Mushrooms to solve the world's problems
We would like to introduce, Paul Stamets, PhD, the world’s leading mushroom expert and his prestigious TED presentation on 6 ways mushrooms could help solve the world's problems. We find this to be a great example of just how powerful some of our extracts are and what they can do, not only for your health, but a multitude of world problems. Feel free to review the fantastic presentation above or review the "Cliff Notes" version of some of the key points we have provided for you below.
To your health,
Infintium Health Team
Mushrooms are surprisingly close to humans
Mushrooms and mammals separated from each others around 460 million years ago, but we still share 30% or more of the same genes, making us far more closer to mushrooms than to bacteria or plants.
Just like us humans, mushrooms use oxygen and expel CO2. The bad news is that because of this DNA similarity, the same pathogens that hit fungi usually affect us like is the case of mycoses like candida (by the way plant’s pathogenic fungi are also responsible for 70% of all known plant diseases).
The good news is that the same defense mechanisms of fungi can also help us when we consume them hence the whole genre of medicinal mushrooms.
Mushrooms are some of the oldest land organisms alive
The largest living organism on the Planet Earth is a fungus discovered only a little over 10 years ago in Eastern Oregon’s conifer forest.
This Armillaria solidipes fungi cover the size of about 20,000 basketball courts (8.4 km²) and weighs more than the great Blue Whale. It also could be the oldest living organism on Earth with an estimated age of 2400 years.
Fungi in general are not as old as bacteria (which are about 3.5 billion years old) but with roughly 460 to 455 million years of existence support the thesis that that fungi may have played an essential role in the colonization of land by the first plants (which are approximately 425 million years old).
At each extinction event, including the KT Impact, 65 million years ago, mushrooms are responsbile for recolinating the land bringing life back.
Mushroom are a basis of many drugs
Currently we have identified that roughly 300-400 species of fungi have medicinal properties. According to experts at least 40% of our drugs utilize directly or indirectly mushrooms. Herbalist Robert Rogers estimates that a total of 126 medicinal functions are thought to be produced by medicinal mushrooms.
Judging by these figures it is not surprising to hear that during the last decade there has been over 100,000 studies on medicinal mushrooms in Asia alone. The most famous “mushroom drug” is mold fungus based penicillin.
After 1928, when Dr. Alexander Fleming “found” it, it has said to save tens of millions of people (some say even over 200 million lives but who really knows for sure?). Another major mushroom drug innovation started 25 years ago when the Japanese researcher Tetsuro Fujita came up with the idea to use Ophiocordyceps sinensis against multiple sclerosis, a very common and “incurable” autoimmune disease. Based on Fujita’s studies Swiss drug company Novartis launched Gilenya. It’s a MS disease drug made from Myriocin originally derived from Isaria sinclairii, the anamorph of Cordyceps sinclairii.
The Myriocin is synthesized for drug production as usual. It is said that this drug will generate up to US$5 billion a year in global sales making it soon the TOP 10 best selling drug of all time. The cost of treatment with Gilenya is $3000 per month. FSF sells Instant Cordyceps, that is made from natural cordyceps and even if used daily would not cost more than $500 a year. **Something to think about when looking at healthcare costs **
Mushrooms are a serious food business
Estimates made in 2004 already suspected that the global mushroom business is a whopping US$40 billion, which is almost the size of the global coffee business.
Only 25 years ago this same production was 150x smaller. Globally there are at least 2000 varieties of edible mushrooms, and this production is clearly led by China.
According to the Chinese Association of Edible Fungi, they produce 8 million tons each year, which is about 70% of the global production. Most of the production stays in China, which is the world’s largest mushroom market and a country where many meat eaters are substituting their old habits with ‘shrooms. The actual mushroom export from China is less than 5% of its total domestic production.
Mushrooms can save the world in many ways
Fungi are known as extremophiles, which basically means they can live everywhere from the Sahara Deserts to the Arctic. Besides being able to break down oil – which is impressive by itself – fungi can also break down extremely toxic chemical weapons of mass destruction and nerve agents like Soman, Sarin, and VX.
With melanin pigments fungi can feed itself purely on ionizing radiation (a little bit like Superman soaking up the rays of the sun) and maybe because of this fact there has been fungi sightings in both spacecrafts as well as nuclear waste zones (e.g. at the reactor core of Chernobyl).
Fungi are also used to remove pollutants in the field of bioremediation. They also help plants in thriving.
Over 95% of all plantae have mushroom partners (mycorrhizal and endophytic symbionts), which help the plant to gather water, minerals, and other nutrients about 1,000x better than it could get on its own.