Mushrooms have been used as a health supplement and foodstuff for centuries, but it’s only recently that they’ve begun to gain such respect in the Western wellness world. The benefits of mushrooms for men cover much of what we need for general health, but they can also create a nourishing base against some of the most severe ailments men commonly experience.
Current research shows that the essentials of a well-balanced diet don’t vary much between the sexes.
The fundamentals are the same: fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and dairy low in saturated fats are beneficial food sources. Trans fats and loads of sugar or salt can damage our gut health, brain health, blood pressure, and nervous system — among other aspects of overall wellness.
Still, some bodies of research say that differences do exist (1). These differences broadly relate to hormones and sexual anatomy, bone structure, muscle mass, and caloric intake, per University Hospitals.
Some requirements for certain nutrients go beyond general wellness. Take heart health, for example.
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports that men are likely to develop heart disease ten years earlier than the female sex. Harvard Medical School supports the risk assessment by noting that men are twice as likely to experience heart attacks.
That isn’t all, unfortunately. Men contract bladder cancer at four times the rate of women, are more likely to develop kidney stones and are at risk of prostate cancer.
Turning to whole foods for needed biochemicals is important, but the health benefits of mushrooms are also a great way to work valuable goods into our diet.
Men need a few key nutrients to sustain general wellness:
In addition to these “standard maintenance minerals,” consuming complex compounds like antioxidants can help lower the risk of specified conditions.
Note: Eating foods or supplements with caches of these minerals and compounds isn’t a treatment for said conditions. Nor are they guaranteed to prevent them.
Maitake mushrooms are packed with free radical-reducing antioxidants like the polysaccharide beta-glucan, which effectively reduces oxidative stress.
This sort of pressure on your cells is like an inflammation catch-22; oxidative stress leads to inflammation, inflammation generates more oxidative stress, and the whole thing leads to a friendlier environment for cancer cells. Not good.
So while maitakes are a potent anti-cancer agent thanks to said glucans, there’s something else about the shroom that specifically relates to the heightened male risk of bladder cancer. Prior research aimed at reducing or outright eliminating bladder cancer cells revealed that maitake extract is specifically adept at doing so (2).
It’s a tired, old stereotype that men constantly forget the important dates in their lives.
And yet, male memory and focus still get a bad rap. If you want your brain capacity to be unimpeachable, lion’s mane supplements can help.
Recent studies of this shroom point towards significant neurotrophic effects, especially related to the cognitive issues that cause Alzheimer’s. Lion’s mane may be able to aid with our memory and cognitive performance, though more research is needed on human subjects (3)
However, not only does lion’s mane have the potential to uplift our brain functions, but promising research suggests that non-fruiting body parts of the fungi (i.e., mycelium) may also exert powerful antidepressant properties (4).
You’ve probably been eating mushrooms from this family for a while now, but were you aware that it has powerful cardiovascular benefits?
Prior studies into oyster mushrooms showed reduced blood glucose and cholesterol levels in diabetic subjects (5). More recent research doubled down on these findings by acknowledging that oysters are effective at lowering LDL cholesterol triglycerides (6).
Since men should take special care of their blood vessel health and cardiovascular system, oyster supplements are a great addition to the regimen.
Outside the world of medicinal shrooms, shiitakes already have a lot going for them.
Along with being a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate, complete protein, this edible mushroom packs a punchy, umami-forward flavor that’s as good in soups as supplements. But the advantages of shiitakes go beyond your macros.
As Healthline details, they are stacked with nutrients. Zinc and niacin are abundant, as are vitamins D and B. Shiitakes can also introduce a reasonable amount of selenium into your diet.
Regarding men, shiitake (along with button mushrooms) have a powerful antioxidant called ergothioneine, which may exhibit anti-prostate cancer actions in our cells (7).
Poria mushrooms are not as common of a functional fungus in the Western world, though they have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for generations. Some supplement blends include it, but you’re more likely to find singular poria extracts.
What’s unique about this shroom concerning men’s health needs is that poria mushrooms have been observed as a potential natural therapeutic for kidney health, including an ability to reduce kidney stones (8).
Few medicinal mushrooms have gained as high of a profile as Chagas in recent years. It’s a rich source of vitamins, iron, potassium, and other key minerals men need for general wellness.
A unique benefit of Chaga (along with the dense polysaccharide content indicative of highly antioxidative benefits) is that it does wonders for bacteria in our guts (9).
Healthy management of gut microbiota translates to improved immune function, better digestion, and even improved nerve function.
TCM practitioners have long been known to use cordyceps as a therapeutic natural medicine for fatigue, sickness, and sexual health (it’s called the Himalayan Viagra for a reason).
The polysaccharide composition of cordyceps militaris has shown promising effects on biochemicals that are directly tied to tiring out (10). However, human subject-based research is needed; the potential for cordyceps to keep the body moving well seems vast.
Similarly, animal studies showed cordyceps might reduce blood sugar levels (11) and offer anti-aging effects paired with improved sex drive (12).
Reishi mushrooms are like the Jamie Foxx of the fungi world. That is to say; they are multi-talented. As a superior adaptogen, the antioxidants in reishi can fortify your immune system (13), serve as an adjunctive cancer therapy, and reduce stress (14).
Some supplements come in capsule form, while others may be consumed as tea or coffee, in the form of mushroom powder or liquid tincture.
In general, the recommended dosage for mushroom supplements will vary depending on the specific product, the desired health benefits, or an individual’s age, weight, and personal health factors.
For instance, cordyceps are believed safe in a dosage of 1,000 to 3,000 mg daily, while lion’s mane is recommended only from 250 to 1,000 mg.
Guys, this is one time you don’t want to skip the directions. It’s essential to follow the instructions on the label and not exceed the recommended dose. Consult your healthcare professional before starting a supplement regimen.
Mushroom supplements are generally safe to consume on a regular basis. Still, there are some exceptions wherein mushrooms exhibit mildly discomforting side effects if taken too much.
This might include stomach troubles (like diarrhea, nausea, or bloody stools), but symptoms can also extend to your head through dizziness, headaches, dry mouth and/or throat, and even nosebleeds.
It’s best to start with a low dose and go from there. Be sure to consult your healthcare professional before taking supplements, especially if any of these side effects begin.
Whether you are looking to sharpen your mental focus, improve the strength of your cardiovascular health, or even just avoid getting fatigued at the gym, there is a mushroom supplement for that.
Folks who are looking to add a layer of defense against some of the more dangerous maladies that the male sex faces need look only as far as a supplement offering several of these shrooms together.