroom supplements for depression.
Beyond improving the taste of your meals, shiitakes serve as adaptogens. These versatile mushrooms help the body fight against chemical, physical, and biological stressors. If you feel listless and unmotivated, fatigued, and depressed with recurrent colds, shiitakes can help with these symptoms.
In a study conducted on 132 neurasthenia patients, after 8 weeks of taking Shiitakes supplements, the participants reported a reduction in fatigue, headaches, irritability, and dizziness. They also reported improvement in the quality of life.
Shiitakes are also good for cardiac health. They promote optimum blood pressure, circulation, and a healthy heart. High and low blood pressure make depression worse by leading to mood changes. By helping maintain healthy blood pressure, shiitake alleviates symptoms of depression.
How to use Shiitakes
Shiitakes are slimy in texture with a vibrant, smoky flavor. You can use fresh shitakes or soak dry pieces until soft and use them to make soup or add them in your greens for some heart-friendly meals.
Side effects of Shiitakes
In most cases, Shiitakes do not have any horrible effects. Most people tolerate these medicinal mushrooms well when taken by way of mouth.
However, that doesn’t imply there are no serious concerns. In excess, shiitake may result in the following health issues:
· Excess shiitakes intake leads to stomach upsets.
· Breathing problems
· Increased sensitivity to the sun.
For pregnant and breastfeeding moms, there are not enough studies on the safety of the mushroom. To be on the safe side, steer clear of the product.
Reishi is an enormous mushroom with an orange cap that is shaped like a kidney. It goes by the scientific name Ganoderma lucidum. Its other names include linghzi and the �mushroom of immortality.’
Reishi has been used in traditional Asian culture for culinary and medicinal benefits for centuries now. As a medicine, it’s used to enhance immunity, protect against viruses, inhibit tumor progression, and treat insomnia. Preliminary studies suggest Reishi can fight cancers like prostate, breast, and colorectal. Reishi is also an excellent adaptogen to help the body combat sources of depression.
How Reishi helps with depression
As an adaptogen, Reishi has antioxidant, soothing, and relaxing properties. It contains polypeptides, which are precursors for endorphins and neurotransmitters. They help respond to emotions better. Lab results show Reishi contains as many antioxidants as green tea.
Reishi also helps relax muscles; it acts on the autonomic nervous system, reducing the effects of caffeine, leading to general relaxation. It can also be used for its tonic and revitalizing effects.
Where to find Reishi mushrooms
It is not easy to find whole reishi mushrooms. You may try your luck in Asian markets. They may be in capsules, tincture, or fresh form. They have a tough, woody feel and, therefore, not easy to prepare.
Reishi mushrooms are better prepared with lots of herbs and spices to disguise their bitter flavor. Boil in ginger, garlic, and onions, or just stir in garlic mushroom-tomato sauce.
You can also prepare a hot, soothing cup of tea using Reishi powder or use it in your preferred chocolate dessert ideas.
Potential side effects
Like shiitake, Reishi is mostly safe when taken by mouth. The extracts are also safe when the label of use is followed. However, in some cases, long-term use of powdered reishi has been associated with an increase in liver toxicity.
Other side-effects of reishi include
· Dry mouth, nose, and throat
· Stomach upset and diarrhea
Chaga mushroom is a species of fungus that flourishes in cold climates. You will spot it on the barks of birch trees. For centuries, locals in Siberia and some parts of Asia have used Chaga to enhance immunity and boost overall health. It packs lots of radical-fighting antioxidants. Despite its ugly appearance, it is starting to show up on grocery store shelves and fresh farmers’ markets in the western world.
You will find Chaga in powdered, capsule, and tincture form. You can also look for dried chunks or try your luck with mushroom-based coffee substitutes.
What does Chaga contain?
