Poisonous fungi and mushrooms

Animals rarely manufacture poisons to poison other animals. Natural selection has armed animals with important and powerful defenses other than poisons. Not so plants, algae, cyanobacteria, fungi, and mushrooms. Their weapon by default and of necessity in the struggle for survival is poison. While we can obtain nutrition and even medicines from them, we need to purify the nutrition and the appropriate medicines from the toxins to be healthier while consuming these foods.

Not so with most animal products – choose the least toxic animal products and prepare them properly. Choose organic, grass-fed meats. Avoid all preserved meats. Avoid cooking at very high temperatures. Consume within a few days.

However, animals feeding on plants must get the amino acid analogue poisons in their proteins as well and in fact they bio-concentrate them, as do we eating the animals who have already concentrated them. Eating the fruit bat on Guam was worse than eating its food, the cycad seeds. Seems like we cannot avoid these damned toxins without simply consuming purified supplements.

Various species of poisonous mushrooms and fungi contain such poisons as the acetylcholine analogue muscarine, alpha-amanitin, ergotamine, and the nephrotoxin orellanine. A comprehensive list would be scary indeed.

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