December 31st, 2011
By Dr. Mercola
Some of the most potent immunosupportive agents come from mushrooms, and science is just beginning to tap into this vast natural medicine warehouse.
There are mushrooms that kill viruses, mushrooms that kill bacteria, and even mushrooms that kill yeast—which may surprise you, given they're both fungi.
Some mushrooms destroy cancer cells, and others facilitate nerve regeneration.
Fungi are incredibly resilient, even surviving radioactivity.
They can actually harness radiation to thrive, as was found by a robot sent to map the inside of the entombed Chernobyl nuclear reactor in 1999.
The robot found a hardy fungus chowing down on 200 tons of melted radioactive fuel.
In addition to bringing us nutrition and powerful medicine, mushrooms offer great benefits for the planet.
You may be surprised to learn that mushrooms have the following green applications:
- Eradication of carpenter ants by producing a pesticide that tricks the ants into eating it
- Producing a low carbon footprint type of ethanol
- Breaking down the neurotoxins in nerve gas
- Producing a fully compostable fungal-based packing material that could potentially replace plastics and styrofoam
- Bioremediation: Cleaning up waste from petroleum, toxic chemicals (PCBs, TNT), and bacteria such as E. coli
Of the 140,000 species of mushroom-forming fungi, science is familiar with only 10 percent, according to world-renown mycologist Paul Stamets in "The Most Powerful Medicine in Nature". About 100 species are being studied for their health-promoting benefits. Of those hundred, about a half dozen really stand out for their ability to deliver a tremendous boost to your immune system.
I'd like to share some information with you today about a few of the rock stars of Kingdom Fungi. Some of these were discussed in my interview with Steve Farrar, who has worked and studied mushrooms professionally for the last 30 years. If you missed that informative interview, I highly recommend listening to it as well. But first, you need a little understanding about how mushrooms grow and what makes them so unique.
Mycelium: Mother Nature's Internet
Mushrooms are nature's recycling system. If it weren't for mushrooms, we wouldn't have plants, because mushrooms (and their "parent" mycelium) break down rocks and organic matter, turning them into soil that provides the framework to nourish plants..
Mushrooms are actually only the fruiting body of a more vast fungal form—the mycelium. The mycelium is a fascinating cobweb-like mat that infuses nearly all landscapes. It is through the mycelium that the fungus absorbs nutrients from the environment. When two compatible mycelia combine, the resulting mycelium occasionally forms fruiting bodies called mushrooms. The mushrooms make spores, which fly away to make new mycelial colonies, and the lifecycle is complete.
Mycelial mats can be too small to see or cover vast areas of ground.
Their extreme tenacity makes the soil spongy and able to support 30,000 times its weight. A single cubic inch of soil can contain 8 miles of mycelium cells. The largest living organism on Earth is a mycelium in Eastern Oregon that covers 2,200 acres, is ONE cell wall thick and 2,000 years old.
Paul Stamets believes fungal mycelia and the intricate, branching network they form function as "the Earth's Internet," a complex communication highway that is sort of Mother Nature's neural net. In some ways, mycelia are "sentient" and seem to demonstrate learning. If one pathway is broken, it develops an alternate path. According to Stamets, when you step on it, it knows you're there and "leaps up" in the aftermath of your footstep, trying to grab debris. The mycelia—not JUST the mushrooms—contain many of the healing agents for which mushrooms are revered.
Hanging with Fungi Increases Your Odds of Survival
We're more closely related to fungi than we are to any other kingdom. We share the same pathogens, meaning bacteria and viruses. As a defense against bacterial invasion, fungi have developed strong antibiotics, which also happen to be effective for us humans. Penicillin, streptomycin, and tetracycline all come from fungal extracts.
The predominant mushrooms displaying antiviral activities are the polypores, sometimes called bracket fungi or woody conks, tough and fibrous fungi characterized by many tiny holes on the underside of their caps. Polypores have been dubbed the "frontier" of new medicines and are thought to be the ancestors to most of the gilled mushrooms. Interestingly, there are no known poisonous polypores, whereas there are more than one hundred poisonous gilled mushrooms.
Paul Stamets recently discovered that a very rare polypore called Agaricon is effective against the poxviruses—including smallpox. This has the Department of Defense very interested, as smallpox is one of the most feared bioterrorism agents. Agaricon was also found to be effective against flu viruses.
