Mushrooms Are Nature’s Antidepressants; Mood-Boosting Ally!

Mushrooms have several health benefits. These superfoods not only reduce the chance of cancer and early death, but new research suggests they may also be good for one’s mental health.

Data on nutrition and mental health from more than 24,000 American people was used by Penn State College of Medicine researchers between 2005 and 2016. They discovered that eating mushrooms reduced the likelihood of developing depression. Ergothioneine, an antioxidant that may guard against cell and tissue damage in the body, is present in mushrooms, claim the researchers.

Antioxidants have been found to aid in the prevention of several mental diseases, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression.

Mushrooms are the highest dietary source of anti-inflammatory component

“Mushrooms are the highest dietary source of the amino acid ergothioneine — an anti-inflammatory which humans cannot synthesize,” said lead researcher Djibril Ba, who recently graduated from the epidemiology doctoral program at the College of Medicine. “Having high levels of this may lower the risk of oxidative stress, which could also reduce the symptoms of depression.”

The most popular type of mushroom in the United States, white button mushrooms, contain potassium, which is thought to reduce anxiety. Additionally, several other edible mushroom species, particularly Hericium erinaceus, often known as the lion’s mane, may promote the expression of neurotrophic factors like nerve growth factor synthesis, which may help avoid neuropsychiatric illnesses like depression.

The link between mushroom consumption and lower odds of depression

The researchers found that non-Hispanic white women with college degrees were more likely to eat mushrooms. The majority (66%) of the respondents were non-Hispanic white persons, with an average age of 45. After adjusting for sociodemographics, important risk factors, self-reported diseases, medications, and other dietary factors, the researchers found a statistically significant relationship between eating mushrooms and a lower chance of developing depression.

However, they claimed that there was no obvious extra benefit from consuming a lot of mushrooms. “The study adds to the growing list of possible health benefits of eating mushrooms,” said Joshua Muscat, a Penn State Cancer Institute researcher and professor of public health sciences.

Substituting Meat with Mushrooms does not lower the odds of depression

The team performed a secondary analysis to determine whether substituting a daily serving of mushrooms for red or processed meat could reduce the chance of developing depression. Findings, however, indicate that this substitution was not linked to a reduction in the risk of depression.

Few studies have previously examined the link between eating mushrooms and depression, and the bulk of those studies have been clinical trials involving less than 100 patients. According to the study’s authors, eating mushrooms may have clinical and general health benefits for lowering depression and preventing other ailments. Some limitations were observed by the researchers, which could be addressed in follow-up investigations. The information was vague about the many kinds of mushrooms. The researchers were unable to ascertain how particular varieties of mushrooms affected depression as a result.

Because the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food codes were utilised to calculate mushroom intake, some entries may have been either categorised or incorrectly recorded. The Penn State Cancer Institute’s John Richie and Xiang Gao, the Penn State College of Medicine’s Laila Al-Shaar and Vernon Chinchilli, and the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences’ Robert Beelman all made contributions to this study. No funding assistance or conflicts of interest have been disclosed by the researchers.

Story Source:
Materials provided by Penn State. Original written by Tracy Cox. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
Djibril M. Ba, Xiang Gao, Laila Al-Shaar, Joshua E. Muscat, Vernon M. Chinchilli, Robert B. Beelman, John P. Richie. Mushroom intake and depression: A population-based study using data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2005–2016. Journal of Affective Disorders, 2021; 294: 686 DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2021.07.080

Cite This Page:
Penn State. “Mushroom consumption may lower risk of depression.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 October 2021. <>.

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