Genius Mushrooms: Three Species for Full-Spectrum Benefits

Run by mastermind Rob Oliver, The Genius Brand has formulated several powerful supplements to nourish your body and mind. While we love sports nutrition formulas like what’s in the stim-free Genius Pre Workout and next-level Genius Muscle Builder, we may like their “mind over matter” supplements like Genius Joy and Genius Consciousness even more!

Crossing and Combining Categories with Mycology

Today, we cover a supplement that crosses both of those categories, as it’s marketed to “Nourish Your Mind, Body, and Spirit“. We’re talking about Genius Mushrooms, a blend of three of the most well-researched mycological (mushroom) species on the planet!

Genius Mushrooms

Marketed to provide energy, immunity, and clarity, Genius Mushrooms has three of the most well-researched mycological species around!

Genius Mushrooms is formulated to provide the following benefits:

  • Memory, Focus, and Cognitive Performance
  • Immune System Boost
  • Caffeine-Free Energy
  • Stress Relief
  • Kidney and Liver Support + Detox

In this article, we dive deep into the known research regarding these three mushroom species, citing over two dozen studies to prove that mushroom science isn’t as weak as some believe it to be.

Get ready to get your Genius cap on, but first, check out PricePlow’s price comparisons and sign up for Genius Brand news updates, since they’re always keeping us on our toes with new formulas:

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Genius Mushroom Ingredients

In each 3 capsule serving of Genius Mushrooms, you’ll get the following:

  • 500mg Cordyceps sinensis (Mycelium) – standardized to 7% Cordycepic Acid

    Genius Mushrooms Ingredients

    Genius provides three species, with one capsule to be taken three times a day

    Cordyceps sinensis is a fungus belonging to the Ophiocordycipitaceae family, is parasitic on insects, meaning it grows primarily on caterpillars.[1] Abundant in the extremely high (3000 to 5000m above sea level) and cold alpine meadows of Tibet, this fungus essentially grows from caterpillars living underground. The Cordyceps spores germinate and sprout a “fruiting body,” called mycelium, which tends to be around four inches long and resembles a tiny brown cane. In fact, the fungus’ Latin name is derived from its appearance and origin: cordyceps means “club head,” and sinensis means “from China.”[2]

    Cordyceps Benefits

    Ok, so it’s a weird, caterpillar-looking mushroom from China….why is it a part of the Genius Mushroom formula and why do mushroom supplements love it so much? Well, it’s been prominent in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries,[3] due to many different claimed health benefits. Some of these claims stem from long-accepted folk medicine, but, research has shown that some of these assertions have some validity to them, as shown in Figure 1.[3]

    Genius Mushrooms Sports

    Cordyceps is usually the mushroom of greatest interest to athletes, due to its assistance in oxygen utilization

    The traditional uses that relate more to PricePlow and our readers include:

    • Reduce stress,[4]
    • Increase energy and endurance,[4,5]
    • Promote anabolism and muscle protein synthesis,[6]
    • Improve glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity,[7,8]
    • Boost virility,[9,10]
    • Improve general health.[8,11,12]
    What about athletic performance?

    In 1998, research published by the Beijing Medical University Sports Research Institute found that higher intake of the Cordyceps sinensis enhanced cell lactate energy metabolism.[3] They concluded that the formulation of the fungi used in the study allowed for better performance in anaerobic exercise.[3]

    Typical Cordyceps Dosage

    Unfortunately, research has not be able to confirm ideal dosage of C. sinensis, but most common practices suggest 3g per day to ensure you’re getting the full spectrum of benefits.[15]

    For those of you who are big Genius Brand athletes, you can get an additional 2g dose of mushrooms from the PeakO2 blend in Genius Muscle Builder. PeakO2 contains cordyceps militaris as well as other forms of mushrooms, so it would expand the spectrum of benefits yielded

    Cordyceps has been used for centuries, developing a special place in folk medicine. As it turns out, modern science seems to back much of it up!

  • Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) – 500mg

    Ganoderma lucidum, known as “Reishi” in Japanese or “lingzhi” in Chinese, has been regarded as a medicinal mushroom for thousands of years.[16] Its properties can even be found in the “Ben Cao Gang Mu”, a Chinese book on medicinal drugs from 1590 AD.[16] With recorded uses that can be traced back through the Ming Dynasty, this stuff must be special!

