Important announcement : Andrew Weil Integrative Medicine Center releases FAQ on whole food and nutritional supplements related to coronavirus COVID-19

If you are familiar with Botanical Nutrition, you know that we don’t sell anything. There is no sales pitch here, and while I work in the natural products industry – everything expressed here is my personal opinion, or at least my personal take on the facts. I do not claim to represent any company directly, nor have the statements I make here been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

I make that disclaimer because I’m writing today about an important announcement from the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine, which is publicly available and linked here. In it Weil and the center talk about some nutritional supplements, some of which are recommended for potentially preventing coronavirus, and some which he mentions are contraindicated in case of active Covid-19 infection.

I would encourage you to read what Dr. Weil and his team has to say for yourself, and draw your own conclusions, but for ease of reference I will paraphrase a few of the observations he makes in this FAQ. They discuss a number of things, including some dietary supplements : medicinal mushrooms (mycelia), vitamin D3, NAC (n-acetyl cysteine), Spirulina and Elder berry.

Specifically the distinction is made that Elder berry is recommended if you are trying to prevent viral infection such as coronavirus. But, if you have the disease Covid-19 the Weil center states “to minimize the possibility that elderberry could aggravate the inflammatory “cytokine storm” associated with the more severe COVID-19 infections, it is recommended to stop elderberry at the first signs of infection (fever, cough, sore throat) and/or if you test positive for the virus.”

This will be upsetting to some, and others will disagree, but I am reminded of one of the key tenets of natural medicine “Primer nocer coctum”, – First, do no harm. If we have any doubts about using something that could cause harm, we should look elsewhere. I highly recommend you read the Weil center document in its entirety.

Similarly, the center advises that if you have covid-19 (again an important distinction meaning you’re not just a healthy person looking to PREVENT getting infected) you should discontinue Vitamin D. The rest of us, in fact SHOULD KEEP TAKING our Vitamin D (arguably, along with our Elder berry, medicinal mushrooms/mycelia, etc.) to keep from getting stick.

Another distinction made by Dr Weil is that medicinal mushrooms in the form of mycelia, a holistic preparation of the mushroom life cycle, is same to take – even in the presence of the disease. However, he specifically discourages taking polysaccharide extracts of the fruiting body in the same situation.

If you’d like to hear more of my take on it, or just see what the heck I’ve got in that funny blue drink… check out my latest video below. Thanks for listening and feel free to comment. I’m not afraid to debate or discuss, but please be respectful and keep the previous disclaimers in mind. God bless and godspeede….

Medical experts : Don’t eat raw mushrooms!

Weillwithmushroom

Well-respected medical expert Andrew Weil, MD tells his readers you should NEVER eat raw mushrooms.  Not only are the fruiting body (what most people know as a ‘mushroom’) walls made up of a tough to digest fiber called chitin, they also contains small amounts of toxins that are destroyed when mushrooms are cooked.

“Because of these concerns and because they offer little in the way of improving health, common button mushrooms are best avoided. But the types eaten in Asia—shiitake, maitake, oyster mushrooms, and enoki—provide a range of health benefits,” says Weill.

Weill also mentions in the above article that he takes a couple of blends from Paul Stamets’ Host Defense product line, which also include the above mentioned species of mycelia as well as others.  Many of these mushrooms are of immense physical benefits to humans, often when consumed in the mycelial form.

Just this week, the world’s foremost mycologist Paul Stamets also released a statement on easting raw mushroom fruiting bodies and, frankly, why you shouldn’t. Not surprisingly his sentiments echo many of Weill’s statements.

In answer to the question “Should you eat raw mushrooms?” Paul had this to say :

“No, absolutely not! Raw mushrooms are largely indigestible because of their tough cell walls, mainly composed
of chitin.”

Dr Stamets continues, “Raw mushrooms and raw mycelium may pose potential health hazards from harmful pathogens and heat sensitive toxins—causing gastrointestinal irritation and allergic reactions, such as skin rashes.”

Dr Stamets own medicinal product lines, Fungi Perfecti and Host Defense, are made with mushroom mycelia (and fruiting bodies) which are heat treated “to activate and unlock the nutritional compounds and ensure their bioavailability.”