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A Serendipitous Mushroom Moment

I ate tuna two days in a row, yesterday and today. I try not to eat fish too frequently, per general guidelines recommending against overconsumption because of concerns about metals such as mercury. Metals can accumulate in the tissues of fish (especially larger fish like tuna) and then accumulate in your body after you eat the fish.

So earlier today I’m eating tuna for the second day in a row and worrying to myself about toxic metals weighing me down when I have this fleeting thought of “Oh well. It’s okay. There’s probably some special compound in all the mushrooms I take that will help my body deal with the metal buildup anyway”. It was a lighthearted, half-serious thought, and I let it pass by as I went about my work.

Fast forward to a little while ago when I spontaneously decided to check Pub Med for new mushroom studies. Lo and behold, the first study that catches my eye is this one:

“A polysaccharide-peptide with mercury clearance activity from dried fruiting bodies of maitake mushroom Grifola frondosa.”

What? Get outta here! Did mushrooms also make me prophetic or something?!

This new December 2018 study states, “We found that the mushroom Grifola frondosa (maitake) exhibited mercury adsorption capacity”. It showed that the maitake accelerated the decline of blood mercury, and also promoted the elimination of it by the liver and kidneys. The study even used a hot water extraction of fruiting bodies, just like we use.


Heavy metal buildup can cause all kinds of awful symptoms like chronic lethargy, brain fog and cognitive problems, and even flu-like symptoms with higher toxicity. There are lots of “detox diet” foods, but few with actual research supporting their use for eliminating heavy metals. It’s great to have a tool with real science behind it like maitake mushroom to assist in eliminating mercury and potentially other metals from the body.

It felt so fortuitous to have a health concern and then immediately find a study suggesting that one of my favorite mushrooms may have merit in addressing it. As we learn again and again, mushrooms have a very wide scope of health-promoting benefits. They surely have countless applications which science hasn’t even uncovered yet.