Ninth International Congress about Medical Mushrooms
Picture from left till right: Dr. Nicoletta Salviato, Prof. Hai Ying-Bao, Dipl.-Ing. Franz Schmaus, Dr. Stefania Cazzavillan, Prof. Ulrike Lindequist, Dr. Dorothee Bös
Already for the ninth time, scientists and therapists from all over the world met to present the latest research results on medically effective mushrooms. This time the congress took place in Italy. Of course we were there again from MykoTroph! The motto was "Advances in medicinal mushroom science: building bridges between eastern and western medicine". Said bridge between the old knowledge of TCM and the scientifically proven effects of mushrooms succeeds perfectly in Mycotherapy. The use of mushrooms in natural medicine can even be traced back to the Neolithic period.
The welcome lectures emphasized the multifaceted effects of medicinal mushrooms, which Prof. Wasser estimated to be over 200. Also, the study situation has greatly increased, with the focus increasingly – besides the better known beta-glucans - on the smaller molecules contained in the mushrooms and their medical effects. Other mechanisms of action have also been elucidated for the fungal beta-glucans: special genes are activated by regular fungal and thus beta-glucan consumption. The scientists discovered stimulations of the genes which are responsible for the release of heavy metals (metallothioneins, eg cadmium and lead), the corin gene (anticancer mechanisms, blood pressure reduction, sodium excretion) and the flavin-containing monooxygenase (detoxification of pesticides, possibly Fish-Odor syndrome = trimethylaminuria). Of course, it is exciting when all the effects of mushroom intake, which we have been observing for years, are also scientifically proven.
The subject of beta-glucans and the beta-glucan content has also been critically studied by a researcher from New York. His analyzes showed that the so-called "beta-glucan content" in mushroom extracts has little significance in terms of the fungus's immune function. The previously used methods for measuring beta-glucans are highly doubtful. Another researcher added that especially in some Asian products, more corn flour / cereal beta-glucans are sometimes found as a fungal substance and sometimes no fungus beta-glucans at all! So, new quality criteria and standards must be created.
Increasing research interest also applies to animal health and antibiotic reduction. Due to the massive use of antibiotics in factory farming, more and more people are dying of resistant germs. Here, mushrooms with their antiviral, antibacterial and immune-supporting effects offer interesting possibilities.
Even to save the bees, which are increasingly the victims of mites and viruses and of course pesticides, mushrooms could contribute in the long term. The famous Paul Stamets reported about it and started the research project "BeefriendlyTM". Bees have only limited detoxification potential compared to other insects. The detoxification potential can be increased by mushrooms.
Mushrooms increase the body's own detoxification mechanisms and can also directly attack harmful substances. For example, the mycelium of Coriolus can most strongly degrade the herbicide Paraquat of all the mushrooms tested. Important for such degradation is the preservation of the heat-sensitive enzymes in the mycelium. Bee health is especially supported by some fungi specifically due to their effects against the Varroa mites and viruses (eg Reishi).
Intestinal flora and metabolic syndrome
Another exciting lecture dealt with the prebiotic effect of fungi. Crucial for these are, above all, complex carbohydrate structures such as chitin and various glucans. Prebiotic substances have many uses. They contribute to improved bone density, reduced risk of diabetes, colorectal cancer and coronary heart disease, and feed our good gut bacteria.
We have more bacteria than body cells and the intestinal flora is involved in inflammation and weight regulation. In addition, it may be involved in depressive moods. Mushrooms are antidepressant through different mechanisms, for example Maitake via the dectin-1 receptor and the Reishi mycelium through the antagonism of the 5HTA2 receptor (glutamate, GABA, dopamine etc.). The best known for being anti-depressant is of course the Cordyceps.
Weight and weight loss were also discussed in a lecture by an Italian cardiologist. She successfully uses mushrooms against the metabolic syndrome in addition to a basic, plant-based diet. A colleague of hers reported on his impressive therapeutic success with Auricularia and Polyporus, especially on hypertension.
Another big topic was the anti-allergic effects of different mushrooms. ABM, Hericium and Reishi have been known for a long time. But there are many other mushrooms with such effects. More and more species with medicinal effects are being found and studied worldwide, including Pleurotus ostreatus and Chaga.