History tells us that living in cooperation with fungi will increase our odds of survival. After major extinction events, it was the fungi that thrived because they didn't need light and lived on dead organic matter. Organisms pairing with fungi flourished, and those that didn't fared poorly.
Many of the mushrooms valued for strong medicinal properties grow on trees, as opposed to the ground dwellers you've likely seen.
These tree fungi concentrate the unique elements that the host tree has absorbed over its lifetime, which may be ten or twenty or even HUNDREDS of years. Many of these mushroom species are long-term residents of Old Growth Forests and play an essential role in nutrient recycling by decomposing old trees. The mushroom wraps itself around these special nutrients, capturing them in the fruiting body of the organism and turning it into a little medicinal powerhouse. Maybe it's time for us to embrace the mushroom and harness it's medicine the way the Asians have done for thousands of years.
Blends of Mushrooms are More Effective Than any One Mushroom Alone
It is therapeutically best to utilize a blend of several mushroom species, because "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." For one thing, it is easier for pathogens in your body to adapt and become resistant to one mushroom than to several. Secondly, each mushroom species has a unique arsenal of anti-infective and immunomodulating agents.
These special agents include:
- Ergosterols (steroid-like compounds that create vitamin D in sunlight)
You might have heard the term "beta glucans." The agents listed above are precursors to the more complex compounds, beta glucans. It is the synergism between ALL of these elements that makes mushrooms so medicinally powerful when consumed as a whole food—mycelium included.
Because mushrooms have such powerful immune-boosting effects, it isn't surprising that some have great potential for battling cancer. Mushrooms with anti-tumor activity appear to increase the number and activity of killer T and natural killer (NK) lymphocytes, with no toxicity to healthy cells. Cancer cells are notorious for "hiding" from chemo agents. New research has shown that certain mushroom extracts help chemotherapy drugs better locate and identify cancer cells by "uncloaking them," thereby making chemo more effective.
This is getting some open-minded oncologists very excited! Medicinal mushrooms also strengthen your immune system if you are undergoing chemo, so cancer patients get a double benefit. The list of health benefits science is revealing to us about mushrooms is still growing, but thus far includes the following:
|Increased longevity||Improved blood flow||Cholesterol and blood sugar normalization|
|Liver protection, including protection from adverse effects of alcohol consumption||Kidney support||Antiviral (including HIV), antibacterial, and antifungal properties|
|Destruction of cancer cells; improved outcomes for people receiving chemo and radiation||Improved respiratory illnesses, including asthma||Reduced risk for heart disease, decreased platelet aggregation and improved blood flow|
|Nerve regeneration (Lion's Mane mushroom)||Improved skin and hair||Increased sexual function and athletic ability|
It's important to eat ONLY organically grown mushrooms. Remember, what makes mushrooms so potent is that they absorb and concentrate whatever they grow in—good OR bad. Mushrooms are known to concentrate heavy metals, and air and water pollutants.
Now that you have the overview, let's take a look at a few of my favorite health-enhancing mushroom species. We'll start with a delicious little mushroom you have probably seen on your dinner plate or at your local market—the shiitake.
Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)
Shiitake is a popular culinary mushroom used in dishes around the world. It contains a number of health-stimulating agents, including lentinan, the polysaccharide for which it was named. Lentinan has been isolated and used to treat stomach and other cancers due to its antitumor properties, but has also been found to protect your liver, relieve other stomach ailments (hyperacidity, gallstones, ulcers), anemia, ascites, and pleural effusion.
One of the more remarkable scientific studies demonstrating shiitake's antitumor effect was a Japanese animal study, where mice suffering from sarcoma were given shiitake extract. Six of 10 mice had complete tumor regression, and with slightly higher concentrations, all ten mice showed complete tumor regression.
Shiitake mushrooms also demonstrate antiviral (including HIV, hepatitis, and the "common cold"), antibacterial, and antifungal effects; blood sugar stabilization; reduced platelet aggregation; and reduced atherosclerosis. Shiitake also contains eritadenine, which has strong cholesterol-lowering properties.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
Reishi is known as Lingzhi in China, or "spirit plant." It's also been called "Mushroom of Immortality"—a nickname that kind of says it all. Reishi has been used medicinally in Asia for thousands of years. One of its more useful compounds is ganoderic acid (a triterpenoid), which is being used to treat lung cancer, leukemia and other cancers. The list of Reishi's health benefits includes the following
- Antibacterial, antiviral (Herpes, Epstein-Barr), antifungal (including Candida) properties
- Antiinflammatory, useful for reducing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
- Immune system up-regulation
- Normalization of blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure
- Reduction of prostate-related urinary symptoms in men
Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris)
Cordyceps, also called caterpillar fungus or Tochukasu, is a favorite of athletes because it increases ATP production, strength and endurance, and has anti-aging effects. This parasitic mushroom is unique because, in the wild, it grows out of an insect host instead of a plant host. Cordyceps has an enduring history in both traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine.
