Mushrooms are, hands down, one of the most beneficial foods you can eat. From having amazing nutrition and medicinal benefits to being high in fiber and low in fat, it’s about time you gave them a place of pride in your diet. I’m joined by mushroom expert and grower, Jeff Chilton, to talk all about the healing power of mushrooms.
Listen to the Episode
The Nutritional Value of Mushrooms
- High in fiber
- Low in fat
- Low in calories
- High levels of Potassium
- High levels of Phosphorous
- Good levels of B1, B2, and B3
About Jeff Chilton
Jeff Chilton studied Ethno-Mycology at the University of Washington in the late sixties and in 1973 began a 10-year career as a large-scale commercial mushroom grower. Jeff is the co-author of The Mushroom Cultivator, published in 1983.
In 1989 Jeff established Nammex, the first company to supply medicinal mushroom extracts to the Nutritional Supplement industry. In 1997 he organized the first organic certification workshop for mushroom production in China.
Jeff became a founding member of the World Society for Mushroom Biology and Mushroom Products in 1994 and a Member of the International Society for Mushroom Science. Nammex extracts are used by many supplement and food companies and are noted for their high quality based on scientific analysis of the active compounds.
The Many Benefits of Mushrooms
Mushrooms are one of the most interesting organisms on our planet. Jeff Chilton, mushroom grower and expert, explains what exactly these interconnected organisms are. There are so many different types of mushrooms and fungi and each has its own specific medicinal and nutritional values.
Jeff explains why mushrooms are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat and why he calls them a forgotten food. He encourages all of us to increase how many mushrooms we eat and to make them part of our everyday diet.
Mushrooms are high in fiber, low in fat and calories, and have good amounts of B vitamins, Phosphorous, and Potassium. They’re also high in Vitamin D. Each different type of mushroom has its own set of medicinal values.
Mushroom Best Practices
Jeff also talks about the different benefits of supplementing and eating whole mushrooms. He cautions you to use discernment when it comes to reading nutritional labels and the various scientific studies related to mushrooms.
Jeff talks us through his own methods of choosing mushrooms both for personal use and what he puts in his products. He describes the most beneficial growing practices, too.
Finally, Jeff explains who shouldn’t add mushrooms to their diet and why. The biggest worry is that, as mushrooms are a fungus, they could have a negative impact if someone is already suffering from a mold problem in their home.
Do you eat mushrooms now? What’s your favorite type of mushroom?
Not sure if adding mushrooms to your diet is right for you? Call the Integrative Health and Hormone Clinic today and schedule your first appointment at 319-363-0033.
“Mushrooms are very high in fiber. Low in fat and calories, very good levels of potassium and phosphorus, and reasonable levels of B1, B2, and B3. It’s a very nutritious food. I like to call it the forgotten food and the missing dietary link.” [22:18]
“There is absolutely no scientific research that has anything to do with saying or proving that mushrooms either produce or feed Candida.” [43:55]
“Put mushrooms into your diet. It’s a very important food, it’s the missing link in your diet. Try shitake mushrooms, they’re delicious. Then, if you feel the need, think about supplementation. But eat mushrooms first. That’s really important.” [58:29]
In This Episode
- What a mushroom is [5:45]
- The medicinal value of the mycelium [13:35]
- How nutritional mushrooms actually are [21:00]
- The benefits of different types of mushrooms [25:00]
- Using discernment when it comes to the scientific studies published about mushrooms [27:30]
- The best way to choose mushrooms [38:30]
- The adaptogenic benefits of mushrooms [40:00]
- Who should use caution when it comes to mushrooms [42:00]
- What to look for on the label of supplemental mushrooms [50:00]
- The best mushroom growing practices [52:00]
Links & Resources
Jeff Chilton 0:02
For a venture that is the basis for health and diet is the foundation
Dr. Stephanie Gray 0:12
Welcome to the your longevity blueprint podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Stephanie gray. My number one goal with the show is to help you discover your personalized plan to build your dream health and live a longer, happier, truly healthier life. You're about to hear from Jeff Chilton. Today we're going to discuss how mushrooms or a healthy premier longevity food, learn about quality control with production and what to look for within supplements. This is a long interview, but it's packed with lots of fun facts and it's very interesting, so stay with me here. Let's get started
Welcome to another episode of The your longevity blueprint podcast today. My guest is Jeff Chilton. Jeff studied ethno mycology at the University of Washington in the late 60s and in 1973, began a 10 year career as a large scale commercial mushroom grower. Jeff is the co author of the mushroom cultivator published in 1983. In 1989, Jeff established namics the first company to supply medicinal mushroom extracts to the nutritional supplement industry. In 1997, he organized the first organic certification workshop for mushroom production in China. Jeff became a founding member of the world's society for mushroom biology and mushroom products in 1994. And as a member of the International Society for mushroom science. namics extracts are used by many supplement and food companies and are noted for their high quality based on scientific analysis of the active compounds. Welcome to the show, Jeff.
Jeff Chilton 1:39
Dr. Gray, thank you so much for having me.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 1:41
Well, tell us your story. How did you become a mushroom grower?
Jeff Chilton 1:44
I was raised in the Pacific Northwest in Seattle. Yeah. What is Seattle known for rain? Yep. Perfect climate for growing mushrooms. And so they were around me as I was growing up. And then when I went to university, I studied anthropology because I really love the whole idea of other cultures and now they organize and what they do, but they have a microbiology department at that university as well. So I studied my ecology. And in anthropological studies, I basically looked at the use of mushrooms historically worldwide, for food for medicine and in shamanic rituals. So that was my field of study. And so I just put the two together, and that's ethno mycology. Now, getting out of university, of course, there's no jobs for anthropologists. So I thought, wouldn't it be great to learn how to grow mushrooms? I thought, wow, that'd be so cool. We had one mushroom farm in Washington State. I went there I applied for a job. I was there for the next 10 years. And and let me tell you, I was literally living with mushrooms.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 2:58
So they became part of you and you part of them.
