Myco Balance, is a unique formula containing medicinal mushrooms and herbs, which are studied and found to be an effective aid in a variety of health situations. In this article we will elaborate on the scientific proof for the activities and benefits of the following mushrooms and herbs regarding the brain and nervous system:
- Attention deficiency disorders (ADHD)
- Decline in memory and cognitive functions
- Mild depression/melancholy
The formula contains the following mushrooms and herbs:
- Withania Somnifera (Ashwagandha)
- Cordyceps Sinensis (Caterpillar mushroom)
- Hericium Erinaceus (Lion’s mane)
- Ganoderma Lucidum (Reishi)
- Bacopa Monnieri (Brahmi)
This article contains scientific and research reviews regarding the activity and efficiency of the mushrooms and herbs in Myco Balance formula (order).
Attention Deficiency Disorders (ADHD)
Attention deficiency disorder (ADHD) is the most common behavioral disorder among children, b and often lasts into adulthood. It is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder in childhood. Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (may act without thinking about what the result will be), struggle with forgetfulness, emotional problems, social awkwardness, and relationship difficulties. Psychostimulant drugs are the most common type of medication prescribed for attention deficit disorder.
These drugs work by increasing dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with motivation, pleasure, attention, and movement. For many people with ADHD, stimulant medications boost concentration and focus while reducing hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. It is known that only 70% respond to psychostimulant therapy, while 30% exhibit treatment-resistant symptoms, or are unable to tolerate such potential adverse effects as nausea, insomnia, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
This article will summarize the proof of the effect of specific active components of the formula on Attention deficiency disorder.
A study conducted in a children’s hospital in Pakistan investigated the effect of Withania somnifera root extract on the symptoms of anxiety among children with ADHD. 28 children were randomly assigned into intervention (Withania somnifera root extract) and control groups (placebo). The participants were selected according to the results of a clinical interview conducted by a child and adolescent psychiatrist based on the criteria of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders.
The data were collected using the Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety (RCMA) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Rating Scale questionnaires at the beginning of the study and on the third and sixth weeks after the intervention. The mean age of the participants in the intervention and control groups was 9.71 and 9.29 respectively. The total result of RCMA showed a decrease in the scores of both groups during the third and sixth weeks, compared to the beginning of the study. Moreover, the difference between the intervention and control groups was statistically significant. Researchers concluded that the use of Withania somnifera root extract among ADHD children suffering from anxiety symptoms reduced the symptoms of physiological anxiety, sensitivity, social concerns (i.e., hypersensitivity and centralization), and an overall score of RCMA
Hosseini, N. & Moharari, F. & Soltanifar, A. & Poor, A. & Hosseini, A. & Zahedian, F.. (2019). Evaluation of the effectiveness of withania somnifera root extract on the anxiety symptoms among children with ADHD in Mashhad. Pakistan Journal of Medical and Health Sciences. 13. 210-216.
Another component in Myco Balance formula that was proven to have a positive effect with attention deficiency disorders is the Ayurvedic Bacopa Monnieri herb.
An open-label clinical trial investigated the effectiveness of standardized Bacopa monnieri extract in ameliorating the severity of the symptoms of ADHD in children. The study was conducted at the Center for Research in Mental Retardation (CREMERE) in Mumbai, India, from 2008 to 2010. 31 children at ages 6-12 years, with an age of onset of ADHD before 7 years of age, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria for ADHD, were recruited to the trial. The children received Bacopa extract at a dose of 225 mg/day for a period of 6 months. All children were administered the Parent Rating Scale to assess the ADHD symptom scores at baseline, and at the end of the 6 months of treatment.
Research outcome showed a significant reduction in the subtests’ scores of ADHD symptoms, except for social problems. The symptom scores for restlessness were reduced in 93% of children, whereas improvement in self-control was observed in 89% of the children. The attention-deficit symptoms were reduced in 85% of children. Similarly, symptom scores for learning problems, impulsivity, and psychiatric problems were reduced for 78%, 67%, and 52% of children, respectively. It was observed that 74% of the children exhibited up to a 20% reduction, while 26% of children showed between a 21% and a 50% reduction in the total subtests scores. Researchers concluded that standardized extract of Bacopa monnieri was found to be effective in alleviating the symptoms of ADHD and was well-tolerated by the children.
Dave UP, Dingankar SR, Saxena VS, et al. An open-label study to elucidate the effects of standardized Bacopa monnieri extract in the management of symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. Adv Mind Body Med. 2014;28(2):10-15.
Another component found to be effective in ADHD is the Ganoderma lucidum mushroom.
A scientific review that was published in 2018, reviewed all scientific articles which were published in Chinese and in English in the China National Knowledge Infrastructure and in Pubmed during the years 1973-2017 regarding a Chinese medication named “Ji 731 Injection”, which is based on polysaccharides extracted from Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) mushroom and is given intramuscularly. The medication was registered in China in 1973, and was approved to be used as a drug by the Chinese FDA in 1985, under the name “Polysaccharidum of G. lucidum Karst Injection”.
To date, evidence has been presented that drug use has led to the disappearance of visceral ADHD symptoms, a common manifestation in ADHD sufferers who experience ADHD symptoms through abdominal symptoms. The scientific review mentions two cases in which two people with ADHD were given injections of Polysaccharidum of G. lucidum Karst. It has been found that the use of a medication based on the Reishi mushroom has resulted in both a complete reduction in symptoms within a very short period of time and a complete cure of the symptoms without them returning. Therefore, the Reishi extract has been added to the Myco Balance formula with the assumption that the active ingredients can also be transferred orally.
Wang ZY, Zhang ZY. Ganoderma lucidum spore powder preparations for the treatment of ADHD report two cases of visceral. J Tradit Chin Med. 1983;06:52.
A study was conducted to explore the mechanisms in which the Cordyceps Sinensis mushroom improves learning and memory in a mouse model. Mice were given scopolamine hydrobromide intraperitoneally to establish a mouse model of learning and memory impairment. The effects of Cordyceps polypeptide in this model were tested using the Morris water maze test. Mice were given either 225/450/900 mg/kg/day Cordyceps polypeptide or 600 mg/kg/day Piracetam drug or distilled water (placebo). Findings suggest that Cordyceps polypeptide may improve learning and memory in a mouse model of learning and memory impairment by scavenging oxygen free radicals (such as superoxide dismutase), preventing oxidative damage by lowering malondialdehyde levels, protecting the nervous system, and regulating genes involved in learning and memory impairment.
