I recently learned about Four Sigmatic coffee after watching several videos by YouTube dermatologist Andrea Suarez, aka Dr. Dray (not the rapper). She frequently touts the benefits of Four Sigmatic coffees and teas that are made with beneficial mushrooms.
The term “four sigmatic” means that a food is four sigmas more nutrient dense than average foods. The company claims their products can help boost your immunity, focus your thoughts, and relax.
I was intrigued by their Think formula, as Eddie and I both have issues with brain fog (lack of focus, poor memory recall and reduced mental acuity). So I secretly replaced the coffee I normally serve with this new mushroom concoction. The Think formula is made with a mushroom called lion’s mane, or Hericium erinaceus (pronounced hair-uh-SEE-um Air-uh-NESS-ius) if you’re a scientist.
After one cup a day for seven consecutive days, here’s what we decided:
Does it taste like mushrooms? No.
Does it taste good? Yes. It tastes similar to the Peet’s French Roast coffee we normally drink. It’s very smooth and rich.
Is it expensive? It’s $20 online through the Four Sigmatic website or $18.99 at our local natural foods co-op.
Will they make you hallucinate? No. They do not contain any psilocybin, which is the psychedelic prodrug compound that makes you trip.
Does it really help you think? We personally did not notice an improvement in mental acuity during the one week we tried it, but being the skeptical consumer that I am, I hopped onto PubMed to see if the claims were true of lion’s mane mushrooms helping people think. Here’s what I found.
The first article I found was from the Dec. 25, 2019 edition of the International Journal of Molecular Science, which concluded, “H. erinaceus significantly ameliorates depressive disorder through monoaminergic modulation, neurogenic/neurotrophic, and anti-inflammatory pathways, indicating the potential role of H. erinaceus as complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of depression.” However, they also noted the topic is in the early stages of study and warrants further investigation.
The second article was from the January 1, 2021 edition of the Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters. That was a pay-to-read PDF so I couldn’t access the full article, but the abstract shows that studied the potential use of H. erinaceus in memory improvement
The article that really piqued my interest was from a 2013 study that continues to be cited in medical literature. The paper studied lion’s mane mushroom given to laboratory mice and found that the extract inhibited metastasis of cancer cells. Again, I couldn’t access the full article, but the abstract said, “H. erinaceus edible mushrooms have the potential to serve as a health-promoting functional food.”
When I did my search, I just searched on “Hericium erinaceus.” I didn’t look for anything positive or negative. I just wanted to know what the most recent literature said. It seems to me that it may be beneficial to consume nutritional mushrooms. I couldn’t find anything saying it was harmful. But as always, you should consult with your healthcare provider before starting any kind of treatment.
As for Eddie and me, we will probably buy it again. We’re at least not opposed to it. But at twenty bucks a pound, it’s a bit rich for our budget. I even scowl when our beloved Peet’s isn’t on sale and I have to pay the full ten dollars or so per bag.
Thank you all for stopping by! Comment below what you think about nutritional mushrooms in your coffee.
Four Sigmatic: https://us.foursigmatic.com/
Dr. Dray video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfvBdu9VI0Q
Gwen’s Stovetop Cowboy Coffee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxoIRZbDhYo&t=137s
1. Authors: Chong PS, Fung ML, Wong KH, Lim LW.
Title: Therapeutic Potential of Hericium erinaceus for Depressive Disorder.
Publication: International Journal of Molecular Science.
Date: 2019 Dec 25;21(1):163
2. Authors: Se Hwan Ryu, Seong Min Hong, Zahra Khan, Seul Ki Lee, Manjunatha Vishwanath, Ayman Turk, Sang Won Yeon, Yang Hee Jo, Dae Hee Lee, Jae Kang Lee, Bang Yeon Hwang, Jae-Kyung Jung, Sun Yeou Kim, Mi Kyeong Lee.
Title: Neurotrophic isoindolinones from the fruiting bodies of Hericium erinaceus,
Publication: Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters, Volume 31
Date: January 1, 2021
3. Authors: Sung Phil Kim, Seok Hyun Nam, and Mendel Friedman
Title: Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane) Mushroom Extracts Inhibit Metastasis of Cancer Cells to the Lung in CT-26 Colon Cancer-Tansplanted Mice
Publication: American Chemical Society
Date: May 13, 2013
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