Red Reishi:
A Calm Support for Autism

By Melissa Carr, D. TCM

Sep 10, 2020

Did you know that your brain has about 86 billion brain cells (neurons)?

Before we are born, these neurons have to travel along specific pathways and then undergo substantial changes, including building long projections from the cell body—called axons and dendrites—to connect with other neurons, making trillions of connections. This all happens during prenatal and early postnatal periods, giving our brains good foundations for learning and reacting. It’s complicated. So, it’s not surprising that disruptions can cause neurodevelopmental disorders like ASD.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has been known since 1938, with current estimates of 70 million worldwide affected, but it often remains overlooked and poorly understood. Autism is a neurological disorder that is typically identified during early childhood development, and it can create a lifelong challenge, interfering with people’s ability to communicate and socialize with others.

Though there seems to be some genetic link and there is an increased risk of ASD associated with taking the drugs valproic acid and thalidomide during pregnancy and for children born to older parents, we don’t yet have clear guidelines of how to prevent or treat it.

Early diagnosis and therapy to help the child walk, talk, and interact with others is one of the few conventional treatment options. Thus, with so few mainstream therapy options available, many turn to the natural world for solutions, including remedies like reishi mushroom.

The benefits of choosing reishi mushrooms for autism

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), reishi mushrooms—called ling zhi—hold high esteem. These therapeutic fungi offer up a host of health benefits to boost wellbeing and quality of life.

Dubbed the “Mushroom of Immortality,” people have looked to reishi mushrooms to help improve immunity, stimulate cellular health, improve sleep, manage stress, lower cancer risk, reduce chronic inflammation, and address neurological disorders like autism.

While the nutraceutical world classifies reishi mushroom as an adaptogen—helping the body adapt to stressors and return to balance (homeostasis)—TCM places reishi with other herbs that help soothe the nervous system. It is also often employed as a “tonic” herb, helping to provide more calm energy. This can be particularly helpful for addressing the anxiety, repetitive behaviours, and violent outbursts that can arise because of the deficits in communication and interaction with others. And because reishi is not a sedative, it can be taken in the morning or at night, and it will neither make you drowsy nor overstimulated.

Those with ASD appear to have a number of areas of dysfunction with the neurons, including problems with how the neurons migrate during developmental stages and how the neurites—axons and dendrites—connect. Interestingly, reishi mushrooms have been found to increase the outgrowth of neurites, which is key to helping with brain development and cognitive function.

Another potential issue for those with ASD is an alteration in the healthy gut microbiota (the community of microorganisms, including bacteria, in your body). In addition to the co-existing digestive issues that many with ASD experience, there is growing research into the microbiota-gut-brain-axis. This is how the bacteria in your gut affect your brain, including cognitive and mood. Reishi mushroom’s potential to support healthy gut bacteria has also been researched, particularly as some of its most recognized compounds, called polysaccharides, are prebiotics, serving as food for the good bacteria.

We still have a lot more research to do to figure out how reishi mushroom can help with ASD, but because of the limited conventional treatment options and reishi mushroom’s generally safe profile, it’s worth looking into more!

Dr. Melissa Carr is a registered Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine with a B.Sc. in Kinesiology. In practice since 2001, Dr. Carr has a passion for sharing health information. She has been a nutrition instructor and a health consultant, lecturer, and writer for 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper, Fraser Health Authority, UBC, and the David Suzuki Foundation, amongst others. www.activetcm.com

References

  • (2020, March 25). What is Autism Spectrum Disorder? Retrieved August 20, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/facts.html
  • Gilbert, J., & Man, H. (2017, November 20). Fundamental Elements in Autism: From Neurogenesis and Neurite Growth to Synaptic Plasticity. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5701944/
  • Phan CW;David P;Naidu M;Wong KH;Sabaratnam V;. (n.d.). Neurite outgrowth stimulatory effects of culinary-medicinal mushrooms and their toxicity assessment using differentiating Neuro-2a and embryonic fibroblast BALB/3T3. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24119256/
  • Srikantha, P., & Mohajeri, M. (2019, April 29). The Possible Role of the Microbiota-Gut-Brain-Axis in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/20/9/2115

> Back to Health Articles

All information on this site is provided for informational or educational purposes only. Information presented here is not intended to substitute the advice provided to you by your physician or healthcare practitioner. You should not use any information contained in our site to self-diagnose or personally treat any medical condition or disease. If you have or suspect you have a medical condition, you are urged to contact your healthcare practitioner.

