Danille Ryan Broida is a mycologist, the National Educator of FOUR SIGMATIC and is teaching the world about a life on Functional Mushrooms.

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Disclaimer: The information in this Podcast is for educational purposes only. Vaishnavi Sarathy, Ph.D. is an educator, not a doctor, specifically not your child’s doctor. Please consult your physician before implementing any supplement or diet recommendations.

Audio Transcription: 


Fungi are the grand decomposers of the world. They break down everything to make room for new life, and their mycelial network is everywhere on the planet. Weaving underground in what is often called the wood Wide Web. So says Daniel Bryan Pryda. My guest for today, and registered herbalist, certified holistic nutritionist, Instructor of mycology, the study of mushrooms, and National Educator of Four Sigmatic. But first Welcome to functional nutrition and learning for kids.

I am so glad you’re here today. And I do have an announcement to make. For a short time my podcast is going to be monthly. To be more accurate I will be releasing an episode in two weeks on the first Friday of March and then on the first Friday of every month.

This is to allow me some time to get a YouTube channel going which is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. In the meantime keep writing device vaish at functionalnutritionforkids.com. By the way, if you have written before without success, this email had crashed for a couple of months and I didn’t know but it is now working. I promise to respond to everyone. Back to Danielle.

Danielle is teaching the world about life on functional mushrooms. She has an illustrious resuming. Prior to joining forces with for SIG Matic she received her BA in environmental studies and philosophy and went on to study our VEDA in India and became a certified yoga instructor in the banks of the Ganga. She has since worked with naturopathic doctors become a certified draw chef and lead tracking adventures in Thailand. She is now an instructor of mycology at the Colorado School of clinical herbalism and has a private practice as well.

Danielle brings her passion and expertise in herbal medicine, clinical practice teaching formulation, and a deep love of fungi to everything she does. Daniel, I’m so glad and so excited to have you on this podcast. And your bio is like the most diverse bio I’ve had for anybody that’s been on this podcast, yoga, Ayurveda mushrooms, you know, herbal medicine, and eye-tracking. I’m sure I’ve missed a couple. But that’s so fantastic. Thanks for joining us.

Danielle Broida:

Yeah, thanks so much. It’s a pleasure to be with you today.


Same here, and I want to start with a quote that you sent me. And I’m just going to read out and I quote, you say I believe fungi are the most important teachers on our planet silently guiding us towards a world of more connection with each other, the earth, and the answers, we need to solve many of the Earth’s problems. So because you said connection, I really want to talk about, you know, we’re starting to understand autism, but even Down Syndrome and other any other disability affecting children, many other disabilities, I should say, as a brain-body connection, because a lot of times people used to think that if you can’t communicate, you can think and we know that’s not true now. So a lot of things come down to the, disconnect that many children feel including my son between the brain and body. So tell us more this is about fungi connection, anything you want. So just how does all this comes together?

Danielle Broida:

Yeah, I’m so glad you bring that up. And I think if there’s one word to explain Fundraise’s role and our relationship with them, it’s really it comes down to connection and we can look at that literally we can look at it metaphorically or energetically, physically. And you know, starting from the basic the literal ways that they are connectors, we think about them as the connection between life and death.

You know, first and foremost they are the grand decomposers of the world just so anywhere we are on the planet. If we didn’t have fungi, we would be living under several dozen feet of debris. If they break down everything to make room for a new life, whether it’s moldy cheese in the refrigerator or giant redwood trees in the middle of the forest, right they are the decomposers that connect forests.

When we look at plants as an herbalist, I feel that so much attention and love, and adoration is given to the plants and we often pass over the critical role that fungi play in making our plants what they are. So if you look closely at any plant any part of the plant we used to just think that with fungi that they’re called Miko Ryza so Miko being related to mushrooms, fungi, and rhizobium roots we used to think that these micro Raizel fungi just had an interaction with the roots of plants over 90% of plants on Earth in fact, and now we are seeing research that in every part of the plant and a leaf in a seed in the flower petal, the more you microscopically look at that there are fungi residing within the cell walls of all parts of our plants. And that Wow, isn’t that incredible?