Cordyceps has hypoglycemic and possible antidepressant effects, protects your liver and kidneys, increases blood flow, helps normalize your cholesterol levels, and has been used to treat Hepatitis B. It has antitumor properties as well.
Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)
Turkey Tail is also known as Coriolis, or "cloud mushroom." Science is showing that Turkey Tail mushroom holds an arsenal of cancer-blasting compounds. Two polysaccharide complexes in Turkey Tail are getting a great deal of scientific attention, PSK (or "Kreskin") and PSP, making it the most extensively researched of all medicinal mushrooms with large scale clinical trials.
A seven-year, $2 million NIH-funded clinical study in 2011 found that Turkey Tail mycelium improves immune function when dosed daily to women with stage I–III breast cancer. Immune response was dose-dependent, with no adverse effects.
In addition to breast cancer, Turkey Tail has been found to hold promise for other cancers, including stomach, colorectal, lung, esophageal, nasopharyngeal, cervical, and uterine. PSP has been shown to significantly enhance immune status in 70 to 97 percent of cancer patients. Turkey tail is also being used to treat many different infections, including aspergillus niger, Candida albicans, E. coli, HIV, Herpes, and streptococcus pneumonia, and is hepatoprotective. It may also be useful for CFIDS.
Himematsutake (Agaricus blazei)
The last mushroom I'd like to mention is the newcomer on the block: Himematsutake, also called Royal Sun Agaricus, a relative of the common button mushroom. Himematsutake was not cultivated in the East until fairly recently but is now a very popular natural medicine, used by almost a half million Japanese.
Himematsutake mushroom is attracting many scientists worldwide due to its remarkable anticancer properties related to six special polysaccharides. Like many other medicinal mushrooms, this fungus can also protect you from the damaging effects of radiation and chemotherapy. But its benefits don't stop there—Himematsutake can also decrease insulin resistance in diabetics, normalize your cholesterol, improve your hair and skin, and even treat polio.
There are many more mushrooms deserving mention—far too many to include here. But at least you can begin to appreciate the scope of benefits mushrooms have to offer, based on the handful of examples above.
A carefully designed blend of medicinal fungi can deliver a powerful therapeutic punch, whether you just wish to help protect yourself from seasonal colds or flu, or you have a more serious condition such as cancer. Either way, these special mushrooms can be an excellent adjunct to a healthful diet and lifestyle to improve your immune health. If you are interested in more information about medicinal mushrooms, you might consider visiting the following sites:
- Healing-Mushrooms.net is an encyclopedia of medicinal mushrooms with a searchable database, abundant resources and fungi photos
- MedicalMushrooms.net is another encyclopedic database with information about many of the medicinal mushrooms
- MushroomExpert.com can help you with mushroom identification
- Paul Stamets' YouTube video channel has about 30 videos of wild mushroom hunts and all sorts of informational videos, including mushroom identification and cultivation
- View Videos
December 31st, 2011
Is common sense finally making a comeback in the US ?
It's been nearly three very long years since we began addressing the proverbial death of common sense in America and what it prophetically entailed for our future, and yet a funny thing seems to have happened on the way to Utopia.
We can now begin to sense the formidable torque of an ideological pushback, by the Civil Society itself, from those who not only reside in our heartland, where logic formerly slumbered undisturbed by the goings-on of the "intellectual" Metro-Elites, but even in the fringe areas of the inner cities and beyond.
Something truly monolithic is stirring; what on earth could it be? Not the least of which to consider is the fact that, when the Republican Primary began, only about half of the contestants willingly classified themselves as Conservative. Now all of them are practically falling all over themselves, some even ready to undertake a blasted polygraph test, to prove their Conservative credentials.
However, back in early to mid 2009, it was indeed a scary time for any and all things Conservative--and yes, even in the heartland. Talk of Left-Wing, anti-Liberty designs, and even censorship, along with a virtual takeover of the Government by Marxist inspired Statists was being bandied about in hushed tones all over America's now liberally-blighted plane. Liberty and its constitutional essence were being crowded back into the darkest of corners, while capitalism and its champions were becoming relegated to a lexicon belonging only to that of certain four-letter words.