Taking natural health supplements should be a decision made by the individual themselves and based on personal research. It is recommended for all individuals to consult their healthcare practitioner prior to starting any new medication. Individuals should not discontinue current medication without first consulting their doctor.

Privacy Policy

This Privacy Policy describes how your personal information is collected, used, and shared when you visit or make a purchase from our websites which includes www.mikei.ca, www.mikei.com, www.mikeireishi.com, www.mikei.co.uk and www.nikkeicanada.com (the “Sites”).

PERSONAL INFORMATION WE COLLECT

When you visit the Sites, we automatically collect certain information about your device, including information about your web browser, IP address, time zone, and some of the cookies that are installed on your device. Additionally, as you browse the Sites, we collect information about the individual web pages or products that you view, what websites or search terms referred you to the Sites, and information about how you interact with the Sites. We refer to this automatically-collected information as “Device Information.”

We collect Device Information using the following technologies:

Additionally, when you make a purchase or attempt to make a purchase through the Sites, we collect certain information from you, including your name, billing address, shipping address, payment information (including credit card numbers, expiration date), email address, and phone number. At your discretion, we may also be collecting your birthdate and title information. We refer to this information as “Order Information.”

When we talk about “Personal Information” in this Privacy Policy, we are talking both about Device Information and Order Information.

HOW DO WE USE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION?

We use the Order Information that we collect generally to fulfill any orders placed through the Sites (including processing your payment information, arranging for shipping, and providing you with invoices and/or order confirmations). Additionally, we use this Order Information to:

We use the Device Information that we collect to help us screen for potential risk and fraud (in particular, your IP address), and more generally to improve and optimize our Sites (for example, by generating analytics about how our customers browse and interact with the Sites, and to assess the success of our marketing and advertising campaigns). We may also use the Device Information for remarketing and retargeting purposes to provide you with targeted advertisements and offers we believe may be of interest to you.

SHARING YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION

We share your Personal Information with third parties to help us use your Personal Information, as described above. For example, we use an outside shipping company to ship orders, and a credit card processing company to bill users for purchases. We also use Google Analytics to help us understand how our customers use the Sites. You can read more about how Google uses your Personal Information here: https://policies.google.com/privacy. You can also opt-out of Google Analytics here: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout.

Finally, we may also share your Personal Information to comply with applicable laws and regulations, to respond to a subpoena, search warrant or other lawful request for information we receive, or to otherwise protect our rights.

BEHAVIOURAL ADVERTISING

As described above, we use your Personal Information to provide you with targeted advertisements or marketing communications we believe may be of interest to you.

You can opt out of targeted advertising by:

Additionally, you can also visit NAI’s opt-out page http://optout.networkadvertising.org.

DO NOT TRACK

Please note that we do not alter our Sites’ data collection and use practices when we see a Do Not Track signal from your browser.

LINKS

The Sites contain links to other websites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the content or privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of any other site that collects personally identifiable information.

RESIDENTS IN EUROPE

If you are a European resident, you have the right to access personal information we hold about you and to ask that your personal information be corrected, updated, or deleted. If you would like to exercise this right, please contact us through the contact information below.

Additionally, if you are a European resident, we note that we are processing your information in order to fulfill contracts we might have with you (for example if you make an order through the Sites), or otherwise to pursue our legitimate business interests listed above. Additionally, please note that your information will be transferred outside of Europe, including to Canada and the United States.

SURVEYS, CONTESTS, OFFERS

From time-to-time, the Sites may request information via surveys, contests, or offers. Participation in these surveys, contests, and offers is completely voluntary and you may choose whether or not to participate and therefore disclose this information. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and shipping address), and demographic information (such as postal code, age level, gender). Contact information will be used to notify the winners, award prizes, or redeem offers. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the use and satisfaction of the Sites and the products offered on the Sites.

DATA RETENTION

When you place an order through the Sites, we will maintain your Order Information for our records unless and until you ask us to delete this information.

CHANGES

We may update this privacy policy from time to time in order to reflect, for example, changes to our practices or for other operational, legal or regulatory reasons. This policy was last updated on October 27th, 2019.

CONTACT US

For more information about our privacy practices, if you have questions, or if you would like to make a complaint, please contact us by e-mail at info@nikkeicanada.com or by mail using the address provided below:

Nikkei (Canada) Marketing Limited Unit 170 - 12868 Clarke Place, Richmond, BC, V6V 2H1, Canada