Yeah. Yeah. So not only right, are they through this mycelial network, which is the majority of the fungal species, especially when we’re speaking of mushrooms, the mushrooms is just the fruit that’s like the apple on the tree. But the majority of the species is this underground mycelial network and everywhere you are on the planet, this is an underground weaving.

I mean that that’s connecting all plants on Earth, to an intelligence even. It is yeah, it’s been called the wood Wide Web, I think of it as the nervous system of the planet or the circulatory system of the planet. And if we look at the networking pattern of mycelium, it’s actually identical to a couple of other patterns that we might be more familiar with.

It’s, it’s almost identical to the human brain, to the universe, and to the pattern of the internet. And this massive intelligence that’s everywhere underneath our feet, wherever we walk, connecting all plants. And when it comes to plants, nutrition, and the functional ingredients in our plants, it’s often these micro Raizel fungi that are responsible for bringing much of the nutrition into that plant, right, so the plant is able to photosynthesize and create sugars from the sun. And it brings those sugars into this micro Raizel.

You know, this symbiotic fungal partner. And in response, the fungai is able to gather critical nutrients, a lot of minerals, from rocks from other insects from miles away and deliver that to its host plant. So there’s this amazing synergy that happens between the two. And when we talk about connection, I mean, there’s literally they are apart, they are interwoven into so many of the things that we often overlook, like that’s, that’s some kale, or that’s a flower over here. And there are actually fungi embedded within that, you know, there. I could go on and on.


Yeah, I know, I can see that and the audience can see you but I want to say that Daniels’s face is completely lit up with and so it’s mine actually just listening to her. So is it newly Is it true that this information is just starting to be understood? Has this been there for? I don’t remember reading this in my biology class.

Danielle Broida:

Yeah, we need a lot more education around mycology, I actually teach my ecology. And so I mean, especially in the West, we are caught under the spell of what is called Miko phobia, right? It’s this fear of mushrooms, this fear of fungi, we think of fungus as this dangerous, you know, people tell me they think of foot fungus or Black Mold. And there’s so much more that’s critical to our health the health of the planet to our microbiome, in this fungal kingdom. And, yeah, I think we’re just in the beginning. It’s this juxtaposition, right? Because the information is not new.

It’s taking a different place and we’re kind of ready, especially in the West to embrace the entire kingdom of fungi. But when it comes to many of the species, there are among our oldest natural medicines, specifically. So humans have had this relationship and this interaction with a lot of these mushrooms for some of them 6000 Some research says up to 12,000 years, and so that that relationship is nothing new. And yet, the understanding of it in the context of more of conventional education is definitely I think, we’re at the beginning of just learning how much they are critical to so many aspects of our life and our well-being.


Coming back to a specific question, why are some mushrooms called functional?

Danielle Broida:

Yeah, great question. So there’s a debated number, of mushrooms out there. And there’s a subset of these mushrooms for the fruiting body. There are about six or 700 of them that have known studied benefits to the human body. And so these studied compounds could be polysaccharides, these complex sugar chains, often beta-glucans, mushrooms, or terpenes.

There are all these different groups of powerful compounds that there is research and there’s a history of them having some sort of beneficial effects on the human body. And so that group of those couple 100 mushrooms is referred to as functional, right, they have some sort of function to our human body.

God, it’s as opposed to mushrooms that may still be food, but they’re not specifically therapeutic like that. Absolutely. Yeah. So there are mushrooms that are more in the culinary category, and some of them Do crossover. So there are mushrooms that you can eat things like Pataki and my talkie Lion’s Mane that are both culinary and functional. So it’s not super delineated. However, functionality refers to that, that has some sort of constituents that benefit our body.


Now, I know you’re an expert in using function mushrooms for as therapeutic, you know, agents for various conditions. And I was curious, when is it that in the protocols that you use that mushrooms become part of your practice? Is it with diet before the diet? Sometimes, sometimes you need something to kind of, you know, boost your response in a particular way. So or is it? You know, after dietary modifications into one how does this fit into the big picture?

