Melatonin, Sleep, and Alzheimer’s Disease

Melatonin can be supplemented, but it is also produced naturally by your body, if you sleep in a very dark room. Doing that will help you sleep, and help you produce naturally occuring melatonin!

Melatonin may prevent Alzheimer’s disease – sleep your way to brain health

“(NaturalNews) Ongoing research is being performed to investigate the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. A form of dementia, Alzheimer’s robs its victims slowly of their cognitive powers, intelligence, memories and eventually, their lives. Scientists don’t know for sure how Alzheimer’s develops; however, emerging evidence points to genetics, lifestyle factors and environmental toxins. Early onset Alzheimer’s disease is often thought to be influenced by genetics, giving the individual little control over causative factors. However, in the case of the more common form of Alzheimer’s disease, it may be possible for individuals to have some control over its prevention.

The formation of amyloid plaques in the brain is a feature of Alzheimer’s disease. The plaques consist of a peptide, or string of amino acids, whose normal activity protects against oxidative stress, which contributes to the presence of cell-damaging free radicals. Additionally, they regulate cholesterol transport and have an anti-microbial action on the inflammatory agents in the plaques. Research suggests that a soluble form of amyloid beta, the main component of the plaques, may be a causative agent for Alzheimer’s disease.

Prevention

Several forms of treatment are indicated as possible interventions against the development of plaques, including strengthening the individual’s immune system to trigger antibodies to prevent or clear plaques from the brain. An important discovery was made indicating that the sleep hormone melatonin inhibits the formation of plaques and may be effective in the prevention of Alzheimer’s; however, melatonin, cannot reverse the formation of existing plaques, so is not useful in the treatment of the disease. Experiments in mice suggest that when adequate amounts of melatonin are available earlier in life, it may act to prevent Alzheimer’s from developing.

Melatonin is a naturally produced hormone, which regulates sleep and the circadian rhythm of amyloid beta. People need enough melatonin to produce proper sleep, and excessive wakefulness reduces the amount of the hormone, leading the way to possible plaque development. Animal experiments also indicate the ability of melatonin to correct slight elevations in cholesterol, another risk factor for plaque development.

Excessive periods of sleep deprivation for any reason can affect the circadian rhythm of amyloid beta by reducing the amount of melatonin produced in the brain, hypothetically causing the buildup of amyloid beta plaque formation. Recent findings have shown that chronic loss of sleep is connected to early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Producing melatonin

It is possible to supply melatonin through supplementation; however, it is also possible to create additional quantities of melatonin without drugs or supplements. The pineal gland produces melatonin, whose quantities are stimulated by the presence of darkness and inhibited in the light. Sleeping in a very dark room with no ambient light can stimulate melatonin production. Creating the conditions of twilight for several hours before going to bed will also set the stage for melatonin production and assist in falling asleep. Keep lights dim and remove all sources of light from the bedroom.”

Carrots and Celery and Colon Health

I happen to really like carrots and celery. Now, I have even more reason to love what they do for me! Check out this excellent information on the benefits derived from these excellent foods!

Chomping on carrots and celery ‘could ward off colon cancer’

“Celery is known for its dietary properties, and carrots apparently help you to see in the dark… but they could also both hold the key to slowing the growth of colon cancer, researchers say.

They have found that luteolin – a flavanoid, or antioxidant, found in fruit and vegetables – can block cell signal pathways vital for the cancer’s growth.

Luteolin can also be found in olive oil, green peppers, thyme, chamomile tea, peppermint and rosemary.

However, more research is needed to find how the compound could be developed into an effective anti-cancer agent.

Previous lab tests have revealed luteolin’s antioxidant and anti-cancer properties, although further tests were less certain.

But new research, published in BMC Gastroenterology, shows that the compound inhibits cell signalling pathways IGF and PI3K – both ‘important for the growth of cancer in colon cancer cells’.

Colon cancer is the second most frequent cause of cancer-related death in the West, and colon cancer cells are known to have elevated levels of IGF-II compared to normal colon tissues.

Researchers believe that this is part of the mechanism that allows uncontrolled cell division – and therefore rapid cancer growth. Luteolin was shown to be able to block the secretion of IGF-II by colon cancer cells.

Prof Jung Han Yoon Park, of Korea’s Hallym university, explained, ‘Luteolin reduced IGF-I-dependent activation of the cell signaling pathways PI3K, Akt, and ERK1/2 and CDC25c.

