Mushrooms as medicine: Uncovering the health secrets of fungi

Mushrooms as medicine: Uncovering the health secrets of fungi


They’re not a plant or an animal — fungi are their very own kingdom of life. And their unique composition means they offer novel, often unbelievable, benefits to our health. Certain species of fungi are currently used to treat conditions ranging from cancer to depression. 

The love of mushrooms (or mycophilia) has grown in recent years. And at the heart of this movement is biologist Dr. Merlin Sheldrake, author of the bestseller Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures. 

In today’s episode of ZOE Science & Nutrition, Jonathan, Merlin, and ZOE Co-Founder Prof. Tim Spector ask: Why are mushrooms so special?

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00:00 - Introduction 

1:42 - Quickfire round

3:04 - What are fungi?

8:40 - The connection between fungi, plants & gut health

14:10 - The human impact on fungi

19:41 - Mushrooms and mental health 

28:01 - Fungi as medicine

35:34 - Why should we eat mushrooms

40:39 - How to introduce more mushrooms into your diet

46:56 - How often should you eat mushrooms

51:17 - Summary

56:01 - Outro

Mentioned in today’s episode: 

Potential role of ergothioneine rich mushroom as anti-aging candidate through elimination of neuronal senescent cells from Brain Research
Medicinal mushrooms in adjuvant cancer therapies: An approach to anticancer effects and presumed mechanisms of action from Nutrire
Immunomodulatory effect of mushrooms and their bioactive compounds in cancer: A comprehensive review from Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy 

Episode transcripts are available here.

Is there a nutrition topic you’d like us to explore? Email us at, and we’ll do our best to cover it. 

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