Mushroom Supplements Boost Your Immune System!
By Neenah Payne
Note: This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider.
In Organixx podcast Episode 6 Boosting Your Immune System Using Mushrooms (video at end of article), Jonathan Hunsaker, founder of Organixx, and TeriAnn Trevenen, CEO of Organixx, interviewed Dr. Daniel Nuzum, chief formulator of Organixx products, about how to use mushrooms.
Dr. Nuzum is the author of Detox for Life: How to Minimize Toxins and Maximize Your Body’s Ability to Heal. Dr. Nuzum is an NMD, a naturopathic physician, mechanotherapist, naprapath, medical massage practitioner, tui na practitioner and Native American healing practitioner. When Dr. Nuzum received his natural medicine license at age 20, he was the youngest Licensed Naturopath in U.S. history. He has been formulating supplements for more than 17 years, and is one of the leading researchers of fulvic and humic acid. His website is at: https://www.drnuzum.com.
Dr. Nuzum’s site says “He holds seven PhDs in various medical fields, three doctorates, and is currently completing his MD. He is one of the top formulators of natural health supplements in the world as well as a toxicologist, professor, scientist, researcher and author. He is dedicated to formulating the best line of supplements using only the highest quality ingredients.”
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What Are Mushrooms?
When Jonathan asked Dr. Nuzum, “What are mushrooms?”, he explained that they are fungi and have their own category in biology because they are not animals or plants. What makes fungi interesting is that they grow like plants, but develop immunity like animals! So, mushrooms are neither plants nor animals – but have traits of both. Technically, mushrooms are the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source.
It was about 50 years ago that biologists determined that mushrooms are neither plants nor animals. It’s not surprising it took that long to decide because the life cycle of a mushroom is a little mysterious. Mushrooms grow from spores, not seeds. A single mushroom can release 16 million spores. Tiny spores germinate and grow fine white fibers called hyphae. Male and female hyphae join and branch out into a network of super-thin threads – collectively called a “mycelium”, the growing part of a mushroom.
Hyphae can add half a mile of thread each day! All that growing takes nourishment. Hyphae release a digestive fluid that breaks down plant waste which it uses as food. Mushrooms clean up plant waste and make the soil richer. That’s the job of the members of the fungi kingdom.
Hyphae form knots that produce the fruiting part we call a mushroom. It begins as a tiny “button,” then a larger “pinhead.” Eventually, the mycelium pushes the mushroom open to reveal the shape and parts we see above ground. A mushroom’s “roots” grow right up inside its cap and end under its umbrella shape. When those ends release spores from the gills on the underside of the cap, the whole cycle of life begins again.
Why Mushrooms Are Important To The Planet
Dr. Nuzum explained that just as each person has a gut microbiome, the Earth has its own microbiome. A “microbiome” is the community of micro-organisms (including bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that live in a habitat. Topsoil is a microbiome with bio-activated nutrients – minerals from rocks. Topsoil is composed of mineral particles, organic matter, water, and air. It is where Earth’s biological activity occurs.
The Earth’s topsoil is a mixture of the microbiome made of bacteria and the mycobiome made of fungi. The mycobiome is like a spider web intertwining the microbiome. The mycobiome acts as a detox mechanism in the microbiome. For example, if your neighbor sprays pesticides on the ground, that begins to kill the microbiome. So, the mycobiome dissipates the pesticides over a four city block area within a day or so to protect the microbiome. Nature’s solution to pollution is dilution and the mycobiome is part of that process.
The microbiome is the top layer with the mycobiome beneath it. There may be a layer of the microbiome underneath the mycobiome as well. The mycobiome acts as an information-relaying network throughout the microbiome of the planet.
Different types of mushrooms grow all over the world. A giant fungus in Oregon is one organism underground with different shoots (mushrooms) coming up to the surface. That fungus relays information across that entire network, just as the mycobiome does all across the ground. There are other monster-sized fungi throughout the Amazon and all around the world. Fungi are the world’s largest living organisms.
World’s Largest Living Organism
The biggest mushroom in the world is armillaria ostoyae — or as it has been nicknamed the “Humongous Fungus”. Covering 2,385 acres of Malheur National Forest, Oregon, it is our largest organism. From the way the fungus has been growing, it may also be our oldest organism.