That Which Must Not Be Named
During that painful period, the stories brokered outside of the Mainstream Media spoke to Leaders whose designs of community organizing, authoritarianism, collectivism,and even Saul Alinksy radicalism were relatively unknown to the populace, as a whole. In fact, many feared to even broach the subject of Statist collectivism and its sub-American authors in power, in any meaningful public forum, due to the extreme disparagement they were likely to receive. And then, of course, there was always the threat of being called a conspiracy theorist or, even worse, one of "Those people who hears voices inside of their head," typically forthcoming, if one but steps too far outside the box of conventionality. This, especially for those who ask the unanswered, outrageous questions, which would inevitably incite a slipstream of withering critiques, soon to arrive.
December 31st, 2011
UK Daily Mail
By Damien Gayle
A child of three is among hundreds of youngsters receiving hospital treatment for eating disorders, a report has revealed.
Doctors said society pressures to conform to 'perfect' body images were fueling cases of anorexia and bulimia.
Shocking figures released yesterday found two six-year-olds and four seven-year-olds were referred for treatment in one area alone.
One child who was given life-saving help was just three. But doctors say the statistics are just the tip of the iceberg, with few sufferers actually get treatment.
Dr Malcolm Bourne, a child psychiatrist at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said doctors only see one-in-five children who are suffering from eating disorders.
'Evidence shows that it can take 18 months to two-and-a-half years for children to realise they have an eating disorder or seek treatment for it,' he said.
'We only work with children up to 16 years of age, and the majority of eating disorders in children start in the teens, so some will end up being treated in adult services.
'Long term eating disorders have the worst death rates in child mental health. Around five per cent die from them eventually, people can be very resistant to treatment.'
The report published yesterday showed 125 children under 18 have been treated for eating disorders by the East Lancashire Child and Adolescent Service (ELCAS) since 2007.
The majority of those helped - 109 - were aged 12 to 16. But many were under 10, including the three-year-old, who was treated earlier this year.
A total of 102 young girls were treated for eating disorders, compared to 23 boys. The majority suffered from anorexia or bulimia.
The findings echo figures published earlier this year which showed 600 children under 13 were referred to hospitals with eating disorders since 2009.
According to statistics released from 35 hospitals in response to a freedom of information request, 197 were aged from five to nine and 400 between 10 and 12.
Some hospitals refused to release information, suggesting that these shocking figures may themselves be an underestimate.
Others would only release figures for those treated as inpatients after their conditions became life threatening.
I SURVIVED AFTER MY WEIGHT PLUNGE TO THAT OF A SIX-YEAR-OLD
Charlotte Ord, 23, below left, spent her teenage years gripped by an obsession with food in a deadly disorder which almost cost the petite Northumbria University student her life.
At 14 years old she weighed just 3st 5lb - less than the average weight for a six-year-old.
It took six years for Charlotte to overcome her obsession with food, which began when she was 12 and she weighed around six stone.
Recovery: Charlotte Ord at 23 (left) and aged 14, weighing just 3st 5lb (right)
She said: 'I wasn't happy with myself - not necessarily the way I looked or my weight, just everything. I was being bullied at school and was generally unhappy.
'It was mainly a control thing - I couldn't control the rest of my life but I could control what I put into my body.
'I was 15 and a half years old when I was admitted to hospital, basically because I was going to die.'
After a slow recovery she now weighs a healthier eight stone.
She said: 'Life's good - I'm studying human nutrition at uni and I'm married, so I'm optimistic about the future.'
Dr Bourne estimated five per cent of children who suffer from an eating disorder would die as a result of it.
He said that the pressure put on young people to conform to a certain body image could be blamed on a large number of eating disorders.
'Most young people who have an eating disorder have a distorted body image,' he said.
'Everybody else sees them as very thin and skeletal but they will think they are fat.
'I do think societal pressures contribute to it in some way. For some young people you can trace it back to being teased about being fat.'
December 31st, 2011
om her paradisical $4 million Hawaii vacation, Mrs. Obama wants to know: Do any of President Obama’s supporters have $3 to spare for his reelection?
This is approximately like coming upon Warren Buffett on a street corner with a McDonald’s cup asking if he can have 15 cents.