‘Blocking these pathways stops cancer cells from dividing and leads to cell death.

‘Our study, showing that luteolin interferes with cell signaling in colon cancer cells, is a step forward in understanding how this flavonoid works.

‘A fuller understanding of the in vivo results is essential to determine how it might be developed into an effective chemopreventive agent.'”

Barley Grass Extract, Diabetes and Cholesterol

Barley GrassA simple supplement can improve the health of Syndrome-X and diabetic individuals. The study discussed in this article demonstrates the efficiacy of supplementation of this nutrient!

Barley grass improves health in type 2 diabetics and reduces cholesterol

“(NaturalNews) Barley grass (Hordeum vulgare) has been a favorite among health enthusiasts for centuries. It is usually consumed as a powder or liquid, but is also used to make barley malt. Barley grass is considered a superfood, because of its incredibly dense nutritional profile. It contains a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids. Barley grass contains an abundance of chlorophyll, and is rich in Vitamins A, B, C, iron and calcium. It also contains high amounts of the electrolyte minerals potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Barley grass is rich in plant enzymes and antioxidants. Clinical studies involving the ingestion of barley grass powder show that it improves the health of diabetic patients. Barley grass has been proven to reduce cholesterol and can be used as a weight loss supplement.

Barley grass powder improves the health of type 2 diabetes patients

Type 2 diabetes mellitis is by far the most prevalent type of diabetes among adults. In a 2010 medical study, it was suggested that medicinal plants might have therapeutic effects on complex diseases such as diabetes. Barley grass powder was selected because of its reported benefits. The experimental group of diabetics took 1.2 g of barley grass capsules every day for sixty days. The control group took no supplementation. No other changes were made, and no other alternative measures were taken. The patients’ fasting blood sugar and lipid profiles were taken at the beginning and end of the study.

Supplementing with barley grass powder caused a significant fall in the fasting blood sugar level of the experimental group. No change was noted in the control group. There was a 5.1% reduction in overall cholesterol levels after two months. The researchers also noted that the risk of coronary heart disease was significantly reduced in the diabetics who took barley grass supplements.

Barley grass extract reduces cholesterol and scavenges free radicals

In a clinical study involving men with high LDL and total blood cholesterol levels, taking 15 grams of barley grass extract daily significantly lowered cholesterol levels. In addition, HDL, which is commonly referred to as “happy” or “good” cholesterol, was increased by taking barley grass extract.

In-vitro demonstration shows that barley grass extract scavenges free radicals. Scientists think this is due to an exchange of hydrogen ions which makes the free radicals weaker. Laboratory studies using the blood and spinal fluid of rheumatoid arthritis patients noted that barley grass extract does exhibit antioxidant properties.”

Vitamin D Supplementation Cuts Your Flu Risk by 50%!

A new article from Dr. Mercola points out another excellent benefit of Vitamin D supplementation!

The Vitamin Which Can Cut Your Flu Risk Nearly in Half

“According to the findings from a 2010 study that didn’t get any widespread attention, vitamin D is a highly effective way to avoid influenza.

In fact, children taking low doses of Vitamin D3 were shown to be 42 percent less likely to come down with the flu.

The randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study included 430 children aged 6-15, who were followed between December 2008 and March 2009.

Half were given 1,200 IU’s of vitamin D3 daily, while the other half received a placebo.

Influenza strains were determined through lab testing of nose and throat swabs.

Eighteen of the children taking vitamin D contracted influenza Type A, compared to 31 children in the placebo group.

Type B influenza rates were unaffected by vitamin D use, however, the illness resulting from Type B influenza strains is typically milder than Type A.

Considering the fact that influenza was reduced by 42 percent at a dose of just 1,200 IU’s a day, it’s possible that even better results might be obtained with higher dosages—depending on just how deficient you are to begin with, of course, because it’s not really the dosage that matters; it’s the amount of vitamin D in your blood.

Is Vitamin D Deficiency a Cause of Influenza?

Dr. John Cannell, founder of the Vitamin D Council, was one of the first to introduce the idea that vitamin D deficiency may actually be an underlying cause of influenza, which would help explain its apparent benefits as a flu-fighter. His hypothesis was published in the journal Epidemiology and Infection in 2006, which was followed up with another study published in the Virology Journal in 2008.

