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Tremella mushrooms may boost cognitive health, skin elasticity, immunity and moreHere’s what to know

Although some people object to their taste and texture, there’s a lot to like about mushrooms. For starters, they tend to be a surprising source of antioxidants, fiber, and protein, and are often associated with immunity protection and brain health. But mushrooms have additional benefits beyond their healthy nutrient profiles: Functional mushrooms like lion’s mane, chaga, and tremella mushrooms are the latest and greatest (at least to Americans) health foods to take mushroom lovers by storm. and the modern Western wellness world.

We spoke with Jenna Volpe, RDN, a registered holistic dietitian nutritionist in Austin, Texas, to learn more about the unique health benefits of tremella mushrooms, why they’re so popular, and how to actually get those benefits.

What are Tremella mushrooms?

Tremella mushrooms are a type of mushroom that goes by several names. Fuciform tremella is the scientific name, but they are also called snow mushrooms, snow mushroom, white mushroom and white jelly mushrooms. As you can probably tell from these names, tremella mushrooms are white in color and look more like fluffy snowballs, translucent white algae, wild sponges, or underwater corals than the dull brown and white mushrooms you’re used to seeing in the grocery store and cooking. . with at home. They are native to tropical regions and climates such as Brazil and parts of Asia and have been around for hundreds of years.

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[Tremella mushrooms] they’re a type of edible and medicinal mushroom that’s been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, says Volpe. They can be used for everything from antiaging skincare to immune support, disease prevention, and more.

Since tremella mushrooms have been identified as adaptogens with nootropic properties (compounds thought to improve learning, memory, or other cognitive functions), they have become more readily accessible than ever these days in the mainstream market. You can find them just about anywhere thanks to the ease of online shopping. Fresh tremella may be a little more difficult to find, but powdered and dried tremella mushrooms and mushroom products can be just as useful.

Benefits of the Tremella mushroom

Tremella are adaptogens that can help counteract stress.

Adaptogen sounds like a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot, but it’s a real thing. Herbs and adaptogenic foods like tremella are special in that they work in synergy with each person’s unique system to help restore balance, explains Volpe. Research has found mushrooms, including tremella, to be a good example of adaptogens that help the body adapt to both internal and external stimuli, restoring balance and regulating a variety of biological processes, says a 2022 paper in Frontiers in Pharmacology.

Tremellas are promising brain enhancers nootropicsa.ka.

You may even have seen the word nootropics floating around. This term refers to compounds in certain foods, as well as supplements, that can improve cognition, so those looking for a little brain boost can express an interest in tremella mushrooms.

Nootropics are known to help support and improve memory, concentration and other aspects of cognitive function, says Volpe, adding that just how they work isn’t fully understood yet. In the case of tremella mushrooms, it may have something to do with their polysaccharides, carbohydrate molecules with broad essential roles in the body. Research studies have suggested that the special polysaccharide profile in tremella mushrooms appears to help protect brain cells from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and even play a role in repairing brain memory impairment, says Volpe.

Tremella are rich in antioxidants for healthy cells and skin.

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Those polysaccharides mentioned earlier? They can also exhibit antioxidant activity. Antioxidants fend off disease-related free radicals and are also powerful protectors of skin health. A 2021 study found that tremella polysaccharides have the ability to alter gene expression in skin cells in ways that result in an increase of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid in skin fibroblasts exposed to UVA rays, explains Volpe . Other studies echo tremella’s ability to inhibit oxidative stress, and some reviews highlight its potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger capacity. Fermented tremella may have significantly more antioxidants, study shows.

Tremellas can increase collagen in the skin.

We’ve determined that tremella has tremendous antioxidant properties, which is incredible news for your skin and overall health. In fact, you can reap the skin benefits of tremella by ingesting it or applying it topically, says Volpe. Much of tremella’s skin benefits have to do with its impact on collagen, a protein that’s very important for skin’s structure, firmness, and elasticity (and which naturally breaks down as we age). ). Consuming tremella mushrooms can reduce collagen loss and repair damaged collagen, as evidenced by one review (in animals), while studies suggest that tremella polysaccharides in cosmetics can boost collagen.

In a recent review, tremella mushrooms were found to possess antiaging, photoprotective, wound healing, and skin barrier protective properties. They have a special affinity for leather, says Volpe. Tremella’s potent antioxidants have an anti-inflammatory and anti-aging impact on skin cells, and their polysaccharides have been shown to moisturise skin in ways clinically comparable to the coveted hyaluronic acid.

So, tremella mushrooms have antioxidants that protect against free radical damage from the sun, hydrate skin as a best-selling humectant, and boost collagen? Now you understand why they might be the next big skincare superstar.

Tremellas support a healthy immune system.

Tremella mushrooms play a significant role in modulating and optimizing the immune system, says Volpe. He points to a 2020 review that found tremella mushrooms impair the immune system in significant and beneficial ways in both animal and human studies. Since tremella is an adaptogen, this isn’t too surprising. Part of the way adaptogens bring the body into balance has to do with their role in balancing the immune system.

The link between tremella and immunity may also have positive effects on gut health, adds Volpe. Researchers are beginning to study the complex relationship between the gut microbiota and the immune system, and tremella mushrooms may promote healthy microbial diversity in the colon. This could support the growth of key immunomodulatory probiotics like Lactobacillus, she explains, citing a 2021 study in Frontiers in Immunology.

Tremelle are a rich source of fiber and protein.

Like the mushrooms you’ll find in the produce section of the supermarket, tremella mushrooms contain nutrients that are simply good for you. They are particularly rich in fiber and protein.

Tremella mushrooms contain more protein than most other types of mushrooms, which could be beneficial for people following a vegan or vegetarian diet, says Volpe. One cup of tremella mushrooms is said to contain about 12 grams of protein. (Everyone should aim to get 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of their individual body weight per day, according to the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. A 140-pound person would need a minimum of about 50 grams of protein per day.)

While the average American adult gets enough protein, the same cannot be said of fiber. Most Americans don’t get enough fiber in their diets, which makes high-fiber foods even more beneficial. Tremella mushrooms are made up of about 30 percent dietary fiber, which can be beneficial for people looking to optimize their digestion, says Volpe. In addition to digestive and intestinal health, fiber is also great for heart health.

Tremella Mushroom Safety, Uses, and Tips

Tremella mushrooms are relatively safe to consume. There are no ongoing studies suggesting that they have any major side effects or toxicities. While they are safe and beneficial, their adaptogenic effects are best when used for a short time.

As someone who uses tremella mushrooms herself, Volpe has plenty of advice:

  • Soak the white mushroom for at least an hour or overnight. Then simmer it with other herbs red dates (jujubes), dried lotus seeds and lily bulb petals in hot water for about 30 minutes to make a healing drink.
  • Add tremella mushrooms to soups or smoothies.

You can also take tremella in capsule or powder form. However, you should always consult your doctor before taking a new supplement and be careful that dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Do your research before buying supplements to ensure their safety and purity – look for the seal of approval from third-party testing and verification organizations, including NSF and US Pharmacopeia (USP).

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