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Health Info Newsletter February 16, 2017: Calming Down, Medical Mushrooms

I have covered many subjects in the past years. If you have a health concern, start with a search using the search bar above on the right.  If you need further assistance contact me, I have great sources of information.

You can  order any and all of the products I have mentioned from Emerson Ecologics. 
If you buy any supplements at all, check out Emerson  they have over 30K in different products available at a 10% discount from retail.  Buying your supplements from Emerson Ecologics ensures that you get quality supplements and it helps me in my endeavors to bring you information of interest to you.  (free shipping on orders over $49)

9th Annual EFT tapping summit starts February 27th through March 9th
Once again it is the EFT summit...this is the 9th year of free audios by authorities in EFT. 
I have been participating in this since it first inception.
Each day you will have free access to two amazing talks and tapping sessions with well known authorities in EFT.  If you are not able to listen to each day's information, the talks will be available for 24 after its first airing.  You can also purchase the summit as MP3 or CDs

The link below will bring you to a sign up page for the summit



Music reduces anxiety


Here is an interesting article on the effects of certain music to reduce anxiety up to 65% in a very short time....It includes a link to a playlist of the top songs.



ZEN 12

Zen 12 is promoted to be equal to an hour of meditation by listening to it for 12 minutes!  By using Brain wave entrainment technology which helps the brain achieve states of relaxation in the Alpha and deeper states, entrainment has been shown to reduce anxiety.  You can access a free track to listen to by using the link below. 



Mushrooms & Health: Reviewing the Latest Data

Paul Anderson NMD

The use of mushrooms, mushroom extracts and mushroom combinations in the care of human health is thousands of years old. There are few agents in the record of human history that can rival the duration, impact or reputation of mushrooms in medicine.

In some ways, one may believe that the use of mushrooms in healthcare is so well understood that research would have stopped being done long ago. This is the case, for the most part, in regard to research on many modern pharmaceutical agents (unless a researcher wishes to try a new indication with an old drug). A very brief search of the data shows many papers published in peer-reviewed medical literature, with some as current as two months ago. In this review, I have chosen four papers published in 2016 and one—which I believe is of note—from the bygone days of 2014. As one who is involved in research using many “old” agents (and some new), I find that when communicating with a patient regarding the utility of an agent in their healthcare, some mention of active and positive research on that agent increases their desire to use it and follow the therapeutic plan I have set out. This review is intended to briefly provide that information for medicinal mushrooms.

While there are plethora of mushrooms and mushroom fractions used in medicine, I am focusing this paper on those reported on in the five publications mentioned and cited in the references.

Crohn’s Disease

Therkelsen et al1 discussed the effect of the medicinal Agaricus blazei Murill-based mushroom extract on the symptoms, fatigue and quality of life in patients with Crohn’s disease in a paper published this summer. The results show significant improvement on symptoms, for both genders, in the mushroom treated group. The patients did not report any adverse effects of the mushrooms. The authors conclude that “Crohn’s patients with mild to moderate symptoms may have beneficiary effects of [the mushroom therapy] as a safe supplement in addition to conventional medication.” The effects of the mushroom in the GI tract, as well as systemically, are likely behind the benefits noted. These mushrooms (as many do) exhibit immunomodulatory effects which are so crucial to the care of people with autoimmunity. That the inflammatory bowel diseases have both a direct gut effect and a systemic effect (as we see, for example, with curcumin) is of great therapeutic benefit.

Malnutrition and Cachexia

Llauradó et al 2  studied oral administration of an aqueous extract from the oyster mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus that enhances the immunonutritional recovery of malnourished mice. I know that mouse studies are not preferred over human studies. But gaining the mechanistic information one can from an animal study in a condition such as malnourishment can “fast track” the trial of a natural agent in humans with the same or similar condition.