Yuan G, An L, Sun Y, Xu G, Du P. Improvement of Learning and Memory Induced by Cordyceps Polypeptide Treatment and the Underlying Mechanism. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018;2018:9419264. Published 2018 Mar 15. doi:10.1155/2018/9419264
Decline in Memory and Cognitive Functions:
Memory studies have shown that the cognitive impairment that occurs with aging does not result from a decrease in the number of neurons or the number of synapses in the hippocampus, the brain area where learning processes occur and new memories form, but from the quality of synapses and the efficiency with which they operate. Other causes of memory loss include trauma, poor nutrition (leading, among other causes, to oxidative damage and deficiency of vitamins and minerals essential for brain and nervous system function), stress, alcoholism, use of prescription drugs, poor blood flow towards the head, hypothyroidism and brain diseases.
This article details the evidence for the specific effect of the ingredients of the Myco Balance formula in regard to memory and cognitive functions impairment.
Hericium mushroom (Hericium Erinaceus) is known in traditional medicine as natural food for neurons. Two unique active ingredients hericenones and erinacines, which are found in the fruiting body of the fungus, have the ability to stimulate the secretion of the nerve growth factor (NGF), which is a growth factor affecting brain function and autonomic nervous system, as well as differentiation and re-myelination of neurons.
e neuronal growth factor NGF is a neuropeptide, which is a protein-like molecule that neurons use to communicate with each other. NGF also belongs to a family of nootropic factors, which are a family of biomolecules, mainly peptides or small proteins, that support the growth, differentiation, and survival of both developing and mature neurons. (Other examples of nootropic factors: BDNF, NT-3, NT-4).
The role of NGF is to bind to receptors on neurons, thereby controlling their growth rate, regulating nerve cell death during the maturation process of new neurons, and helping neurons recover from changes caused by injury, trauma or oxidation or aging of nerve cells. Most nootropic factors affect neurons through signaling via tyrosine kinase. In the adult nervous system, nootropic factors increase nerve survival, induce synaptic plasticity, and regulate long-term memory formation. Nootropic factors also have been found to have the ability to repair and regrow damaged nerves in laboratory tubes and in animal models. As we age, the total number of nootropic factors in the brain decreases, causing the brain to age. The researchers assume that this process is one of the causes of the development of Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The challenge associated with nootropic factors lies in the fact that they are excreted less and less as age increases on the one hand, and on the other hand, they have a high molecular weight, i.e., fail to cross the brain-brain barrier (BBB) or the myelin sheath barrier, which does not allow our brain and nervous system to utilize them from the food we eat.
The uniqueness of the active ingredients in the fruiting body of the Hericium erinaceus mushroom, hericenones, and erinacines, is their low molecular weight, which enables them to penetrate the BBB and the myelin sheath barrier, and stimulate the secretion of NGF directly within the brain and peripheral nervous system,
A double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trial was performed on 50-80-year-old Japanese men and women diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment in order to examine the efficacy of oral administration of Hericium mushroom, for improving cognitive impairment. 30 subjects were randomized into two 15-person groups, one of which was given Hericium and the other given a placebo.
The subjects of the study group took four 250 mg tablets containing Hericium dry powder three times a day for 16 weeks. After termination of the intake, the subjects were observed for the next 4 weeks. At weeks 8, 12, and 16 of the trial, the study group showed significantly increased scores on the cognitive function scale compared with the placebo group. The study group’s scores increased with the duration of intake, but at week 4 after the termination of the 16 weeks intake, the scores decreased significantly. The results obtained in this study suggest that the mushroom is effective in improving mild cognitive impairment.
Mori K, Inatomi S, Ouchi K, Azumi Y, Tuchida T. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2009;23(3):367-372. doi:10.1002/ptr.2634.
In a double-blind, multi-dose, placebo-controlled, crossover study, 20 healthy male participants were randomized to receive 250 mg two capsules twice daily of an encapsulated dried aqueous extract of Withania somnifera or a placebo for a period of 14 days. Cognitive and psychomotor performance was assessed pre-dose (day 1) and at 3 hours post-dose on day 15 using a battery of computerized psychometric tests. After a washout period of 14 days, the subjects crossed- over to receive the other treatment for a further period of 14 days as per the prior randomization schedule.
The same battery of tests procedures was performed to assess cognitive and psychomotor performance. At the end of the study, significant improvements were observed in reaction times with simple reaction, choice discrimination, digit symbol substitution, digit vigilance, and card sorting tests with Withania somnifera extract compared to placebo.
Calabrese C, Gregory WL, Leo M, Kraemer D, Bone K, Oken B. Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2008;14(6):707-713. doi:10.1089/acm.2008.0018.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the effect of Bacopa monnieri on attention, cognitive processing, working memory in healthy elderly. 60 healthy elderly subjects (mean age 62.62 years), received either 300/600 mg/day standardized extract of Bacopa or placebo once daily for 12 weeks. The bacopa-treated group showed improved working memory together with a decrease in both N100 and P300 latencies. The suppression of plasma Acetylcholine esterase activity was also observed.
Peth-Nui T, Wattanathorn J, Muchimapura S, et al. Effects of 12-Week Bacopa monnieri Consumption on Attention, Cognitive Processing, Working Memory, and Functions of Both Cholinergic and Monoaminergic Systems in Healthy Elderly Volunteers. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:606424. doi:10.1155/2012/606424.
A study is reported on the effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monniera) on human memory. 76 adults aged 40-65 years took part in a double-blind, randomized trial, placebo-controlled, in which they received either bacopa extract (37 subjects) or placebo (39 subjects), for a duration of 3 months. The results show a significant effect of the Brahmi extract on the retention of newly acquired information.
Roodenrys, S., Booth, D., Bulzomi, S. et al. Chronic Effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on Human Memory. Neuropsychopharmacol 27, 279–281 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1016/S0893-133X(01)00419-5.
A study conducted in Pavia university in Italy and was published in 2017 examined the influence of an oral administration of 0.025 gr/kg of the Hericium mushroom’s fruiting body extract on healthy mice cognitive skills and on hippocampal neurotransmission. Emergence test, a version of the open field test, and a novel object recognition task were used to assess the mice’s behavior. oral supplementation with Hericium mushroom induced a significant improvement in the recognition memory and an increase in spontaneous and evoked excitatory synaptic effect. In conclusion, findings support the concept that Hericium mushroom induces a boost effect onto neuronal functions also in nonpathological conditions.
Brandalise F, Cesaroni V, Gregori A, et al. Dietary Supplementation of Hericium erinaceus Increases Mossy Fiber-CA3 Hippocampal Neurotransmission and Recognition Memory in Wild-Type Mice. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017;2017:3864340. doi:10.1155/2017/3864340.