Danielle Broida:

It’s a great question. It really depends on the person coming to me. So everybody is so unique and individual, and I try to get functional mushrooms on board as soon as possible, in a way that they will be sustainable. So depending on when someone comes to me, it’s never just a functional mushroom-based formula. Diet is always always a component. The other supplements are often a component, of lifestyle practices, I call them vitalist practices.

So holistic wellness incorporates all these different aspects of a protocol. But depending on the person’s readiness, like, if someone has never heard of a mushroom, and their diet is all over the place, and they’re not sleeping properly, I often will wait to introduce a medicinal formula, even if it’s just herbs or has those mushrooms in it. And we’ll start with diet. So diet is really number one. And no matter what ailment someone comes to me with, I always start with the gut and their gut health and functional mushrooms are a big component of supporting gut health.

I think the research on that is just emerging, and there’s so much more that we’re going to discover there and how they, they can positively affect our micro I like to call it our microbiome because there are such fungi are such a critical part of, you know, the five different living beings in this ecosystem of our gut. But food, yeah, food supplements, the functional mushrooms, it really depends on the person’s willingness and readiness to, to bring them on board. Because I like to say that medicine doesn’t work if you don’t take it.

If someone’s totally new to working in a holistic way, and sometimes they’ll say, you know, start by increasing your water intake and adding five new fruits and vegetables into your diet this week, and then maybe a month in, they’re ready for an herbal formula. And again, that can range based on their lifestyle. So sometimes that looks like a tincture, sometimes it’s a tea, sometimes it’s a Four Sigmatic, you know, mushroom coffee, it’s really working with that person to find things that will be sustainable, because the key with mushrooms is you can’t take it once and expect all your issues to dissolve. It really takes that consistency.


And so that makes sense. But the connection aspect that you discussed also.

Danielle Broida:

Absolutely right, you’re building this connection to it. And so you’ve got to be ready to build that habit and that pattern around it. And so ideally, you know, it’s as soon as that person is ready, and it’s really looking at what their life looks like, and how can we make it simple to bring the functional mushrooms into their daily routine. So it becomes consistent, right? So it’s not this thing that is so foreign. Often the ingredients in themselves are like I’ve never heard of Shoghi before, what is this? How do we almost weave it into a daily protocol? So it becomes easy to do, it becomes seamless, and it becomes consistent. And that’s where the results come from.


Can you I know you’ve mentioned the benefits of mushrooms in terms of you know, in terms of connectivity and so on, but can you talk about other gaps that mushrooms fill in these could be specific parapet gaps that aren’t covered by other nutritional strategies or supplements even.

Danielle Broida:

There are so many so if we look at every mushroom was unique, but they have you know if we look at Reishi Ganoderma lucidum It’s our most studied functional mushroom called the queen of mushrooms, the mushroom of immortality, I mean, revered for 1000s of years and traditional Chinese medicine and many other cultures around the world. And it has literally hundreds of polysaccharides these complex sugar chains, and hundreds of different terpenes and they all act in concert together in the body. And so one of the most unique things about mushrooms is their ability to work with the body.

They’re not pushy, they’re really not moving our body in one direction you know Being overly stimulating or overly suppressive, they really, you know, they’re in this category called adaptogens. You know, other adaptions, people might know more of like ashwagandha and tulsi. But functional mushrooms are also adaptogens. And so they feel they really are working to find balance in the body, and they work at, I like to think of them as building the root of the body.

If we think about someone’s symptom picture, or whatever that might look like I have headaches, I have insomnia, I have digestive issues, you know, I’ve rashes on my skin, whatever it might be. Rather than using even a natural option to treat that external symptom, the mushrooms are working to strengthen the immune system to support the stress response, many of them support, brain function, you know, things like the ability for our nerves to fire optimally and Lion’s Mane mushrooms.

They have an immense amount of powerhouse nutrients, like the incredible antioxidants and Chaga mushroom. And so each of them really is supporting our core right offering a lot of the nutrients that we might be deficient in. So it’s like how can we expect someone to heal if, if their body literally on a cellular level is deficient in the nutrients that will enable their body to, rest or to have an immune system that’s working optimally?

