A doctor is convinced more than ever that "you are what you eat" and that irresponsible eating habits contribute to a rise in disease and chronic illness.
Dr. Marvin Hausman, CEO of Entia Biosciences, is convinced that a simple food our bodies crave might be the cure for everything from diabetes and autoimmune disorders, to Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.
"We're addicted to fats and sugars almost like heroin," Hausman said.
He said fast-food diets, pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics have robbed bodies and the environment of basic nutrients and antibodies that have fought off sickness for centuries.
"You don't think about it till you're sick," Hausman said.
Admittedly, he wasn't always thinking about it either.
"My mom had dementia in 1995," he said.
Since then, he's been obsessed with finding a cure.
After research and development on some successful treatments of Alzheimer's, he said he's made some promising breakthroughs.
"We actually reversed Parkinson's disease recently at Harvard Medical School," Hausman said.
Hausman said the cure for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, dementia, diabetes and other autoimmune disorders has been right under our feet - literally.
"You're stompin' on it," he said.
Mushrooms - that's the ticket, he said.
The Chinese have believed in the medicinal value of mushrooms since ancient times. Mushrooms were symbols of immortality in the forbidden city of the Chinese emperors. In more recent times, the 1984 Chinese Olympic team talked about training with mushrooms before dominating the gold medals in that year's summer games.
Apple founder Steve Jobs was even rumored to have prolonged his life after pancreatic cancer by using Chinese mushrooms.
"There's a word we're using now called 'nutrigenomics,'" Hausman said.
Food can be a medicine for your DNA, he said.
Hausman said every cell in a person's body is constantly in motion, always churning and metabolizing. He said the only thing that can neutralize the fuel it burns is ergothioneine.
"It's only produced by mushrooms and blue-green algae," Hausman said.
Think of your body as a nuclear reactor, and mushrooms as the coolant. But he's not talking just any mushroom that is readily available at the grocery store.
Hausman's team at Entia Biosciences found a way to use UV rays to super-boost the most potent mushrooms with extra vitamin D.
Water is extracted from them and they are ground down and put in a capsule that is marketed through their Total Neutraceutical brand. Each capsule is the equivalent of eight cups of mushrooms.
"We developed targeted nutrition, using an antibody that goes to a specific part of the human gene," he said.
"Natural's the way to go," said 16-year-old Derek Johnson.
The Mesa teen's been sick for as long as he can remember.
"My stomach hurts pretty much all day every day. I get so tired some days I just can't even get up to go to school," Johnson said.
He was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, fibromyalgia and immune deficiency when he was only 7 years old. It was so bad, he once missed a year of school.
He's been taking Hausman's mushroom supplements for the past few months.
"I think they work. I've been more alert and awake," Johnson said.
His mother, Libby Johnson, was the first skeptic.
She's taken her son to dozens of specialists, spending thousands of dollars.
"Every supplement that'll make you healthy, build your immune system, the never-have-to-go-to-the-doctor-again pill. I poured a lot of money down that sinkhole," she said.
Derek Johnson's sister bought him the supplements from Cosmos Salon in Mesa, where they're sold to fight alopecia, or hair loss, another autoimmune disorder.
"I felt that I should honor her optimism," Libby Johnson said.
She was surprised by the results.
"The supplements are definitely giving him more energy. He rode three miles on his bike the other day, I couldn't believe it," she said.
Since taking mushrooms, Derek Johnson's been able to cut back on his prescribed meds, his mother said.
His blood immune proteins also improved so dramatically for the first time in years, he didn't need immune replacement therapy at his routine doctor's appointment, Libby Johnson said.
"They're the highest levels they've ever been. That was very exciting," she said.
"It's a great feeling of hope."
Who better to relate to a mother willing to do anything to make her son well than a son who tried to do the same for his mother as Hausman did?
"If someone has a severe disease, you're not gonna take a food and totally reverse it," Hausman said.
Hausman's not interested in becoming the next health food fad, but he is convinced he's found a preventive cure.
"I wish I had known this in my 20s and 30s. I hope it still works. I'm 71 and hope I still have a long life ahead of me," he said.
More than minimizing symptoms of Parkinson's in mice, Alzheimer's in fruit flies and diabetes in people on the Caribbean island of Bonaire, Hausman said his mushrooms have been able to wipe out some of those disease biomarkers. It's something the FDA's been pushing for as a new standard of proof in medical testing.
He said he is setting up a clinical trial in Hong Kong and here in the states in the next year. If you'd like to get involved or learn more, click here.
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