Jeff Chilton 3:01
Oh, yeah. What's interesting about about mushroom cultivation, and again, this was a very big farm 2 million pounds of Agaricus mushrooms. per year, we had a Japanese scientist that was also growing Shirataki oyster mushroom and a gnocchi mushroom. So I learned about growing those as well. But mushrooms do not sleep well. And when you have a farm that size you have like for example, there's eight new crops being put in every week. Old crops being dumped on a production cycle. All mushrooms are harvested by hand. Every mushroom you've ever eaten, has been picked by somebody by hand. So essentially they're harvesters working at the farm, every swing for seven day, Christmas, New Years, it doesn't stop again like I say mushrooms don't sleep. And especially not when you have all of those crops.
And essentially, if you were to leave it for a day and not harvest, then a lot of those mushrooms because they continue to grow would become seconds because again, we harvest them the Agaricus mushroom as a button which is an immature mushroom that gives it a really good shelf life. But if you let them grow, they will open up and now in the market. That's a number two instead of a number one so there's a great loss there. If you can't harvest like you, you know the power goes out or something Oh yeah, but believe it or not, because these are climate controlled rooms. We would go into these rooms with minors, lights. Helmets are minors. And that's how people worked in these rooms. These days in mushroom growing houses they they actually will put lights in there but the Agaricus Mushroom does not need light to grow. Most mushrooms do need light to grow. People think oh no, you know the joke of Oh yeah, I must be a mushroom because they're keeping me in the dark and they're feeding me a bowl whatever. So no, most mushrooms need light to grow the Agaricus does not. In fact that's why traditionally, back in Europe it was grown in like the caves around Paris.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 5:27
Fun Facts You just keep laying them on us. I want to talk about different species of mushrooms because I don't know much about the gear case and I want to talk about growing practices as well. But let's take it back a notch and just define kind of what are the mushroom? What is a mushroom? And what are the plant parts of that? We'll start with the mushrooms 101
Jeff Chilton 5:44
Yeah, yeah. And that's very important because look, it's kind of interesting. mushrooms don't have seeds. How do we grow mushrooms? They don't have seeds. Yeah, we supposed to do? Well, mushrooms produce spores. Those spores in nature. They go out on the wind currents they land on the earth, they land on wood, they will germinate into a very fine filament that filaments called a Haifa. And when multiple of those Haifa come together and fuse in forms a network and that network we call mycelium. Mycelium is the vegetative body and that's something that you would never see. Because it's underground. It's buried in the wood. So normally we will not see it. In fact, I like to say sometimes, okay, somebody is walking along a path that they walk every day to wherever and and one day they go, Oh my God, look at that mushroom there. Where'd it come from? You know, it's kind of like magic, right?
And yet, that mushroom underground is that vegetative body, the mycelium. And that mushroom has actually been there for probably two weeks, but it didn't reach a size big enough for you to notice until it got to that one particular site. So this mycelium, now it's consuming all of the organic matter that's on the ground every year annual plants, wood leaves, you name it, it's part of that process of decomposing all of that back into humus when conditions are right. Like in the northwest, the fall and the rains come, temperature goes down. That's a trigger for the mushroom to grow. A mushroom needs high humidity. That's why the rains and getting the ground nice and moist. Now the mushroom comes up, it goes through about a two week cycle up comes, the calf expands underneath the capric gills those gills produce the spores. And now we have a completion of the lifecycle. So what we would say here is we would say there are three, what we would call plant parts, which is what they use in the supplement industry. And that's spore mycelium and mushroom.
Now traditionally, it's always been the mushroom that has been used for its functional purposes in traditional Chinese medicine and so on. Nobody's going to be out there digging up mycelium and trying to you know, pull it out and do that. So those are the plant parts and growing mushrooms, which is what we do is not easy. It's expensive. You cannot produce mushrooms in the United States and sell them a supplements. And the reason is that a fresh mushroom, you can take the market. And you can get let's say $5 a pound for your fresh mushrooms, mushrooms like most vegetables, or 90%, water supplements or dried powders, you dry out that pound of mushrooms that you're getting $5 For now the value is up to $50 for that dried pound of mushrooms, it doesn't work for supplement use. And so all of the actual mushrooms that are genuine that are in supplements will have to come from somewhere else because it's just too expensive in the United States to do that. And that's why in 1989, I made my first trip to China, which of course, is where all of the information is about the use of mushrooms for 1000s of years as supplements and actually as food.
So I went to China and I established contacts with growers with processors with research institutes. I went to conferences, and that was when in 1997 Being a company that believes in certified organic foods and being certified since 1992. I went to China, China and I said look I'm going to be growing mushrooms here purchasing the mushrooms here. You're going to have to be certified organic. So I brought one of the largest organic certifiers in the US to China with me. We organized the very first workshop for Certified Organic Mushrooms in China 1997 by 2000 All of our mushrooms coming out of China and our extracts were certified organic. And look, you know people go oh, yeah, who's who's certifying them? High quality German certifiers are certifying them. And, you know, Dr. Gray, one of the most important things for me with the products we sell, is analyzing them.
That's one of the things that our company does, we we spend so much money on analysis and analysis starts with pesticides, which we have to have no pesticides for organic certification, heavy metals, that complete microbiological panel, all of that happens before anything leaves China. And then once it comes over to the United States, where we have our warehouse, we sample it and test again, in totally different laboratories than the ones that they've been using in China. So we test every product two times to meet the standards. And you know, a lot of people think supplements, and there's no regulation on supplements, well, there's a lot of regulation, on supplements, that doesn't mean the supplement you buy is going to be good. It could be a terrible product, it could have no benefits whatsoever. But it could still have low heavy metals of no pesticides, all the rest. That's something again, we feel very strongly about his analysis. And the other side of it is we analyze for all of the medicinal compounds in mushrooms, which is, for me, the most important things because up until 2015, we had literally no standards for mushroom products.