Humongous is estimated to be around 2,400 years to 8,650 years old. Scientists map the population of Armillaria in eastern Oregon, the genetic material of the fungus, to determine where one fungus started and the other ended. The expanse of the forest and the stable environment has enabled the fungus to spread as far as it has. Known as honey mushrooms, for their yellow cap and sweet, fruity bodies, they are benign in nature.
The discovery of the giant mushroom has sparked a discussion of what constitutes an individual organism. However, it is agreed that if a being has a set of cells that are genetically identical and communicate with each other, it can be classed as one single organism. So, the blue whale and the Humongous Fungus both fit the bill.
The next largest honey fungus is in the state of Washington. Honey fungus is widely distributed across the cooler regions of the United States and Canada. It is very common in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. These fungi grow in individual networks of above- and below-ground fibers called mycelia. Mycelia work like a plant’s roots. They draw water and nutrients from the soil to feed the fungus. At the same time, they make chemicals that are shared with other organisms in the soil.
Why Medicinal Mushrooms Are Important To Humans
Dr. Nuzum explained that our gut microbiome also has a mycobiome. In our digestive tract, we have something similar to the mycobiome. Medicinal mushrooms feed and fortify both the mycobiome and microbiome in our gut. They are a powerful superfood. Your microbiome processes your food before your gut does. It does the final fermentation process of extracting nutrients from the food you eat.
The mycobiome in your microbiome does something very similar in your body to what the microbiome does in soil. It helps detoxify you of anything that’s coming into your system before it gets into your system. That’s super important. Medicinal mushrooms fortify the whole process.
When Jonathan asked, What are some of the better mushrooms to take?”, Dr. Nuzum quickly answered, “Rishi”. He explained that Rishi mushrooms are fantastic because they ramp up your body’s ability to detoxify itself. They don’t create a detox effect. However, they fortify your body’s capacity to detoxify itself by increasing the ability of your kidney and liver to detoxify your body when needed. Reishi is known as “the king of herbs” and “the mushroom of immortality”. See “The Top 14 Benefits of the Powerful Reishi Mushroom” and “Reishi Cracked Shells Spores: Rev Up Brain Power and Immunity”.
Jonathan pointed out that “detox” is a buzzword now. He said you can take things to flush out your system, but they can be hard on your body if you are not healthy to begin with. However, Rishi mushrooms help your body detox when necessary and don’t hurt you regardless of your health status. They just make your body healthier so it can do what it’s designed to do.
Dr. Nuzum said that Chaga mushrooms are another of his favorites. They typically grow on Birch trees. While most mushrooms have a spongy, rubbery texture, Chaga mushrooms are harder than the Birch trees they grow on! Chainsaws have to be used to cut the Chaga off the tree – and they are more difficult to cut than the tree!
Dr. Nuzum explained that one of the consistent concepts in indigenous medicine all around the world is that you take on the properties of the herbs you consume — whatever properties the herbs have, like resistance to the weather. So, Chaga is known for making people tougher and more durable! Chaga makes your immune system stronger and more resilient.
Mushrooms and Epigenetics
Dr. Nuzum explained again that mushrooms are neither plants nor animals – but grow like plants and have immune systems like animals. He pointed out that plants usually have four immune modules – one for each season. So, the trees have immune systems for summer, fall, winter, and spring. Mushrooms don’t have that. They have to adapt to the seasons like an animal. So, they develop immunity in ways that are very similar to animals and humans.
Dr. Nuzum revealed that medicinal mushrooms are 82-87% identical to humans on a genetic level – closer to our genome than any plant. Because of that, medicinal mushrooms fortify people down to the genetic level, helping us adapt. It’s almost as though the mushrooms share their immunity with people. The genetics of mushrooms help undo epigenetic damage for humans.
Dr. Nuzum said the effect of mushrooms on aging is like slowing down the freight train – if not putting it in reverse. In the Amazon, medicinal mushrooms are revered as the Fountain of Youth. In Chinese, Rishi mushrooms are called the “Herb of Immortality”.
Cultivation of Medicinal Mushrooms
The efficacy of mushrooms can be enhanced by proper cultivation. Most labs cultivate mushrooms for nutritional supplements by growing them in white rice or millet. Mushrooms, like people, are what they eat. White rice is not very nutritious. The medicinal mushrooms Dr. Nuzum works with are grown in red quinoa and black kidney seeds. They are fed blueberry juice, pomegranate juice, and other nutrients.
