Fungi are living beings with their own characteristics , they are not plants, but neither are animals. The Fungi kingdom, as it is known scientifically, has more than 1.5 million species and of these only 6% is known. Those who investigate them define them as intelligent and efficient beings that have maintained, over the centuries, essential biological functions in the maintenance of ecosystems.

The interest they arouse among scientists also lies in their biochemical traits. They have more than 150 bioactive compounds , among which triterpenes, beta-glucans, hericenones, antioxidants, etc. stand out. with specific activities in the regulation of the central nervous system and the immune system. This is the "secret" by which they are used in traditional oriental medicines for centuries, but also the main reason why there are already thousands of related scientific articles. The growing volume of evidence not only endorses many of the traditional uses, but also opens new avenues of application in health care.
Medical applications

As explained by Hifas da Terra , biotech specialized in applied mycology, fungi make up an " arsenal of therapy" since, among others, they contain hypolemic, immunomodulatory, antitumor, antirust, antiviral, antibacterial, hepatoprotective and antidabetic substances. This feature makes them a "natural resource of great value" , especially in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases and, even, in the adjuvant treatment of cancer.

In this sense, certain extracts of fungi are able to stimulate different cells of the immune system - thus enhancing the natural defenses - and inhibit the formation of blood vessels (angiogenesis), which can contribute to decrease the irrigation of tumors.
In a recent trial carried out by this laboratory in collaboration with university research centers, it was shown that certain strains of Reishi and Maitake cultivated by Hifas da Terra have a significant cytotoxic effect on colon cancer cells. In addition, it has been shown in vitro that they could compromise the progress of metastasis and potentiate the effect of certain chemotherapy treatments.
The integrative concept

Dr. Pere Gascón is an eminence in oncology at an international level. For 24 years he developed his career in the United States, where he worked in the main research centers and was elected "Physician of the Year" in 1995. He is currently a senior consultant of the Medical Oncology Service of the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona and head of the Oncology Laboratory team. Molecular and Translational (IDIBAPS). Dr. Gascón is also known for his advocacy of integrative oncology and the use of complementary therapies in cancer. Among these is the coadjuvant use of fungi, which ensures that "there are more than 5,000 publications in the Anglo-Saxon literature . " He acknowledges that when he uses mushroom extracts he expects an improvement in the quality of life of the patient, fewer side effects and a synergistic enhancement of chemotherapy.

Among the reasons pointed out the release of cytokines such as interleukin 2 (IL-2) and interferons by fungi. These substances enhance the action of the Natural Killer Cells, the NK cells, which are those that, together with the T lymphocytes, directly attack the tumor.

Recent studies show improvements in the quality of life and recovery of the patient's general condition with Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) , Maitake (Grifola frondosa) and Sun Mushroom (Agaricus blazei). There have even been published results of trials in which fungal extracts, in coadjuvant with chemo and radiotherapy treatments, have reduced up to 70% the presence of diarrhea, vomiting, pain or hair loss, common side effects associated with these treatments.

New applications

The oncological field is not the only one in which fungi can provide new uses. There are multiple scientific references that demonstrate the ability of certain fungal extracts to modulate the immune system, but also to decrease the Th2 immune response and, therefore, to reduce histamine levels and inflammation. Likewise, there are new research projects in which the impact of the intestinal microbiota modulation on the development of other disorders is evaluated. These are just some examples, but since Hifas da Terra they assure that the future of health happens "yes or yes" because of having a deeper knowledge of fungal mechanisms of action.