A mouse model study evaluated the nootropic effect of an oral administration of two different doses (150 and 300 mg/kg) of ethanol extract of Ganoderma lucidum against Physostigmine drug (0.1 mg/kg) and Scopolamine chloride (0.4 mg/kg) as positive and negative controls respectively, and against distilled water as a control. The results show that the Ganoderma lucidum extract has significantly increased the time spent in the target quadrant and decreased the escape latency in the Morris water maze model, as well as a decrease in the Initial Transfer Latency and Retention Transfer Latency in the elevated plus-maze model. Researchers concluded that Ganoderma lucidum has a physostigmine-like effect on the brain as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor.
Choudhary MI, Nawaz SA, ul-Haq Z, et al. Withanolides, a new class of natural cholinesterase inhibitors with calcium antagonistic properties. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005;334(1):276-287.
The active components of Withania somnifera root, VII–X and withaferin A, were investigated for putative nootropic activity in an experimentally validated Alzheimer’s disease rat model. Ashwagandha root extract at a dose of 20-50 mg/kg, improved the rats’ cognitive function and learning abilities, as well as increased their cholinergic markers, which decreased following Alzheimer’s disease.
Bhattacharya, Salil K. et al. “Effects of glycowithanolides from Withania somnifera on an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease and perturbed central cholinergic markers of cognition in rats†.” (1995).
An in-vitro study examined the neuroprotective effect of Withania somnifera extract in mild traumatic brain injury. The root extract resulted in an increased length of neurites projecting from the neuronal cell body after injury, and in reduced cell death. The cell death factor Bax expression was reduced 2-fold by the treatment, and injury-induced reduction in neurite lengths and numbers was reversed.
Saykally JN, Hatic H, Keeley KL, Jain SC, Ravindranath V, Citron BA. Withania somnifera Extract Protects Model Neurons from In Vitro Traumatic Injury. Cell Transplant. 2017;26(7):1193-1201. doi:10.1177/0963689717714320.
A mouse model experiment examined the neuroprotective effect of Withania Somnifera extract against exposure to BPA. Group-I served as control, group-II was administered with BPA 50 µg/kg/day for 21 days, and Group-III was intoxicated with BPA with given Withania root extract treatment (100 mg/kg/day, orally). The results of the study showed an improvement in the cognitive impairments of the mice in the study group that received the Ashwagandha extract at the same time as their exposure to BPA, improvements in the number of NMDA receptors in the hippocampal region in the brain, receptors linked to learning and memory abilities, and an increase in In the mice’s brains, which contributed to the reduction of oxidative damage in the mice’s brains.
Birla, H., Keswani, C., Rai, S.N. et al. Neuroprotective effects of Withania somnifera in BPA induced-cognitive dysfunction and oxidative stress in mice. Behav Brain Funct 15, 9 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12993-019-0160-4.
A study investigated whether withanolide A, isolated from the Withania somnifera root, could regenerate neurites and reconstruct synapses in severely damaged neurons among mice-induced neuronal atrophy and synaptic loss in the brain. Results showed that treatment with the Withania root induced significant regeneration of both axons and dendrites, in addition to the reconstruction of pre-and postsynapses in the neurons. Ashwagandha treatment also improved memory deficit in mice. After treatment with Ashwagandha, the decline of axons, dendrites, and synapses in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus were almost recovered.
Kuboyama T, Tohda C, Komatsu K. Neuritic regeneration and synaptic reconstruction induced by withanolide A. Br J Pharmacol. 2005;144(7):961-971.
The Myco Balance formula contains medicinal mushrooms and herbs with adaptogenic activity. Adaptogenic substances have been defined in scientific works as substances that improve the state of non-specific resistance of the body in stressful situations and help to prolong the duration of resistance to stimuli (stimulatory effect). Studies in animals and isolated neurons in the laboratory have found that adaptogenic substances induce neuroprotective, antidepressant, anxiolytic, and nootropic activity of the central nervous system during times of stress. In addition, a number of clinical studies have demonstrated that adaptogenic substances exert an anti-fatigue effect that increases mental work capacity against a background of stress and fatigue, particularly intolerance to mental exhaustion and enhanced attention.
Pharmacological studies examining adaptogenic substances have provided a rationale for these effects at the molecular level as well. It has been found that stress-protective activity is linked to the regulation of homeostasis through a number of mechanisms of action linked to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, i.e., the HPA axis, and through regulation of Key mediators of the stress response, such as molecular chaperones, which are proteins that help a wide variety of other proteins to fold into a normal spatial structure, while and at the end of their translation process, when the awning protein itself is not part of their final structure, such as c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase 1 (JNK1), which are activated in response to stressful situations, such as cortisol, a corticosteroid that is activated in response to chronic stress, and such as nitric oxide, which is linked to anxiety states resulting from persistent stress.
Panossian A, Wikman G. Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress-Protective Activity. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2010;3(1):188-224. Published 2010 Jan 19. doi:10.3390/ph3010188.
Modern studies have shown that adaptogens can non-specifically enhance the resistance of the human body under a wide range of external stress conditions in a multi-targeted and multi-channel network-like manner, especially by affect the immune-neuro-endocrine system and the HPA axis. Adaptogenic herbs, such as Ganoderma lucidum mushroom and Withania somnifera root, have been found to have the ability to increase the efficiency of the secretion of adrenal hormones, thus eliminating the production of excess hormones that occurs in situations of stress. Furthermore, these adaptogens can raise cellular energy levels and prevent oxidative damage, leading to the maintenance of normal adrenal gland function. Also, these two herbal substances have been found to have the ability to reduce the inflammatory process that occurs in situations of rheumatoid arthritis.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) it is believed that harmony and balance are indispensable for health and well-being, and the terms yin and yang are used to diagnose and cure diseases. Traditional Chinese medications called tonics are used to supplement deficiency and weakness conditions, to cure pathologies caused by Qi and blood deficiencies, and to treat Qi deficiency syndrome. Tonic substances are divided into Qi-supplementing medicines, yang -supplementing medicines, blood-supplementing medicines, and yin -supplementing medicines.
Tonic substances are usually also adaptogens, but not necessarily. They are similar to adaptogenic substances in many aspects: First, the clinical uses and mechanisms of action of these substances are similar. Based on their documented uses in traditional Chinese medicine, tonics, and adaptogens derived from the plant world can be described as substances that regulate body functions in order to achieve homeostasis, which according to the terminology used in traditional Chinese medicine means achieving a balance between yin and yang. The main effects exemplified by these substances are immune system regulation, improved nervous system disorders, anti-fatigue effects, and general nutrition. In terms of specific mechanisms, both types of substances can affect the HPA axis in the neuro-endocrine-immune system, thus achieving the pharmacological effects described above.
Tonic and adaptogens enrich and stimulate the blood (promote the secretion of erythropoietin and stimulants, such as colonies of macrophages), and regulate the humoral and cellular immune system, therefore are suitable for both immunodeficiency or immune weakness, such as recurrent winter ailments and cancer, and in situations of overactivity of the immune system, such as autoimmune diseases and allergies.