I think broad spectrum there, they’re supporting the immune system and stress. And then if we look at each mushroom individually, they kind of have something unique to offer, based on their kind of structure of compounds within that fruiting body.


They’re very multi-pronged. So you’re, it’s not you’re not doing a pill for an ill, but you’re supporting the entire body and you’re doing the immune system eating antioxidants, oxidative stress, you’re doing maybe nutrient deficiencies, and just so and adaptogens, and so on, right that I love

Danielle Broida:

that I’ve never heard that appeal for an ill, that’s spot on.


who shouldn’t be having mushrooms is there is are there people that can’t tolerate them? I know you spoke about kids under a certain age not being ideal candidates. Can you talk about people that may not be the best fit?

Danielle Broida:

Yeah, so within the repertoire of herbal medicine, which includes our mushrooms, we rank, at least in the Western philosophy of herbal medicine, we kind of rank species based on their potency and their potential for toxicity. And so we have four levels of these herbs and functional mushrooms are actually in the safest and this level one category, which is really unique because they’re powerful, and yet they’re in a category that’s often safe for younger individuals, older individuals a wide range of ailments. So other herbs in this category are like mints and chamomile, like really, really gentle herbs. And so there’s, you know, I will say first and foremost, they are safe for many people.

It’s interesting as an herbalist, there are groups of people that I cannot work with, which is not specific to the functional mushrooms. But you know, It’s illegal for me to actually work with cancer patients for pregnant and nursing mamas, and for children under two. And we’re functional mushrooms kind of weave into this because they so potently affect the immune system right there immunomodulators. I don’t recommend them for children under seven. And I believe it’s I mean, twofold part of it is the immune system is still greatly developing right at those early ages.

It’s like exposing your kid to as much as possible like their bodies are learning. What’s them, what’s not them, right, constantly picking up on? Yeah, just being in the world and different antigens and different bacteria. And so their immune system is really developing and we don’t want to interfere with that too, drastically at a young age.

The second piece is, that we just don’t have enough research on the use of functional mushrooms and children. So I do know, I’ve many stories and I have clients that I have people in my life who have used functional mushrooms with their kids, and I can honestly say I’ve never seen a negative result from that. But if we’re following the research,


it’s we’re being safe and, and cautious.

Danielle Broida:

Yep, absolutely. Yeah. The other thing I wouldn’t group you know, beyond that kind of grouping of under seven. The thing to be cautious of is working with specific mushrooms if you are on certain medications. So for example, if you’re on some sort of blood-thinning medication like warfarin or Coumadin you might want to stay away from reishi mushroom because it does slightly, it’s been shown to slightly lower the blood sugar. So, you know, take it on an individual basis, but it always if you’re on medication, these are potent herbs,


You know, potent mushrooms practitioner that knows the interactions?

Danielle Broida:

Absolutely, yeah, always consider the interactions and know that they are, you know, in this category of among the safest herbs to take. So if you’re going to start anywhere, you know, I would recommend a mushroom even more than I would, you know, an acclamation or something that might be more popular and people might reach to thinking that it doesn’t have


the right side effects. Yeah. Let’s start from the perspective of focus and attention. And there’s a lot of talk about Lion’s Mane, I personally love Lion’s Mane, and I’ve just seen the most, My son loves it. And as much I drink it with my coffee, just fantastic. For us, at least, what is your favorite mushroom in general, but also specifically for when we’re looking to help a child or an adult actually with focus attention.

Danielle Broida:

I think the lion’s mane is a powerful, powerful ally. And I mean, what we’re seeing in the research is truly astonishing. You know, there aren’t other natural or pharmaceutical options that are able to do what we’re finding with lion’s mane. And what’s so unique about it. And it speaks to the theme that we’ve been talking about with functional mushrooms, this whole conversation is about this ability to work with what the body is already given.

