Medicinal Mushrooms and Dogs
Updated: Sep 27, 2019
By now some of you may have met me. My name is Chelsea and I am Wes and Cynthia’s daughter. What you might not know is that I have taken on a bit more of a behind the scenes role at Pet Foods Etc. I am now a little more than the girl with the noisy kids and the hazard on a bike 4 year old, I am actively working on a little bit more with sales, marketing and community initiatives.
I am entirely new to the game in the pet food industry but I come from a background in natural health. I managed a health food store in Spruce Grove: first Simply Health and then our sister store Grove Health for a total of 13 years, and for a short while practiced holistic nutrition so there are a lot of parallels with human nutrition and pet nutrition. I also had a dog with horrific allergies for ten years, and with that comes a whole ton of experience (fellow allergy dog-owners, I’m sure you can relate). One of the ones I have been MOST excited to see was supplements that are entirely mushroom based for pets, and I really wanted to try my best to share some of my passion for medicinal mushrooms. They really are the coolest things. First I will share a video with you from a TED Talk by Paul Stamets, a mycologist doing big things in the world. This has nothing to do with dogs, or even human supplements but shows the power and uniqueness of mushrooms to solve some of the biggest obstacles we are faced with in our current world, and might give you a bigger appreciation for their extensive uses. If you find the time to watch it, I strongly encourage you to; it’s fascinating stuff.
In addition I will share this article about how mushrooms are being considered to use to save the bees!
Otherwise to keep this from becoming too long, I will share with you a handful of really interesting points about mushrooms, and then summarize some of the pet products we carry and how they may be of benefit.
Interesting Things About Mushrooms:
Mycelium (think of that part as like the roots of a mushroom) form interlacing networks that share information, react to change, and protect the host by staying in constant contact with its surrounding environment, and creating enzymatic and chemical responses. These networks can expand to THOUSANDS OF ACRES, to be the greatest mass of any individual organism on the planet (1).
In fact, the largest living thing on Earth, pictured above is a honey fungus measuring 3.8km, found across the Blue Mountains in Oregon, and its more than 2000 years old. (2)
There are so many historical uses of mushrooms but here is one of my favorites. If any of you remember Otzi the Ice Man, (Europe’s oldest found human mummy), you may be interested to learn that he was found with amadou and birch polypore on his person to help survive the alps in Italy (3)
Medicinal mushrooms have been used for centuries and have a strong resonance in traditional Asian practices
Some features about most mushrooms: they are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, immunomodulatory (NOT boosting which is important in instances where the immune system is TOO active which occurs in autoimmune conditions), anti-microbial, anti-diabetic, and antioxidant (among many other things).
I will now highlight some of the products we carry that use certified organic, medicinal mushrooms grown on sorghum growth medium as their main ingredients. The brand is Bixbi, and you can read more about these products here:
Digestion: This blend is formulated with mushrooms to help to modulate the immune system, and increase healthy digestive enzymes to assist with issues such as gas, bloating, and bad breath.
Immunity: This product uses mushrooms that will modulate the immune system (they all do, actually just some more than others), and that are high in polysaccharides and free radical quenching ingredients. They support normal inflammatory processes, and its important to note that almost every known disease has an element of inflammation present.
Joints: This product contains mushrooms that aid in the reduction of inflammation but it also contains Natural Eggshell Membrane which is a great source of joint building glucosamine and chondroitin but also hyaluronic acid to help to lubricate the joints to improve mobility. This will also help to build collagen, the protein that forms all bones, joints and connective tissues.
Skin and Coat: The mushrooms in this product reduce allergic reactions that often affect the skin by modulating the immune system. This is unique because many products focus on reducing what happens AFTER a pet has been exposed to an allergen (such as natural anti-histamines) not the reason WHY allergies are happening in the first place. They also contain mushrooms that support liver detoxification, which when impaired, can also result in problematic skin issues.
Lastly, I wanted to reference this article because it has a unique summary of various mushrooms (human use, but still relevent). It’s quite scientific but really captures a load of benefits:
If you’re interested in trying any of these products I’d LOVE to chat with you. At this point it’s one of the few things I can talk extremely comfortably about as I learn more about the pet world. Thanks for reading!
(1)Stamets, P. (2005). Mycelium Running. New York, NY: Ten Speed Press.
(2)Earth - The Largest Living Thing on Earth Is a Humongous Fungus
(3)Stamets, P., & Zwickey, H. (2014). Medicinal Mushrooms: Ancient Remedies Meet Modern Science. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 13(1), 46–47.