Tero Isokauppila: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Medicinal Mushrooms – The James Altucher Show

Key Takeaways (and products mentioned)

  • Cordyceps mushrooms increase endurance
  • Chaga mushrooms are incredibly rich in antioxidants
  • Lion’s Mane mushrooms improve cognitive function
  • Reishi mushrooms reduce stress, are VERY anti-inflammatory, and help people get more deep sleep
  • Shiitake mushrooms are high in antioxidants and help with liver detoxification
  • Black foods (like Chaga mushrooms, coffee, and poppy seeds) are good for the heart and longevity
  • Mushrooms have different benefits and should be used for different scenarios:
  • Only build a business if you’re passionate about it because it sure as hell is a lot of work

To be transparent – the specific products liked above are brands we at Podcast Notes recommend. Tero only mentioned the specific type of mushroom linked.


  • Tero Isokauppila (@FourSigmatic) is the CEO and founder of Four Sigmatic, a company specialized in helping people reach optimal human performance through superfoods, functional mushrooms and adaptogenic herbs (herbs which protect the body against stress)

Books Mentioned

Tero’s Background

  • Tero’s family has owned a farm since 1619 and as a kid, Tero frequently went wild berry/mushroom picking
    • There’s actually only a handful of mushrooms that are lethal that people should be aware of – Andrew Weil touches more on poisonous mushrooms in these Podcast Notes
  • In his 20s, Tero started competing in ultra runs and endurance events and became interested in optimizing human potential
    • He looked for a performance edge and found that certain mushrooms, such as Cordyceps which increases VO2 max, could help him
  • Tero believes in the 10,000-hour rule
    • The real way to create new contributions to the world is by combining two or more areas of expertise to come up with new ideas (like mushrooms and human performance)

Tero’s Rule of 3

  • Tero believes in the Rule of 3 – You can’t go more than 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, 3 minutes without air and 3 seconds without thinking
    • Because of this rule, in terms of importance, Tero says: food < water < air < thinking
      • Tero knows a lot of people that eat extremely well but are constantly sick because of their negative thinking and high-stress levels – ”I think the physiology of thoughts mean a lot, so if you think you’re really sick, you’re probably sick”
        • Interestingly, Tero says he made the decision years ago not to think about being sick and – “I haven’t been sick in 11 years”
  • “I do believe your thoughts manifest into your physiology”
    • It goes both ways – a negative mind can make your body sick, but a healthy body can heal your mind

The Different Types of Mushrooms and Their Benefits

  • Mushrooms get a bad rap because most people associate them with being deadly, even though there are many other types of plants which can kill you
  • There are 6 types of fungi for every plant – ”For every tomato, there are six types of mushrooms”
  • It’s estimated that out of the 20 best-selling pharmaceuticals in the world, 10 use fungi
    • Penicillin is derived from mushrooms
  • The Chaga mushroom is incredibly rich in antioxidants
    • Tero says 1 cup of Chaga = 1 pound of carrots in terms of antioxidants
    • Black foods (like Chaga mushroom, coffee, poppy seeds) are good for the heart and longevity
  • Tero tells a story about a world-class surfer who was able to heal from their concussion using Lion’s Mane mushrooms  
    • Psychedelic mushrooms have the power to change one’s mind, it is not too far off to say other mushrooms can heal the mind
    • Lion’s Mane improves cognitive function
  • The Reishi mushroom is often called “the mushroom of immortality”
    • 2,000 years ago in a book of medicine, the Chinese ranked the mushroom as the #1 thing to eat for healing
    • It’s known to reduce stress and helps people sleep deeper
    • Tero says people will feel the effects of Reishi mushrooms almost immediately
  • Benefits of Shiitake mushrooms – they’re high in antioxidants and help with liver detox

Consuming Mushrooms

  • Most mushrooms are not meant to be eaten raw
    • People don’t have the enzymes necessary to digest them so it’s best to process mushrooms with heat before consuming them (cook them in a soup or on a pan with butter)
  • For certain mushrooms, it’s best to cycle their usage to maximize benefits
  • Mushrooms have different benefits and should be used for different scenarios:

Building Four Sigmatic

  • Only build a business if you’re passionate about it because it sure as hell is a lot of work
    • Don’t forget to have some fun along the way though – Tero is building a cafe in NYC that will let people try different mushroom products
  • Tero gives a piece of Four Sigmatic to all of his employees as an incentive to help the business grow
  • Tero saw an opportunity to combine his personal needs with the chance to help others
    • He wanted to make an impact on society and saw that the time was right to share his expertise by providing a product that would improve people’s health
  • Tero found that the two biggest friction points to building his business were: making his product convenient and making it taste good


  • Tero is a big believer in cycling different areas of your life and adding seasonality
    • For example – cycle through different diets, exercise hard some days and take long breaks afterwards, have a month of vast creativity and then take a month off, etc
  • Tero believes there are a lot of benefits to psychedelic mushrooms and sees a lot of people in Silicon Valley taking them
  • Hypothetically, if Tero got cancer, he would use a holistic approach and eliminate sugar, double down on gut health, take prebiotics, spend time in nature, use hot/cold stress, and take vitamin D

These notes were edited by RoRoPa Editing Services

James Altucher Show : , , , , , , , ,
Notes By Alex Wiec

More Notes on these topics

Top Insights and Tactics From

31 Best Podcasts of All Time

FREE when you join over 35,000 subscribers to the
Podcast Notes newsletter

No Thanks