Chinese herbs, which are considered both adaptogens and tonics, include the roots of the ginseng family. Ashwagandha root, one of the most prominent plants in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, which is considered to be the Indian ginseng, is such a herb.
Researchers classified plants which are both tonics and adaptogens into two categories: The first category includes terpenoids with four-ring skeletons that are similar to cortisol; the second category includes aromatic compounds with structures similar to that of catecholamine. Ashwagandha root and mushrooms are examples of the first group. The Schisandra Chinensis herb, also known in traditional Chinese medicine as the ‘five-flavored plant’, is an example of the second group.
Liao LY, He YF, Li L, et al. A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide. Chin Med. 2018;13:57. Published 2018 Nov 16. doi:10.1186/s13020-018- 0214-9.
Reishi mushroom is one of the most researched mushrooms in the world and has been used for over 2,000 years in traditional Chinese medicine. This fungus has the oldest documentation for use in medicine in the Far East. The Chinese name Ling Zhi, which means “herb of spiritual potency”, symbolizes the potential for success, well-being, longevity, vitality, and good quality of life when using the fungus.
The mushroom has been officially documented in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as early as 502-536 AD in the first Materia Medica published. Centuries later, in 1590 AD, during the Ming Dynasty, a description of the well-known 16th-century herbalist named Li Shin-Zhen was found in the most comprehensive book of the Materia Medica written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine, also called Ben Cao Gang Mu or Compendium of Materia Medica, in which it attributes to the fungus tonic properties of strengthening the body systems (tonification), building Qi and vital energy, improving heart and brain function and anti-aging activity and delaying the aging process.
Emperors and nobles in China and Japan used to consume Reishi mushrooms to increase mental and emotional resilience. In Japan, the mushroom is called Mannentake which means “10,000-year-old mushroom”. The fungus is considered since traditional medicine to the present day as adaptogenic, which affects the adrenal function and increases the body’s resistance to stressful situations (both physical and mental).
Sissi Wachtel-Galor, John Yuen, John A. Buswell, and Iris F. F. Benzie. Book: Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Chapter 9, Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi). Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011.
Withania somnifera, or as it is more commonly known, Ashwagandha, and is referred to as the herb of the Indian Ayurvedic medicine as a Rasayana (tonic). It contains steroid esters, such as withanolides, and alkaloids, such as withanine, which have been found to strengthen and nourish and have the following activities: adaptogenic (anti-stress), anti-aging, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), anti-depressant, immunomodulation, and cognitive function enhancement.
Singh N, Bhalla M, de Jager P, Gilca M. Review An overview on ashwagandha: a Rasayana (rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2011; 8(5 Suppl):208-13.
Özdemir Z, Bildziukevich U, Wimmerová M, Macůrková A, Lovecká P, Wimmer Z. Plant adaptogens: natural medicaments for 21st century? ChemistrySelect. 2018;3(7):2196–2214. doi: 10.1002/slct.201702682.
Ashwagandha root is compared to the adaptogenic roots Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) and Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng) in its adaptogenic activity, hence was given the nickname Indian ginseng.
Singh N, Gilca M. Herbal Medicine – Science embraces tradition – a new insight into the ancient Ayurveda. Germany: Lambert Academic Publishing; 2010. pp. 51–67.
The adaptogenic and anti-stress activity of Ashwagandha root has been investigated in a number of scientific studies, which have proven its effectiveness in increasing physical endurance and preventing the formation of gastric ulcers in response to mental stress. The results of these studies support the hypothesis that tonic herbs are effective in preventing and treating many diseases caused by stress, such as premature aging, arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, and malignant diseases.
Singh N, Bhalla M, de Jager P, Gilca M. An overview on ashwagandha: a Rasayana (rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2011;8(5 Suppl):208-213. doi:10.4314/at cam.v8i5S.9
Abbas SS, Singh N. Anti-stress Agents (Herbs) of Indian Origin – Herbal Drugs, A twenty-first-century perspective. Delhi: Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences, Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), Govt. of India; 2006. pp. 578–591.
Kalsi R, Singh N, Gupta GP. Physiology of Human Performance. Delhi: Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), Govt. of India; 1987. Effects of stress and anti-stress drugs on succinate dehydrogenase enzyme (SDH) in rat brain (A possible role of SDH in stress adaptation phenomenon) pp. 114–117.
Singh N, Agarwal AK, Lata A, Kohli RP. Evaluation of ‘adaptogenic’ properties of Withania somnifera. Proc Indian Pharmacological Society. 1976;17.
Singh N. A new concept on the possible therapy of stress disease with ‘Adaptogens’ (Anti-stress drugs) of indigenous plant origin. Curr Med Prac. 1981;25:50–55.
Singh N, Singh SP, Sinha JN, Shanker K, Kohli RP. Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) A rejuvenator herbal drug which enhances survival during stress (An adaptogen) Int J Crude Drug Res. 1982;3:29–35.
Singh N. Effect of Anti-stress agents on receptor population in rat brain. The inaugural issue of J Biotech Med Plant Res, Lucknow. 1993b:14.
Singh N, Singh V, Abbas SS. Proc 2nd World Cong Biotech Dev Herbal Med. Lucknow (India); 2003. Role of Adaptogens / Antistress agents of plant origin in health care & stress diseases of man; p. 33
60-day, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study investigated the stress-relieving and pharmacological activity of an ashwagandha extract on stressed, healthy adults. 60 adults were randomly allocated to take either a placebo or 240 mg of a standardized ashwagandha extract (Shoden) once daily. Outcomes were measured using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A), Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale -21 (DASS-21), and hormonal changes in cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-S), and testosterone.
All participants completed the trial with no adverse events reported. In comparison with the placebo, ashwagandha supplementation was associated with a statistically significant reduction in the HAM-A and a near-significant reduction in the DASS-21. Ashwagandha intake was also associated with greater reductions in morning cortisol, and DHEA-S, compared with the placebo. Testosterone levels slightly increased in males but not females in the ashwagandha group. Findings suggest that ashwagandha’s stress-relieving effects may occur via its moderating effect on the HPA axis
Lopresti AL, Smith SJ, Malvi H, Kodgule R. An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019;98(37):e17186.
A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial, investigated the effects of standardized Withania somnifera root and leaf extract in chronically stressed humans. Participants were randomly assigned to either 125 mg QD or 125 mg BID or 250 mg BID or placebo groups. Stress levels were assessed at Days 0, 30, and 60 using a modified Hamilton anxiety (mHAM-A) scale. Between Days 0 and 60, the Withania 125 mg QD group decreased significantly more than placebo for a mean mHAM-A score, serum cortisol, serum C-reactive protein, pulse rate, and blood pressure, and increased significantly for mean serum DHEAS and hemoglobin. Other Withania treatment groups had greater dose-dependent responses in these parameters and had significantly greater responses compared to placebo in mean fasting blood glucose, serum lipid profiles, and cardiac risk ratios.
