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    Host Defense Information

    Mushrooms and Mycelium Help the Microbiome

    Mushrooms and Mycelium Help the Microbiome

    Few people know that we are more closely related to fungi than to any other kingdom. 650 million years ago, we split from fungi. We evolved to encircle our nutrients within a cellular sack, a stomach, and digested nutrients within. Fungi evolved to externally digest its nutrients, and projected a fine filamentous, cobweb like cellular networks known as mycelium. In both cases, over millions of years, choosing beneficial bacteria to aid in this process became essential for good digestion. By selecting commensal bacteria to help digest food, both humans and mushroom mycelium created complex communities -- microbiomes -- to help digestion, prevent disease, and extend longevity. Not only do we benefit from a healthy microbiome, but so too does the mycelium.

    The mushroom is a fruit of the mycelium, like an apple is to an apple tree. Mushrooms are made of compacted mycelium but are materially different than mycelium. Mushrooms are nutritionally dense, packed with polysaccharides, proteins, minerals, vitamins (B, D), are low in fat (5%, mostly linoleic acids) and are free of cholesterol. The cobwebby mycelium exudes enormous suites of enzymes, antimicrobial agents, antiviral compounds, as it grows in the ground beneath our feet and in the forests around us. Mycelium is the cellular foundation of our food webs, creating the rich soils so necessary for life. Mycelium is a digestive membrane that also destroys many environmental toxic wastes, and has spawned a new science -- called "Mycoremediation." Promoting mycelium in your garden and yards helps neutralizes many of the toxins that challenge our immune systems. Partnering with mycelium improves environmental health -- outside and inside our body

    Mycelium's selection of bacteria, in the creation of guilds of microbes, is essential for the mycelium's survival. The mycelium chooses suites of bacteria that not only helps it digest food, and stave off predators, but also helps the plant communities that give rise to the ecosystems in which the mycelium resides, so fruits (mushrooms) can be produced. This means that mycelium based products can aid digestion and help promote beneficial bacteria in our microbiomes.

    The nutritious and delectable mushrooms are very temporary, typically up only for a few days, attracting us and many other animals. Of great interest is that we know now mushrooms are prebiotics for the micrbiome -- augmenting the growth of beneficial bacteria such as Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium. Recent research now shows the consumption of Reishi and Turkey Tail mushrooms, not only support the immune system, but also balance the microbiome in favor of these beneficial bacteria, resulting in better digestion, and, amazingly, potential weight loss!

    Consuming mushrooms and mycelium adds many benefits in our pursuit of good health. Just make sure the products you consume are Certified Organic, US grown (better inspections), and that you know where they are grown and who is growing them. This is so important because there is a lot of deceptive advertising motivated by maximizing profits by minimizing costs, which jeopardizes quality. Adding mushrooms to your diet is probably one of the most important additions to the foods you can ingest that will improve your health!


    References

    On Opisthokontahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opisthokont

    Kumar Pallav, Scot E Dowd, Javier Villafuerte, XiaotongYang, Toufic Kabbani, Joshua Hansen, Melinda Dennis,
    Daniel ALeffler, David S Newburg and Ciarán P Kelly. "Effects of polysaccharopeptide from Trametes versicolor and amoxicillin on the gut microbiome of healthy volunteers: A randomized clinical trial." Gut Microbes. 2014 Jul 1;5(4):458-67. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.4161/gmic.29558

    Nathalie M. Delzenne & Laure B. Bindels. "Gut microbiota: Ganoderma lucidum, a new prebiotic agent to treat obesity?" Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 12, 553–554 (2015). http://www.nature.com/nrgastro/journal/v12/n10/full/nrgastro.2015.137.html

    Vanessa Moser. "The Human Microbiome: The Brain-Gut Axis and its Role in Immunity." Graduate Research Projects. Paper 7. 12-2014. http://knowledge.e.southern.edu/gradnursing/7

    Seven Pillars of Immune Benefits from Mushrooms

    Seven Pillars of Immune Benefits from Mushrooms

    Seven primary constituent classes, or “pillars” buttress the immunity enhancing effects of mushrooms.

