Should You Take Turkey Tail Mushrooms For Brain Health?

Last Updated on November 9, 2023

As the population ages and more people develop brain disorders, the cost of disability and death brought on by these conditions is increasingly acknowledged as a global public health concern. According to studies, neurological conditions were responsible for 349 million cases of disease burden and over 10 million deaths worldwide in 2019.

Turkey tail mushrooms have long been prized for their extraordinary healing abilities in various cultures, particularly regarding brain health. These mushrooms may be a natural alternative to support the body’s most important organ by stimulating immune system response, improving mental clarity, lowering oxidative stress, and easing depression-related symptoms.

This post explores what researchers have uncovered about using Turkey tail mushrooms for brain health.

Exploring The Research Behind Turkey Tail Mushrooms For Brain Health

Although more research is required to determine the exact mechanisms by which Turkey tail mushrooms enhance brain health, studies have demonstrated that they have tremendous benefits for memory and cognitive function. They have been associated with reduced brain oxidative stress and an effect similar to an anti-depressant. According to researchers, the unique combination of compounds present in Turkey tail mushrooms, which interact synergistically on neural pathways, is thought to be responsible for these benefits.

Here are some ways the mushroom improves brain health:

Turkey Tail may improve cognitive function

New research has shed light on the possible brain health benefits of Turkey tail mushrooms. According to research, its bioactive components may positively impact brain health by providing neuroprotective benefits and improving cognitive function. In addition, Turkey tail is rich in anti-oxidants, which may improve cognitive function (e.g., problem-solving and memory) and reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline.

Turkey Tail may increase immune system response

Cell damage caused by oxidative stress may have a role in neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s. An increased immune system response, such as that induced by turkey tail mushrooms, may aid in the reduction of cellular stress.

In a  2015 study from China, mice with Alzheimer’s were given Coriolus versicolor polysaccharide (90 mg/kg/day), Gingko flavonoid, or the combination (37.5 mg/kg of Gingko and 45 mg/kg Turkey tail). Researchers reported the combination of Ginkgo and Coriolus polysaccharide in preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease.

Results showed that the combination improved performance on several parameters that asses memory and brain functioning, such as the Y maze, Morris water maze test, and the step-through tests. In addition, analysis of the brain biopsies of the animal also revealed a decrease in the severity of pathological findings.

Turkey Tail may help with depression

Turkey tail mushrooms may also have an anti-depressant like effect on the central nervous system. In a  2021 study, researchers evaluated the extracts of Trametes versicolor in Swiss albino mice. Here, two extracts of Turkey tail were used: the methanol and aqueous extract.

Both extracts showed a substantial decrease in movement in multiple tests done, such as the hole-cross, open field, thiopental sodium-induced sleeping time,  forced swimming, hole-board, and rotarod tests. The findings conclude that the Turkey tail mushroom could be an alternative source for CNS anti-depressant activity.

Compounds found in turkey tail mushrooms have anti-oxidant effects that may be neuroprotective in Meniere’s disease, a neurological disorder characterized by hearing loss and vertigo.

Turkey Tail may reduce oxidative stress

In a 2019  clinical trial for patients with Meniere’s disease, a biomass preparation of Trametes versicolor at a dose of three 500 mg tablets every 12 hours showed anti-oxidant capacity. The treatment lowered oxidative stress markers in blood cells (such as carbonyls, 4-hydroxynonenal, F2-isoprostanes, and luminescence).

Tinnitus was also significantly improved in the patients, possibly related to reducing oxidative stress.

Benefits of Turkey Tail

While the brain benefits of Turkey tail mushrooms have been documented, additional health-boosting mushrooms have also been demonstrated. It is most notable for its anticancer benefits, owing to two key polysaccharopeptides, PSP and PSK. In vitro research indicates Turkey tail contains potent anti-oxidant potential and may protect DNA from free radical damage.

Below are some benefits of Turkey tail mushrooms, backed by numerous scientific studies:

  • Turkey tail mushrooms are adaptogens, helping the body adapt to chemical, biological and physical stress.
  • Bioactive compounds in Turkey tail have immunostimulatory effects by enhancing both the innate and adaptive immune responses.
  • Turkey tail combats oxidative stress and supports a healthy inflammatory response.
  • The anti-oxidant effects of Turkey tail can protect DNA from free radical damage.
  • Beta-glucans in Turkey tail may be a potential source of prebiotics that can support gut health.
  • PSP in Turkey tail may have hepatoprotective effects.
  • The mushroom may enhance athletic performance.
  • PSP may support normal insulin sensitivity, which helps maintain blood sugar levels within a healthy range.

