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….

What are nature’s best kept secrets for a healthy immune system? The secret may be in traditional food-based supplements.

Lots of people look to support their immune system naturally, using high quality nutritional and food-based supplements. Is there a scientific basis for this? What supplements should you be taking?

Omega-3 fatty acids EPA & DHA are essential for human health, and are very often low in modern diets. A 2017 study called “High DHA Fish Oil Linked to Immune Boost in Humans” published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that fish oil rich in these Omega-3s may help to modulate B lymphocytes in the human body.

It is interesting to note that high EPA & DHA cold water fish, and the extracted fish oil, have been relied on in places like Norway as a natural food/wellness provision for generations. This scientific validation of EPA & DHA fish oil is truly an example of science finally catching up to traditional food medicine!

Another study in the British Journal of Nutrition called “Immune Parameters Improved in Response to Fish Oil”  found that fish oil Omega-3 supplementation could improve a number of immune function markers as opposed to strength traninig exercise. It was found that fish oil supplementation could improve markers of both innate (zymosan phagocytosis, lysosomal volume, superoxide anion, peroxide of hydrogen) and acquired immunity (cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4), CD8, TNF-α, interferon-γ (IFN-γ), IL-2, IL-6 and IL-10 produced by lymphocytes). It was found that supplementation with fish oil improved these immune markers in the body, but strength training did not.

Another traditional food medicine is mushrooms/mycelia. You may have eaten Shittake fruiting bodies in your food without realizing you were taking in powerful medicine as well as a yummy food ingredient. The same goes for Maitake, Lion’s Mane and many other traditional food mushrooms/mycelia. Science is also finding that these mushrooms may have much to offer our immune system.

Well-known mycologist and star of the film “Fantastic Fungi” Paul Stamets was one of the most requested guests on the Joe Rogan Experience. Check out the fascinating interview here.

A 2017 meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms called “Medicinal Mushrooms in Human Clinical Studies. Part I. Anticancer, Oncoimmunological, and Immunomodulatory Activities: A Review” found “Numerous bioactive polysaccharides or polysaccharide-protein complexes from [medicinal mushrooms] seem to enhance innate and cell-mediated immune responses, and they exhibit antitumor activities in animals and humans. While the mechanism of their antitumor actions is still not completely understood, stimulation and modulation of key host immune responses by these mushroom compounds seems to be central. “

What other natural immune-boosting and balancing natural food supplements are there? Well you could peruse some of my previous writings in this blog on Pomegranate , Miso and Moringa. The truth is nature has a cornucopia of health-supporting foods, supporting immune response and the whole body. Start incorporating these foods into your diet, and check out the highest quality possible supplements in their categories and shop in a health food store!

Is a savory super food mushroom combination healthier than bone broth?

Are you looking for a way to get a nutritious broth that is plant-based? Enter Boneless Broth a nutritious blend of fermented food, complete plant protein and certified organic sea vegetables that packs a healthy punch.  It is tasty, warming, and invigorating – a synergy of taste that many have raved about.

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Ever since The Food Movement’s  Boneless Broth launched, we’ve been getting feedback from vegans, and other kinds of eaters, who love the savory nutritious Moringa Miso taste.  Many have said, why don’t you add mushrooms – a known source of super food nutrients and ‘umami’ taste?  The answer is – one man, Paul Stamets, and his brand, Host Defense (part of his Fungi Perfecti company), have done mushrooms so perfectly – there is little to be improved upon.

So we at the Food Movement so as we advise others to do – we soup up our broth with freeze-dried mycelia from Host Defense, and add it to the delicious Boneless Broth Moringa Miso.  My favorite combination is simple :

1 tablespoon Boneless Broth Moringa Miso

3 capsules of freeze-dried Mycelia

add to at least 6 oz. of warm (but not boiling water)

I first worked with Paul Stamets’ mushrooms and mycelia during my time at the Eclectic Institute, founded by the late Dr. Ed K Alstat (God rest).  They truly are the best in the world, and today his brand Host Defense bring mushroom health to many across the world.

We’ve been adding Stamets 7 to our Boneless Broth from the beginning… simply by opening capsules of the fresh freeze-dried mycelia or even drops of the Stamets 7 extract.  But now, I am so excited to announce that to try this amazing taste combination you no longer have to open those pullulan caps with your fingers. That’s right…. it is coming…

Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 10.15.20 PMSoon you will be able to add Stamets 7, the amazing blend of 7 medicinal mushrooms formulated by Paul Stamets to any of your kitchen creations (including the savory Boneless Broth) because next month Host Defense is launching the famous Stamets 7 formula as a powdered super food!  There are other mushrooms out there, but none is like Host Defense.

Paul Stamets designed this blend of seven mushroom species (Royal Sun Blazei, Cordyceps, Reishi, Maitake, Lion’s Mane, Chaga and Mesima) to support general immunity.* Many use Stamets 7® as a functional food multiple for maintaining peak performance and health.*

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Coming next month, Fungi Perfecti and Host Defense will be offering Stamets 7 as a freeze-dried organic mycelial powder, along with 6 other innovative mushroom powders.  The mushroom revolution has just begun!

Medical experts : Don’t eat raw mushrooms!

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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.”