No company was out there giving any kind of an analytical results. We did, I had a white paper that I produced a study in 2015, where we bought 40 products off the internet. And we tested our extracts. We also tested just dried mushrooms. And what that study showed was that majority of the products that are being sold are not even mushroom, what are they? Well, well, here's what's interesting, I was telling you that you can't grow mushrooms in the United States and sell them into the supplement market. What companies have done is they will grow out the mycelium on sterilized grain at the end of the process, which is maybe 50 days, they will dry it, grind it to a powder, grain and all and call it a mushroom. And so when we analyze those products, they ended up being mostly grain starch. Interesting. Yes. And very interesting. And, and you know, this gets into, again, the the testing methods that we've got, and also to the most important compound in medicinal or what we also would call functional mushrooms. And that is the beta glucan.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 13:25
Yes, let's let's go there. You prompted about 12 Other questions I want to ask you.
Jeff Chilton 13:30
I know. I jumped jumped over a lot of questions here.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 13:34
I'm going to take us back one more time though because it didn't maybe you didn't answer kind of part of this. I was gonna ask if the mycelium actually had medicinal value like or is it primarily the fruiting body like the mushroom itself that carries most of the
Jeff Chilton 13:48
well? Well look see here here's what's interesting is that VEDA glue cans are in the cell walls have mycelium and of mushroom. And difference is once that mushroom starts to form and matures, it's like a bio factory and it is producing compounds that the Mycelium is not the Mycelium is actually a very simple structure. Its Its job is to secrete enzymes breaking down the organic matter building up it's the food where it can continue to grow and also support the mushroom and the mycelium has never been utilized as a supplement because you have to dig it up. Now in China, they actually produce a lot of mycelium and put it into the supplement market. But they do that in what's called Liquid fermentation where they grow it in a liquid and then at the end of the process, they remove the liquid and they have pure mycelium. That is a process that takes a lot of infrastructure to actually grow mycelium on sterilized grain is simple, it's easy does not take a lot of investment. And so that's what they do in the United States rather than growing pure mycelium.
So what you get is you get a small amount of mycelium and mostly grain starch. And that was what was interesting about the Beta Glucan tests because the Beta Glucan tests that we use will test for beta glucan. And what's called Alpha glucan. Alpha glue can are the starches. Mushrooms do not contain starch. And what's interesting you probably heard people talk about how Oh yeah, humans and mushrooms are somewhat similar in some ways. Getting back to classifications we have the the kingdom of animals, kingdom of plants, and the kingdom of fungi sitting right in the middle. Fungi produce glycogen as a storage carbohydrate, like humans, fungi also breathe in oxygen give out carbon dioxide, completely opposite of plants, plants produce starch. What we found when we did our analyses is that mushrooms contain between 25 and 60%, Beta Glucan. And it's interesting because that species differential, some species higher, some lower, and they have less than 5% Alpha glucan, which if we pick up any on the mushroom, it would be probably some glycogen.
The complete opposite was happening with these mycelium on grain products. Instead, it was 5%, Beta Glucan and 30 to 60% alpha, which essentially validates the fact that those products are mostly grain starch. And when I put this report out, it absolutely changed the industry. And look, the worst part about it was that the companies selling these products were mislabeling the product. The product when you went to buy it on the front label it said reishi mushroom Shirataki mushroom a picture of a mushroom, you think you're buying a mushroom supplement. Some of those companies, when you turn it over, it would say oh mycelium and then in the fine print, it would say, my ciliated rice, my ciliated oats. But these same companies would be selling the materials that they are producing to other companies and selling them to other companies as mushroom. And those companies did not even know. They thought they were getting mushroom. And so they put out these and they don't say mycelium or or list the grains. So you have a lot of companies out there that aren't even doing that, which would be at least a minimum now. Are you familiar with the food called tam pay? Do you know how it's made?
Dr. Stephanie Gray 18:02
Soy? I don't know. Well,
Jeff Chilton 18:05
most people know it's soy but beyond that it's actually cooked soy beans with fungal mycelium grown on it. So when you're eating Tempah, you're eating mycelium. That's what these companies are producing. But drying it to a powder and then calling it mushroom. And it's not mushroom at all. There's no mushrooms in it. It is my ciliated grain.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 18:33
I was gonna ask what can we look for on a label? But it sounds like there's just so much mislabeling anyways in the industry that well you
Jeff Chilton 18:41
know, what I would look for is a it says grown in the US. It's not a mushroom. It's not a mushroom? No, absolutely not because because literally, you cannot grow and if you look at all the statistics that the government collects on mushroom growers, all of the mushrooms being grown, go into the fresh market. And any mushrooms that go into the supplement markets are simply made by let's just say, you know, you know, herbalists practicing herbalist will create their own line of, you know, tinctures and things like that. Well, they can often buy from a local mushroom grower, but the number of that and the amount of mushrooms going into that is tiny, compared to you know, the industry itself. So so no, there are no mushrooms on any scale going into the supplement market that are these mushrooms that are growing in the US. They're simply not happening.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 19:35
I didn't know that. Congratulations on taking organic mushroom growing to China. Freshman there. Well, yeah,
Jeff Chilton 19:43
you know what, it's one of those things where look, it's almost like climate change or global warming or anything like that. It's not just a matter of, oh, yeah, we've got to do it here and we don't care what's happening over there. You know, it's kind of like right now. There's a lot of blame going on against China. Yeah, they're burning all There's coal, you know, selling in the coal, the United States, Canada, Australia, selling them the coal and then going, Oh, look, they're burning all that coal, who sold it to them? Hey, wait a minute here, the hypocrisy is a little bit deep. You know, our mushrooms are growing deep in the mountains of China far away from the industrial areas.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 20:22
I hate cutting you off, because you have so many points, but that's okay. I want to totally get to that. But I want to come back to beta glucans. Because I don't I want to make sure we don't jump over that because that's one of the most important pieces. And I'll give you back the mic here as far as what are the nutritional benefits of mushrooms like why beta glucans are important. And also if you could get into the difference between the nutritional benefits in gourmet mushrooms what I eat or what I purchased from a farmers market, what I may forage for in the woods, right or the measure of the nutritional benefit found in the medicinal like in the supplements and medicinal mushrooms?
