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Mushroom supplementation is the ultimate in beauty

Mushroom supplementation is the ultimate in beauty

22 Feb 2023 | VANITATIS El Confidencial
"Mushrooms are adaptogens, that is, they help us adapt to different situations and conditions. They make us have greater vitality and mental calm: the problems are no longer so great," says Catalina Fernández de Ana Portela, biologist, mycologist and doctor in Clinical Research in Oncology.

“Mushrooms are adaptogens, that is, they help us adapt to different situations and conditions. They make us have greater vitality and mental calm: the problems are no longer so great,” says Catalina Fernández de Ana Portela, biologist, mycologist and doctor in Clinical Research in Oncology. Its brand Hyphae da Terra has a repertoire of specialized products according to each need: anti-aging, cardiovascular, cognitive health, defenses, detox, sleep and mood, inflammation, microbiota….. “Fungi are the kings of immune system modulation,” says Catalina to explain the significance of her findings. But there is an even better one, a bit lapidary but sensible. “We are designed to last 30 years. After that age it is necessary to supplement. Today we live into our 90s, but with deficiencies. So, yes, definitely a healthy person today needs nutritional supplementation.”

Since it was founded in 1998, the biotech company Hyphae de Terra has become the reference company in the development of nutraceuticals from medicinal mushrooms. Best biotechnology company, innovation award… Up to 23 awards, one per year. Subsidiaries in 5 countries and sales in 18 others, it is today the leader in mycotherapy in Europe. All of this is the result of the efforts of its founder. Catalina had a professor of applied microbiology who gave her great advice: it is biologists who should run healthcare companies and not business graduates, so that the goal will not be their own profit, but that of the patient. And so he did. Having just finished his degree and after specializing, he founded a company whose pillars are research and innovation, with a high degree of specialization in the development of nutraceuticals from medicinal mushrooms. Today it has more than 15 active clinical studies evaluating the health benefits of supplementation with its products, including two oncological trials in patients with colorectal and breast cancer. “When I started I realized that there was a lot of evidence for the potential of Chinese mushrooms, but as I studied the products on the market I saw that there were clinical failures, they didn’t look alike in terms of strain production methods, concentrations, and so on. They were not faithful to the scientific literature. So I looked for the bridge between the research that was already out there and the gaps to find products that would work and deliver results,” he says.

The choice of Galicia as the location for Hifas da Terra had a lot to do with the head and also with the heart. “My mother is American and my father is Galician, this is a privileged environment. The Atlantic way of life provides incredible biodiversity, a nutritious diet, land and sea. Many of the mushrooms we use are from here, we sequence them genetically to see which ones have the best properties, but we search for strains all over the world.” From the ocean they obtain algae such as spirulina, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and chlorella, detoxifying. Your star mushrooms? “I always take three: reishi, because it is anti-stress and a good hormone regulator; lion’s mane, which aids digestion, and cordyceps, which provides a good dose of energy and oxygenates.”

Fungi and their resilience

The mycologist talks about Optimum Health, the company’s new product based on algae, mushrooms, vitamins and minerals that balance the immune and digestive systems, providing the vitality we need on a daily basis. It also improves sleep, skin and hair. From the earth, elderflower, mushrooms such as cordyceps, lion’s mane and reishi, saffron and probiotics are used. From the sea, spirulina and chlorella, hydrolyzed collagen and elastin. “We follow an industrial diet far from the origin of food, from what our grandparents ate. It is difficult to always buy local, organic and fresh, and even more so in cities,” he says. The founder, however, warns of the danger of taking vitamins and minerals without control, because it can lead to hypervitaminosis, which is more common with synthetic vitamin complexes than with natural ones. Mycotherapy is also proving effective in cancer patients. “Mushrooms possess many active molecules. I want to make it clear that they do not replace chemo, but they do help the person by improving their immunity, their mood and preventing the usual mental fog in these cases.” Healthy and sick, it seems that mushroom-based supplements are necessary. But you may be wondering how to know which one you need and which brand to choose. From the outset, the entrepreneur recommends consulting a doctor, as scientific rigor is one of the pillars on which the company is based. Increasingly, physicians are prescribing integrative medicine because we don’t interact with the drugs or get in their way.”

Never less than 30

And no, not just any tablet or capsule that we can buy in a supermarket at a ridiculous price, because research and innovation come at a price. “It is impossible to develop a high-quality product at a low cost: the formula, the type of capsule, the packaging…. A supplement under 30 € (unless it is chemically produced, which is cheaper) cannot possibly be good. In addition, if it is natural it is organic, without pesticides, and if you buy one with such a claim but it is not, you could be taking heavy metals and harmful substances”. The price makes the difference in quality, but also the fact that it is a specialized laboratory, since “those that do everything are not worth it”, and that it has a seal or label with an analysis of the molecules included. Optimum Health costs 85 €.

Do we have to rest seasonally? No, according to Catalina Fernández de Ana. “I don’t see why we should do it when we need certain nutrients. In any case, if you want a break, I recommend June and July, when we have more sun and are more relaxed. In August you should prepare for the autumn viruses.”

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