Michelle’s request was part of an email sent to the Obama 2012 list today.
Over the next 11 months we’ve got an organization to grow, voters to register, and people to get fired up.
I hope you’ll close out this year by donating $3 or more now to help make sure we’re ready for the next one . . .
Thank you so much, and happy new year,
The obscene juxtaposition of the first lady on a $4 million vacation while asking what would have to be middle to low income earners for three bucks – who else would they be targeting with such an appeal? – is yet another example of lack of perspective the Obamas seem to be gaining while in power.
Mrs. Obama takes extravagant vacations to Spain and southern Africa. The president golfs obsessively and is currently dining at Honolulu’s ritziest restaurants. All while asking their fellow Americans to “sacrifice” during this time of not plenty.
And they blow $4 million – mostly taxpayers’ money – on a vacation, while wondering if the small people can come up with $3.
What about renting a beach house next year at the Jersey shore? I mean, if we’re all going to sacrifice.
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December 30th, 2011
A Michigan man has been charged with felony sex offenses after he told police he was HIV-positive and had set out to intentionally infect as many people as he could, police said. Health officials have issued an alert warning that "possibly hundreds of people have been exposed to HIV."
The man, identified as David Dean Smith, 51, of Comstock Park, north of Grand Rapids, was arraigned Wednesday on a second count of "AIDS-sexual penetration with an uninformed partner" after police said they had identified a second possible victim.
Smith was initially charged with one count after he went to Grand Rapids police last week and said he had intentionally had unprotected sex with as many people as he could over the last three years, according to police.
According to documents on file with Grand Rapids 61st District Court, Smith claimed to have had sex with "thousands" of partners, intending to kill them by infecting them with HIV. Some of those people are from outside the Grand Rapids area, including people Smith met over the Internet, he told police, according to documents.
Smith faces separate preliminary hearings on the two charges on Jan. 4 and Jan. 9. He remains in the Kent County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond.
The Kent County Health Department issued an alert Tuesday warning that "hundreds of people may have been exposed to HIV," urging potential victims to come forward and encouraging everyone who may have concerns to be tested for HIV.
One of the two possible victims police say they have found so far said in an interview with NBC station WOOD-TV of Grand Rapids that she was diagnosed with HIV in October 2008.
The woman, whom authorities and NBC News are not identifying, said she knew immediately that it was Smith — whom she said she met through an ad on the Yahoo! Personals website — who had infected her. She called him "a predator" and "a sociopath."
The woman said Smith sent her a text message letting her know that he was going to surrender to police. The message read: "Turning myself into the law, my life is over. Take care. Always love you."
David D. Smith
"It's something he should have done years ago," she said. "He shouldn't get a pat on the head for what he did."
Smith said at his arraignment Wednesday that he has been undergoing counseling. Court documents show that Smith was admitted to Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services recently because he was "suicidal" and had tried to kill himself at least once.
The records say the hospital determined that Smith is "sexually aroused by causing pain to females."
A Facebook page with Smith's name, address and pictures says he graduated from Harry Hill High School in Lansing in 1978 and studied at the University of Phoenix, a for-profit online institution. It shows that he has worked in telecommunications for several companies.
Posts to the account stopped on Nov. 30. Before then, the account owner posted some messages that could possibly be interpreted as alluding to his situation.
"Someone special to me asked me a question about scandulous people, this was my thought," he wrote on Nov. 5. "Let me know what ya think. When you are young you believe people will love you like you want and keep an eye out for those scandulous people...as you get older you realize most everyone is scandulous so you dont trust anyone but keep an eye out for the special ones that truley care."
A day earlier, this message appeared:
"I pray for blessings to all I know, for forgiveness for my shortcommings to them and that they may no peace. And last, that I love them all as much as I can."
The woman who spoke to WOOD said she had no doubt that there are many other victims. She said Smith told her that he had had sex with as many as 3,000 people, including men as well as women.
"He hits drifters," she said in the interview. "He hits people who are young. He hits young women, and from what I understand, he hits men, too. Those are his targets."
David Dean Smith's attorney, Richard E. Zambon of Grand Rapids, tells msnbc.com that he plans on "exploring all options" in defending Smith, saying specifically that "I am concerned about his mental health."
Zambon said he hadn't yet seen all of the police and medical records in the case and couldn't talk about specifics, but he said the law under which Smith was charged is a "relatively new statute with not many cases having interpreted" it, meaning few court precedents have been established.
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