Dr. Cannell’s hypothesis received further support and confirmation when, in the following year, the largest and most nationally representative study of its kind to date discovered that people with the lowest blood vitamin D levels reported having significantly more recent colds or cases of the flu.

In conclusion, lead author Dr. Adit Ginde stated:

‘The findings of our study support an important role for vitamin D in prevention of common respiratory infections, such as colds and the flu. Individuals with common lung diseases, such as asthma or emphysema, may be particularly susceptible to respiratory infections from vitamin D deficiency.’

The evidence supporting Dr. Cannell’s hypothesis of influenza as a symptom of vitamin D deficiency is so compelling that I, for one, believe optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best flu-prevention strategies available to date. But that’s not to say it’s the only factor. Your overall immune function cannot be ignored, and when it comes to maintaining optimal immune function, your diet becomes sacrosanct.”

The Benefits of Coconut Oil!

Coconut OilAh, the benefits of just good, natural foods! They can’t be beat! This is why I encourage you to get all the information that you can on the benefits of natural, healthy foods!

Coconut Oil Health Benefits

“There is no better source of saturated fat than coconut oil. Unlike other saturated fats, it contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA’s). Other sources of saturated fat contain long-chain fatty acids. Some of the benefits of consuming MCFA’s include weight loss, decreased risk of heart disease and lower LDL cholesterol levels. One outstanding benefit of consuming medium chain fatty acids is increased metabolism and energy through immediate burning of the fat. Long chain fatty acids found in other sources of saturated fat, store the fat around the thighs, buttocks and waist.

There is a great deal of controversy regarding the health benefits of coconut oil because of its high saturated fat content. To add to the controversy, fifty years ago food manufacturers began hydrogenating coconut oil to increase shelf life and raise its melting point. Hydrogenation involves heating fats to a very high temperature which causes oxidation and the formation of trans-fatty acids.

Trans-fatty acids have been associated with several of the leading health problems today. Health authorities recommend avoiding coconut oils that contain trans-fatty acids known to raise LDL cholesterol, lower HDL cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease. They are also linked to diabetes, obesity, cancer, atherosclerosis, bone and tendons problems, birth defects, difficulties in lactation and irregular thyroid function.

To satisfy the public outcry for healthier oils manufacturers produced vegetable oils. The problem with nearly all vegetable oils available today is that they are also hydrogenated and contain trans-fatty acids. Another problem with consuming vegetable oils is that because they are found in so many foods today, they are causing an imbalance between omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids in the body. Vegetable oils are extremely high in omega 6, but do not contain omega 3. Omega 6/omega 3 imbalance is known to cause degenerative conditions in the body and premature aging.

Many health conscious individuals who are aware of the harmful effects of hydrogenated oils have switched to oils such as olive oil. Unfortunately, even olive oil begins to oxidize and release free radicals when heated. The only oil that doesn’t oxidize at high temperatures is coconut oil.

It isn’t difficult to find coconut oil that has not been hydrogenated, but health authorities claim that saturated fat, which is abundant in coconut oil, is another reason to avoid it. Saturated fat is believed to promote unhealthy cholesterol levels. Research has shown that this is not the case. It is true that saturate fat raises LDL cholesterol levels, but unlike trans-fatty acids, it also raises HDL cholesterol levels, which helps to maintain a healthy balance between HDL and LDL cholesterol levels. Studies have found that nations that regularly consume saturated fat are among the healthiest nations in the world.

Saturated fat is a necessary component of a healthy body. It makes up about fifty percent of cell membranes. Calcium utilization by the bones requires the presence of saturated fat. Studies have found that saturated fat has the ability to lower lipoprotein, a substance that contributes to heart disease. Palmatic acid found in coconut oil has proven to be good for the heart. Saturated fat helps protect the liver from toxins, and is necessary for the proper utilization and retention of omega 3 fatty acids in body tissue. Caprylic acid, another saturated fatty acid has anti-fungal properties which helps combat candida.

There is no better source of saturated fat than coconut oil. Unlike other saturated fats, it contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA’s). Other sources of saturated fat contain long-chain fatty acids. Some of the benefits of consuming MCFA’s include weight loss, decreased risk of heart disease and lower LDL cholesterol levels. One outstanding benefit of consuming medium chain fatty acids is increased metabolism and energy through immediate burning of the fat. Long chain fatty acids found in other sources of saturated fat, store the fat around the thighs, buttocks and waist.