    Genius Mushrooms Relax

    Reishi is known as a more “relaxing” mushroom species

    Reishi’s Benefits

    According to ancient practice, reishi has been believed to control blood glucose levels, regulate the immune system, and fight bacterial/viral infections, lower cholesterol, and aid in sleep.[16] Research shows that reishi may:

    • Possess antitumor properties, shown in vitro studies,[16,17]
    • Help regulate blood glucose,[16,18]
    • Aid in decreasing anxiety and depression,[19]
    • Help fight insomnia.[16]

    More research is being done, especially on humans. But, as it stands, there isn’t enough research to definitely state the mushroom’s effectiveness, although mushroom fans and mycologists anecdotally swear by it.

    Similarly to Cordyceps, there simply hasn’t been enough research to determine an “ideal” dosage range.

    Some potential Side Effects in extreme cases

    Genius Mushrooms Longevity

    Those seeking “wellness and vitality” often find themselves fascinated with mycology

    Reishi can cause toxicity in white-blood cells, and a few cases of liver toxicity have been reported at high doses when using untested powders.[20] One of the toxicity cases cited was on a child with cancer, and the other was with an elderly patient, but more research needs to be conducted to verify potential warnings. It’s recommended that people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, have a blood disorder, have low blood pressure, or will be getting surgery avoid supplementing with reishi.[21]

    While we would love to see more research published on reishi and its benefits (and potential safety concerns), there is absolutely some data that suggests the mushroom may be very useful, particularly for those of you looking for some help with your immune system, mental health, or want to combat high cholesterol!

  • Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) (500mg)

    Hericium erinaceus, or Lion’s Mane, is a fungus that primarily grows on hardwoods. It grows as a single clump of long spines, loosely resembling a lion’s mane, hence its name. With various recorded uses in ancient cultures, as well as major acceptance into the nootropic supplement market recently, we’re not surprised to see it in this formula!

    Lion's Mane

    Lion’s Mane is an incredible mushroom that touts some extremely unique nootropic benefits including increasing Nerve Growth Factor.

    Lion’s Mane’s Benefits

    Similarly to the previously mentioned mushrooms, Lion’s Mane has a long history of reported uses. In traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine, it is often used to “fortify the spleen, nourish the gut, and aid in treating cancer.”[23] It’s also been used as a source of nutrition for internal organs, for digestional health, and for insomnia.[23]

    That all sounds great, but is there science that backs it up? Well, there’s research that suggests that the composition of Lion’s Mane may be useful for:

    • Antitumor treatment,[24]
    • Antioxidant and inflammatory properties,[25]
    • Improved cognitive function,[26]
    • Fighting symptoms of dementia,[26]
    • Boosting acetylcholine production,[27]
    • Concomitant Alzheimer’s treatment,[27]
    • Decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety,[27]
    • Protecting the digestive tract from gastric ulcers.[28]
    Genius Mushrooms Tested

    Unlike too many other mushroom supplements, Genius uses third party testing

    The “improved cognitive function” benefit is the most frequent use case for Lion’s Mane amongst PricePlow readers. We’ve discussed in the past that the ingredient may promote improved Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), which may promote neuronal growth!

    Again, consistent with all mycology, more human research needs to be conducted to conclude these benefits to be true. There have been studies done, on animals and humans, that suggest there’s some potential. But, there is also research that negates such claims, and if using it for a known medical condition, you MUST do so under the care of your doctor. We would really like to see more mycology research being published so we can know for sure!

    Lion’s Mane Dosage and Side Effects?

    Science hasn’t yet been able to identify standard doses for Lion’s Mane. However, in two clinical trials using different dosages (250mg/day and 5g/day, respectively), no toxic effects were seen.[23] Some medical journals even state that up to 5g/kg bodyweight/day are safe,[23] but you probably shouldn’t go out of your way to reach that limit!

Genius Mushrooms Dosage

The suggested Genius Mushrooms Dosage is one capsule with water, 20 minutes prior to a meal, three times a day

Extras

This is a 100% Vegan, gluten-free supplement made in the USA.

Dosage / Stacking

Per the instructions, take one capsule with 8oz of water, 20 minutes before a meal, three times a day.