    1. Polysaccharides (ex. Alpha & Beta-glucans): Immunomodulating
    2. Glycoproteins (ex. PSK): Immunomodulating
    3. Triterpenes (Sterols, ex. sistosterols, stigmasterols, campesterols)
    4. Lipids: Cholesterol modulating
    5. Proteins (Enzymes): Antioxidants
    6. Cyathane Derivatives (ex. erinacines & hericenones, nerve growth stimulant factors)
    7. Secondary Metabolites

    Mushrooms have approximately 12,000 genes controlling the production of more than 200,000 compounds. Each mushroom species has a unique genetic identity and molecular architecture. This is what defines a species. After thousands of years of experimentation by our ancestors, we now know which are some of the most beneficial of the tens of thousands of mushrooms in existence. From this set, we have selected the best-documented, scientifically-studied and safest functional mushrooms in nature that can be cultivated. We have successfully developed methodologies to sustainably cultivate these species.

    We can now benefit from the natural host defenses of not just mushrooms, but also their precursor living mycelium, an opportunity that was not accessible to the ancients. Embedded within this highly integrated molecular matrix of fungal cells are beneficial active ingredients. Our bodies are able to utilize these active ingredients, provided the mycomaterial is pure, genetically potent and bioavailable.

    Much has been written about extraction methods for isolating single classes of constituents. Extraction necessarily excludes other derivatives. Hot water, for example, has been used for centuries in teas and soups. Hot water isolates soluble sugars, including certain beta-glucans, glycoproteins and triterpenoids. Alcohol extraction, also proven effective for more than two millennia, on the other hand, can solubize many sterols, ergothioneines, glycosides and flavonoids. Ethyl acetate is yet another solvent often used. Each solvent fractionates out only a few of the Seven Pillars of Immunity from Mushrooms.

    By combining water and alcohol extraction methods, and retaining the insoluble matter that precipitates, we benefit from capturing all Seven Pillars. By consuming properly prepared mushroom products, the acids and enzymes of our digestive system carry out the extractions for us, selecting what it needs most from the panoply of constituents. A less comprehensive method of extraction employs a singular solvent, excluding the many benefits of the solvent-insoluble active ingredients. Knowing mushrooms offer a wide range of beneficial compounds, which work together, but whose solubilities greatly differ, choosing one solvent over another becomes difficult.

    Simply put, what benefits do you not want?

    The classic model of how beta-glucans work is that they are recognized by the immune system as an invasive organism, activating the body’s immune defenses as if to fight an infection. The mushroom mycelium’s ability to defend itself from infectious diseases by staving off invasive organisms can offer us shields of protection not only through direct anti-microbial activity but also from the production of our host-mediated immune cells. Other extracellular compounds, such as antioxidants, have more indirect influences. Antioxidants protect DNA from oxidative stress damage and detoxify the body of free radicals. Mushrooms also modulate the inflammatory response from causing collateral oxidative damage to surrounding healthy tissue. This makes them especially useful as adjunct therapies to conventional medicine. Knowing the particular attributes of each mushroom species provides us with the ability to develop targeted approaches to many categories of disease.

    In the view of the FDA, the isolation, concentration, and purification targeting a single active ingredient from mushrooms can designate them as pharmaceuticals. Using the mushrooms and mycelium in their natural forms make them functional foods. With mushrooms, the adage that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” seems particularly descriptive. For the majority of us, mushrooms are a whole system tonic, benefitting overall human health, fortifying and readying your host defense of immunity.


    Paul Stamets, Director of Research, Fungi Perfecti Laboratories
    For educational purposes only. © 2013 Paul E. Stamets and Fungi Perfecti, LLC, All rights reserved.