Coconut oil has many health applications. It can be used for detoxification, treatment for sore throats, colds, dandruff, fungal infections and various skin conditions, digestive disorders, viruses and diabetes. It can also be used as a topical cream for cuts and scrapes, as a makeup remover, a lip balm or a hair conditioner.

There are several types of coconut oil available. The best type to use is organic, raw, extra virgin coconut oil, which is unrefined, cold or expeller-pressed, unbleached and unrefined and not deodorized or hydrogenated. Once the oil has been refined the chemical structure is changed and no longer has the same health benefits. Coconut oil has many uses in the kitchen. It is the perfect for baking, cooking or stir-frying. It can also be added to salads or cereals such as oatmeal.”

Green Tea Better Against Flu Than Vaccine?

Green TeaSupplementation can be a powerful force against disease. And, recent evidence gives additional evidence for the benefit that Green Tea supplementation can be against the flu.

Green tea supplements prevent flu better than vaccination

“(NaturalNews) Flu season is now in full swing and seasonal vaccinations are being pushed from every corner. Nonetheless, a recent clinical trial showed that green tea-based supplements reduced the risk of flu by 75%. This is far better than the 60% risk reduction recently reported in the Lancet for vaccinations. Given that green tea provides a host of other health benefits and none of the risks of injections, it would appear to be a far superior alternative to vaccination.

Green Tea: Natural Antiviral and Immune Enhancer

For many years it has been known that green tea polyphenols actively suppress many bacterial, fungal and viral species. On the virus front, green tea suppresses the adenovirus, Epstein-Barr, herpes simplex, HIV-1 and influenza viruses. EGCG, one of the main polyphenols in green tea, is mainly responsible for this suppression. Specifically, ECGC binds to the hemagglutinin of the influenza virus, which blocks it from attaching to (and infecting) target receptor cells. EGCG also alters the virus cell membrane, which further inhibits its ability to infect other cells. Another important component of green tea is the amino acid L-theanine, which has been shown to activate human gamma-delta-T lymphocytes to proliferate and make interferon-gamma, a potent antimicrobial cytokine. These lymphocytes are considered to be the body’s first line of defence against infection. Green tea therefore offers a two-pronged protection from the flu which vaccination simply cannot match. But for final proof, we need clinical trials.

Green Tea Lowers Flu Risk: Early Clinical Evidence

One early trial using green tea against the flu involved gargling three times daily with a weak solution of green tea (50 mg of catechins per cup, of which 60% was EGCG). The theory was that since the throat was a major infection site of influenza, gargling could stop the flu virus there. The theory was right: 1.3% of garglers contracted the flu vs. 10% of the control group. In another more sophisticated trial on 97 healthy adults, a proprietary blend of theanine and green tea polyphenols (apparently worth about 10 cups of green tea per day, but exact amounts were not disclosed) was used for three months during flu season. This trial was randomized, double-blind and placebo controlled. The supplement takers experienced 32% less illnesses and 35% fewer ‘symptom days.’ However, participants were included in the statistical analysis even if their compliance (actually taking the green tea pills) was only 70%.

Latest Clinical Trial Provides Stunning Results: 75% Less Illness

More recently, a better controlled trial was performed on 198 health care workers. This was randomized, double-blind and placebo controlled: the gold standard in clinical trials. The treatment group was each given a daily dose of 378 mg green tea catechins (containing 270 mg EGCG) and 210 mg of theanine from November 2009 to April 2010. The compliance rate in this trial was better: 93% took their pills according to plan. Those taking the green tea experienced 75% less clinically defined flu infection and this was statistically significant (P=0.022). But not all observed sicknesses were bona fide flu. When laboratory tests were used to confirm real influenza infection, it showed that green tea provided a stunning 83% reduction in flu risk, however this was not statistically significant (P=0.112) due to the small number of actual flu cases.

This latest trial shows that green tea supplements easily outperform flu vaccination for preventing illness. This may be a shocker to most people’s vaccine-indoctrinated mind-set, but for those who already study, understand and practice the principles of natural health, it’s really no surprise at all.”

More Coffee News

Coffee LoveThere has been a lot of good news for coffee drinkers of late… and this one is no exception! Coffee can be protective against cancer? Another reason to raise your mug and salute your morning brew!