Jeff Chilton 20:55
Sure. Well, first of all, let me just say mushrooms are very nutritious. And what is interesting about it is when I started at the mushroom farm in 1973, classical nutritionists stated mushrooms had no nutritional value. Why did they say that? low in calories? low in calories? Oh, yeah, it tastes good, but no nutritional value. Totally wrong. They just didn't have enough analysis at the time to really know for sure mushrooms have 20 to 40% protein. It's high quality protein, maybe one essential amino acid that's missing their high end carbohydrate, which is primarily what they're made of. But these are very beneficial carbohydrates. Are you familiar with mannitol? A little bit? Yeah. Well, mannitol is a is a very slow acting carbohydrate. It's one of those carbohydrates that is recommended for people that have diabetes and things like that, because it's slow acting, it has less than half the amount of sugar that sucrose has got. So it's actually not very digestible. So what it's doing is it's feeding the microbiome.
And so as the beta glucan, the beta glucan is part of the cell wall, it's part of the fiber. So it's also feeding the microbiome. Mushrooms are very high in fiber, low and fat, which which accounts for in many ways, the fact that there's a low amount of calories, very good levels of potassium and phosphorus, and reasonable levels of B one, b two and B three. So it's a very nutritious food. I like to call it the Forgotten food and the missing dietary link. When you go out to Asia, and you go into the food markets of Asia, you've got 12 to 15 Different mushroom species there to choose from. in 1973. We had pretty much one mushroom in our markets. We actually because we are going Pataki on the farm there. We introduced fresh talkI into the local market in 1978. I was eating fresh talk in the 70s Are you do you eat? You're talking? Oh,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 23:16
yeah. I love delicious meat to me.
Jeff Chilton 23:19
It is really it's my favorite edible mushroom. I mean, it is really excellent. And that's the one mushroom I like to recommend to people. And going to the second part of your question, certain mushrooms with these beta glue cans have a little bit different architecture of the Beta Glucan. That architecture means whether one is highly active or not so active. So essentially, scientists have done a lot of studies on many of these mushroom species and have determined that there are let's just say a dozen species that are highly medicinal, and where the beta glucans are very active. And there are other species where they're not. And I've got a book that lists 270 Different mushroom species that have medicinal benefits. However, based on in some cases, just one study, whereas these top mushrooms, whether it be chateaugay, or my talkie, or lion's mane or quarter steps, they have a body of scientific data that is very, very deep. We're lucky because in the marketplaces you can get shittaka you can get my talkie and they will give you nutritional benefits and these functional benefits. Same with Lion's Mane familiar with Lion's Mane at all. Yeah, lion's mane is really interesting.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 24:55
Yeah, talk about it. Let's differentiate you kind of talk about should talk a little bit but let's go into lion's mane and Turkey Tail quadriceps and ration all those let's share shrink those down. Yeah, yeah. And
Jeff Chilton 25:03
lion's mane is interesting because it's got compounds in it that they've identified that will stimulate what's called nerve growth factor, we produce nerve growth factor, it organizes and at times stimulates the production of neurons. As we get older, we produce less of it. And there's a lot of information that would suggest that that's one of the reasons why all of a sudden, our memory starts to go downhill a little bit,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 25:33
I heard that it can help with cognitive decline even help regenerate myelin. So great for Alzheimer's depression.
Jeff Chilton 25:40
What's interesting about lion's mane is they've actually got some clinical trials where they've they've gotten two groups of people, and they've got a control group and on a regular in Japan, they had this 30 People on in each group, they gave them a whole battery of tests. And the one group got three grams, only three grams of dried Lion's Mane, they took a daily, the other group of the placebo group, after 120 days, they tested them again, the people that were eating the lion's mane actually tested higher after they stopped taking Lion's Mane, they tested them again, a month later, and they dropped back down to baseline. Now Now that's one study, they've also done a clinical trial, giving people about the same amount and testing whatever they test for dementia. So there there is some initial evidence on that. And you know, look, one of the one of the issues in the supplement or herbal arena is that clinical trials are expensive. You're not going to find too many of them. And and you also have to be very careful, because look, I can look at some of these trials and say, Well, who sponsored? Oh, it's sponsored by the tobacco companies.
Okay, I get it. You know what I mean? You have to be able to read scientific papers, and be able to really know, for example, there's a lot of in vitro studies, which can give you all sorts of results. Does that actually translate to humans? Then there's, there's the animal studies, and you go, okay, that's, that's closer. But then sometimes you look at it, and it's like, oh, yeah, they're giving like 50 milligrams, or 100 milligrams per kilogram or something like that to this animal, we'd have to eat 20 Dried grams a day to match that same amount. So there's a lot of things that you have to look for in scientific studies. But But Lion's Mane, I think it's really interesting. There's a lot of people out right, doing it right now that are sort of test cases, so to speak. But one of the things, let me let me just say this right away before we go too much further here, and that is, people think that when you take something like, you know, they're so used to taking an aspirin or an Ibu and they get immediate results, they like to think that if they're taking something tomorrow, they'll be waking up and it'll be a eureka moment, you know, it'd be kind of like you and I taking our let's just say vitamin D tablet today or something that tomorrow we go man, that vitamin D, God, I feel so much better.
