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Is it time to change out your regular cup of coffee for mushroom coffee?
The benefits seem to outweigh any cons, and the taste and warmth you love in your morning ritual doesn’t have to go away. Here, we’ll review one of the most popular mushroom coffee brands so that you can decide if it truly is time for an upgrade.
Four Sigmatic mushroom coffee brings Lions Mane and other adaptogenic mushrooms to you in some delectable coffees that don’t overtax your adrenals and also boost mental clarity – that’s something I need in a world which demands my full engagement and presence 24-7. As a mother, a writer, a founder at a new company, a lover, a friend (can I name any more responsibilities that I need to juggle?) I need a product like this to help me get through an average day. If you are like me and 60% of all Americans that normally use coffee to power through life, this review is for you.
I’d heard a lot about medicinal mushrooms used as adaptogens for a while, but I didn’t believe the hype. There are tons of mushrooms with great properties, like Chaga mushroom, Cordyceps, Reishi, etc. but Lions Mane in particular caught my attention because it is bio-active in some really profound ways, helping to reduce anxiety and depression, keep your brain active and alert without causing you to be “jazzed up,” and also acts as powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Here’s what I found after trying Four Sigmatic’s mushroom coffees for three weeks.
Why Four Sigmatic?
There’s a huge movement right now to heal some pretty astounding health challenges with diet, and lifestyle habits. I’m a big believer in this path as a former yoga and meditation teacher with over a decade invested in these modalities. When we support the body from the inside out, it makes it much easier to cope with external demands and the stress of every-day life. I myself haven’t been able to hit the mat as often as I’d like with so much to juggle, so I went back to the basics and started to refine what I was eating and drinking. I’m a huge believer in using every tool at your disposal to elevate your life and increase your personal capabilities.
A good friend of mine brought Four Sigmatic to work one day when I was still a UI/UX writer at a large tech company, and the daily grind was palpable. She said that it helped her concentrate in meetings and to make it easier to push through deadlines when she was feeling a little frazzled. I skipped my daily cappuccino in the downstairs cafe, and had a warm cup of Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee With Lion’s Mane. The mushrooms, also known as hou tou gu or yamabushitake, grow to look like a shaggy lion‘s mane, thus the name. They’ve been used in ancient medicinal ceremonies for centuries.
While there was no eureka moment, I did find that I was focused and calm throughout some pretty big challenges that day.
After that initial positive experience, I bought a few flavors of my own and drank them in place of my coffee for just under a month, and what I experienced was, overall, positive.
The Finnish brand, Four Sigmatic, is pretty awesome, in that they offer tons of good science-based information that explains the veracity of some of their health and wellness claims. With an in-house registered herbalist that discusses functional mushrooms, adaptogens, and wellness, you get solid info that many PhDs might not know. Four Sigmatic even has video courses they call the “Mushroom Academy” if you want to take a really deep dive and understand what you’re putting into your body and why, but here are some highlights that explain some of the results I felt that first day at the office after a cup of Four Sigmatic coffee, which only got better over time.
Is Mushroom Coffee Good for You?
The science is in. Mushroom coffee is truly good for you, but I’m a believer in doing your own research so you decide:
- Functional mushrooms minimize some of the negative effects of drinking coffee alone including crashing, caffeine headaches (since mushrooms slow inflammatory effects) and more. Coffee on its own has anti-inflammatory effects but if you start relying on it too much, and drink 3, 4, 5 cups a day, those effects start to lessen. With Four Sigmatic, I find I don’t need a second or third cup, and I feel fully awake, rested, recharged, and focused on what I need to do on just one cup.
- Mushrooms and immune support. Medicinal mushrooms are all high in antioxidants which can help to boost your natural immune reaction to viruses, and bad bacteria. Your intestinal immunity is one of the first combatants of disease, and Four Sigmatic mushrooms help to fortify the gastrointestinal tract. Since our gut is so important for overall immunity, I find that medicinal mushrooms and probiotics together work wonders for keeping colds, flu, and other bacterial infections at bay.
