Zylaria™: The Fungal Answer to a Good Night’s Sleep?
Functional mushrooms have been sought after for centuries due to their rich contents of key nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids (1). Not only do these fungi contain beneficial macronutrients, they also may help support a vital function for healthy living: sleep.
Zylaria™, or Xylaria nigripes, is a type of mushroom that was first used medicinally centuries ago in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practices. Like many mushrooms, it grows underground, about a foot down, in dark, damp and warm conditions but unusually, only where there’s also a termite nest, specifically, the nest of the Odontotermesformosanus termite.
Both fungus and termite have a happy, beneficial relationship with each other, the fungus thriving in the folds of the termite nest, the termite using the fungus as its primary source of nutrients.
Zylaria™ is a rich source of amino acids, and not just for termites, but for us humans too. And the most exciting amino acid in this medical mushroom is gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA.
GABA is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that acts as a messenger between the brain and the nervous system, taking messages from the brain to the nerve cells to slow down their activity. In other words, it’s a way of saying it’s the brake pedal for our continuous on-the-go minds. Its role is to counteract the compounds that exhibit ‘excitement’ in our brain, helping the human body to unwind, relax, and feel at ease.
Zylaria™ as a Natural Sleep Aid
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder characterized by challenges in falling asleep and/or maintaining sleep. If someone experiences poor sleep quality as well as lacking in quantity of sleep, that individual may suffer from symptoms of insomnia.
This condition over time may lead to mental distress, bad memory, anxiety, and depression. It’s for this reason that GABA supplements and foods containing GABA are the focus of research by scientists looking into anxiety and poor sleep and why we at Nuliv Science focus on this area of research. GABA-rich Zylaria™ also contains glutamic acid and glutamate decarboxylase, which both have a natural, and importantly, gentle, tranquilizing effects.
Xylaria nigripes supplements have been proven to help reset the natural body clock of the body, allowing sleep patterns to improve and sufferers of insomnia to get more restorative and peaceful sleep, take less time to fall asleep and stay asleep for longer.
And what’s more, the sleepy nutrients in Zylaria™ don’t act like a sleeping ingredient by completely ‘knocking out’ the end-users so that they fall asleep. Instead, the key nutrients naturally work in tandem with the brain to send more relaxing messages to the nerve cells, promoting a general sense of calm. This means that taking Zylaria™ as a supplement to promote restful sleep doesn’t exhibit side effects like ‘brain fog’ and grogginess that some natural sleeping aids do.
Zylaria™ Also Helps Lift Mood
Researchers have found that the benefits of Zylaria™ also extend to helping patients suffering from depression, too. It has a slower, and milder effect than more conventional antidepressant medicines and as it’s a natural substance, could be better tolerated with fewer side effects.
Researchers have found that in general, people with depression tend to have lower levels of GABA. Therefore, topping up levels of GABA with GABA-rich supplements and foods such as Zylaria™ seems to have positive benefits.
The GABA in Zylaria™ also helps to relieve anxiety and panic attacks, due to its effects on reducing the excitability of the nerve cells. The same is seen in children and young adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, where it can help have a calming effect and help to increase focus and concentration.
Research on Xylaria nigripes
Xylaria nigripes (Zylaria™) used in traditional Chinese medicine attempts to resolve sleep, mood, and memory problems.(1) Pharmacological studies(2) indicate that the amount of glutamic acid (Glu), γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and the ability to bind to GABA receptors in the brain were higher in subjects in the treatment group compared to subjects in the control group after the administration of Zylaria™.
Furthermore, the activity of glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) was also elevated. This suggests that WulinshenPrime™ possesses the ability to facilitate the entry of Glu and GABA into the brain to activate the receptors of GABA and thus exert its sedative and sleep-promoting and mood-elevating properties.
Much opportunity abounds for brands to include Zylaria™ in their formulas. Key players in the nutraceuticals industry can take advantage of the continuously growing demand that consumers are influencing with their purchases, specifically as it relates to sleep quality, insomnia, anxiety, and general wellness.
In particular, insomnia affects many consumers in the general population(3). Here are the numbers:
• 30 to 35% have brief symptoms of insomnia.
• 15 to 20% have a short-term insomnia disorder, which lasts less than three months.
• 10% have a chronic insomnia disorder, which occurs at least three times per week for at least three months.
Busy lifestyles, long days at work and the demands of the workplace, stress & anxiety all play a role in affecting sleep quality and the brain’s general functions over the course of time.
Next Step is…
Perhaps Zylaria™ is a key ingredient you’re considering. To get more information and product specifications, please contact us for more information on this dynamic wellness ingredient. We want to help you elevate your brand to the next level with high-quality ingredients.
1. Kim B, Hong VM, Yang J, et al. A Review of Fermented Foods with Beneficial Effects on Brain and Cognitive Function. Preventive Nutrition and Food Science. 2016;21(4):297-309. doi:10.3746/pnf.2016.21.4.297.
2. W. A. Sands. The association of termites and fungi. In Biology of Termites, Edited by K. Krishna and F. M. Weesner, Vol. 1, 495-524 (1970), Academic Press, New York.
3. American Sleep Association https://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep/sleep-statistics/. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
Additional Relevant Research on WulinshenPrime™ (Xylaria nigripes)
Shih-Chuan Chinese Medicinal Journal, p1434 (1960). 3b. Z.J. Ma, et al., Journal of Immunology (China), 5 (2), 13 (1989).
Sreerama L, Veerabhadrappa, Isolation and properties of carboxylesterases of the termite gut-associated fungus, Xylaria
nigripes. K., and their identity from the host termite. Odentotermes horni. W., mid-gut carboxylesterases, Int J Biochem 1993 Nov; 25(11):1637-51.
Study on the Mechanism and Sedation Effect of Xylaria Nigripes, Chinese Pharmacological Journal 1999;6,34(6).