Stacking really depends on what your goals are, as this is a multi-faceted supplement that can be used for a multitude of reasons. As mentioned above, those looking for more cordyceps, especially for its athletic prowess, may enjoy adding in Genius Muscle Builder or another PeakO2 product to get some cordyceps militaris involved as well!

Conclusion: Don’t Sleep on Mushrooms

The Genius Brand

The Genius Brand takes on mushrooms with three research-backed ingredients!

Increased oxygen utilization, calmed spirit, and enhanced brain function are the three main benefits from cordyceps, reishi, and lion’s mane. They come together to form yet another Rob Oliver approved supplement.

If you’re new to the world of mycology (mushroom science), then this is a perfect place to get started – three well-researched ingredients from a highly-trusted brand. The rabbit hole goes much further from here, but this is a great starting (and stopping) point for many who are just looking for some stimulant-free energy and a great feeling of positive well-being.

The Genius Brand asks you to Supplement Smarter, and Genius Mushrooms could be the next step towards doing so.

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Disclosure: PricePlow relies on pricing from stores with which we have a business relationship. We work hard to keep pricing current, but you may find a better offer.

Posts are sponsored in part by the retailers and/or brands listed on this page.

Genius Mushroom Bottles

Supplement Smarter.

About the Author: Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto is a research scientist and water sports athlete who founded PricePlow. He is an n=1 diet experimenter with extensive experience in supplementation and dietary modification, whose personal expertise stems from several experiments done on himself while sharing lab tests.

Mike's goal is to bridge the gap between nutritional research scientists and non-academics who seek to better their health in a system that has catastrophically failed the public.