- Four Sigmatic can help you get better sleep. One study found that not only does this medicinal mushroom improve your mood, but it can increase REM sleep. Better sleep is linked to all sorts of health benefits too, from reducing depression to lessening cancer risk. I don’t know about you, but sleep is vitally important for me. I can’t think straight, work efficiently, be proactive, and be a super-woman without my sleep. I also know that solid REM sleep is important. It’s one of the most active times for the brain while we’re sleeping, as our minds busily process everything that went on during the day. When I get good REM, I can tell. The following day doesn’t feel like there’s a backlog of information I haven’t fully digested, and I’m starting my engine on all 5-cylinders, instead of trying to function on one and a half.
- Mushrooms are time-tested productivity tonic perhaps due to two special compounds that can stimulate the growth of brain cells: hericenones and erinacines. Also, Lion’s Mane and other adaptogenic mushrooms boost neurotrophic factors. In plain English, that means that Lion’s Mane helps to boost the nerve endings and nerve communication along the neural pathways in your brain. Four Sigmatic also helps the brain by producing a bioprotein nerve growth factor (NFG) and myelin that insulates nerve fibers.
- Drinking Four Sigmatic’s mushroom coffee can enhance creativity, likely due to the reduction of amyloid plaques in the brain that cause memory issues and can even lead to Alzheimer’s and other diseases like dementia. When we retain more of what we learn, we’re also able to make unusual connections between seemingly unrelated bits of info and this leads to more creative problem-solving.
- You can experience anti-inflammatory effects due to a compound in Lion’s mane called ethyl acetate soluble fraction of H. erinaceus (EAHE). It helps to reduce inflammatory cellular action. This single benefit can reduce incidence of diseases like stroke, heart disease, cancer, and depression. Another side benefit for someone like me is that the anti-inflammatory compounds also work to my benefit when I over-train. I hit the gym hard at least four times a week. I’m often sore, have occasionally overused some muscles, and because I’m after serious fitness, I’ve even injured myself, being over zealous. The compounds in Lion’s Mane help to repair muscle and nerve fibers along with the anti-inflammatory action, so this is a perfect companion to my fitness routine.
- Reduce anxiety and depression. In my long career dealing with all forms of stress (people don’t show up to a yoga class to be enlightened usually, but to deal with daily stress) it always leads back to inflammation and hormone control. When you’re too stressed out, your brain starts to break, and when your brain starts to break, your hormones freak out. You don’t eat right, sleep right, or even connect right to others, so you start this horrible feedback loop which is hard to escape. Research shows that Lion’s Mane can help to reduce anxiety and depression in as little as four weeks, ostensibly by altering brain function and the autonomous nervous system. When you need a little reset, and your brain just feels “tired” this is a great way to stop that horrid cycle and begin anew.
With all these pros, there’s perhaps a small con. A functional food is often a little more expensive, so you can expect to pay more per cup of Four Sigmatic than say, a cup of low-cost coffee, but you’re also getting quality ingredients with no fillers and no GMOs that’s also organic, single-origin (meaning you know exactly where your food comes from) and mixed with highly supportive adaptogenic mushrooms. This means you don’t have to buy mushroom powders separately!
You can think of that daily cup of mushroom coffee like taking a high-quality supplement or a good vitamin. It is nourishing your body instead of just kick-starting you with the addictive qualities of regular coffee, and the sometimes unwanted side effects of caffeine withdrawal headaches or energy crashes when you don’t drink any. Coffee use over time has also shown to tax the adrenals and can even create unnecessary cortisol spikes, so it’s still a great product if you’re trying to ease off that habit.
Which Four Sigmatic Coffee is Best?
I loved the Lions Mane, but there are multiple flavors you can try – go for one of these bundles to try all the options:
Ground Coffee Bundle – Limited Edition Bundle of all Four Sigmatic Ground Coffees: (1) Mushroom Ground Coffee with Lion’s Mane, (1) Mushroom Ground Coffee with Probiotics, and (1) Adaptogen Ground Coffee with Ashwagandha at 25% off.
Instant Coffee Bundle – Limited Edition Bundle of all Four Sigmatic Instant Coffees: (1) Mushroom Coffee with Lion’s Mane, (1) Mushroom Coffee with Chaga, (1) Adaptogen Coffee with Ashwagandha at 25% off.