Auddy, Biswajit & Hazra, Jayram & Mitra, Achintya & Abedon, Bruce & Ghosal, Shibnath. (2008). A Standardized Withania Somnifera Extract Significantly Reduces Stress-Related Parameters in Chronically Stressed Humans: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. Journal of American Nutraceutical Association. 11. 50-56.
Chronic stress has been associated with a number of illnesses, including obesity. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial evaluated the safety and efficacy of a standardized root extract of the Ashwagandha herb. A total of 52 subjects under chronic stress received either Ashwagandha extract (300 mg) or placebo twice daily.
Measures assessment were Perceived Stress Scale and Food Cravings Questionnaire as the primary measure, and Oxford Happiness Questionnaire, Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire, serum cortisol, body weight, and body mass index as secondary measures. The treatment with Ashwagandha resulted in significant improvements in primary and secondary measures, and the herb was found to be safe and tolerable. The outcome of this study suggests that Ashwagandha root extract can be used for body weight management in adults under chronic stress.
Choudhary D, Bhattacharyya S, Joshi K. Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment With Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2017;22(1):96-106. doi:10.1177/2156587216641830.
A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial examined the effect of concentrated Ashwagandha root extract on stress and anxiety reduction in healthy adults aged 18-50, without psychiatric illnesses, who reported having chronic mental stress, did not take prescription drugs, and received a score below 15 on the World Health Organization-five (WHO-5) well-being index questionnaire and a score below 14 on the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) questionnaire. 64 adults with a history of chronic stress were randomized to either the placebo control group or the study drug treatment group and received one capsule twice a day for a period of 60 days. In the study drug treatment group, each capsule contained 300 mg of high-concentration full-spectrum extract of the Ashwagandha root. The treatment group that was given Ashwagandha root extract exhibited a significant reduction in scores on all the stress-assessment scales on Day 60, relative to the placebo group. The serum cortisol levels were substantially reduced in the Ashwagandha group, relative to the placebo group.
Chandrasekhar, K et al. “A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults.” Indian journal of psychological medicine vol. 34,3 (2012): 255-62. doi:10.4103/0253-7176.106022.
Ashwagandha root demonstrated anti-stress activity in an animal model study, which was performed in rats given 100 mg/kg powdered root or placebo in feeding before being forced to swim in cold water. The results of the study showed that among the rats that did not receive the Ashwagandha root, there was an increase in the plasma corticosterone level, in the phagocytic index, (which is determined by counting the number of bacteria ingested per phagocyte during a limited period of incubation of a suspension of bacteria and phagocytes in serum), and in the avidity index, (which is the overall binding of one antibody molecule to antigen, describing the sum of binding sites for the whole molecule (e.g., IgG has two binding sites, while an IgM pentamer has 10 binding sites)). In contrast, in the group of rats fed with the herb root, values closer to normal of these indices were observed, as well as longer swimming times, indicating significant potent anti-stress agent activity of the Ashwagandha root.
Archana R, Namasivayam A. Antistressor effect of Withania somnifera. J Ethnopharmacol. 1999 Jan; 64(1):91-3. doi:10.1016/s0378-8741(98)00107-x.
Exposure of rats to acute stress resulted in significantly increased ulcer index, adrenal gland weight, plasma glucose, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and creatine kinase (CK), and significantly decreased spleen weight. Pretreatment with Bacopa monnieri at 40 mg/kg significantly reduced the Acute stress-induced increase in the ulcer index, adrenal gland weight, plasma glucose, AST, and CK, whereas Pretreatment with 80 mg/kg significantly reversed the acute stress-induced changes in adrenal gland weight, spleen weight, plasma glucose, ALT, and AST.
Exposure of rats to chronic stress resulted in a significant increase in the ulcer index, adrenal gland weight, plasma AST, and CK with a significant decrease in the thymus and spleen weight, plasma triglyceride, and cholesterol. Pretreatment with Bacopa monnieri at 40 mg/kg significantly reversed changes in ulcer index and plasma AST, whereas the pretreatment with a higher dose significantly reversed chronic stress-induced changes in ulcer index, adrenal gland weight, CK, and AST. Rai D, Bhatia G, Palit G, Pal R, Singh S, Singh HK. Adaptogenic effect of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi). Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003 Jul;75(4):823-30. doi: 10.1016/s0091-3057(03)00156-4. PMID: 12957224.
The Chinese Cordyceps Sinensis mushroom, also known as the caterpillar mushroom, is also considered an adaptogenic fungus, which helps reduce stress and fatigue. Fatigue is a common symptom in both sickness and health. Fatigue is defined as difficulty starting or ending voluntary activities and can be classified as physical fatigue and mental fatigue. Chronic fatigue can affect a person’s performance. In China, the Cordyceps mushroom has been used for many years to restore health after illness and to accelerate recovery from disease-related exhaustion, due to its adaptogenic properties (antistress) and due to its ability to improve endurance, durability, and strength.
Bao-qin Lin and Shao-ping Li. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Chapter 5: Cordyceps as an Herbal Drug.
Chaudhuri A, Behan P. O. Fatigue in neurological disorders. Lancet. 2004;363:978–88.
Bucci L. R. Selected herbals and human exercise performance. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;72:624S–36S.
Mice with hypoferric anemia were fed with Cordyceps Sinensis mushroom extract (200 mg/kg/ day) and were placed on a diet containing Iron (35 mg Fe/kg/day) for a duration of four weeks. Cordyceps extract increased liver beta-ATP: inorganic phosphate value, thus, increased mice’s hepatic energy metabolism.
Manabe N, Azuma Y, Sugimoto M, et al. Effects of the mycelial extract of cultured Cordyceps Sinensis on in vivo hepatic energy metabolism and blood flow in dietary hypoferric anemic mice. Br J Nutr. 2000;83(2):197-204.
Feeding mice with 200 mg/kg/day of Cordyceps Sinensis mycelial extract for 3 weeks, led to a significant improvement in ATP: inorganic phosphate ratio in their liver from the end of the first week of feeding, indicating a high energy level. In addition, in the group of mice fed the mushroom, no fatty liver (steatosis), necrosis, inflammation, or fibrosis of the liver were observed.
Manabe N, Sugimoto M, Azuma Y, et al., editors. Effects of the mycelial extract of cultured Cordyceps Sinensis on in vivo hepatic energy metabolism in the mouse. Jpn J Pharmacol. 1996;70:85–8.
