Yield Growth’s (BOSS.C) subsidiary, Flourish Mushroom Labs, has filed a U.S. patent application in the United States for the invention relating to methods of using serotonin antagonists, and in particular, psychedelic mushroom actives, for weight loss.
Psilocin is a cousin of psilocybin, the psychoactive constituent ingredient that puts the magic in magic mushrooms. Yield’s patent contends that both of these chemicals combine to reduce cravings for food, and therefore promote weight loss. They contend that they counteract compulsive overeating and aid in the improvement of quality of diet by altering food choices.
If you want to get lightly into the science of it, it’s the effects on the neurotransmitter serotonin with a broad reach that moderates such bodily processes as cognition, memory, reward, mood and yes, appetite. The list is far from conclusive, however.
The patent pending covers administration of microdosing psilocin/psilocybin, which is believed to have the additional weight loss effect of increasing metabolism. Combined with decreased food cravings and compulsive overeating, or altering food choices to less calorie dense foods, would ultimate result in weight loss.
By extension, Flourish Mushroom Labs pushes their patent on to include the chemical pairing as a potential treatment of type two diabetes and other long-term complications associated with obesity, because of the inherent regulation of blood glucose by a reduction in cravings.
The idea is that mushrooms would reduce your cravings, making you eat less, and therefore putting you at decreased risk for complications to being fat. For most of us, the equation is simple: calories in and calories out. If we put in less calories then we’ll either lose weight or stay the same depending on our activity level and metabolism.
That sounds like an mathematical oversimplification, and it is a lot like BMI in that it doesn’t take into account the social and psychological effects of the culture we live in. Enough so, in fact, that obesity has been formally recognized by the World Health Organization as a global epidemic. Over 35 per cent of adults in the United States, and more than 500 million adults worldwide, are categorized as obese.
In terms of markets, weight loss is a pie that never runs out. There’s always a new fad diet to jump on. A new craze to be apart of. Twenty-years ago, it was Atkins. Then South-Beach. Keto has come and gone. Mushrooms could easily be next.
Maybe put some mushrooms in your coffee
On that note, Flourish Mushrooms Labs, a subsidiary of Yield Growth started consumer tasting trials for four organic mushroom coffees using freshly ground coffee beans and various mushroom formulations late last week.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’m one of those people who think that mushroom and coffee should never be in the same sentence together, let alone in the same cup. My wife loves her mushrooms and regularly puts them into any meal she can, and then smirks when I exile them to the periphery of the plate. I’m saying this because one of the biggest hurdles to a successful non-psychedelic fungus experience is taste.
“Great emphasis has been given to selecting quality ingredients, including mushrooms that exhibit the highest level of active components, which are assayed in the laboratory to assure efficacy and safety. The consumer tasting trials will involve 100 participants and will take one month to complete and compile results. If results are satisfactory then the next stage of development will commence,” said Vivek Taneja, Flourish Mushroom Labs’ vice-president of operations.
Eat your mushrooms – they’re good for you
The mushroom formulations include Lion’s Mane, Reishi, Turkey Tale, Chaga and Cordyceps.
Do you know what a cordyceps mushroom is?
Cordyceps is a genus of parasitic fungi that grows on the larvae of insects. When these fungi attack their host, they replace its tissue and sprout long, slender stems that grow outside the host’s body. The remains of the insect and fungi are then collected, dried and used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat fatigue, sickness, kidney disease and low sex drive.
While it’ll take a moment to get over the horror of eating insect-larvae fungus—and maybe quietly marvelling over what kind of person discovers this in the first place—we should also probably point out that the benefits might outweigh the cost. Also, the mushroom has garnered some popularity, making its addition into coffees and teas somewhat of a lucrative offering.
The list above isn’t exhaustive, but like most Chinese medicine the scientific jury’s still out on whether or not they actually do what they say they do, (they’re actually up to experimenting on rats. Humans are soon.) but while we’re here let’s discuss what else they’re supposed to do.
Cordyceps mushrooms benefits:
- May Boost Exercise Performance
Cordyceps are thought to increase the body’s production of the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP). It’s what powers us, and is the end result of the aerobic glucose-cycle.
In one study, researchers tested their effects on exercise capacity in 30 healthy older adults using a stationary bike. Participants received either 3 grams per day of a synthetic strain of Cordyceps called CS-4 or a placebo pill for six weeks.
By the end of the study, VO2 max had increased by 7% in participants who had taken CS-4, while participants given the placebo pill showed no change.
That’s not nothing.
- Anti-aging properties
This is probably due to the presence of antioxidants, which are compounds which inhibit oxidation. Oxygen mixes with other natural processes to create nasty molecules called free-radicals, which outside of sounding like a badass name for a punk band or some futuristic neo-libertarian freedom fighting force in some dystopian sci-fi, are actually terrible for your body and responsible for a lot of the wear and tear that comes with age.
Several studies have found that Cordyceps increase antioxidants in aged mice, helping improve memory and sexual function. Antioxidants are molecules that fight cell damage by neutralizing free radicals, which can otherwise contribute to disease and aging. One study found that mice that given Cordyceps lived several months longer than mice given a placebo
- Anti-cancer properties
I’m not going to waste your time and mine explaining what cancer is, but given it’s ever-present threat, it’s decently important to take any steps we can to mitigate its effects. If I can reduce my chance of getting life-ruining, potentially lethal cancer, by eating my mushrooms, then maybe it’s time to man up and do that.
In test-tube studies, Cordyceps have been shown to inhibit the growth of many types of human cancer cells, including lung, colon, skin and liver cancers. Studies in mice have also shown that Cordyceps have anti-tumor effects on lymphoma, melanoma and lung cancer Cordyceps may also reverse the side effects associated with many forms of cancer therapy. One of these side effects is leukopenia.
“Our research team has collected scientific information, including biological and pharmacological studies related to the chemical constituents and curative effects of medicinal mushrooms from various journals in developing our mushroom formulas. These herbs have been used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years as food for optimum health,” said Bhavna Solecki, vice-president, research and development, at Flourish Mushroom Labs.
If you need another reason to take a good look at what Yield is doing here consider that the global functional food market is expected to reach USD$34.3 billion by 2024, according to a report by Research and Markets. That’s definitely not something I’d have to distract myself from getting involved with—unlike, say, eating my mushrooms. No thanks. I’ll lose weight the old fashioned way—by starving myself and running too much on the treadmill.
Full disclosure: Yield Growth is an equity.guru marketing client.