As one who struggles with the treatment of patients with cachexia (mostly secondary to cancer but not always), any agent that can potentially turn the biology of these suffering patients around is needed clinically. In cachexia, we know that a multi-agent approach is always required and that the more “at the core” of the cachexia biology the agent works, the more beneficial an addition to the therapy plan it is. The authors make some very promising discoveries in this respect which—when compared to the biological “faults” created by cachexia—make this agent worth a trial in cachexic and underweight patients:

“Oral treatment with CW-P normalized haemoglobin levels, liver arginase and gut mucosal weight. CW-P increased total liver proteins and DNA and protein contents in gut mucosa. Pleurotus extract provided benefits in terms of macrophages activation as well as in haemopoiesis, as judged by the recovery of bone marrow cells and leukocyte counts. Moreover, CW-P stimulated humoral immunity (T-dependent and T non-dependent antibodies responses) compared to non-supplemented mice. CW-P extract from the oyster mushroom can be used to develop specific food or nutritional supplement formulations with potential clinical applications in the immunotherapy.”

With the caveat that malnutrition and cachexia must be treated in a well-rounded manner, it seems to me that the availability of a potentially strong synergist to nutritional therapies in an aqueous form may be potentially lifesaving to these patients.

Ganoderma (Reishi) and Cancer

Jin et al 3 reviewed the role of Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi mushroom) in cancer treatment. As a preface, such reviews need to have their conclusions considered in the context of the “primary question” or the endpoint the review was focused on. This is important, as I have seen such reviews say “there is no scientific data to support…” and such a review was cited, only to find out that the review was answering a totally different question than the “no data” person was speaking of. With this in mind, the review was seeking to answer this question: “Should reishi be used as a first-line therapy in cancer?” This is a pretty tall order for anything to fill (let alone a mushroom), as the therapy of “cancer” is actually many entities and there are many variations related to stage, grade and patient immunity that can affect any therapeutic outcome. That said, the authors conclusions are summarized here:
The review did not find sufficient evidence to justify the use of G. lucidum as a first-line treatment for cancer.

It remains uncertain whether G. lucidum helps prolong long-term cancer survival.

However, G. lucidum could be administered as an alternative adjunct to conventional treatment in consideration of its potential of enhancing tumour response and stimulating host immunity.

1.   lucidum was generally well tolerated by most participants with only a scattered number of minor adverse events. No major toxicity was observed across the studies.

Future studies should put emphasis on the improvement in methodological quality while further clinical research on the effect of G. lucidum on long-term cancer survival is needed.
It is no surprise that Reishi didn’t have the data to take first place in the therapy of “cancer”—very few agents could claim that. It is also no surprise that it had excellent safety, enhanced host response and tumor immunity and was, by the reviewers, recommended for consideration as an adjunct in the care of a person with cancer.
Mechanisms of Immunological Benefit

Chang et al4 (the eldest paper reviewed, from way back in 2014) looked at Ganoderma lucidum stimulating NK cell cytotoxicity by inducing NKG2D/NCR activation and secretion of perforin and granulysin. Their conclusion was that Ganoderma, in their research, showed a cellular and molecular mechanism to account for the reported anticancer effects of G. lucidum extracts in humans. Of note, this was also an aqueous extract.

This mechanism actually has crossover from oncology effects to infectious disease as well. Perforin and granulysin are two cytolytic molecules that natural killer cells use to kill (hence the name of the cell type) any cell without “self” surface receptors. This includes things such as cancer cells, virally infected cells, bacteria and others.  Enhancement of natural killer cell function is well established in the basic immunology sciences as enhancing “surveillance” immunity and lowering infections and oncogenesis.

The Form of an Extract Does Matter
Lu et al5 in their paper published this summer, “Immunomodulatory properties of medicinal mushrooms: differential effects of water and ethanol extracts on NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity,” make an excellent point regarding the form of a mushroom extract and its effect on the mechanism and actual immunologic effect of the agent.