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References

  1. Boesi, Alessandro, and Francesca Cardi. “Cordyceps Sinensis Medicinal Fungus: Traditional Use among Tibetan People, Harvesting Techniques, and Modern Uses .” HerbalGram: Cordyceps Sinensis Medicinal Fungus: Traditional Use among Tibetan People, Harvesting Techniques, and Modern Uses, 2009, http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue83/article3433.html?ts=1541443712&signature=e6995cdace82e6e48f3b9cecb229199c
  2. Mike Roberto; “Cordyceps Crackdown: A Hit-or-Miss MESS.. Until Now!”; The PricePlow Blog; August 28, 2016; https://blog.priceplow.com/supplement-news/cordyceps
  3. Panda, Ashokkumar, and Kailashchandra Swain. “Traditional Uses and Medicinal Potential of Cordyceps Sinensis of Sikkim.” Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, vol. 2, no. 1, 2011, p. 9., doi:10.4103/0975-9476.78183. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3121254/
  4. Jong-Ho KOH, et al; “Antifatigue and Antistress Effect of the Hot-Water Fraction from Mycelia of Cordyceps sinensis”; Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin; 26(5) 691 – 694; 2003; https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/bpb/26/5/26_5_691/_pdf
  5. Hirsch, K. R., Mock, M. G., Roelofs, E. J., Trexler, E. T., & Smith-Ryan, A. E.; “Chronic supplementation of a mushroom blend on oxygen kinetics, peak power, and time to exhaustion”; Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(Suppl 1), P45; 2015; Full source available at https://blog.priceplow.com/wp-content/uploads/hirsch-cordyceps_militaris_improves_tolerance_to_high_intensity_exercise_after_acute_and_chronic_supplementation.pdf; abstract at http://www.jissn.com/content/12/S1/P45
  6. Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S; “Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.”; CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92758/
  7. Zhao, C; “CordyMax Cs-4 improves glucose metabolism and increases insulin sensitivity in normal rats”; Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine; 2002 Jun; 8(3):309-14; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12165188
  8. Choi, S; “Improvement of insulin resistance and insulin secretion by water extracts of Cordyceps militaris, Phellinus linteus, and Paecilomyces tenuipes in 90% pancreatectomized rats”; Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry; 2004 Nov; 68(11):2257-64; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15564662
  9. Huang, BM; “Effects of Cordyceps sinensis on testosterone production in normal mouse Leydig cells”; Life Sciences; 2001 Oct 19; 69(22):2593-602; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11712663
  10. Hsu, CC; “In vivo and in vitro stimulatory effects of Cordyceps sinensis on testosterone production in mouse Leydig cells”; Life Sciences; 2003 Sep 5; 73(16):2127-36; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12899935
  11. Xiao, JH; “Secondary metabolites from Cordyceps species and their antitumor activity studies”; Recent Patents on Biotechnology; 2007; 1(2):123-37; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19075836
  12. Xhou, X; “Cordyceps fungi: natural products, pharmacological functions and developmental products”; The Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology; 2009 Mar; 61(3):279-91; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19222900
  13. Wang ZX, Wang XM, Wang TZ; “Current status of pharmacological studies on Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps hyphae”; Chung-Kuo Chung His I Chieh ho Tsa Chih. 1995;15:255–6; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7647550
  14. Chilton, Skye; “A Must Read Guide to Cordyceps Supplements.” Real Mushrooms
  15. “Cordyceps (Herbs/Suppl).” Cordyceps Sinensis, CordyMax (Cordyceps) Dosing, Indications, Interactions, Adverse Effects, and More., MedScape; https://reference.medscape.com/drug/cordyceps-sinensis-cordymax-cordyceps-344460
  16. Wachtel-Galor, Sissi. “Ganoderma Lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi).” Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd Edition., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 1970, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92757/.
  17. Gao Y. H, Sai X. H, Chen G. L, Ye J. X, Zhou S. F; A randomized, placebo-controlled, multi-center study of Ganoderma lucidum (W. Curt.: Fr.) Lloyd (Aphyllophoromycetideae) polysaccharides (Ganopoly) in patients with advanced lung cancer. Int J Med Mushrooms; 2003; 5:368–81; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/247854951_A_Randomized_Placebo-Controlled_Multicenter_Study_of_Ganoderma_lucidum_WCurtFr_Lloyd_Aphyllophoromycetideae_Polysaccharides_Ganopoly_in_Patients_with_Advanced_Lung_Cancer
  18. Gao Y, Lan J, Dai X, Ye J, Zhou S; “A phase I/II study of Lingzhi mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (W. Curt.: Fr.) Lloyd (Aphyllophoromycetideae) extract in patients with type II diabetes mellitus”; Int J Med Mushrooms; 2004;6:33–40; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/247855021_A_Phase_III_Study_of_Ling_Zhi_Mushroom_Ganoderma_lucidum_WCurtFrLloyd_Aphyllophoromycetideae_Extract_in_Patients_with_Type_II_Diabetes_Mellitus
  19. Zhao, Hong, et al; “Spore Powder Of Ganoderma Lucidum Improves Cancer-Related Fatigue in Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Endocrine Therapy: A Pilot Clinical Trial.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2012, 2012, pp. 1–8; https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/809614/
  20. “Reishi Mushroom.” Reishi Mushroom | Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/reishi-mushroom
  21. “Reishi Mushroom: MedlinePlus Supplements.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine; https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/905.html
  22. Liang B, Guo Z, Xie F, Zhao A. Antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic activities of aqueous extract of Hericium erinaceus in experimental diabetic rats. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013;13:253. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-253. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3852124/
  23. Liu J, Du C, Wang Y, Yu Z; “Anti-fatigue activities of polysaccharides extracted from Hericium erinaceus; Exp Ther Med; 2015; 9(2):483–7; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4280918/
  24. Mizuno T, Wasa T, Ito H, et al; “Antitumor-active polysaccharides isolated from the fruiting body of Hericium erinaceum, an edible and medicinal mushroom called Yamabushitake or Houtou”; Biosci Biotechnol Biochem; 1992; 56:347–8; https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1271/bbb.56.347?needAccess=true
  25. Abdullah N, Ismail SM, Aminudin N, et al. “Evaluation of selected culinary-medicinal mushrooms for antioxidant and ACE inhibitory activities”; Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012 (2012), Article ID 464238, 12 pages; https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/464238/
  26. Mori K, Inatomi S, Ouchi K, et al; “Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial”; Phytother Res. 2009; 23:367–72; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18844328
  27. Nagano M, Shimizu K, Kondo R, et al; “Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake”; Biomed Res. 2010; 31:231–7; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20834180
  28. Abdulla, Mahmood, et al; “Effect of Culinary-Medicinal Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Hericium Erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae), on Ethanol-Induced Gastric Ulcers in Rats”; International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, vol. 10, no. 4, 2008, pp. 325–330; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235957753_Effect_of_Culinary-Medicinal_Lion’s_Mane_Mushroom_Hericium_erinaceus_Bull_Fr_Pers_Aphyllophoromycetideae_on_Ethanol-Induced_Gastric_Ulcers_in_Rats

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