Mice were fed 200 or 400 mg/kg/day CordyMax Cs-4 (Cordyceps mushroom extract, based on the mycelial fermentation of the mushroom), or placebo, for 7 Days. Among the two groups fed the Cordyceps extract, an increase in beta adenosine triphosphate (ATP) was measured: an average level of 12.3% (in the group fed the low dose of the mushroom) and an average level of 18.4% (in the group fed the high dose of the mushroom). A decrease in hepatic inorganic phosphate level in the liver was also measured at 24.5% and 17.6%, respectively, as well as an average increase of 47.7% and 41.4%, respectively, in the beta-ATP: inorganic phosphate ratio, indicating an improvement in the liver energy level of the mice.
Dai G, Bao T, Xu C, Cooper R, Zhu JS. CordyMax Cs-4 improves steady-state bioenergy status in mouse liver. J Altern Complement Med. 2001;7(3):231-240.
Rats given a hot water fraction of Cordyceps mushroom at doses of 150 or 300 mg/kg/day, significantly prolonged their swimming time, compared to rats given a placebo, indicating a reduction in the level of stress and fatigue of the rodents. Administration of 150 mg/kg/day of the mushroom extract given to rats for 8 consecutive days, of which they were exposed to stress for 48 consecutive hours in the last two days of the study, led to a reversal of weight reduction in the liver, spleen, thymus and thyroid gland and reversal of adrenal weight increase. Since the reduction in the weight of these organs is related to the rat’s response to stress, the increase in the weight to their normal size indicates a reduction in stress. Moreover, feeding the rats with the mushroom extract significantly inhibited the increase in total cholesterol and the decrease in alkaline phosphatase levels, which are biochemical parameters of immobility in response to stress in rodents.
Koh J. H, Kim K. M, Kim J. M, Song J. C, Suh H. J. Antifatigue and antistress effect of the hot-water fraction from mycelia of Cordyceps Sinensis. Biol Pharm Bull. 2003b;26:691–4.
Mild Depression / Melancholy / Anxiety
Depression is a mood disorder, that appears in many forms, ranging from mild depression, sometimes referred to as melancholy, to moderate depression, to severe depression, also referred to as clinical depression or major depression.
Mild depression, or melancholy, is a mild and persistent feeling of depression that does not reach the intensities of severe clinical depression. It is a feeling of a bad mood, sadness, and displeasure from activities that has pleasure on their side. A person suffering from mild depression usually continues to function almost normally on a daily basis, go to work, accomplish his tasks, and keep up with family relationships, but does not find pleasure in the things he does, not even those that have interested him in the past. He has no joy in life or enthusiasm, he has no desire, and he has no initiative. He suffers from inner restlessness. He has no suicidal thoughts, but he no longer enjoys going out with friends, attending classes, or continuing to pursue hobbies that previously interested him, traveling or meeting with his family. In a state of mild depression, a person can be depressed for weeks, months, and even longer. People with mild depression are often not even aware that they are depressed, and it can be difficult to spot the signs of someone with high-functioning depression.
A feeling of depression is considered a normal response to various life situations, and it may pass after a reasonable period of time. This is in contrast to moderate or severe depression, which is a mental disorder with definite symptoms, and which can last for a long time.
A depressed mood may include feelings of worthlessness, rejection, emptiness, sadness, anxiety, guilt, and helplessness. Depressed people sometimes have difficulty concentrating on chores, and might suffer from memory problems, sleep disorders, or eating disorders. Since the body and mind are inseparable, the pain of the mind can also be expressed in physical pain, especially in headaches, abdominal pain, back pain, and chest pain.
Unlike mental stress, where the person is under great stress due to a temporary living situation, such as promotion to a new job in the current workplace or starting a job in a new workplace, heavy workload due to exams or a tight schedule, care for a sick family member, difficulty in managing time between the family, the children, the spouse, and the workplace, usually, as the stressful situation passes, the feeling of stress will also disappear. In contrast, in a state of anxiety, the fear or worry are existential fears and worries that do not go away and may even worsen as time goes on. Anxiety may arise even simply from the anticipation of danger or from the thought of the expected danger, and not necessarily from actual danger, and it may affect daily functioning and interfere with the performance of routine tasks. The duration or severity of anxiety feelings are excessive, disproportionate to the original trigger or stressor, and are usually manifested by physical symptoms.
Anxiety is a state of mind based primarily on fear. The person feels physical and mental restlessness, due to the thought that something bad is about to happen. Fear can result from a conscious and known source, such as fear of crowds, fear of flights, or fear of exams, and can result from an imaginary or unknown source, as in the case of anxiety attacks. Anxious thoughts may appear consciously as well as unconsciously. Anxiety is characterized by physical symptoms, such as increased heart rate, shortness of breath, sweating, muscle tension, tremor, and a feeling of fainting or dizziness, as well as mental stress, worry, and feelings of fear.
Anxiety and fear often occur together, and trigger the same symptoms, but differ based on their context. Fear relates to a known or understood threat, whereas anxiety follows from an unknown or poorly defined threat. Anxiety is a vague negative emotion, related to a stimulus perceived as a future danger, leading to a feeling of helplessness, while fear is a response to actual and immediate danger, leading to a “fight or flight or freeze” response.
Depression and anxiety are the most common psychiatric disorders in the general population. Due to their chronic nature, they are managed through a multidrug regimen lasting for long periods. Only about 30-50% of patients respond adequately to medications. Medication discontinuation leads to 25% recurrence in the first month and 80% recurrence and the first year. Despite several treatment approaches, there is no optimal method for managing patients with anxiety or depression. Therefore, researchers try to find new therapeutic approaches with fewer side effects.
In this article, we demonstrate scientific data regarding the effect of active components of the herbs and mushrooms in the Myco Balance formula on reducing and alleviating symptoms of mild depression and anxiety.
Withania somnifera root, also known as Ashwagandha or Brahmi, is widely used in Ayurvedic and traditional Indian medicine and is classified as part of a family of herbs called Rasayana, which are used to promote physical and mental health, protect against diseases, and delay aging processes. In Indian medicine, Ashwagandha root is used to stabilize the mood in patients with behavioral disorders. Due to its GABAergic effect, which has a beneficial effect on anxiety conditions, researchers conducted a clinical, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to examine the effect of the Ashwagandha root extract as an alternative treatment for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The article was published in April 2020.
22 patients were randomized to receive Withania somnifera extract (1 g/day), and 18 patients were randomized to received a placebo, for a duration of 6 weeks. All patients were under treatment with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) drugs. During the course of the trial, patients in the Withania group revealed a significant amelioration of HAM-A score and a significant reduction of the GAD score. The extract was safe, with no reported adverse effects.
Fuladi S, Emami SA, Mohammadpour AH, et al. Assessment of Withania somnifera root extract efficacy in patients with generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Current Clinical Pharmacology. 2020 Apr.