Through the same mechanisms mentioned above4, these researchers showed that aqueous extracts (note: most papers reviewed above used this form) allow these natural killer cell benefits and alcohol extracts block it. From the conclusions: “Water extracts enhance NK cell cytotoxic activity against cancer cells, whereas ethanol extracts inhibit cytotoxicity.” This difference in extraction processes is well known in herbal medicine and generally in botanical medicines and herbalism, the “method” of extraction is highly respected as to clinical outcome. This paper, and the fact that the majority of the studies presented today used aqueous extracts, enhances the notion that such extracts are likely superior to alcohol extracts in the case of immune responses of mushroom-based agents.

Implications for Practice

Medicinal mushrooms have a great pool of data supporting their use in modern times. They are also some of the most treasured agents in healthcare in the thousands of years of recorded history we have. My common thought is that if an agent has “stood the test of time” (and we know it to be effective), the science will not only prove that out, but also repeatedly support and elucidate more and more mechanisms explaining the clinically noted outcomes. 



The Fungus Formerly Known As…

Tina Beaudoin, ND
In 2007, Cordyceps sinensis was reclassified and dubbed Ophiocordyceps sinensis when molecular analysis revealed the need to create a new family, Ophiocordycipitaceae.

The diverse health benefits of this unique sac fungus are impressive. For thousands of years in Asia, traditional healers have used cordyceps for a variety of conditions, including energy, appetite, stamina, libido, endurance and sleeping disturbances as well as general tonic.1

In terms of energy and stamina, we are often looking for options to help reduce fatigue while we work with patients to identify and address the underlying factors contributing to their symptoms. Cordyceps has been shown to improve exercise performance (metabolic and ventilatory thresholds) in healthy elderly subjects after just 12 weeks.2 One possible mechanism of action could be explained in animal models that showed cordyceps extract treatment leads to an increase in the ATP/inorganic phosphate ratio (increased energy) in the liver after just three weeks.3

There are numerous studies that illustrate the benefits of cordyceps on our immune system. The anticancer and antimetastatic activity of cordyceps is well documented, specifically in breast cancer, prostate and liver cancer.4, 5,6 One study postulated that the anticancer action might be due to one of the constituents, possibly cordycepin, by a promotion of an adenosine deaminase inhibitor. The same study also found antimetastatic properties “through inhibiting platelet aggregation induced by cancer cells and suppressing the invasiveness of cancer cells via inhibiting the activity of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9 and accelerating the secretion of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1 and TIMP-2 from cancer cells.”7 In a mouse study, cordyceps administration led to decreased bacterial growth and dissemination of group A streptococcal (GAS) infection, increased macrophage phagocytosis and increased survival rates.8

While you might want to consider using cordyceps as a singular agent for those patients struggling with fatigue and low immune function, there are thousands of studies citing the efficacy of reishi, turkeytail, maitake and many others medicinal mushrooms. For this reason, mushrooms are often used in combination formulas to add multiple potential mechanisms of action to give the patient the synergistic benefits of many “fun guys.”

Nick’s comment: 

Although not mentioned in the article cordyceps is effective in lowering cholesterol...

Clinical studies published in Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (involving 273 patients (in 9 hospitals) with high cholesterol level) show that Cordyceps sinensis helps to lower total cholesterol by 10–21% and triglycerides by 9–26%. At the same time, it helps to increase HDL cholesterol (‘good’ cholesterol) by 27–30%. (Zhu, JS, Halpern, GM, Jones, K. The scientific rediscovery of an ancient Chinese herbal medicine: Cordyceps sinensis. Part I. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 1998, 4(3), 289–303.) 

An increase in the level of lipids, especially cholesterol, increases the chance of getting atherosclerosis.

In the double-blind placebo-controlled study involving 245 patients published by Halpern (1999), after 2 months of administration of Cordyceps at a dose of 1g/day, total cholesterol dropped by an average of 17.5% among 61% of patients (in the control group, the reduction was only 1.17% among 28.8% of patients) and ‘useful’ HDL cholesterol increased by 27.19% for 76.2% of patients. (Halpern, G.M. 1999. Cordyceps: China’s healing mushroom. New York: Avery Publishing Group.)