Coffee Emerges As Protective Against Cancer And Other Diseases

“Starbucks fans around the world can rejoice that their tipple gets the thumbs up yet again. Already shown to protect against a number of diseases, a recent study in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, shows coffee drinkers who consumer more than four cups a day with a 25% lower risk of Endometrial Cancer. It is thought that the antioxidant properties in coffee may be a part of the mechanism.

Edward Giovannucci, M.D., Sc.D., professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a senior researcher on the study, said coffee is starting to be proven as a protective agent in cancers that are linked to obesity, estrogen and insulin.

‘Coffee has already been shown to be protective against diabetes due to its effect on insulin … So we hypothesized that we’d see a reduction in some cancers as well.’

Giovannucci, and his colleagues, including Youjin Je, a doctoral candidate in his lab, looked at endometrial cancer cases in nearly 70,000 women who enrolled in the Nurse’s Health Study. Over 26 years they documented 672 cases of endometrial cancer. More than four cups of coffee was linked with a 25% decrease in risk, while two to three cups had a 7% lower risk.

The results seemed to hold true for decaf as well, with a 22% reduction for more than two cups per day.

Giovannucci said he’d like to see further research on the effects of coffee on cancer, because in this and similar studies, coffee intake is self-selected and not randomized.”

Antibiotics Come With Side Effects

I have said before that powerful antibiotics can cause issues with your health. Even allopathic doctors are stressing the need to cut back on “casual” antibiotic use. “Antibiotic” can be be broken down into the root words “anti,” meaning “against,” and “bio,” meaning “life.” Antibiotics are designed to kill germs, bacteria, etc. but they also kill good bacteria, like intestinal flora. Now, it appears people taking antibiotics for acne, are at risk for sore throats.

Antibiotics For Acne Linked To Sore Throat

“According to a study published Online First by Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals, taking oral antibiotics to treat acne seems to be linked to reported symptoms of pharyngitis (sore throat).

The investigators explain:

‘Many inconsistent concerns have been voiced about the safety of long-term use of antibiotics. Because of the high prevalence of acne and the frequent use of antibiotics to control acne, individuals undergoing therapy to treat their acne are an ideal group in which to study the effects of long-term antibiotic use.’

David J. Margolis, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues with the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, carried out two concurrent investigations (a cross-sectional investigation and a longitudinal study) in order to analyze the connection between antibiotics for acne treatment and pharyngitis.

In addition they attempted to find an association between oral antibiotics and colonization rates of group A streptococcus (GAS; form of bacteria responsible for most cases of streptococcal illness) since prior investigations demonstrated higher rates of GAS to be associated with oral antibiotics.

In both investigations, participants included college students. Participants were swabbed for culture, had a visual examination for acne and were asked to fill out a self-administered survey form.

In the cross-section investigation, they discovered that:

  • In the past 30 days, 10 out of 15 participants receiving oral antibiotics for acne treatment reported an episode of pharyngitis.
  • 47 of 130 participants who had acne but did not take oral antibiotics reported an episode of pharyngitis in the last 30 days.
  • 82 (32.7%) of 251 participants not receiving oral antibiotics reported an episode of pharyngitis in the previous month.
  • 3 out of 145 participants with acne (2.1%) were discovered to be colonized with GAS, although none of the 3 students were taking oral antibiotics.

358 females and 218 males were enrolled in the longitudinal investigation; 96 (16.6%) received topical antibiotics for acne and 36 (6.2%) received oral antibiotics for acne treatment during the investigation. They discovered there was a strong connection with oral antibiotic use with a health care assessment for pharyngitis. Of participants receiving oral antibiotics, 11.3% reported pharyngitis versus 3.3% of participants who did not take oral antibiotics.

Furthermore, no link to pharyngitis was reported for participants who used topical antibiotics for acne treatment, they discovered that less that 1% of students were colonized by GAS, suggesting that it is not connected with pharyngitis.”

Orthomolecular Nutrition and Dementia

Reuters news service has reported that a study at Oxford University has determined that orthomolecular doses of B vitamins can cut in half the rate of brain srinkage in older people with memory problems. Scientists from Oxford University said their two-year clinical trial was the largest to date into the effect of B vitamins on so-called “mild cognitive impairment” – a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

“This is a very dramatic and striking result. It’s much more than we could have predicted,” said David Smith of Oxford’s department of pharmacology, who co-led the trial.