Withania somnifera has traditionally been used as an adaptogen in Ayurvedic medicine, and evidence suggests that it may have efficacy in the treatment of schizophrenia. A 12-week, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study, was conducted to review the change in depression and anxiety symptoms using Ashwagandha extract among patients with schizophrenia experiencing an exacerbation of positive symptoms in the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). 66 schizophrenic patients with depression and anxiety symptoms enrolled in the study. Medium effect favoring Withania extract over placebo was observed for depression and anxiety scores, suggesting that Ashwagandha may hold promise in the treatment of depression and anxiety symptoms among schizophrenia patients.
Gannon JM, Brar J, Rai A, Chengappa KNR. Effects of a standardized extract of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) on depression and anxiety symptoms in persons with schizophrenia participating in a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2019;31(2):123-129.
A clinical study published in 2011 investigated the effectiveness of Ganoderma lucidum spore powder against cancer-related fatigue (CRF) in breast cancer patients undergoing endocrine therapy. 48 women who received hormone therapy for breast cancer and experienced CRF, received either 1 gram of reishi spore powder three times a day, or a placebo, for four weeks. The results of the study showed a significant statistical improvement in the research group in the quality of life parameters, such as depression, anxiety, level of physical functioning, level of emotional functioning, and global quality of life, in comparison to the control group, in which almost no changes in these parameters were observed. In addition, a significant improvement in the inflammation cytokines was also observed in the study group.
Hong Zhao, Qingyuan Zhang, Ling Zhao, Xu Huang, Jincai Wang, Xinmei Kang. Spore Powder of Ganoderma Lucidum Improves Cancer-Related Fatigue in Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Endocrine Therapy: A Pilot Clinical Trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:809614. doi: 10.1155/2012/809614. Epub 2011 Dec 10.
Biological components hericenones and erinacines isolated from the Hericium erinaceus mushroom’s fruiting body are studied and found to stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) synthesis. A clinical study conducted in Japan and was published in 2010, investigated the effects of the mushroom on menopause symptoms, such as depression, sleep quality, and indefinite complaints, using the Kupperman Menopausal Index (KMI), the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and the Indefinite Complaints Index (ICI).
30 women were randomly assigned to receive cookies containing either Hericium powder (4 g/day) or placebo, for a duration of 4 weeks. Hericium consumption led to significantly lower scores in all four scales than the scores in the placebo group. “Concentration”, “irritating” and “anxious” tended to be lower in the study group than in the placebo group. Hericium intake reduced depression and anxiety in a different mechanism from the NGF-enhancing action of the mushroom.
Nagano M, Shimizu K, Kondo R, et al. Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium Erinaceus intake. Biomed Res. 2010;31(4):231-237. doi:10.2220/biomedres.31.231.
An animal model study investigated the anxiolytic and antidepressant activities of the bioactive glycowithanolides isolated from Withania somnifera root. Study groups received either 20 or 50 mg/kg Withania extract, orally, or either 0.5 mg/kg anxiolytic benzodiazepine lorazepam drug or 10 mg/kg tricyclic anti-depressant, imipramine, intraperitoneally, once daily, for 5 days.
Withania induced an anxiolytic effect, comparable to that produced by lorazepam, in the elevated plus-maze, social interaction, and feeding latency in an unfamiliar environment test. Further, both Withania and lorazepam, reduced rat brain levels of tribulin, an endocoid marker of clinical anxiety.
Withania also exhibited an antidepressant effect, comparable with that induced by imipramine, in the forced swim tests. The investigations support the use of the herb as a mood stabilizer in clinical conditions of anxiety and depression in Ayurvedic medicine.
Bhattacharya SK, Bhattacharya A, Sairam K, Ghosal S. Anxiolytic-antidepressant activity of Withania somnifera glycowithanolides: an experimental study. Phytomedicine. 2000;7(6):463-469.
A water-soluble extract from a culture medium of Ganoderma lucidum mycelia (0.3 or 1 g/kg, oral administration) was administered in an experimental animal model to mice, 60 min before forced swimming, open-field, elevated plus-maze, contextual fear-conditioning, and head twitch tests.
Treatment with the higher dose of Ganoderma extract (1 g/kg) exhibited antidepressant-like effects in the forced swimming test, attenuated freezing behavior in the contextual fear-conditioning test and decreased the number of head twitches. The mechanisms involved in the antidepressant-like action of the mushroom were most likely due to the antagonism of 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan (5-HT2A) receptors.
Matsuzaki H, Shimizu Y, Iwata N, Kamiuchi S, Suzuki F, Iizuka H, Hibino Y, Okazaki M. Antidepressant-like effects of a water-soluble extract from the culture medium of Ganoderma lucidum mycelia in rats. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Dec 26;13:370. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-13-370.
Another study examined the antidepressant effect of ethanolic extract of Ganoderma lucidum on the movement of mice in the forced swim, the tail suspension, and the open field test. Mice received either 20 mg/kg or 75 mg/kg or 130 mg/kg Reishi extract as study groups, or 20 mg/kg anti-depressant SSRI Fluoxetine (Prozac) drug as a positive control, or placebo as normal control.
The administration of the Reishi extract resulted in a significant decrease in immobility time in both the forced swimming test and the tail delay test when compared with normal control, with a greater effect of the higher amounts of the mushroom extract, and the effect of the mushroom extract was very close to that of the drug Fluoxetine, which also exhibited a significant decrease in immobility time.
Aslam Muhammad, Nasir Ali. Antidepressant-Like Activity of Ethanol Extract of Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) in Mice. International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences, 2017, 6(5): 55-58.
In another animal model study, antidepressant, anxiolytic, and anticonvulsant effects were observed when Ganoderma lucidum mushroom extract was given to mice before they were tested in the forced swim test, the elevated plus-maze test, and the 6-Hz seizure test. At doses ranging between 100-400 mg/kg of the mushroom extract, a significant increase was observed in the threshold for psychomotor seizures in the 6-Hz seizure test, and a significant reduction was observed in the immobility duration in the forced swim test.
Socala K, Nieoczym D, Grzywnowicz K, Stefaniuk D, Wlaz P. Evaluation of Anticonvulsant, Antidepressant-, and Anxiolytic-like Effects of an Aqueous Extract from Cultured Mycelia of the Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (Higher Basidiomycetes) in Mice. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2015;17(3):209-18.
Another study in an animal model examined the anti-depressant mechanism of Ganoderma lucidum spore powder. Rats were divided into five groups: one received 20 mg/kg/day fluoxetine (Prozac, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drug), the other received 50 mg/kg/day Ganoderma lucidum spore powder, the third group received 100mg/kg/day Ganoderma lucidum spore powder, the fourth received placebo, and the fifth received nothing. The study was conducted over 28 days. The results of the study exhibited an improvement in the depressive parameters of the rats in the study groups received from Ganoderma spore powder, a reduction in the level of inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α, a reduction in the level of norepinephrine, an increase in the level of 5-HT (5-hydroxytryptamine), and an increase in BDNF (Brain-derived nootropic factor) levels in the rats’ hippocampus.