That's really how it works. And one of the things I truly believe in is I believe in prevention, that is the basis for health is prevention. And diet is the foundation of health. So we have to keep that in mind. And so when I look at these functional mushrooms, I look at them as another layer of protection. You have to eat your mushrooms regularly, you have to supplement with it regularly. Don't expect anything overnight. But over time, if you are doing the other things right. As you know this, there's a lot of factors that go into health, like eating right, like exercising and all of that. I mean, you're you're a integrative practitioner, so you know what that means. You know that it's just not a matter of going to a physician and getting a prescription and oil. It's all good now. That's not really how it works.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 29:17
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After it was fixed air Doctor sensor immediately turned back to green and not discovered the issue with the help of their doctor, we could have ended up with much greater problems. I often recommend the air doctor to my patients dealing with mold toxicity. Of course, I always recommend they remove themselves from the mold exposure as soon as possible. But I understand it takes time to remediate the home. So in the meantime, as well as on an ongoing basis, I recommend they get air doctors running in their homes. One of these machines would be a great Christmas gift for a loved one stopped by the integrative health and hormone clinic if you'd like to see different sizes, or visit the bonus tab of my website, your longevity blueprint.com to find a special link for $280 off the 83,000 using code Gray 15. That's capital G ra y 15. And watch for even greater promotions during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But you must use my link which we'll post in the show notes. I tell patients all the time there's no pill, potion or powder that's going to replace lifestyle changes. So lifestyle changes are the foundation. But these sorts of supplements are an adjunct right an additional kind of like you said layer of protection prevention whatnot.
Jeff Chilton 31:36
Exactly. Yeah. And it's just like, it's just like people go into the grocery store. And they they purchase stuff out of the middle aisles and it's all processed foods, and you're just like, it's like, whoa, and our food system in the United States, or Canada does not help with health. You know, we think oh, what a wonderful system we've got look at all the abundance, when in fact, the large majority of that is in a way not food die health. Yes. Not health, not food. Yeah. Yep. So we got Lion's Mane not now, all of these species that you know, the major species will have the beta glucans and will give you that immunological potential creation. And that comes from the beta glucans. So the primary species that I would say that we could delineate that way would be Reishi. Okay, and the interesting I've ever seen a reishi mushroom, I don't know, probably not. It's it's,
it's really interesting, because it's got a cap that shaped like a ram's horn. And it's in it's very woody, it's what's called a poly pour. And poly pores are mushrooms that grow off the side of trees. They're also called bracket fungi, to just look like a shelf, also called shelf fungi, because they just grow out. So a Reishi. When you dry it out, it is hard as wood. It's also very bitter. It the bitterness comes from compounds called triterpenoids. And triterpenoids are very good for liver function. So anybody with liver issues, blood issues, ratio, so that's what differentiates Reishi from all the others. If there's any one species, someone who's saying, Well, what one species could I take that would help me out? I would, I would say, automatically say Reishi. Not only is it one of the highest and beta glucans Yep. But it also has these other compounds called triterpenoids. Now, the other mushroom that's very similar.
There's also a polypore is called Turkey Tail. And it's a fun little mushroom that just again, it's a bracket fungus, and sometimes you find it on a tree, and there are hundreds of them. It's really an interesting mushroom. They've actually developed Turkey Tail into a couple of drugs in China and Japan and these drugs. And when I say drug. Now look, they're not drugs in the classical sense that it's a purified compound. But it is an extraction that does do certain purification steps. But for example, the one Turkey Tail product in Japan, that's called psfk. And it's considered a protein bound polysaccharide or protein bound Beta Glucan. Now, what they use those for as adjuvants to normal therapies, whether it's radiation or chemotherapy or something like that. So their role is to essentially help you maintain your immunity at the same time that it is being torn to shreds by these drugs.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 34:46
Sure. Absolutely. And that's what I've heard Turkey tell us for Yeah, yeah. Just for cancer treatment. Yeah,
Jeff Chilton 34:51
that's right. So we've got Reishi. We've got Turkey Tail. Yeah. The other two mushrooms that I say are primarily utilized for immunological, potentially would be, Pataki and my talking Shirataki, in the late 70s, they actually extracted a pure beta glucagon, and use it as a drug in Japan, and that is called lentinan. And it again is used in the same way as psfk. You know, it's kind of interesting that they're producing these drug products and look all research, for example, when researchers are looking at mushrooms, what are they really doing? They're all looking at drug discovery, right? So what they do is they take that raw material, they extract it, they fractionated into 10 different parts, and then they test every part against whatever they're testing assays are looking for. And if they see something that's highly active, they go, Oh, okay, that fraction I want to pull out, let's see where we can go with this. All of that research is actually drug development. But it does tell us something, ultimately, about the activity, specific mushrooms. And so that's how we can you utilize it in the supplement industry?
Dr. Stephanie Gray 36:17
What about quarter steps?
Jeff Chilton 36:19
What? Oh, isn't that isn't that funny? Have you ever seen the wildcrafted quarter steps? I don't think so. No Quarter steps in China is called caterpillar fungus. And that's because the traditional wildcrafted quarter steps, which grows in the steps of Tibet, a caterpillar hibernates overwinter, and it digs down into the ground a little ways, and then it hibernates. But while it's sleeping, spores of quarter sets are there, they germinate. They consume the whole inside of the caterpillar. And then in the summer, up comes this little strange mushroom growing right off the caterpillar, which of course, never wakes up. And that is the quarter steps that traditionally has been used in China. So it's the little mushroom growing off of it, and the caterpillar itself now,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 37:21
is that why it's called the zombie? Is that called the zombie fungus or something? Well,
Jeff Chilton 37:24
that no, no, that's not but I know what you're talking about. But at any rate, that particular what we would call Chinese herbs been abused for 1000s of years primarily for neurasthenia, which is weakness, from a disease and illness and you just can't quite climb out of it, your fatigue, your energy loss. That's where they have used quarter steps. Now, quarter steps, this little caterpillar fungus, they sell it in China now for $15,000 for a dried kilo gram, that's two pounds. Wow. Now look, there are no Caterpillar fungi. In the United States in the supplement product, no, we do produce a different species, which has been used interchangeably called codeception militaires. And we can grow that now. So we can grow it.