Right? So it’s not adding something foreign, which a lot of our herbs do right, they kind of trick our body in one direction. so unique about lion’s mane is we already have, you know, abundant, we have nerve growth hormone, right, it’s NGF nerve growth factor, it’s a hormone in the body. And so it’s already existent. But what lion’s mane is doing, it’s enabling that to activate the right to flood more of this hormone into our system. And so we’re able to have increased neural firing, right, have a greater capacity to think and to focus and to feel this creative energy. And yeah, I just, I think it’s so amazing, it’s able to happen everywhere on the body.

We’re a lot of people call it the nerve mushroom, right? Because it can affect and rebuild nerve tissue and damage joints or, you know, after an athletic injury. But mentally, I mean, what we’re finding with neurodegenerative diseases, right with Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s is, it’s just wonderful. And, again, the consistency piece is, is really key with it. And so I actually love that, right?

It’s like, again, not a pill for an ill, it’s how can we weave this as more of a food right as a functional food ingredient into our everyday life. And from there, it becomes part of our diet or ritual or routine. And the effects begin to build on themselves, right? Because it’s like, slowly it’s not pushing our system.

It’s slowly bringing us into a more optimal state of thinking and focus. And yeah, I think lion’s mane is for sure. Kind of the mushroom for our brain, our brain’s best friend. But there are others that work and you know, so many other herbs that work in synergy with Lion’s Mane as well. So, we just came out at Four Sigmatic with a focus blend, which I’m so in love with, I drink it every morning. And it has the lion’s mane for your brain, but it has a quarter sets mushroom, which is a great kind of endurance, functional mushroom, right?

Oxygenating the system brings this physical energy and that works really well with Lion’s Mane if we’re looking for that full brain-body support, and then adding other herbs into the picture too. And, of course, we’ve added herbs to our formula things like Bukoba, which is a really lovely bunch of pulmonaria. It’s now your Vedic herbs, right. Brahmi is right, the creative forces of the earth. So yeah, you can


and I just saw that I saw the blend on Thrive Market really sharp, and I am it’s in my cart. So it’s coming, I’m going to send it to you take it out of your cart. Thank you. I love that.

That’s my favorite thing to offer people. It’s my new gift too. So if it’s like I’ve been you know, I’m not a good gift. And I’ve always been thinking what if I’m offering something like a giveaway or anything? What can I offer right now I’ve just zoned it down to medicinal mushrooms or functional mushrooms. That’s me like you said people aren’t always used to eating even regular culinary mushrooms in their diet. But when you’re bringing in this as a therapeutic tool, how can parents dose deliver mushrooms for kids about seven?

Danielle Broida:

Yes. So this group of functional mushrooms they have to be extracted which is really key. So we’re not going to we’re going to put culinary mushrooms aside because you can put mushrooms. And that’s wonderful. And it’s a great addition to your diet, but very different. I mean, the potency is night and day. So the mushrooms must be extracted. Yeah, because the fruiting body can be up to 90% water.

Cooking with them is great. But when you isolate, you can strap when you extract, whether it’s through alcohol, or in a tea, we call it a decoction, like this long hot water, boil your potentized and you’re pulling out the key compounds that are medicinal to the body. When you’re looking for mushrooms in the marketplace.

The big things I recommend are making sure it’s the fruiting body, it’s the real mushroom itself, and that the mushroom has been logged grown or wild harvested. So it’s actually the true mushroom right grown on what it evolved to grow on. And that will ensure a lot of the studied compounds are actually in there, which would be the opposite of log grown, grown on some sort of cereal substrate, which is very common. So you’ll see other ingredients as rice or wheat or oat. And especially if you have a gluten intolerance, you want to be really careful of what your mushrooms are grown on. So making sure Yeah, to actually grow on these functional species.

They almost all grow on wood. And so making sure they’re loved and grown is like we are what we eat. It’s like the compounds are directly converted into mushrooms to give them their medicine. So ballgown and then extraction our bodies can’t actually absorb mushrooms in their raw form.