Chaga is low in calories, high in antioxidants, and rich in fiber. It has got an earthy, mildly bitter flavor, making it a superb coffee alternative. A cup of tea prepared from Chaga is rich in antioxidants, which are beneficial molecules against fatigue, aging, inflammation, stress, and much more. But the consumption of Chaga is not without risks, as explained later.
How is Chaga effective against depression?
The antioxidants in Chaga may alleviate depressive symptoms. Depression is positively associated with oxidative stress. By combating free radicals, Chaga might protect against depression.
Chaga also prevents inflammation in the brain by enhancing the formation of anti-inflammatory cytokines. It excites white blood cells to combat viruses and harmful bacteria.
Chaga is also a good detoxifier. It increases urination, and in consequence, more water is consumed, which helps flush toxins from the body that would otherwise cause undesired chemical changes in the brain.
Chaga also improves sleep. It promotes vasodilation, reducing blood pressure and excess heat, leading to better sleep. Taking a cup of tea prepared using Chaga induces REM sleep. REM sleep is essential for cellular regeneration and tissue healing. Moreover, you wake up refreshed and with a clear mind.
How to identify Chaga
To get the right Chaga, read product labels well. In the case of unknown additives, don’t shy from asking for verification. For dried chunks, the color should range from orange to dark brown. In the case of dark colors, probably the fungus wasn’t peeled correctly before pulverization; this can be toxic, keep off the product.
Side effects of Chaga consumption
Most people tolerate Chaga quite fine. However, there are no studies on its safety and official serving sizes. Chaga may interact with other medications causing horrible effects. It is not advisable to mix the supplement with insulin and diabetes medication.
Chaga also doesn’t mix well with blood-thinning medication. It has a protein that may interfere with blood clotting. Chaga consumption is not advisable for individuals with a bleeding disorder or those preparing for surgery. Lastly, since it is obtained from the barks of trees, it may cause allergic reactions in some individuals.
Additional side-effects of Chaga include:
· kidney damage due to oxalate
· an overreactive immune system
· low blood sugar
Cordyceps is a substance of the species fungi that thrives on caterpillars in China’s mountainous regions. It also goes by the aliases Chenille, Tochukaso, and Dong Ching Xia Cao. Some versions of cordyceps are cultivated on grains for vegan individuals.
Other medicinal benefits of Cordyceps include treating nighttime urination, kidney disorders, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, coughs, and opium addiction. Studies suggest the mushroom may help with depression too.
How is Cordyceps effective against depression?
For centuries, Asians have used Cordyceps to boost sex drive, treat fatigue, and as an energy booster. If you are feeling low and need a boost before your workouts, this fungus will help.
Cordyceps contains cordycepin, which is an anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-fatigue, and pro-immunity compound. It is therapeutic promotes resistance to stress, fatigue, and anxiety by activating an individual’s adrenal glands and adjusting the nervous system leading to improved athletic performance and better muscle recovery.
Cordyceps also improves an individual’s blood sugar level. Clinical depression and elevated blood sugar levels are positively associated. Hyperglycemia makes depression worse. Poor blood sugar may affect mood, thus reinforcing depression. By improving one’s blood sugar, cordyceps acts as an anti-depressant. It enhances metabolism and improves mood.
A study conducted on patients with depression also reveals that cordyceps alleviates sleep symptoms. Depressed individuals experience big-time sleep disorder. By improving an individual’s sleep patterns, Cordyceps leads to better mood and clarity of mind.
Where to find the mushroom
Like all Asian mushrooms, you can look for fresh or dry cordyceps in Asian markets. You can also find it in tincture form or as an ingredient in mushroom-based coffee products.
It can easily be incorporated into many cooking ideas. Feel free to mix with other foods and drinks.
Most people tolerate cordyceps quite well when taken by mouth and only for the short-term. However, the following special precautions apply:
· Pregnant and breastfeeding moms should steer clear
· Individuals with autoimmune conditions should avoid it
· Avoid mixing it with other medications
The Lion’s Mane fungus species also go by the aliases yamabushitake or hou tou gu. They get the name Lion’s mane because of their huge, white, shaggy appearance. In Asian culture, they are used in culinary and medical applications. It is considered a natural brain booster. If you need some mental clarity, a dose of this mushroom is good for you.