However, not all Turkey tail supplements will be able to deliver these benefits. A quality supplement must be selected to reap the benefits of Turkey tail mushroom.

Look for a statement on the product’s packaging that says only the turkey tail mushroom was used, and not mycelium. Mycelium is essentially the fungi’s root system. It is cultivated on grain, which lowers the efficacy of the finished product, in addition to the fact that it contains less of the desirable bio-compounds.

Additionally, the label should mention the beta-glucan content. Check the product label for the specific beta-glucan content to buy the most effective and valuable functional Turkey tail supplement. It is doubtful that the product has enough beta-glucan if the content is not listed on the label.

Finally, look for products made using a hot water extraction process. This maintains the beta-glucan levels high for maximum benefits.

FAQs About Turkey Tail For Brain Health

Is It Safe To Take Turkey Tail Everyday For Brain Health?

Studies have shown Turkey tail is safe for daily use. Adults have typically taken 3 grams of PSK orally every day for up to 36 months. 2.4 grams of whole turkey tail mushrooms have been taken orally daily for up to 12 weeks.

What Is Turkey Tail Mushroom Good For?

Turkey tail mushroom and their extracts strengthen the immune system, which is also useful against several cancers. Additionally, it may enhance brain function, protect the liver, and prevent the spread of viruses.

Does Turkey Tail Make You Sleepy?

According to research, there is no evidence that Turkey tails make you sleepy. On the contrary, Turkey tail mushrooms may be a more effective treatment for insomnia; studies show that they can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality.

How Fast Does Turkey Tail Mushroom Work For Brain Health?

New users of Turkey tail mushrooms may need up to three weeks to start experiencing the health benefits. For the first three weeks, it is recommended that new users double the recommended dosage because many supplements are bioreactive, and the body needs time to accumulate them.

Is Turkey Tail Good For Anxiety?

Turkey tail mushrooms are abundant in beta-glucans, which are a type of fiber that can help lower stress and anxiety. Additionally, they have anti-inflammatory effects that can help you feel better, fight depression, and provide pain relief.


With the increasing global burden of brain disorders, alternative therapies like Turkey tail mushrooms are growing in popularity. While researchers will continue to discover how Turkey tail can support brain health, existing studies show that the mushroom improves cognition, strengthens the immune system, may offer an anti-depressant-like effect and reduces oxidative stress.


1. Frontiers in public health. Global, regional, and national burden and attributable risk factors of neurological disorders: The Global Burden of Disease study 1990–2019.

2. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM. The Synergistic Beneficial Effects of Ginkgo Flavonoid and Coriolus versicolor Polysaccharide for Memory Improvements in a Mouse Model of Dementia.

3. Saudi journal of biological sciences. Deciphering the CNS anti-depressant, antioxidant and cytotoxic profiling of methanol and aqueous extracts of Trametes versicolor and molecular interactions of its phenolic compounds.

4. International journal of molecular sciences. Nutritional Mushroom Treatment in Meniere’s Disease with Coriolus versicolor: A Rationale for Therapeutic Intervention in Neuroinflammation and Antineurodegeneration.


  • Dr. Sony Sherpa has a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the Guangzhou Medical University and has been studying medicinal mushrooms for more than 7 years. Her knowledge of medicinal mushrooms is backed by a master's degree in Holistic Medicine and contributes to many health articles around the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms.

World Mushroom Society is a collective of fungi enthusiasts and health advocates, sharing information, research, studies, and identifying top producers of high quality medicinal mushroom supplements.


The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information found here is not meant as a substitute for, or alternative to, information from your doctor for ongoing medical treatment you currently receive. If unsure, please consult with your doctor before using medicinal mushrooms. Any content related to cancer should not be considered as prescriptive medical advice and should not be a substitute for any cancer treatment, unless advised by your doctor first. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by TGA and FDA-approved research. If you are pregnant or on prescription drugs that thin the blood, consult with your medical professional before using medicinal mushrooms.
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