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Functional Mushrooms with Eric Puro
Episode 509th December 2023 • Biohacker's Podcast • Biohacker's Podcast
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In this episode, Eric Puro joins Teemu Arina for a broad exploration of Functional Mushrooms. As the CEO of KÄÄPÄ Biotech, a pioneering biotechnology company, Eric is at the forefront of unraveling the science behind fungi and their profound impact on human health.

With a passion for pushing boundaries, Eric has revolutionized mushroom cultivation in Finland, setting new industry standards. His expertise extends beyond entrepreneurship; he's a member of the executive committee of the International Medicinal Mushroom Society, amplifying his commitment to advanced use of Medicinal Mushrooms.

In the ever-evolving landscape of health and wellness, functional mushrooms have become a top-selling ingredient category. Eric delves into the traditions surrounding them across cultures, the importance of proper lab testing and high production standards, and the massive but as of yet barely explored potential of mushrooms in contemporary medicine.

Learn more about Eric and Kääpä at https://www.kaapamushrooms.com!

This interview was recorded after Biohacker Summit Amsterdam 2023.


Visit https://biohackersummit.com for upcoming events & tickets!

Devices, supplements, guides, books & quality online courses for supporting your health & performance: https://biohackercenter.com

Key moments and takeaways:

00:00 Introduction by Teemu Arina

01:27 Eric's background & the origins of Kääpä

03:56 Nature connection & superfood abundance in Finland

07:51 How Eric got "into mushrooms"

09:34 Compounds found in functional mushrooms

11:39 Erroneous lab testing procedures

14:10 Those products are not cheap, so you better not be paying for sawdust

15:32 EU regulations are a good thing

16:30 10 years of Biohacker Summit, 10 years of mushroom products

17:52 The mystery around Soma, "magic" mushroom marketing & psychedelics

20:20 How functional mushrooms became a trend

21:32 Specific uses of different mushrooms

24:10 Cordyceps sinensis vs. militaris

26:13 Cordyceps approval in EU

27:16 How to get your hands on "free samples" from Kääpä!

27:43 Amanita Muscaria

33:20 Other psychedelic compounds

34:23 Be very careful and identify mushrooms properly when picking them!

36:30 Psychedelics and the endocannabinoid system

37:06 The Default Mode Network

38:54 Finnish state-supported functional mushroom therapy trials

41:35 Boundary dissolution and empathy

42:45 Psychedelic Mushrooms for World Peace

44:17 It starts with deprogramming yourself

45:07 Prominent figures experiencing life change after psychedelic use

47:18 Empathy and sense of community

48:53 The cultivation of mushrooms

50:18 The Global Mycelial Network

51:49 The theme for the Biohacker Summit Anniversary and its meaning

55:49 The nutraceutical industry vs. the public healthcare system

59:06 Mushrooms are closer to humans than plants

60:07 What real healthcare is actually like

60:47 The red conk mushroom as an example of what could be

64:34 Why it's so very important to check your sources & lab tests

67:08 Only the best quality companies will survive the "mushboom"

67:45 Kääpä as a supplier for other high-quality brands

68:08 Chaga Risotto

69:02 Words of gratitude and The Mushroom Coffin

Transcripts

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Music.

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I'm talking to Eric Puro here from Kääpä Health, they're one of the pioneers of functional mushrooms.

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I don't want to use the term medicinal mushrooms because that's a bit of a red

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herring, at least like in marketing terms medicinal can only be applied on products

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that have medicine status.

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But I like to use functional mushroom because functionally they do provide actionable

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and useful features and benefits that are immediately available to anyone looking

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for immunity, productivity,

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focus, attention, just general health and well-being, but also altered states.

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That could be one way to think about this.

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Plants, mushrooms, trees are some of the top chemists on this planet.

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Producing extremely complex compounds.

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Many of the drugs in modern medicine actually have come from mushrooms or fungi

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or molds or any of these, anything from penicillin to potential new treatments

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coming along for degenerative diseases, etc.

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So we're going to touch base with a lot of different topics here.