Each flavor has its own adaptogenic effects, but all of them contain nutritive mushrooms, including:
Ground Coffee With Lion’s Mane Mushroom – A smooth, dark blend packed with medicinal mushrooms.
Ground Mushroom Coffee with Probiotics – A smooth, dark blend with mushrooms and an added boost for your gut health. Ingredients include Chaga and Turkey Tail mushrooms, prebiotics, and 1 billion CFU shelf-stable, heat resistant probiotics.
Ground Adaptogen Coffee – Coffee with chaga mushroom and popular Ayurvedic adaptogen, Ashwagandha that is believed to help manage stress, anxiety, and depression; lower blood sugar levels and boost brain function. Plus it’s is being studied for possible anti-cancer properties. While ashwagandha is Sanskrit for “smell of the horse,” the taste is not at all overpowering in this mushroom coffee!
Instant Coffee With Lion’s Mane – For your on-the-go morning, this solid blend has the benefits described throughout this review, with only 50% of caffeine compared to regular coffee. The added Chaga, Lion’s Mane and Rhodiola help you focus, ground, and regulate your nervous system.
Mushroom Coffee Latte With Lion’s Mane – For those who love the idea of a pre-made Latte, this is a great dairy free, instant substitute with immunity and cognitive boosts. Ingredients include coconut milk powder, coconut sugar, lucuma superfood with a great sweet taste, and brain-boosting mucuna powder.
Instant Coffee with Chaga and Cordyceps – Chaga and Cordyceps have their own adaptogenic qualities and are a great addition to a bold, smooth instant coffee .
Eco-recyclable coffee pods for Keurig 2.0 and up:
Mushroom Coffee Pods with Lion’s Mane – I’ve given these to friends who need a memory boost and stress-relief.
Adaptogen Coffee Pods with Ashwagandha – A great way to get your morning blend and an adaptogenic boosty.
Mushroom Coffee Pods with Probiotics – Ditch the pricey probiotics and get them in your morning blend.
Does Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee Help You Lose Weight?
Any adaptogen is going to help all systems in your body work better (adapt), so the short answer is yes, mushrooms can help you to lose weight, but in particular Four Sigmatic has both antihyperglycemic, and hypolipidemic effects in addition to being anti-inflammatory. What does that mean for you?
A lot of obesity and diabetes patients are told to take pharmaceutical medications that induce this effect, but adaptogenic mushrooms do it naturally. Anything that is antihyperglycemic counteracts high levels of blood glucose. When your blood glucose levels spike, it causes a crazy hormonal cycle that can mess with your food satiety signals, and other hormones like ghrelin and leptin. Keep your blood glucose levels more stable, and you’ll find it much easier to eat a balanced diet and not want to binge on carbs, sugar, and other foods that have high calories and offer little nutritive value.
Four Sigmatic can also balance the levels of lipids and lipoproteins in the blood. This can be beneficial to maintaining a good body-mass index.
Many people who struggle to lose weight are also suffering from rampant inflammation. In fact, a recent study found that C-reactive protein (CRP), a key inflammatory marker is found in the blood of those who suffer from excess weight. Inflammation and excess weight gain can also lead to insulin resistance which can cause obesity, diabetes, heart disease and many other health complications. Because medicinal mushrooms are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, they’re a wonderful way to protect against weight gain and a myriad of diseases that often accompany obesity.
While no single food substance, no matter how good it is can stop obesity alone – you need exercise, calorie control, sleep, hormonal balance, stress reduction, etc. for that – Four Sigmatic is definitely an appropriate helper if you want to lose weight, stay fit, and remain active.
Does Four Sigmatic Have Caffeine?
Everyone has a different tolerance level for caffeine. I find that if I drink more than 50 mg after 2PM, I can’t sleep at night. Fortunately, you can choose a mushroom blend with half the caffeine or no caffeine.
