Powder Derived from the Whole Mushroom

MykoTroph’s holistic philosophy

“Nature has provided us with an abundance of everything we need to stay healthy.”. (Sebastian Kneipp)

We consider mycotherapy – i.e. healing with mushrooms – a holistic, natural treatment method. One important principle of mycotherapy is to always see the individual as an entirety of body, mind and soul. Consequently, MykoTroph’s approach regarding medicinal mushroom application is also based on the philosophy of complete materiality, i.e. using the whole mushroom with all its valuable ingredients. Therefore, we preferably use medicinal mushrooms that have been grown and gently processed in Germany and certified according to the EC Organic Farming Ordinance. Our longstanding experience has shown this approach to provide numerous advantages.

Thousands of health-promoting ingredients

Powder derived from whole mushrooms contains thousands of active ingredients. The substances are of very varied nature, e.g. glycoproteins (the natural and most effective form of polysaccharide), triterpene, adenosine, vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids and especially vital enzymes and many other valuable substances.

They all act on the human organism. However, the fantastic aspect is that they enhance each other’s effects. That means the whole mushrooms’ individual valuable ingredients work together.

On the one hand, they stimulate specific metabolic reactions in the organism; on the other hand, they suppress specific processes. This useful and well-balanced principle enables us to make full use of nature’s wisdom to support our well-being.

Mushrooms harmonise and regulate

If, for instance, we are physically exhausted or contaminated with stimulants or environmental toxins, our immune system functions slowly and sluggishly. Studies conducted with cancer patients, for example, have proven that the consumption of whole medicinal mushroom powder re-activates the defence cells. However, this reaction is subject to the presence of a weakened immune system. The mushrooms will not “over-activate” a healthy immune system. If, on the other hand, the immune system reacts to completely harmless substances (as is, e.g. the case with allergies), medicinal mushrooms act to counterbalance this immune over-reaction. Whole medicinal mushroom powder is thus adaptogenic, i.e. it has harmonising and regulating effects and re-balances the immune system. Due to being more or less reduced to one specific substance, extracts are unlikely to have equivalent effects.

On the contrary: they might even increase the imbalance, which may possibly lead to a deterioration of autoimmune diseases.

Fungi as catalysts 

When medicinal mushrooms are used for therapeutic purposes, it is essential to only use top-quality products. Thanks to its richness in enzymes, whole mushroom powder can compartmentalise organic toxins to make them excretable. Therefore, the mushrooms should exclusively be of certified organic German origin to ensure they are not polluted or contaminated with toxins. These unpolluted mushrooms act as catalysts and free the body from toxins. It is especially the enzymes, which are richly extant in whole mushroom powder, that are crucial for detoxification. In contrast thereto, extracts have forfeited their detoxifying capacities as they do not contain enough enzymes. This is due to the fact that enzymes are to a great extent destroyed at temperatures exceeding 40° C. Depending on the specific procedure applied, however, extraction requires temperatures of up to 100° C.

Natural & certified organic cultivation and gentle processing

Consequently, we find it of utmost importance to use powder derived from whole mushrooms. To retain as many valuable ingredients as possible in a mushroom powder product, the freshly picked mushrooms must be gently dried at maximum 35° C. This ensures that even heat-sensitive ingredients like enzymes and proteins are not destroyed!

The individual ingredients and their benefits in detail

The abundance of various active ingredients in whole mushroom powder and their respective benefits to our well-being are presented below.

Triterpenes

Triterpenes rank among the most effective ingredients of medicinal mushrooms. They are mainly found in the fruiting body, i.e. for the most part in the mature cap’s gills and spores. Their activity range is extremely broad. They have anti-carcinogenic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, fungicidal and anti-oxidative effects. Molecules such as steroids, vitamin D or bile acids are triterpenes.

Glycoproteins, polysaccharides

Polysaccharides (ß-glycans) are members of the long-chain carbohydrates family that are composed of various individual sugars. Their concentration of polysaccharides (multiple sugars) in medicinal mushrooms depends on the fruiting body’s development stage. Their activity increases along with the fruiting body’s development and growth. The fruiting body contains a higher overall amount and more individual polysaccharides than the mycelium alone. Various studies have found that a combination of different polysaccharides has stronger effects on the immune system.

