Mushrooms are treasured in the far east because of their medicinal qualities. Mushrooms or toadstools (they were described as chairs for frogs and toads in nursery rhymes) do not grow from seeds. They grow from spores that are so small you can’t see them with the naked eye. Seeds require chlorophyll to begin germinating but spores do not have chlorophyll. They rely on substances such as sawdust, grain, wooden plugs, straw, wood chips, or liquid for nourishment. There are thousands of species of mushrooms and most have not been cataloged. Many mushrooms are excellent sources of sugar nutrients. Mushrooms like cordyceps, shiitake, or reishi are quite good.

Science is documenting just how important these mushrooms are in our diet. For those of you who don’t like to read scientific jargon, just focus on some key sugar terms and names discussed in the quote below. Words like “glycosylation, N-glycans, mannose, fucose, N-acetylglucosamine, galactose and polysaccharides.”

The Journal of Biologic Chemistry reports that “The glycosylation capacity of fermentable yeasts and filamentous fungi has been well studied because of their potential biotechnological importance. In contrast to the members of other multicellular, eukaryotic organisms, i.e. green plants and metazoa, these fungi formed no complex-type N-glycans but rather oligomannosidic N-glycans often with characteristic extensions such as α1,3-mannose chains, phosphomannose or α-galactofuranose residues. This difference comfortably explains that fucose has so far not been found in fungal glycoproteins, as in animals and plants fucose occurs attached to N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) or galactose residues in complex-type glycans only. In fungi, fucose has only been detected in fungal polysaccharides and in activated form as GDP-fucose  but not on protein-linked glycans.”

People who read this kind of scientific literature have an important take-away for the public. These sugars exist in many mushrooms and their glycobiology is being studied in great detail by researchers who are intent on developing synthetic drugs that can mirror the power of these organic nutrients in the wild. In this particular study, scientists studied the N-glycans of naturally growing mushrooms, in particular chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius) using an instrument called matrix assisted laser-desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). That is a mouthful. You can’t use normal tools when you analyze sugars.

But with this tool they were very surprised to find that many species of mushrooms exhibited “oligomannosidic N-glycans, with a deoxyhexose, which, for chanterelles, was shown to be fucose α1,6-linked to mannose…In addition, fucosylated O-glycans, more exactly O-mannans, were detected in chanterelles and penny buns (porcini, Boletus edulis)” type mushrooms.

In English, this means they were not expecting to find fucose in mushroom glycoprotein structures (it has never been seen before) but they found it in abundance. They are not sure how it gets there but as they study fucosylation (glycosylation where fucose is being added), the ramifications for cancer research is extraordinary. Altered fucosylation is a biomarker in many cancers. It is important to include raw, organic food sources in our diet. Fungi and roots were foods people used to eat in abundance. Some of the mushrooms are poisonous so be careful to get safe and trusted ones. If you don’t eat much of these types of foods, it is vital to supplement with plant-based, whole food sources that contain the raw ingredients necessary for our immune system to function properly. If you would like to request resources the GRM has reveiewed, go to the GRMVetted website and helpful information can be provided. Science is validating what grandma said, ‘You are what you eat!’

 

 

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