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Erik Puro is one of the top experts on this through his company,

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but also one of the producers of a lot of the ingredients that different functional

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mushroom product companies use, and they also have their own product line, the Kaapa Mushrooms.

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Welcome to the show, man. Thanks, Teemu. Great to be here. Yeah,

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Kaapa is running a farm in Finland, the cleanest air, cleanest nature, cleanest water.

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So one of the biggest farms of functional medicine mushrooms in the world.

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Can you tell me a little bit about what inspired you to set up this company?

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You are American actually originally, but you live in Finland.

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So is it the age old story of finding love or did you find the mushrooms first?

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Yeah, yeah. I guess I moved here about seven years ago and it was because of my wife at time.

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And she was Finnish, and actually my great-grandfather comes from Finland,

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so my last name Puro, of course, is a Finnish last name.

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And I was here actually just visiting her parents and

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We just had our first child at the moment. So it was like, okay,

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your grandkids now, here's your child, your grandkid.

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And I went to, at the time I was, I just bought a piece of land in Kentucky.

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It was about 200, no, about what, 60 hectares roughly.

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We had three spring fed waterfalls. We were building a log house.

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It was in this beautiful community full of permaculture projects,

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growing our own food, this kind of thing, living in community.

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And we thought that was it. That's where we're going to settle,

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raise our kids and everything. So, she takes me to Nuuksio National Park and

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I take my shoes off and I start walking in the Finnish woods.

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Some people that are from Finland, it's blueberry bushes, it's moss,

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it's lakes, it's these inspiring trees, it's moss hanging from the trees.

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It's this really epic nature, Kallio, this bedrock, cliffs and stuff.

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And I said, hey, done. We're settling everything and we're moving to Finland.

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This is, I've never felt more at home in my life than right now.

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And I'm usually a pretty rational guy, pretty boring actually.

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I'm pretty methodical in the way I make decisions and move.

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But this was one of those moments where my eyes were shining super bright and

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I had this big emotional moment of just, this is right and I have to do this.

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And her coming from Finland said, no, Finland is too small, US is a much better place.

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People in Finland are a bit backwards, maybe they're not going to be so open

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and maybe they're a bit grumpy.

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And I said, no, come on, we give it a shot, let's go do it.

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And we moved here about three months later, we moved very fast,

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sold everything and got air basically set up a life and I think we had a fantastic

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welcoming from Finnish people and the Finnish culture and just kept,

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I followed up deeper and deeper every single year.

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I think I know this country and then I go sailing in the archipelago and oh

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my god, there's also the archipelago.

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Everywhere you go somehow this country just amazes me with its beauty.

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Matti Astens Grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence but

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I guess it was greener in Finland for you.

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Tim Cynos My feet liked it a lot let's say. Matti Astens Yeah,

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it's absolutely, the nature is amazing.

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It's incredible and in very few capital cities can you go 20-30 minutes out

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and you are absolutely in the middle of nowhere where there's no one.

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No human. I go very often to hike and camp also in Uxio and it's one of my favorite

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spots also to pick some mushrooms and the nature is clean so you don't have

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that much of worry about heavy metals or any of that.

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So I've been actually growing up gathering, identifying mushrooms, eating them.

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A lot of the typical ones that people do collect black trumpets or chanderelles

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or even bolete mushrooms, but also a lot of more, I would say,

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unknown or esoteric ones as well.

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And one of my co-authors of the Biohacker's Handbook, the nutrition specialist is

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Jaakko Halmetoja and he's been a pioneer on superfoods in Finland.

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He is now a product manager or designer for food in one of the biggest superfood companies in Finland.

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And he wrote a book on chaga mushrooms already a long time ago,

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like probably 15 years ago, something like this.

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And he translated a lot of Russian literature and texts on it.

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It's something that has been part of our culture also.

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Chaga is a polypore mushroom that grows in birch trees and it has a lot of interesting

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medicinal properties in terms of its antiviral, antibacterial,

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anti-cancer properties.

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But one of the reasons why superfood people were interested in it was because of its AURAC value.