They have this compound in the cell wall. It’s called chitin. And our bodies can’t break that down. So extraction is key. And organic and third-party testing is kind of like a bonus, right? We want to make sure they’re clean because mushrooms are bio accumulators, they can absorb a lot from their environment. So once you’ve hit all of those markers, and I say that because one mushroom powder is really not equal to another,


I just slowly realized I didn’t know this. And I swear that this is not a sponsored podcast by I reached out to Danielle. But I actually because I’ve used mushroom powders for I’ve been obsessed with the function mushrooms for a while now and I’ve been using outside of powders. It’s only this year that I’ve I’ve definitely seen a difference in my brain when I use Lion’s Mane from Four Sigmatic I use the coffee blend as opposed to different brands. So again, this is not a sponsored Podcast. I’m just saying what I observe but I can see that I can see how your point.

Danielle Broida:

Oh, it’s so funny. It’s not a sponsored podcast, podcast and I never thought I would work for a brand. Like I’ve always had my own practice. I’ve been an herbalist and I teach mushroom with the herb school and I teach mycology, I teach mushrooms that are the same. And I just had never found a brand until for SIG Matic that was offering mushrooms in the traditional way, like in the way that our ancestors have always used them.

It’s so important to actually feel and you feel the difference you really do. So yeah, just knowing not all mushroom powders are equal or not all supplements are equal, right. So if we see a supplement that says 500 milligrams and 500 milligrams, you really have to know that they’re not equal necessarily.

You want to make sure that it’s the real mushroom, it says fruiting body on your package, it says law grew or wild-harvested, and it says extracted. And from that baseline, then we can start looking at the milligram or the gram amount of it to start. Especially, you know, maybe like, if you’re totally new 500 milligrams is still a strong starting dose, and everybody is going to react differently.

I would say to start there with 500 milligrams, and then either kind of cut that in half, or you can double that every few days. So really every three days to every seven days, keeping a consistent dose monitoring the body.

A great way to do this is a before and after checklist. I would do this anytime making a dietary change or adding a new herbal protocol into someone’s life is really tracking how they were before and then once their body gets used to interacting with the functional ingredients, how their body’s changing. And your body will tell you if you want to kind of down-regulate a little bit and back off of the amount or if you want to increase the dosage but I’d say like a cap dose. Yeah, so 500 milligrams is like the minimum and then a cap dose. I personally use about four grams a day, but I’ve been using functional mushrooms for about a decade daily.


Right? Yeah. Thank you and I have a follow-up question. Is there any is there blender a specific mushroom that You can think of when we’re talking about moods, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about moods and OCD. I just thought I’d throw that out if there’s something that you can think of as being supportive to moods and OCD, and so on.

Danielle Broida:

Yeah, absolutely. I think, again, how can we look at the different mood swings or OCD from the root, and Where’s that coming from? So rather than just like having something that’s sedative, or hypnotic, or you know, a strong nervine, it’s looking at adaptogens are the key, you could choose functional mushrooms as your adaptogens, you can use more gentle plant-based adoptions, this is a big spectrum.

In a really gentle sense, you know, no matter what your body’s going through, I would probably suggest someone starting with ashwagandha as a plant adaptogen or Reishi as a mushroom adaptogen. And allowing that to start supporting their nervous system, right, getting them out of a state of fight or flight.

A lot of times I think that the OCD or the kind of tension is coming from a chronic state of being in fight or flight, right, the body hasn’t been able to replenish, it hasn’t been able to relax. We’ll also look at nutrient deficiencies in that body, I think, a big, like, what all of us could be supplementing with is magnesium right now.

70% of people are deficient in magnesium. So, you know, maybe it’s just that your body literally doesn’t have the mineral to unwind to relax to take a deep breath. And so looking at okay, what is your body deficient in replenishing that. And then also bringing supportive herbs on board like, you know, these really gentle adaptogens to start bringing more of that sense of equilibrium into the body. And then from there, assessing, you know, how the outward symptoms are progressing or declining.


Thank you for being on this podcast that is the first time we’re actually talking about function mushrooms, and it’s my favorite topic. It’s wonderful information. It was great to meet you. Thank you.

Danielle Broida:

Yeah, thank you so much.


Thanks for listening, everyone. If you are interested in getting a little bit more information about how functional nutrition can help your child, you can write to me at functionalnutritionforkids.com/contact. I will meet you again in two weeks. Until then, this is your host Vaish and music as always pursued by Maitri