The higher the molecular weight and the more branched the structure, the stronger the anti-tumoural effectiveness. Glycoproteins are high-molecular and complex molecules composed of ß-glycans (polysaccharides) and proteins. The effectiveness of glycoproteins exceeds that of ß-glycan alone. Glycoproteins are known for their anti-tumoural and immuno-regulating effects. In the extraction process, their protein filaments are destroyed. What remains are unstructured polysaccharides. Their size is reduced by heat, and thus the effectiveness is proportionally reduced in capacity and scope.

Enzymes

Nearly all vital processes are based on enzymatic reactions. They play a significant role in cellular respiration and stimulate our vital energies. Metaphorically speaking, you might call them the spark or wheel of life. Some enzymes can be formed by the body itself, while others have to be ingested. All in all, the various metabolic processes are affected by more than 5000 individual enzymes and the vitamins and minerals that reinforce them. In general, mushrooms are rich in enzymes. If medicinal mushroom powder is obtained from gently dried whole mushrooms, these enzymes remain intact. As bio-catalysts, enzymes are extremely heat-sensitive and are already fully decomposed at temperatures of 40° C. 

Some mushroom enzymes are antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione (GSH) or laccase. Other enzymes help suppress cell proliferation (glucose-2-oxidase and protease) or play a role in physical detoxification (peroxidases, monoxygenases, dehydrogenases and reductases. Hot water extraction destroys all these enzymes.

Enzymes and cancer 

Whenever any of our body’s enzyme systems is missing or distorted, our metabolism is exposed to imbalance. While the blood of healthy people contains many enzymes, disease causes an enzyme deficiency. Cancer patients usually have by far the lowest enzyme blood level! This demonstrates once more how superior whole mushroom powder is to extracts especially in the treatment of severe diseases such as cancer.

 Detoxification

Mushrooms are known to break down (fat and water-soluble) toxins, change their structure and transform them to an excretable form. Mushrooms are extremely rich in enzymes and - a unique feature - they contain the enzymes required for both detoxification phases I and phase II, and are able to reinforce our inherent detoxification systems like glutathione and SOD. In phase I, toxins are decomposed, which releases numerous free radicals.

The anti-oxidative properties enable the mushrooms to intercept these free radicals. It takes the enzymes formed in phase II to transform the broken down toxins into an excretable and thus innoxious form. Our organism permanently undergoes detoxification processes. These processes are at full blast when we are exposed to stress or suffer from illnesses. The whole medicinal mushroom powder supports the organism by providing it with various enzymes that encourage detoxification. Additionally, the whole mushrooms‘ ingredients (triterpenes) stimulate the body’s detoxification systems. To ensure the maximum benefit of these enzymes, the medicinal mushrooms must not be heated above 35° C when being processed to powder, as otherwise the enzymes will be destroyed. However, since extracts are produced by hot water procedures that might require temperatures of up to 100° C, they hardly contain any enzymes. Consequently, they have no capacity to support inherent detoxification processes. However, it is in particular cancer patients who lack inherent anti-oxidative enzyme systems such as glutathione and SOD!

Vitamins and minerals

Whole mushroom powder is rich in vitamins and minerals - it is likely to contain every mineral of the substrate it grew in. It is thus important on which substrate the mushrooms are cultivated. Potassium and phosphor are found in large amounts, calcium, iron and trace elements like copper and especially selenium are contained in small amounts.

Mushrooms are also rich in vitamins. Of specific significance is the B vitamins group (B1, B2, B3, B6, B12). However, mushrooms also contain vitamin D and E. Some mushrooms contain vitamin A and C - however, in small amounts only. We need different vitamins to reinforce our enzymes. However, the majority of heat-sensitive vitamins will be destroyed during the extraction process. Since extracts are nearly always made from fungal mycelium that exclusively grows on cereals, they consequently lack many of the minerals and trace elements contained by mushrooms.

