TPV Podcast Episode 307: Are Mushrooms Really Magic?

Ep. 307: Are Mushrooms Really Magic?

In this episode, Stacy and Sarah tackle the latest trend of using mushrooms as a supplement

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The Paleo View (TPV), Episode 307:  Are Mushrooms Really Magic?

  • Intro (0:00)
  • News and Views (0:40)
    • Stacy asked Sarah to prioritize this week’s topic.
    • Sarah had to do a lot of research (and learned a lot of things!) researching this week’s topic.
    • Stacy’s question to Sarah was, “should we really be putting mushrooms in coffee?”
  • Listener Questions (5:55)
    • Jan writes, “Hey ladies!! Love your show. Thanks for everything that you do to help so many people be the best versions that they can be!!! I was wanting your thoughts on the medicinal mushroom drinks. I keep hearing about them and seeing ads for the four stigmatic drinks. I have several autoimmune so would love to know for that as well as for those that don’t have auto immunes.”
    • Annik writes, “Bonjour Sarah et Stacy, I love your books and your podcast – the science you bring to health topics is so refreshing and helpful in navigating the tremendous amount of health claims we are bombarded with daily, and weeding out the fads and those that are not scientifically proven.This brings me to my question. The new health push seems to be for including powdered mushrooms into our diet. Claims include increased energy and reduced fatigue, mental clarity, immune boosting properties, hormone balancing, etc. Is there any science that shows the benefits of including cordyceps, chaga, lion’s mane, reishi, etc., into our diet? And if so, how long does it take for someone to feel the benefits of including these supplements into our diet? I’m particularly interested in the claims around reduced fatigue, increased energy and immune boosting properties. I do not have an autoimmune condition diagnosis yet but I have been dealing with fatigue, congestion and lots of colds in the last year which continues to be unexplained by my medical doctor. While I know quick fixes don’t work, if adding powdered mushrooms to my morning tea would help with energy then why not?!Lastly, I want to say a big thank you to Dr. Ballantyne for the Autoimmune Protocol Lecture Series. I took the 6-week course and learned so much! I was already eating a paleo diet but saw tremendous benefits in fine-tuning my diet to see how it could help with my health challenges described above. I am most grateful for the continued access to the course material; I messed up the reintroduction part and will now restart the course!Thank you both for all that you do and for your active social media info sharing. You set the standard high for evidence-based health information and make it accessible to all of us! It is highly appreciated!”
      • Thanks Annik for telling us how much you love the Autoimmune Lecture Series!
      • Edible mushrooms are really nutrient-dense and have unique carbohydrate and fiber types.
      • Medicinal mushroom use goes back thousands of years.
        • They date back to ancient Egyptians and ancient Chinese cultures.
      • In the last 50 years there have been a lot of scientific studies on mushrooms.
        • Specifically, health-promoting properties can include:
          • Antioxidants
          • Cholesterol-lowering properties
          • Anti-hypertensive
          • Anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory 
          • Liver protection
          • Anti-diabetic
          • Antio-obesity
          • Anti-tumor (note, only animal studies and cell culture studies to date)
          • Anti-viral
          • Anti-microbial properties
        • Some drugs have been created from mushroom extracts, specifically used in cancer patients to boost immune function during treatments.
      • Phytochemicals found in mushrooms are a contributor to the health benefits of mushrooms.
        • Mushrooms are high in gallic acid.
          • An antioxidant and heavy metal chelator.
        • Mushrooms are high in Triterpenes.
          • These properties include anti-inflammatory, anti-virus, anti-diabetes, anti-cancer, anti-oxidant and speed wound healing.
      • Glucans are a unique carbohydrate found in mushrooms.
        • Fungal glucans can be water soluble or insoluble.
        • Chitin fiber is a fermentable fiber found in mushrooms.
          • This type of fiber is great for gut health and microbiome diversity.
        • Some glucans are very small molecules, so they can actually bind to immune cells directly and modulate the immune system.
      • Mushroom extracts versus whole mushrooms.
        • Most medicinal extracts use a double extraction process.
          • Some of the compounds are water soluble and some are not.
          • Some medicinal preparations can have one, some, or many of these compounds included.
      • Well-known properties of commonly used mushrooms.
        • Reishi
          • Probably the most studied medicinal mushroom.
          • Main uses: lung infection (expectorant), liver protective, reduces blood pressure, improves exercise performance, adaptogen (relaxer), reduce allergies, reduce ulcers, anti inflammatory, anti-cancer , reduce infections, reduces anxiety and depression, anti-diabetes.
        • Maitake
          • Main uses: reduces high blood pressure, tumor inhibition, liver protectant, fights infection, anti-diabetic.
        • Shiitake
          • Main uses: immune regulator, tumor inhibition, antiviral, antibacterial, liver protectant, anti-obesity, anti-diabetic, reduces cholesterol, antimicrobial, anti-cancer.
        • Chaga
          • Main uses: immune regulator, Anti-Cancer, Anti-Viral & Anti-Inflammatory! Antioxidant, reduces cholesterol and high blood pressure, improves performance, Also adaptogenic (relaxer).
        • Lion’s Main
          • Main uses: enhances brain function, anti-cancer, lowers cholesterol, reduces gastric ulcers, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, immune regulating.
        • Cordyceps
          • Main uses: energizing adaptogen, improves exercise performance, anti inflammatory, immune stimulating or regulating (fighting infection), anti-cancer, liver protective, anti-diabetes acts as a natural aphrodisiac.
        • Turkey Tail
          • Main uses: anti-cancer (one of the best studied for helping fight cancer, adjuvant for chemo patients), helps fight infection (HIV).
        • Almond Mushroom
          • Main uses: anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-virus, reduces allergies, immune regulatory.
          • Not edible whole, usually only available as supplement.
      • Mushrooms and Cancer
        • One of the benefits is that mushrooms can suppress the regulatory immune system and stimulate the attacking part of the immune system.
          • Reishi, Cordyceps, Maitake, and Turkey Tail.
            • Studies have show they are able to boost the immune system’s ability to find and kill cancerous cells.
            • There are no clinical trials showing medicinal mushrooms can kill cancer.
      • Mushrooms and Autoimmunity
        • Emerging preliminary evidence suggest that mushroom extracts are immune modulators rather than immune stimulators, meaning they can help balance the immune system.
          • This could be because of their influence on the gut microbiome.
          • This could be because of the high level of phytochemicals.
        • Medicinal mushrooms may be beneficial in instances of under-active immune systems, overactive immune function, and dysfunctional immune systems.
      • Reishi and Cancer
        • Able to activate natural killer cells, increasing their activity and the body’s ability to fight tumors.
        • Reduces the chances of metastasis, which is when cancer spreads to another part of the body.
        • Adjunct therapy (not primary, first-line therapy) for colorectal cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer, and is shown to increase survival rate.
      • Reishi and Autoimmune Disease
        • Studies in RA patients showed no increase in inflammatory cells or cytokines, and a decrease in IL-18, which activates Th1.
          • Impact on the immune system was not the same as it is in cancer.
            • This suggest immune modulating rather than stimulating.
          • Study participants reported lower joint pain.
        • A Lupus mouse study showed a decrease in autoantibodies and increased survival.
      • In summary:
        • Eating more whole mushrooms in general can be beneficial for health.
        • There are people who would probably benefit from medicinal mushrooms.
          • Talking to your health care provider first is always a good idea.
        • Adding more mushrooms to our diets is a great choice!
        • If you take mushrooms, let us know if they have helped you.
  • If you’ve enjoyed the show, please recommend it to someone who might enjoy it.
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