Where to look for Lion’s Mane mushrooms
Fresh and dry chunks of Lion’s mane mushroom are often sold in grocery shops, farmers’ markets, and other specialty stores. Lion’s Mane can be eaten raw, dried, and mixed with food and drinks. They are also available in tincture form as OTC health supplements.
How Lion’s Mane helps with depression
Lion’s Mane mushroom contains hericenones and erinacines, which studies show are good for cognitive health. The combined effects of these two compounds put a stop to cognitive decline by increasing the production of nerve growth factors leading to neurons’ growth. It is good for improved brain functions and a calm state of mind.
Studies also suggest it acts as a neuromodulator, reducing brain cells’ activities responsible for anxiety and depression. After taking Lion’s Mane, participants in a study reported better sleep and alleviation of anxious-depressive symptoms.
Lion’s mane is also good against inflammation. It controls inflammatory substances and promotes better cognitive functions. All these effects are good for adapting to stressful situations.
How to use the Lion’s Mane
In terms of texture, the Lion’s Mane mushroom is firm. In terms of flavor, it will remind you of a lobster. Saute sticks of the mushroom butter with black pepper and garlic. Or instead of butter, some olive oil will do.
Potential side effects
No studies have been conducted on Lion’s Mane mushroom’s side effects and its extracts in humans. In most cases, the mushroom is tolerated well.
However, anyone who is asthmatic should stay away from Lion’s Mane since it is a species of fungi.
The side effects of Lion’s Mane include:
· Difficulty breathing
· Skin rashes
Turkey tail is a species of fungus. It is shaped like a fan. It gets its name from its distinguishing red, brown, and orange circles. It is an alternative traditional medicine for various types of cancer, mental disorders, digestive, respiratory, and urinary tracts inflammations.
Turkey tail is also effective against depression.
It packs loads of antioxidants comprising flavonoids and phenols, which reduce inflammation by boosting pf protective compounds’ production.
The antioxidants also fight against physical and mental fatigue. By combating free-radicals, Turkey tail protects brain cells from degeneration, thereby keeping neuropsychiatric disorders at bay.
Turkey’s tail may also boost the effectiveness of certain cancer treatments. It is used in combination with traditional chemos to fight certain types of cancer. Now the exact mechanism of depression is unknown, but a cancer diagnosis is often followed by depression in most cases. By improving the immunity of cancer patients, turkey tail boosts hope for better health.
Where to find Turkey Tail
Like all Asian shrooms, you can try your luck in Asian markets. You can also find it in powders, capsules, or tincture form. Turkey tail is quite chewy, with a savory flavor. You can take it fresh or soak dried chinks of the shrooms in warm water until soft and use it to prepare soup or mix with veggies.
Side effects of Turkey Tail
Turkey’s tail is mostly safe when taken by mouth for the short-term. Horrible effects arise when the mushroom is misused, mixed with other medications, or taken by individuals with allergic conditions. There are also no studies on its safety for pregnant and breastfeeding moms. You’d better avoid it.
Adverse effects of turkey tail include:
· Increased liver toxicity
While psychedelic mushrooms are illegal, there are other medicinal mushrooms you can use to fight depression. In most cases, mushrooms have two health benefits: they boost the immune system and help combat stress. Consequently, they are effective against depression.
However, you’d do well to remember there is no magic bullet to a healthy mind and general well-being. In most cases, one’s mind is just as healthy as the individual lives.
Lifestyle changes are a must for a healthy mind. A lot of exercises combined with brain-protective foods such as fruits, veggies, and omega-3 fatty acids are key to a healthy mind. While at it, adopt a positive outlook on life. Surely, it’s hard to stay positive always, but you can do it by taking one moment at a time.