HEADACHES - Functional Mushrooms may be able to help
News

HEADACHES - Functional Mushrooms may be able to help

Functional mushrooms have been shown to have potential benefits in alleviating headaches through various mechanisms. Here are some notable examples and their modes of action:

1. Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus)

Benefits:

  • Lion's Mane is known for its neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties.

Mode of Action:

  • Nerve Growth Factor (NGF): Lion's Mane stimulates the production of NGF, which supports the growth and maintenance of neurons. This can help in reducing headache severity by enhancing nerve function and reducing neuroinflammation.
  • Anti-inflammatory Effects: It reduces the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are often implicated in headache and migraine pathophysiology.

2. Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)

Benefits:

  • Reishi is renowned for its adaptogenic properties, helping the body manage stress, a common headache trigger.

Mode of Action:

  • Anti-inflammatory Effects: Reishi inhibits the release of inflammatory mediators such as histamine, prostaglandins, and cytokines, which can reduce headache occurrence.
  • Modulation of the Immune System: It helps balance the immune response and reduce chronic inflammation that can lead to headaches.
  • Stress Reduction: By modulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, Reishi can help reduce stress levels, indirectly reducing headache frequency and intensity.

3. Cordyceps

Benefits:

  • Cordyceps is known for enhancing energy levels and reducing fatigue, which can benefit individuals whose headaches are triggered by low energy and exhaustion.

Mode of Action:

  • Enhanced Oxygen Utilization: Cordyceps improves oxygen uptake and utilisation, potentially reducing headaches related to poor oxygenation.
  • Anti-inflammatory Effects: Like other mushrooms, Cordyceps reduces inflammatory cytokine production, helping mitigate headache triggers.

4. Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)

Benefits:

  • Chaga is highly regarded for its antioxidant properties, which can help reduce oxidative stress, a known factor in headache and migraine pathogenesis.

Mode of Action:

  • Antioxidant Effects: Chaga contains high levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), which helps neutralise free radicals, reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.
  • Immune Modulation: It also helps modulate the immune system, reduce chronic inflammation, and potentially alleviate headache symptoms.

Mechanisms Involved in Headache Relief:

  • Reduction of Inflammation: Many functional mushrooms reduce inflammation by downregulating pro-inflammatory cytokines like TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6.
  • Neuroprotection: Mushrooms like Lion's Mane promote neurogenesis and protect against neurodegeneration, potentially alleviating chronic headaches.
  • Stress Reduction: Adaptogenic properties of mushrooms like Reishi help in managing stress, a common headache trigger.
  • Improved Blood Flow: Certain mushrooms enhance blood circulation, preventing headaches caused by poor blood flow.

Incorporating these functional mushrooms into a diet or as supplements can offer a natural approach to managing headaches, addressing both the symptoms and underlying causes. However, it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, especially for individuals with underlying health conditions or those taking other medications.