As a result, the Lion’s Mane mushroom which is normally white can come out purple or red because of the phytonutrients it absorbed from the foods in which it was cultivated. That means the mushrooms are nutritionally fortified – not with synthetic chemicals or minerals, but because they have been grown in organic whole foods.
Great Adaptogens: Chaga and Cordyceps Mushrooms
Chaga and Cordycep mushrooms are among Dr. Nuzum’s favorites because they are powerful adaptogens. Adaptogens increase your ability to adapt – to deal with all kinds of stress including emotional, physical, mental, etc. Stress can include exercise. So, Chaga and Cordycep help you recover faster from workouts so you can perform better the next time because your body recovers faster.
When TeriAnn asked how the ability to adapt relates to the immune system, Dr. Nuzum pointed out that when your body adapts well to all kinds of stresses, you cannot become chronically ill. If your body’s capacity to adapt is broken down, then it’s not hard to be overcome by an illness and for the illness to become chronic.
When the body can’t adapt, it starts to accommodate – which is the opposite of adapting, the process of overcoming a stress. When it can’t adapt to toxins, it begins to accommodate them. The weight of the multiple stresses eventually causes the system to break down – which we call “disease”.
Jonathan discussed the body’s inflammatory response to stress. When you’re chronically inflamed, you are more susceptible to toxins and other assaults. You can cascade into a downward spiral. He pointed out that it’s a matrix of things and the solution does not involve just taking a pill. Using mushrooms to build up your immune system is the opposite of the approach of a “Pill for every ill” which doesn’t work on a long-term basis. The better approach is to increase your body’s capacity to deal with stress. That’s how you get well and stay healthy.
Cordyceps also enhance your mitochondria’s capacity to use oxygen. The mitochondria are the power generators for your cells. The better they breathe, the more energy they produce. If your heart has more energy, it pumps more efficiently. “Top 11 Health Benefits of Cordyceps Mushroom” says that the cordyceps mushroom is actually a combination of fungus… and CATERPILLAR!
Polysaccharides (sugars) translate the properties of the mushrooms’ immune system to our own. Those polysaccharides carry the immunologic information of the mushrooms. So, it’s like a copy of the history of what they have had to deal with in their growth cycle. That information gets translated to our immune system when we consume these polysaccharides. It’s like your immune system going to the library. It’s like Neo in The Matrix who got a download into his brain!
Dr. Nuzum pointed out that Shitake and Lion’s Mane mushrooms are good for gut health. Jonathan added that Lion’s Mane is also good for sleep because it increases your gut’s capacity to produce serotonin and dopamine. As your serotonin increases, you feel calmer and can go to sleep more easily. Both these mushrooms function as prebiotics — microbiome food. It’s important to take probiotics, but you also need prebiotic foods. After a patient detoxes, Dr. Nuzum recommends mushrooms with probiotics because that’s a perfect time to rebuild and fortify their microbiome.
Organixx 7M+ Mushroom Supplement
Jonathan closed the podcast by mentioning that Organixx has a 7M+ mushroom supplement. It is an easy way to get your medicinal mushrooms and is Organixx’s second best seller — after Turmeric 3D.
See “5 Stunning Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms”.
Magic of Mushrooms is free on Amazon Prime and shows a wide variety of mushrooms in nature.
The fascinating and informative Super Fungi film explains how fungi can help save the world! It features American mycologist Paul Stamets of Fungi Perfecti who is perhaps the greatest ambassador for fungi! The 50-minute film is also free on Amazon Prime. See Stamets’ new book Fantastic Fungi.
At TEDMED 2011, Paul explained that his Turkey Tail mushroom saved his mother from stage 4 breast cancer!
Paul has discovered several new species of mushrooms and pioneers countless techniques in the field of edible and medicinal mushroom cultivation. He has recently achieved remarkable results cleaning up dangerous toxins using “fungal bioremediation” and radically improving soil fertility with mushrooms. Paul’s wife Carolyn Dusty Wu Yao is a plant specialist. They love to hike the old growth forests.
See the trailer on Amazon for A New Understanding: The Science of Psilocybin. It costs $4.99 to rent.
Also Read the Companion Article: “Film: Mushrooms Heal You and the Planet!”