Biohacking With Medicinal Mushrooms: “Scam” Myceliated Grain Products, Immune System Secrets, And Inferior American Supplements — Jeff Chilton of Nammex & Real Mushrooms

Jeff Chilton of Nammex and Real Mushrooms joins us in the very first episode of the Bio Alchemy podcast today to talk about his half-century of experience in the field of mushrooms as food and medicine. From discussing how he got his start in the industry, walking around trade shows in the 80's trying to get people excited about mushrooms, to some of the unique properties of these incredible organisms and how they can effect our biology, all the way to how to avoid products that aren't actually mushrooms, we cover just about everything you need to know when considering using mushrooms as a supplement, or to biohack yourself to better health.

Mushrooms are an incredible biohacking tool, and are something that many of my other future guests — including Blake Bowman, Siim Land, and many others — credit as things that make up a part of their daily routines, or things they use to perform more optimally. To say they’re an ancient health and healing tool is an immense understatement if I could ever give one.

Today, medicinal mushrooms are used to boost our immune system, stave off illness, as nootropics to allow us to perform at our cognitive best, as well as being an epic additive to food, which is the way that almost all humans have experienced taking in mushrooms.

Of special interest in this episode is Jeff's discussion on myceliated grain, how prevalent it is in the mushroom supplement industry, and the things you need to know when keeping an eye out for this primarily grain-based product which may be doing you more harm than good, especially if you're sensitive to grain products.

I refer to Jeff in this episode as the "Maestro Of Mushrooms", and I couldn't think of a more apt title for this incredibly knowledgeable man.

In this episode we discuss:

  • 9:55 — Jeff’s history in the mushroom industry since 1973, his passion for these unique organisms, living with mushrooms, and why he set his sights on production in China. He offers an explanation of why mushrooms as supplements can become so expensive when compared to mushrooms as a food. Jeff talks about his initial experiment attempting to get the supplementation industry to stand up and take notice of mushrooms as medicine.

  • 13:15 — Some more information on the initial difficulty in bringing medicinal mushrooms to the United States, and some challenges in trying to get distributors to take notice.

  • 14:30 — Jeff talks about how little value the food industry put in mushrooms in the 1970’s, including why they were branded not nutritious due to their low caloric value.

  • 16:00 — Detail on some of the misconceptions related to mushrooms as medicinal products, inaccurate claims where some mushrooms are being marketed as a panacea, how mushrooms have been used as a medicinal product in Asia for thousands of years, and the name mushrooms were given in Europe in the 1800’s, marketing speak in the medicinal mushroom world, misconceptions on Chaga mushrooms and other varieties.

  • 19:25 — Information on Beta-glucans (β-Glucans), the incredible compounds that mushrooms are rich in, and how they can help our bodies, our immune systems, and how they activate certain cells in our bodies.

  • 21:30 — Jeff’s thoughts on why he considers the reishi mushroom the premier mushroom, what the tri-turpenoids in the reishi does, how it can help with liver disorder, as well as the antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties of this mushroom. He also touches on the mythologies and stories that reishi has been the source of in ancient history.

  • 24:00 — Why turkey tail mushroom is important as well, due to its high beta-glucan content, alongside the reishi mushroom. Jeff also talks about using chaga mushroom as a dietary aid and for stomach problems, for example irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s Disease.

  • 26:00 — We talk about myceliated grain, which is one of the biggest scams going in the medicinal mushroom industry. Jeff enlightens us on what exactly mycelium is, some info on the mushroom organism, and its life cycle. He then goes on to talk about what myceliated grain is, why it’s so common in the medicinal mushroom industry, why it isn’t good for you, why you’re likely wasting your money on most medicinal mushroom products (especially those produced in the United States), and what to look out for in order to make better choices in getting real mushroom products.

  • 31:30 — Jeff explains how similar myceliated grain products are to some commonly-known food products like tempe, to give you an idea of how little actual mushroom, and how much starch you’re getting in these products.

  • 35:00 — Jeff talks about a study he conducted on 40 of the top medicinal mushroom products commonly sold, and how little of the important beta-glucans they contained.

  • 37:10 — Some of the companies you should seek out for mushroom products that are completely legit, and don’t contain myceliated grain. Jeff’s company Real Mushrooms should be your go-to, though he mentions other names that are supplied by Nammex.

  • 38:25 — Resources and items you should check out to educate yourself on medicinal mushrooms. Nammex is an incredible resource mentioned, as well as several books you should check out if you want to learn more about these incredible lifeforms. Jeff also talks about a book he co-wrote called “The Mushroom Cultivator” on growing your own mushrooms. Jeff co-wrote this in 1983, and has still sold 5,000 copies a year since publishing.

  • 40:50 — Jeff’s final thoughts on finding the best medicinal mushroom products, and avoiding myceliated grain.

I hope you get some value out of this incredible interview, and I would appreciate it to no end if you would share it on social media if you think other people in your network may as well.

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Leon Hill