And it's something that, again, works in the same way as the wildcrafted quarter setups and look wildcrafting I don't really like because it's not standardized. You know, it's like people wildcrafting you can pick mushrooms from all over the place, and they're never really the same, so to speak. So cultivation, for me is the best way to go. And besides, you know, wildcrafting wildcrafting anything, people think, Oh, great. This is just easy money. I'll go out there and collect all this stuff. And before, you know, 1015 20 years down the line is like where'd all those wild mushrooms go to? Yeah, well, they got picked out and they're gone now. And this happened with the truffle in Europe. It went from like 200,000 tonnes to down to I think today it's wild truffles are down to maybe 20 tonnes or something like that. But just the the amount was staggering. So quarter steps, again, what they use it now in supplement space is for energy.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 39:22
Is it more to support the adrenals? What kind of when you're saying someone who's going to worn down and needs revived? Does quadriceps have adrenal rejuvenating?
Jeff Chilton 39:30
Yeah, I haven't seen that specifically. But you know, adrenals does come up in the literature for sure. So that certainly might be something that you would, you could try because I see you know, that's something that you you work on regularly
Dr. Stephanie Gray 39:43
and just stress management I have to ask we talk a lot about reducing stress and I know there are adaptogenic properties of mushrooms as well. So can you speak to which mushrooms or blend of mushrooms is beneficial for stress management and those adaptogenic benefits?
Jeff Chilton 39:57
Most of these functional mushrooms are consumed Do adaptogens okay, and you know, look, the whole definition that we're talking about here is homeostasis, it's balanced. And I'm sure you are very knowledgeable about balance and the fact that look, when we get ill, we've got out of balance, and somehow, that's what's happening. And we've got to bring ourselves back into that homeostasis. And, and that's what mushrooms are known for. And that's why they're considered to be adaptogens. And you know, that, to me, that's just a basic philosophy of health. And a lot of people don't, yeah, that, but that that is, we're just all of a sudden out of balance. And certainly, if we are stressed out, Oh, my God, that really throws people off, doesn't it?
Dr. Stephanie Gray 40:45
Yes, yes. So I know you're not you're not a doctor. And so you, you've already spoken to health benefits. And I don't want to, you know, make you say something you're uncomfortable with. But I want to be the devil's advocate here for who is not a good fit for mushrooms. So in my industry, the you know, some providers say patients who have autoimmune diseases or who have yeast overgrowth, or mold toxicity or whatnot need to be cautious with mushrooms. Do you have an opinion on that? No, absolutely.
Jeff Chilton 41:10
First, let me start 123. Here, first of all molds. Look, the issue with molds are the spores. This whole kingdom of fungi is broken down into what we call imperfect fungi and perfect fungi. Imperfect fungi are molds that the difference between them and the perfect is the perfect will produce fruiting body will produce a mushroom, the molds do not they are simply in the mycelial stage. And what happens in the mycelial stage. They can produce spores in the pool with the perfect fungi. No, it's the actual mushroom that's producing the spores. So if you're living in a house that's damp, and you've got walls, and you've got it growing on the walls, well, what's happening is that that Mycelium is growing on your wall, and at a certain point, it starts to sporulate. And now you're breathing those spores.
So that's the issue with molds, it has absolutely nothing to do with mushrooms, unless, unless you happen to be in a mushroom cultivation house. And they're growing a mushroom that they will harvest at maturity, like an oyster mushroom, it doesn't you know, the button mushroom is called a button because it's immature, it does not develop to where the gills are, are exposed, and it's producing spores. So you can be in there harvesting, you'll never breathe in spores. But if you're in another mushroom house, let's say growing oyster mushrooms, you could be in there, and they're maturing and you could be breathing in tons of spores, they actually have a disease out there called mushroom workers long. And it's from people being in those environments, breathing spores. And that's also true in the wild in certain places where there are a lot of certain species growing and at certain times of years, the spore load will be very heavy, you know, which is not too much different than than at the time when there's a lot of pollen in the air. And some people are very sensitive to that. So so that's the whole issue. We mean
Dr. Stephanie Gray 43:15
caveat, but generally speaking, it sounds like you feel like patients who have mold toxicity that's coming from the spores. So mushroom contra indicated in there.
Jeff Chilton 43:24
Yeah, absolutely not. And now Now getting getting to like Candida, Matt, this is something I've heard since the 90s. And it's been utilized a lot by naturopaths. And that's what they do. They'll check everybody for Candida very, very first thing. Well, that gets back to kind of what I would call the doctrine of signatures were kind of like produces like, and it's like, no, I know, classical herbalist that use mushrooms to treat Candida, and I've searched and searched there is absolutely no scientific research that has anything to do with saying or proving that mushrooms are either produced Candida or will feed Candida. It's just a one of those ideas that's like, Oh, you've got a yeast, which is a part of this fungal kingdom. If you feed it a mushroom, you know, it's like, yeah, what? How does that work? It doesn't work. So, so no, and then in terms of like autoimmune disease as well. The fact is, is that I do have some papers where they're actually utilizing certain mushrooms for auto immune diseases.