It depends on which flavor you purchase, but some Four Sigmatic coffees have a full dose of caffeine, others contain around 50 mgs of caffeine (about half a normal dose in one cup of coffee), and still others have ZERO caffeine. You can choose which level of caffeine you’d like to indulge in. If you want to lower your caffeine intake, these flavors are the best bet:
For ZERO caffeine, try:
Chaga Elixir with Field Mint and Rose Hips
Mushroom Blend with all the mushrooms if you can’t pick one!
Adaptogen Blend with chaga, reishi and tulsi, an adaptogen that helps manage stress know as “an elixir of life” and “queen of herbs.”
Focus Blend with Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps – add it to tea, coffee, elixir or even baked goods.
For ½ the normal caffeine in coffee, try:
For regular levels of caffeine, try:
What are the Best Health Benefits of Mushroom Coffee?
There are so many health benefits from drinking Four Sigmatic, it really doesn’t make sense not to add it to your dietary habits. Benefits in a nutshell are:
- Boosted immunity
- Better memory
- Mental clarity and calm
- More creativity
- Less stress and anxiety
- Improved sleep
- Organic (so no toxins added)
- High antioxidants
- Lowered inflammation
- More energy without the jitters
- Possible protection against obesity
- Recover from injuries or intense workouts faster
What Does Mushroom Coffee Taste Like?
Don’t fret, Four Sigmatic doesn’t taste like mushrooms or a mushroom stir fry. It tastes nothing like mushrooms, in fact. It tastes exactly like regular coffee with a slightly earthy flavor. And you can add anything that you normally do to a regular cup, including almond or coconut milk, cinnamon, or even vegan whipped cream. It’s delicious, so there’s no chance you’ll ditch your newfound health habit because you’re trying to drink something that isn’t pleasing to your palate. If you can get started on wheatgrass shots, you can do this in your sleep – and get better sleep for doing it!
Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee Recipe
Brew Four Sigmatic like you would brew regular coffee, or make a cold brew and serve with a splash of your favorite milk – it’s especially satisfying as a cold brew! To make mushroom coffee cold brew, fill a cold brew filter bag (editor’s note: I like these compostable bags) with your favorite mushroom coffee, place in a 32oz glass jar, cover with cold water, and place in the fridge overnight or up to 48 hours for a stronger brew. When ready, serve as is or over ice with a splash of your favorite milk.
Ingredients / Nutrition Facts
Each box or pod of Four Sigmatic has slightly different ingredients, but all are 100% organic, 3rd party lab-tested, free-trade, and free of toxic additives. Generally, you’ll find only a few ingredients:
- Adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagadha
- Adaptogenic mushrooms including Lion’s Mane and Chaga, Cordyceps and Reishi
How am I supposed not to try it after my friend @hilarypearlson says this? “@foursigmatic #mushroomcoffee changed my life. I feel so much more sustained energy throughout the day. Switching to it has been transformational!” https://t.co/PpaHOqbzl5
— Breakfast Criminals (@breakfastcrmnls) May 11, 2021
After thorough research into this product and a deep dive into its use over 3 weeks I can confidently say that this brand of mushrooms is golden. I’ve used numerous supplements, nootropics, and food-based cures and enhancers for boosting my mood, my immunity, and my cognitive health, (especially as I get older) and also to just get an edge on life when there’s always a million things on my to-do list. Many have subtle effects that are kind of hard to quantify, but in all honesty Four Sigmatic products offer a palpable difference in my daily mood, productivity, and stress levels.
I find that drinking my Four Sigmatic coffee every morning gives me a gentle boost of clarity, calm, and focus, and seems to sustain me throughout the day. I also don’t need to go for a second cup of “regular coffee.” I attribute this to the calm energy that Four Sigmatic and coffee provide as a synergistic duo.
Knowing that drinking this stuff is also protecting all my neurons (even the billions that line my gastrointestinal tract) is also a great boon. I like that I’m adding nutrients to an already established morning ritual, and then just augmenting it with a slightly different choice in coffee product. When I compare other supplements that might offer similar benefits, such as a solitary adaptogenic mushroom or probiotics, I’m getting a huge bang for my buck too.
Learn more about mushrooms:
This post and all content on this website is intended for informational purposes only and not intended to serve as professional medical advice. Please consult your doctor and your own body on what works for you.