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I'm a fun guy when I eat fungi… and immunity

How many times have we heard a doctor say something like, “Diet and exercise!”. It seems to me that medical education is very focused on drugs and surgery. In his book, “How Not to Die”, by Michael Greger, MD, Dr. Greger points out only approximately half of US medical schools have a nutrition course requirement. The half that do only require a single course on nutrition. That means we should seek counsel from a registered dietitian, right? Well, ideally, but consider it is possible the processed food industry has a significant influence on the education of medical professionals, both in graduate dietetics programs and in the medical setting. I learned this reading (actually, listening to) the book, “Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us” by Michael Moss. This is a fun and interesting book about our food culture and about who buys into it and who stays away from it. Moss offers a coke to Coca-Cola executives, offers Lunchables to the people who invented them and discusses how corn flakes were originally invented by a doctor (Kellogg) trying to feed his patients a plant based diet, only to have his businessman brother hijack them and sell them frosted.

 

Do you ever worry about this? (Sent to me by a chiropractic colleague)

Right now, I guess my mind is on fungus and chiropractic. Let me explain. Chiropractors have been getting in trouble stating that chiropractic care boosts the immune system. In reality, there is no quality research showing this statement is true. Unfortunately, the neurology chiropractors focus on suggests it is likely a true statement, but nobody has committed the funding to perform quality research to investigate the potential process. Nevertheless, many of the patients who are still coming in for their chiropractic treatments believe the care is helping their body stay strong and in the best place to resist the effects of potential illness. Even more unfortunately, according to experts like John P.A. Ioannidis at Stanford University (https://profiles.stanford.edu/john-ioannidis), the push in the medical world for evidence based medicine has drastically reduced investigation into lower money health procedures that do not have a profit interest for industry. This means if the chiropractic profession will perform adequate research into chiropractic’s role in stimulating and or supporting immune function, chiropractors and their patients will have to cough up several hundred thousand dollars and coordinate and fund even the beginnings of this research as it is unlikely to be funded by industry who serves to lose money if the research can show chiropractic treatment is more cost effective and safer than other more expensive and potentially dangerous types of treatment (think drugs and surgery).

 

This leads me to the part about fungus (or fungi for you science buffs). I’ve noticed the selection of mushrooms in my supermarket is not nearly as diverse as the selection in the local Asian market. Do they know something the rest of us don’t? In a 10/11/2018 interview with Mycologist, Paul Stamets, (https://tim.blog/2018/10/11/paul-stamets/) he discusses the many health benefits of mushrooms/fungi. He even published (with his colleagues) a paper in the prestigious scientific journal Nature in 2018 titled, “Extracts of Polypore Mushroom Mycelia Reduce Viruses in Honey Bees”. (See the link at the bottom of this text) Now, why might anyone be interested in the ability of certain mushrooms to help a host fight a virus? Anyway, the 2 hour and 25-minute interview with Stamets was absolutely fascinating. Why would I voluntarily choose to spend two and a half hours listening to an interview with a mycologist? Truth be told it is because I don’t want to spend too much money paying Audible for audio books. When I am in between listening to audio books I tend to listen to long format interviews because they are free and often very informative. The risk paid off as the interview was absolutely fascinating. I’m no mycologist but since listening to the interview, I have made an attempt to feed my family some diversity of mushrooms. This is one dimension of my current health strategy which includes my attempt to maximize my plant-based food intake and to reduce sugary foods and animal product. I’m not always successful but I’m trying.

 

Stay safe in isolation and please feel free to email me with any thoughts or questions or anything that may be on your mind.

 

Leonard Siskin, Chiropractor

 

 

“Extracts of Polypore Mushroom Mycelia Reduce Viruses in Honey Bees”. (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-32194-8.epdf?shared_access_token=ba-_bkA6alIvw0_dE_kv6NRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0PgdE7U6Hq3Fn9oa0E4T-tPaFlCYz23FdvUrcL8Q3IUquWH-fGkif2JMqYRuVSlutFz2iLu9JLPCsic6Eo1UYyThaDjnUiLrCeeLJHkLuvsIqZLHpQ23dyT7Fu3ozeWhZs%3D)

 

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