So that also does not seem to be true. But look, it's really up to the practitioner and the practitioner needing to look at the research themselves make up their decisions. I'm not giving medical advice to anybody. You know, I can't do that. I don't want to do that. I don't make claims for What we sell, you know, I point people to research papers and things like that. I mean, I've read 1000s of papers over the last 30 years. And, you know, so many of them are done by researchers, then they're so complex a lot of times, but they can give you sort of a general view of what's going on. And certain ones are more applicable to what we're doing. Like, where they're actually talking about methods of analysis for active compounds. And, and what we really are all about here is, I want to guarantee to the people that purchase our products, that what they're getting is genuine, what they're getting is not something that's years old without any active compounds, but we've got tests that actually demonstrate it's got active compounds in there, and getting back to to supplement market, we guarantee for beta glucans.
If you're looking for a supplement, that's something that you should be looking for on the label. Don't pay attention to all of the marketing speak on these companies websites to talk about, oh, yeah, our 10 Pay has got all of these beta glucans. And all these other compounds, it's like, Well, show me the test results, they can't. And so that's for me, we don't make claims to our customer, we just say look, here's the data here is the analytical information on our products. It's got what should be there. And that's what's important to me. You know, all the rest of the tests are like,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 46:32
Yeah, I love that you test your products. And we have other episodes where we talk about testing of the supplements looking for things like heavy metals and whatnot. So I love that you you're speaking to that. You've probably heard a lot about fish oil. It's one of the most common supplements available after all, but have you wondered if you should be taking it and why you might want to think about it. The simple answer is yes. If you don't have access to fresh fish several times per week, you can likely benefit from supplementation and may even need to I test many of my patients fatty acid levels and found that the overwhelming majority of my patients are low in omega threes. omega three fatty acids are essential cornerstones of human nutrition. They are deemed essential because we need them for proper health much like certain vitamins and minerals, but unfortunately, we can't produce them on our own.
As a result, our only option is to consume these fats either through our diet or through supplementation. omega three fatty acids are known to benefit cardiovascular health, support healthy brain function and cognition, and have been proven to maintain a healthy inflammatory response. For all these reasons. Achieving the proper balance of omega threes is an important health strategy one for which most people require supplementation. Simplified fish oil can help improve your cholesterol glucose helps your memory reduce pain, even headaches and menstrual cramps. I typically start my patients with one to two grams or 1000 to 2000 milligrams per day of combined Ecosa bentonite acid which is EPA and docosahexaenoic acid which is DHA daily. Our your longevity blueprint omega is our stabilized in vitamin E oil and rosemary extract is used to ensure maximum purity and freshness.
This exclusive fish oil is purified vacuum distilled and independently tested to ensure heavy metals pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls PCBs are removed to undetectable levels. Plus, our official has the shortest sea to shelf time meaning from fish to bottle or capsule of only three to six months as compared to the industry average of 18 to 36 months. Seriously. That means most of the fish will you buy over the counter is old, oxidized, rancid and not helpful. That fish oil purchased over the counter could be three years old already before you ingest it. Yeah. With over 10,000 published studies in the last three decades, EPA and DHA from fish oil are among the most researched natural ingredients available and have a long history of safety and efficacy. Check out more product information on our website, your longevity, blueprint calm and use code omega threes for 10% off. Now let's get back to the show. So do you
Jeff Chilton 49:00
take a mushroom supplement every day? Yes, actually, I just developed a new supplement called mushroom V twosie. And what it is, is 800 milligrams of our mushroom extract. And then it's got 25 milligrams of vitamin D to from mushrooms. And it's got 30 milligrams of key lated zinc in it. And it's kind of like my product, you know, so I'm getting 2000 I use of the I'm getting 30 milligrams of zinc, and I'm getting the mushroom extracts. And I just thought you know, I used to take vitamin D all the time. I used to take zinc all the time, because I believe in those supplements. And I thought well, let's put out our own with the mushroom extract. And then I don't have to take two different supplements. I can just take one. And so that's what I take every day.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 49:57
But what for beta glucans are we to look for on to label when you're Is that what you're saying when we're purchasing a mushroom product
Jeff Chilton 50:03
with our real mushrooms consumer line on the label, we will say not less than 25%, beta glucans are not less than 30% beta glucans. So we are confirming that, yes, our product does contain beta glucans. And we're guaranteeing that. Okay, so that's what you would look for. And look, let me just also say that, you know, be careful. There is just so much disinformation out there, and so much what I call bait and switch on products. There's even some products out there we've tested that make those kinds of beta glucan claims that are not real, but I would say that and the fact of is it grown or the mushrooms grown in the United States? Well, you know what it is? And if you don't believe me, just call them up and ask them are you growing your whatever on grain? Is there any grain in the product? Can you give me can you send me some pictures of your production facility where all these mushrooms are being grown? We've got a slideshow on our website that I'm taking people on a tour of all of our mushroom farms. It's a 30 minute slideshow to show them where we grow our mushrooms.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 51:22
Yeah, let's let's get into that quickly though. I've heard I'm glad that you mentioned some. I guess mycelium are grown on grains are mushrooms actually grown on like different woods and also on like silly holes. I've heard that.
Jeff Chilton 51:37
Not first of all, like like the button mushroom. It's grown on a compost that compost is mostly straw, but are mushrooms and what's really interesting is that most functional mushrooms are wood decomposers all of our Reishi Mushrooms are grown on a wood log.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 51:54
So if someone has an allergy to that wood is that going to be
Jeff Chilton 51:58
no because because no because like it's kind of like saying well if somebody has an allergy to what's in the soil and you've got this lettuce growing out of that does that pick up what's in the soil? The nutrients that you know what I mean? Yeah, we're not selling you the substrate which is what it's growing on that would be like selling you sawdust or something and that's the other thing that we grow on is sawdust but we don't sell you the sawdust when you pick the mushroom sada stays behind it doesn't go with the with the mushroom so now we grow mostly
Dr. Stephanie Gray 52:32
tell us all about your growing practices in the mountains and yeah, well
Jeff Chilton 52:36
well woodblocks for Reishi Assad us logs really cool sought us logs for almost all the other mushrooms that we grow are grown on the SATA slog because look sawdust logs right now and and people say oh you're cutting down the forest Well unfortunately if you go to China, if you go to Europe, they don't have wild forests. Every forest they have is a plantation so wood being harvested or anything like that is from a woodlot it's from a plantation it's not something where oh my god there goes the last wild forest no that was gone ages ago. You know I remember traveling through Europe back in the late 60s and and going wow look at those forests and Haha, that's really weird. All the trees are growing in rows.