“It is our hope that this simple and safe treatment will delay development of Alzheimer’s in many people who suffer from mild memory problems.”

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) affects around 16 percent of people aged over 70 worldwide and is characterized by slight problems with memory loss, language or other mental functions.

The pills used during the study contained around 300 times the recommended daily intake of B12, four times daily advised folate levels and 15 times the recommended amount of B6.

These “mega-doses” of vitamins are similar to what Dr. Linus Pauling termed “orthomolecular nutrition” with regard to massive does of vitamin C for prevention of heart problems.

Smith and his colleagues conducted a two-year trial with 168 volunteers with MCI who were given either a vitamin pill containing very high doses of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, or a placebo dummy pill.

These B vitamins are known to control levels of an amino acid called homocysteine in the blood, and high blood levels of homocysteine are linked to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

While further study is needed, this is a promising development in orthomolecular nutrition.

The Health Benefits of Mushrooms

MushroomsNot all that people call, or recognize as “mushrooms” are edible. It is important not to confuse mold and other fungi with actual edible mushrooms. But, those that are the correct, edible variety, have a great many nutrients that are very beneficial! Dr. Mercola has an article on his web site that is very revealing!

The “Antioxidant Superstar” Chinese People Eat Daily

In short:

“Virtually all mushrooms provide excellent nutrition, such as protein, vitamins and enzymes, and many have potent medicinal value.

Mushrooms are excellent sources of antioxidants in general, such as polyphenols and selenium, but they also contain antioxidants that are unique to mushrooms, such as ergothioneine, which is now starting to be recognized as a ‘master antioxidant.’

Whole organic mushrooms and whole food-derived mushroom supplements offer potent immune-boosting benefits.

Some supplements offer the added boon of including the mycelia of the mushroom—the thread-like vegetative part of the mushroom that branches through the soil—which research has shown to provide many additional health benefits.


Steve Farrar has a Masters Degree in Horticulture from the Washington State University and has worked and studied mushrooms professionally for the last 30 years.

The first 20 years he spent growing them and working primarily with gourmet chefs, but in the past decade, he’s started applying his expertise of mushrooms to health purposes.

According to Farrar, Americans consume about 900 million pounds of mushrooms a year, but 95 percent of that just one species: the common button mushroom and its relatives, the Crimini and the Portabello mushrooms.

In more recent years, mushrooms have received a lot of attention, both in gourmet cooking and in the pharmaceutical industry.

As you will soon learn, mushrooms are a largely untapped resource that can help increase your health and well-being.

The Unique Nutritional Properties of Mushrooms

“Mushrooms are defined as a fungus that forms a fleshy above-ground reproductive structure called the’ mushroom fruit body,'” he explains.

Mushrooms should not be confused with mold and fungi however, which do not form fleshy fruit bodies. To learn more about the details of how mushrooms grow and propagate, please listen to the interview or read through the transcript. The common button mushroom, while not as ‘interesting’ as its more exotic cousins, is an excellent low-calorie food, especially for diabetics. It contains a number of valuable nutrients, including:

  • Protein
  • Enzymes
  • B vitamins (especially niacin)
  • Vitamin D2

However, Farrar’s focus has been on growing various gourmet mushroom species, particularly the wood decaying mushroom species, which differ greatly from your average button mushroom in terms of biology, nutrition and medicinal value, as well as in the production and methodology of growing them.

“By virtue of them being primary decomposers, they have some unique nutritional and also health benefits to them,” Farrar explains. “I tended to focus on species like Maitake, Shiitake, Enokitake, oyster mushrooms, brown beech mushrooms; mushrooms that people over the last 20 years were not really that familiar with.”

The wood decaying mushrooms, which are preferred in Asia and parts of Europe, are quite different in terms of flavors and textures. They also tend to have valuable medicinal properties that differ from the button mushroom. And we’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to understanding the value and importance of mushrooms as we’ve only classified about 10 percent of all available species.

‘I’m continually humbled by my ignorance of what’s going on in this incredible complex world of fungi,’ Farrar says. ‘It’s just mind boggling. Even with the well-studied species, nearly every week they’re finding a new bioactive component… Maybe it’s a polysaccharide, maybe it’s an enzyme, a protein, an antioxidant. They are continually finding new things that have profound effects when we consume them as a food or as a dietary supplement.'”

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