ZHANG Tian-zhu; ZHAO Wan-jun; WU Guo-Liang;YAO Jin-fu. Effects of Ganoderma lucidum spore powder on depression. The Changchun University of Chinese Medicine. Lishizhen Medicine and Materia Medica Research. 2015-01.
Cordyceps Sinensis has been known as a component of traditional medicines that elicit various biological effects, including the anti-fatigue effect. Since it has been well-established that fatigue is closely related to depression, a mouse model study examined the antidepressant-like effects of hot water extract and supercritical fluid extract of Cordyceps mushroom using a tail suspension test. Study results showed a reduction of immobility time when mice were given 5-10 ml/kg supercritical fluid extract of Cordyceps mushroom oral administration.
Researchers concluded that supercritical fluid extract of Cordyceps mushroom may elicit an antidepressant-like effect by affecting the adrenergic and dopaminergic systems, but not by affecting the serotonergic system. This finding is of great significance, as one of the dangerous side effects of antidepressant or antianxiety treatment drugs is a serotonergic syndrome, i.e. a significant and sharp increase in serotonin levels in the central nervous system, which can lead to changes in consciousness, actual morbidity and rarely even death.
Nishizawa K, Torii K, Kawasaki A, et al. Antidepressant-like effect of Cordyceps Sinensis in the mouse tail suspension test. Biol Pharm Bull. 2007;30(9):1758-1762. doi:10.1248/bpb.30.1758.
In a mice model study, an injection of Cordycepin (3’-deoxyadenosine), a bioactive component isolated from Cordyceps Sinensis mushroom, led to a rapid and robust antidepressant effect after 45min in tail suspension and forced swim tests, an effect that was significantly faster and stronger than the one resulted by imipramine, a tricyclic antidepressant drug. This antidepressant effect remained after 5 days of treatment with Cordycepin. Unlike the psycho-stimulant drugs, Cordycepin did not exhibit a hyperactive effect in the open field test.
Li B, Hou Y, Zhu M, et al. 3’-Deoxyadenosine (Cordycepin) Produces a Rapid and Robust Antidepressant Effect via Enhancing Prefrontal AMPA Receptor Signaling Pathway. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2016;19(4):pyv112. Published 2016 Apr 20. doi:10.1093/ijnp/pyv112.
Another mice model study investigated the beneficial effects of Cordycepin on chronic unpredictable mild stress, which leads to depression-like behaviors. mice were subjected to chronic unpredictable mild stress for 42 consecutive days, in which, they were administered either Cordycepin (20 or 40 mg/kg) or fluoxetine (Prozac) drug for the last 21 consecutive days of the study. The classical behavioral tests were applied to evaluate the antidepressant effects of Cordycepin. Results indicated that 6 weeks of exposure to stress-induced significant depression-like behavior, with low 5-HT (serotonin) and noradrenaline levels, high proinflammatory cytokine TNF-α and IL-6 levels in
the brain, and high hippocampal TNF-α, IL-6, P-NF-BP65, and 5-HTR levels, and low BDNF expression levels. Treatment with Cordycepin normalized the change of TNF-α, IL-6, 5-HT, and noradrenaline levels, and upregulated Hippocampal BDNF expression.
Tianzhu Z, Shihai Y, Juan D. Antidepressant-like effects of cordycepin in a mice model of chronic unpredictable mild stress. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:438506. doi:10.1155/2014/438506.
Diabetes Mellitus is associated with anxiety and depression. Both diabetes and depression negatively interact, in that depression lead to poor metabolic control and hyperglycemia exacerbate depression. Vanadium compounds were found in studies to imitate the action of insulin, which may positively affect the level of treatment satisfaction and mood. Cordyceps sinensis mushroom was found in studies to have antidepressant-like effects, and attenuate the increase in blood glucose concentrations. A mice model study investigated the anti-depression potential activity of vanadium-enriched Cordyceps sinensis on hyperglycemic rats, using the forced swimming test. Vanadium-enriched Cordyceps sinensis treatment to the diabetic rats repeatedly presented more intense immobility in the forced swimming test, suggesting that the vanadium- cordyceps co-effect may be a potential strategy for the treatment of depression and diabetes.
Guo JY, Han CC, Liu YM. A Contemporary Treatment Approach to Both Diabetes and Depression by Cordyceps sinensis, Rich in Vanadium. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2010;7(3):387-389. doi:10.1093/ecam/nep201.
A mice model study examined the influence of Withania somnifera root extracts on the marble-burying behavior of mice as a model for obsessive-compulsive behavior. Mice were divided into Fluoxetine groups (5, 10, 15 mg/kg), aqueous extract of Winthania somnifera groups (10, 25,
50, 100 mg/kg), methanolic extract of Withania somnifera groups (10, 25, 50, 100 mg/kg), and placebo control group, which were administered intraperitoneally 30 minutes prior to the marble-burying test. Withania extracts successively decreased the marble-burying behavior activity in mice, without affecting motor activity, thus, may play a role as an effective treatment of the obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Kaurav BP, Wanjari MM, Chandekar A, Chauhan NS, Upmanyu N. Influence of Withania somnifera on obsessive-compulsive disorder in mice. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2012;5(5):380-384.
A study evaluated the antidepressant effect of Withania somnifera, as well as its interaction with conventional antidepressant drugs and the possible mechanism of its antidepressant action, using a forced swimming model in mice.
The effect of administration of 100 mg/kg Ashwagandha root alone by intraperitoneal injection, or a combination of 37.5 mg/kg Ashwagandha root with either 2.5 mg/kg Imipramine drug or 2.5 mg/ kg fluoxetine (Prozac) drug, for mice pre-treated with one of the following psychiatric drugs: 2 mg/ kg Reserpine or 0.15 mg/kg Clonidine or 3 mg/kg prazosin or 0.1 mg/kg haloperidol, resulted in a significant decrease in mean immobility time in mice, which could be mediated partly through an adrenoceptor, as well as alteration in the level of central biogenic amines.
Shah PC, Trivedi NA, Bhatt JD, Hemavathi KG. Effect of Withania somnifera on forced swimming test induced immobility in mice and its interaction with various drugs. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2006;50(4):409-415.
To summarize, the combination of mushrooms and herbs reviewed in this article, which the Myco Balance formula is composed of, produces a synergistic combination to achieve maximum effectiveness of the active ingredients nature has given us in improving and supporting a variety of health conditions related to the neurological system, brain, mind, and spirit.