However, the Hericium is not only beneficial against allergies. A doctor presented a study in which she has used Hericium in the treatment of various gastrointestinal diseases. In many conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammation, the marker calprotectin is increased, which could be lowered in the test persons. Another lecture was about the beneficial effect of Hericium on sleep disorders and mood swings in women. Together with Cordyceps and Reishi, Hericium is a wonderful companion during the menopause, as it helps to prevent weight gain, for example.
New to us was the fact that Hericium has long been used in traditional American medicine externally to accelerate wound healing. MykoTroph has also been able to observe this with Hericium skin cream. Especially in the external application, Chaga or Reishi are very interesting. For example, Chaga is traditionally used internally and externally against psoriasis.
Internally, the combination of Auricularia with Shiitake may help with wound healing disorders caused by diabetes or venous insufficiency.
Of course, the famous Cordyceps was also a theme of the congress. First of all, the question of possible interactions between Cordyceps and antidepressants was clearly denied by a well-known Cordyceps researcher - none are known. Cordyceps has been reported to have well-studied antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in autoimmune diseases. Similar results were presented for Maitake, Reishi and Shiitake.
The performance-enhancing effect of Cordyceps is attributed to the improved cell energy and oxygen supply, which makes it particularly interesting for mitochondriopathies. The same effect is achieved by ABM and Reishi. This is especially important for athletes and seniors
Analgesic effect of different fungi
We know that several medicinal mushrooms have anti-inflammatory and analgesic ingredients. The analgesic effect is detectable as early as 1 hour after ingestion of the mushroom powder. This so-called antinociceptive effect is known, for example, in ABM, Chaga, Cordyceps, Coriolus, Hericium and Reishi. At present, it is tried to explain the exact mechanisms of action - apart from the inflammation inhibition and the known antihistamine effect.
There is hope for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients
Worldwide, the number of dementia and Alzheimer's sufferers is growing. Therefore, this disease picture is the subject of research. For a long time we know the positive effect of Hericium mushroom powder in mild dementia. Likewise, we know the effect of Auricularia and Shiitake on circulatory disorders, which are often involved in dementia. Especially in dementia of the Alzheimer's type - as in other neurodegenerative diseases - a massive oxidative stress is involved.
Fungi contain very effective antioxidants such as ergothionein, flavonoids and other substances. Since Alzheimer’s sufferers have a deficit in neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine and fungi (especially their phenolic acids) can inhibit acetylcholinesterase, here another mechanism of action was elucidated. Hope for supportive effects in Alzheimer's are the fungi ABM, Auricularia, Coriolus, Hericium, Reishi and Coprinus comatus.
The medical value of mushrooms in cancer prevention and accompanying chemotherapy and radiation has been proven by studies: the therapies are better tolerated, the side effects are reduced and the immune system is supported. In addition, various mushroom components also have proven anti-tumor effects and an immunomodulating effect. Especially the mycelium and sclerotium of Poria cocos or the fruiting bodies of Maitake and Shiitake are to be mentioned.
The ergosterol peroxide contained in many fungi can prevent a possible cytostatic resistance of the tumor cells or sensitize the cells again. Furthermore, it was first demonstrated in vitro that ergosterol peroxide - in this case isolated from Pleurotus - can also offer a therapeutic option against trypanosomes and amoebae in the future. In addition, it is involved in the anti-arteriosclerotic and anti-inflammatory action of fungi.
There are more than 300 different triterpenes and the research on them has been increased. They can inhibit tumor cells and help induce tumor cell death. Some are found only in the mycelium and others only in the fruit body or the spores.
Of course, we will incorporate the many valuable findings from this congress into our webinars, lectures, trainings and counsellings. The next congress will take place in Nantong / China in 2019, so hopefully the now 87-year-old famous mushroom scientist Shu Ting Chang will be back again.
Dr. Dorothee Bös und Franz Schmaus
The MykoTroph Institute advises great care in the selection. Mushroom powder extracts and mushroom powder products from China should be avoided. So-called "mushroom powder from the whole mushroom" has proven to be particularly effective. It contains all effective ingredients of the medicinal mushrooms. Mushroom powder should always be used in capsules as it can be moldy if it is packaged loosely - and often the mole is invisible. A reputable supplier can be recognized, for example, by cultivating the medicinal mushrooms themselves in Germany in organic quality and not just encapsulating them in Germany. Further information on the fungal medicine can be found at www.mykotroph.com or via phone under +49 6047 – 988530.