Mushrooms As Superfoods
Medicinal mushrooms can provide your dog with nutrients that are superior to those provided by most plants, making them true superfoods.
Mushrooms are fungi – specifically, cap fungi. Fungi are genetically closer to animals than plants, and in the classification of living things, fungi are a separate kingdom. They have cell walls like plants, but the walls contain chitin, like insects. Chitin is a white, horny substance found in the outer skeleton of insects and crustaceans and in the internal structures of other invertebrates. Chitin is also what gives mushrooms their meaty texture.
Like animals, fungi absorb nutrients from plant or animal matter around them, and they cannot photosynthesize as plants do. The amino acid content of mushrooms is comparable to that of animal proteins, and they contain all the main classes of lipids. Mushrooms are the only non-animal based food that contains vitamin D and they also contain considerable amounts of vitamins B, C and E.
Medicinal mushrooms can provide your dog with nutrients that are superior to those provided by most plants, making them true superfoods. This is why most traditional medicine systems include fungi.
Mushroom nutrients are protected by the chitinous wall, so their nutrients are released only upon warming. But it’s important to note that most mushrooms contain monomethyl hydrazine, a compound found in jet fuel. It is highly carcinogenic, but inactivated by cooking.
This shouldn’t stop you from using mushrooms however, because they’re packed with immune regulating properties. Just be sure you cook them first, for both you and your dog.
Balancing The Immune System
What does immune modulation mean? It’s kind of like immune balancing.
Studies show that constituents in mushrooms can make natural killer cells, T cells, and macrophages more effective. These patrol the body for viruses, bacteria and cancer cells. Mushrooms can increase levels of other normal physiological mechanisms that boost immune function as well. These natural body compounds are complement 3, interleukin and interferon. They’re all part of your dog’s natural defense against viruses.
The beneficial compounds present in mushrooms include:
- Beta 1,3 D-glucan
- Beta 1,6 D-glucan
You will commonly see glucans listed as ingredients in immune modulating supplements. And now you’ll know that they come from mushrooms.
Immune modulation via medicinal mushrooms for dogs can help with the destruction and clearance of viruses, bacteria, harmful fungi, parasites and cancer cells. It can also help push the reset button on allergies and autoimmune disease.