What's going on? Well, that's what's going on. So would log for Reishi sawdust log with rice bran. So brand as a nutrient in that sawdust log. These what we call substrates are first sterilized then they're inoculated with the mycelium, which is the seed so why Mycelium is our seed, we put that in there. It grows through a colonizes and then the when the temperatures are right, and the beauty of our mushrooms being grown in China is they're grown in shade houses. They're not grown in these big warehouses that are climate controlled with all sorts of equipment that's bringing in fresh air and humidity and controlling the temperature and all know it's growing very naturally. So our Reishi Mushrooms, were harvesting those the first week in September, because they love high heat, so they're growing like crazy during the summer. We harvest them the first week in September. The other mushrooms prefer cooler temperatures, so they're still incubating during the summer and early fall.
And they don't actually grow to maturity to where we're going to harvest them like Pataki or my talkie until the first week in November when temperatures are cooler. And then Lion's Mane loves temperatures that are even cooler. So it's not harvested until the end of November, early December it so it likes 55 to 60 degrees Chautauqua and my talk year 60 to 60 defi Reishi is 75. So, all grown very natural, deep into the mountains. I mean, some of these farms that we go to, it's literally the end of the road. It's so very far away. And again, people go well, yeah, but what about all the drift and all that, that's how we basically are running all of these tests on every single batch. If it doesn't meet our specification, it doesn't pass the test, it does not leave China, period. So that's something I mean, we hold ourselves to very high standards. And we have all of the data, we give companies certificates of analysis on that. So you know, when, when, especially when a bigger company comes to namics and wants to buy our raw materials. They have a whole qualification process that we have to go through. I've gotten questionnaires from some of these companies that are 200 questions long.
It's unbelievable what we go through to be qualified, especially for the bigger companies. And look, we sell to small companies, we also sell to some of the biggest multinationals in the world. It's, it's crazy. And right now, what's what's happening, Dr. Grey is that mushrooms are moving out of supplement space, and now into the food and beverage space. So there are all sorts of companies now that are putting our mushroom extracts into beverages. And you've probably gone to the beverage areas of some of the like Whole Foods Market or something like that. And you see all of the really interesting new beverages and how the whole cold drinking is slowly decreasing, I'll cover i But beverages and then all sorts of different food products, they're putting our extracts into they're even putting our extracts into chocolate. Which is, which is fun. So So at any rate, it's it's a real expanding sort of what you can use these mushrooms for and use our extracts for it's really it's really expanding and and you know, it's just like the innovative foods that you've got out there these days. I mean, things are really changing. It's all there's a lot of creativity that's going on,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 57:17
very exciting, and even lightened our listeners with a lot of fun facts, they probably never thought they would learn about mushrooms. So tell us about your two main websites tell us about real mushrooms and namics
Jeff Chilton 57:28
Well, namics na mm x.com That's the wholesale site. That's where we selling we're selling to other companies. We're just bulk powders to other companies. But we have a great section there we got a menu for educational. I've got slideshows there that show you how our mushrooms are grown, I've got slideshows to talk about the differences between genuine mushrooms and these mycelia grain products plus just a ton of other information. So a lot of information there. And real mushrooms.com is where you can get our products that are in a retail package. We don't sell them into stores that would compete with our customers. So we just sell those online. And real mushrooms also has a lot of information as well very, very deep in educational information. And that's really what we're trying to do is educate more people to mushrooms, why you should eat them, why you should supplement them if you like and look, first thing I would say to people is put mushrooms into your diet. It's a very important food. It's the missing link in your diet, put mushrooms, try shit talking mushrooms, they're delicious. And then have you feel the need. Then think about supplementation. But eat mushrooms first. That's really important.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 58:47
I usually end each interview asking the guests their top longevity tips. So maybe you just answered that.
Jeff Chilton 58:52
I think that they've actually done these studies out in Asia where they've given people these questionnaires about diet and they have found that people eating mushrooms and having mushrooms in their diet actually live longer.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 59:07
There you go. We need to add mushrooms to our diet. Well thank you so much, Jeff for coming on the show today and sharing your wealth of knowledge on the benefits of that forgotten food. I like how you call it mushrooms or forgotten food. So lots of fun facts from this episode. Thanks so much for coming on the show.
Jeff Chilton 59:21
Dr. Gray. Thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed our conversation.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 59:28
I definitely need to incorporate more mushroom use into my practice. As Jeff said they are loaded with protein fiber B vitamins, vitamin D and support our immune systems and help us adapt to stress. If you'd like to try Jeff's products use code Dr. Gray for 10% off only at the link posted in the show notes which is shop dot real mushrooms.com forward slash discount forward slash Dr. Gray and lastly special thanks to my cousin Jessie for helping me with the script for this episode. Be sure to check out my book your longevity blueprint and if you aren't much of a reader you're in luck You can now take my course online where I walk you through each chapter in the book plus for a limited time the course is 50% off.
Check this offer out at your longevity blueprint calm and click the Course tab. One of the biggest things you can do to support the show and help us reach more listeners is to subscribe to the show. Leave us a rating and review on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen. I do read all the reviews and would truly love to hear your suggestions for show topics guests and for how you're applying what you learn on the show to create your own longevity blueprint. The podcast is produced by the team at counterweight creative as always, thank you so much for listening and remember, wellness is waiting.
The information provided in this podcast is educational. No information provided should be considered to be or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your personal medical authority.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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