Alcohol is our culture’s vice of choice. It takes the edge off, makes us a little more relaxed and a lot more confident–a seemingly worthwhile tradeoff, despite its next-day consequences. While we've always known alcohol isn't great for us, recent studies are showing us something we’ve been conveniently disregarding: alcohol may be to blame for more health woes than we originally realized.

So, what is it doing to us? And is there a better way to alter our consciousness?

According to Dr. Montalvo, "Continued alcohol consumption can lead to oxidative stress. Think of a bicycle that is left out in the rain for too long. Eventually, it develops rust. This is what happens to the cells in our body when we have too much oxidative stress. The membranes–the outer layer of the cell–gets damaged, causing our cells to work in less-optimal ways, changing neurotransmitter production and cellular response to neurotransmitters. This leads to sleep disruption and total-body inflammation, resulting in chronic illness and problems with mood, focus and motivation.

As we take a deeper look into the downstream impacts to our circadian rhythm, we find that hormone and neurotransmitter levels are also affected, leading to more frequent illness and furthering our sensitivity to mood disorders." 

When we have inflammation in our most vital organs with out-of-whack hormones, we’re not showing up–often for days on end–as our best selves. We’re not as sharp and creative, we’re more susceptible to weight gain and illness and we’re less likely to be able to deal with the ebbs and flows of daily life. In short, it’s making us a little less hot and a bit less interesting.

On the other hand, according to Dr. Montalvo, "Aa recent study proved reishi and lion’s mane mushrooms improved antioxidant levels, neuroinflammation, mood, cognitive function, immune system and circadian rhythm cycles–all markers negatively impacted by the consumption of alcohol." What’s more? Reishi and lion’s mane mushrooms are reported to gift the brain buzz and/or take-the-edge-off feeling similar to the first glass of your favorite alcoholic beverage.

The question remains. Is alcohol becoming antiquated? And are functional mushrooms the latest in ‘drinking’ technology? The winds seem to be shifting and only time will tell. What we do know is this: drinking mushrooms is likely to keep us healthier, hotter, sharper and a bit more interesting–a surefire way to show up as a 10 in all areas of our lives.