Chitin

Another interesting active ingredient in whole mushroom powder is chitin, a ubiquitous polysaccharide found in mushrooms, insects and parasites. The human body has developed the enzyme chitinase (located in activated macrophages) to decompose chitin. Macrophages react to chitin like they do to pathogens. Consequently, chitin stimulates and “trains” our immune system to help it fight parasites. At the same time, chitin reduces the intestinal lipid resorption and thus helps staying slim. Chitin also causes the intestines to absorb less cholesterol and thus helps reducing the cholesterol level.

Fungal chitin moreover contains glucosamine - a basic component valuable for the formation of cartilage, sinews, ligaments and bone structures. Our body needs it to repair and rebuild damaged articular and spinal cartilage.

It protects the joints and has positive effects on preserving their mobility. Chitinase, an enzyme found in the human organism, serves to break down chitin and transform it to N-acetyl-glucosamine. The body of young and healthy people generates enough glucosamine to keep the joints in a functional state. When we get older, glucosamine is no longer produced by our body in sufficient amounts and should thus be consumed on a daily base.

Chitin has a large surface and can thus even absorb and excrete radioactivity. It is thus of high significance for our well-being.

Interaction of the active ingredients of whole medicinal mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms are frequently recommended to detoxify the organism. Let us take a look at hepatic detoxification in order to exemplify the various ingredients’ highly effective interplay. Detoxification is accomplished to a large extent through our liver.

Various substances in medicinal mushrooms set in at this this point. Triterpenes are bitters that stimulate the bile flow. They have liver-protecting properties and stimulate the generation of enzymes required for detoxification. The fungal enzymes support detoxification by providing respective enzymes on the one hand, while at the same time they stimulate their production in the liver. This is another good example of the importance of whole materiality.

Humans believe only too willingly that they can produce better remedies than nature has provided us in all its wisdom. However, what they forget at this point is the fact that we are far from even knowing all the extant substances. Also the understanding of how the individual ingredients intensify or diminish one another’s properties is largely unresearched. Nature has had millions of years for this and provides us with all we need. Organically certified whole mushroom powder is thus the most natural and valuable way of consuming medicinal mushrooms!

Sources

  • Prof. Dr. Jan I. Lelley: „Die Heilkraft der Pilze“; B O S S Druck und Medien GmbH, Goch; 2008
  • Prof. Dr. med. Ivo Bianchi: „Moderne Mykotherapie“; Hinckel-Druck, 2008
  • Smith, Rowan and Sullivan: “Medicinal Mushrooms: Their therapeutic properties and current medical usage with special emphasis on cancer treatments”; University of Strathclyde, 2002
  • Ghoneum et al.: „Immunomodulatory and anti-cancer effects of active hemicellulose“; International Journal of Immunotherapy 1995
  • Wedam and Haynes: „Breast Cancer“; Journal of Neuropathic Medicine, 1997
  • Sawei et al.: „Extraction of conformationally stable (1-6)-branched (1-3)-ß-glucanes from premixed edible mushroom powder by cold-alkaline solution“; International Journal of Medical Mushrooms, 2002
  • Reverberi M. et al.: ”Antioxidant enzymes stimulation in Aspergillus parasiticus by Lentinula edodes inhibits aflatoxin production”; Dipartimento die Biologia Vegetale, Rome, Italy, 2005
  • Cornelius C. et al.:” Cimparative Enzyme Analysis of Po- lyporus umbelatus, Agaricus blazei, Pleurotus osteratus and Hericium erinaceus”; Clinical Journal of Mycology, 2009
  • Carla A. Da Silva et al.: „TRL-2 and Il-17A in Chitin-induced Macrophage activation and acute inflammation”; Journal of Immunology, 2008
  • Hobbs, C. : „Medicinal Mushrooms“; Botanica Press, 1995
  • Gorovoj L. F.: „Useful properties of chitin of medicinal mushrooms“; 6th International Medicinal Mushroom Conference, Zagreb/Croatia, September 2011

Note

The effects described are based on the ingestion of medicinal mushroom powder which is prepared from the whole mushroom. Please seek advice from your therapist before using.