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So it has 10 times more antioxidants than regular, like the next best food,

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which is usually coffee or chocolate or blueberries or bilberries,

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which is the badass version that grows in Finland.

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So he got very excited about this particular mushroom, became an expert on it.

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And in Finland, it has been used as a replacement, but also in Siberia as a

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replacement to black tea, because you didn't have access to black tea.

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It doesn't really grow in Finland.

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So if you couldn't import it, it was basically a luxury item.

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So chaga tea was the local best alternative.

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So it has traditional use, it's been consumed. But still today very few people

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actually drink it or know it even. So there's like this kind of loss of...

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Information and knowledge of the old traditions, which is now being revived

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by the commercialization of nutritional products.

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And medicinal mushrooms or functional mushrooms are now everywhere.

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And it's not just chaga, it's also reishi, cordyceps, lion's mane are the top

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four mushrooms that are commercially available now to consumers and they know it.

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And not just as a replacement to tea or coffee, but even as an additive to those.

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So there's like coffee products that have some mushrooms in it and there is

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blends and like all that.

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But I basically trace it like this whole trend into superfood trend that really

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started in early 2000s or something like this.

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Yeah, that's the history how I got into it because I got to know Jaakko and

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his book and I got very excited about him talking about this mushroom and I

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started consuming it and I have now consumed chaga mushrooms.

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I would say every single day, I'm I'm not joking.

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Every single day, because I put it in my coffee, it's really like a base thing.

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I'm using it as teas, tinctures, powders, mainly extracts, or since 2009 or something like this.

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That's already like 15 years of mushrooms and I'm still alive.

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I'm actually healthier than ever.

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And one of the key reasons for lack of sickness and seasonal flu and also general

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health and well-being, I do attribute to my regular use of mushrooms.

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It might be an anecdote, but at least for me, it works.

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Has not been at least detrimental to my health to drink this mushroom.

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So how about you? What was the year when you got into mushrooms?

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Tomi Askoda Yeah, I think I was growing mushrooms actually in Kentucky before

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I moved to Finland. So I actually had a one meter log oak trees.

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I would cut down an oak tree, I'd cut it into one meter sections with my chainsaw,

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and I would inoculate it with different fungi.

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And I was just, it was a side product,

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it was a hobby. and I was just fascinated by how these fungi grow.

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Everybody that I was with in this permaculture community was out.

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Everybody was growing nut trees and fruit trees and planting forest gardens

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and working with plants.

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And I was like, I'm never going to learn as much as these guys.

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They're like years ahead of me.

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No one's doing fungi. Let's start figuring that out. And I found a weird company

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in Minnesota that I could buy the strains from.

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And I just got my hands dirty and just started working with fungi.

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And I became more and more fascinated.

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And everything that I read about it, it just felt like no one knows anything, right?

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It just feels like there's a lot of knowledge about the benefits,

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we don't understand the mechanisms, we don't understand their biology.

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Like Chaga, we still don't understand their biology at all. That it's just all

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these different things that are so mysterious and I think I'm addicted as an

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entrepreneur to solving problems and this just seemed like a big problem that

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I could devote my life to.

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When I came to Finland, I was fortunate enough to meet some mycologists because

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they have a more technical background than myself and we were able to start

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the company and get things going. Yeah.

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Chagomassula has like thousands of compounds.

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We still don't know most of them. Yeah. Of course, there's some things that

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we do know, like polysaccharides and like...

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Metaglucans and whatnot like in these mushrooms and some active ingredients

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like in lion's mane and cordyceps, cordyceps you have cordycepin A,

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in lion's mane you have harosinates.

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So these are the things that we do attribute to very specific clinical I would say features.

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So maybe we can run down into those like a little bit.

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Yeah so our company when we started working we were looking at one of the main

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quality markers that are the industry is looking at and pretty much everything

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at that time is either polysaccharides or betaglucans.

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And betaglucans is a subsection of polysaccharides. Within polysaccharides,

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you have alpha-glucans and beta-glucans.

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And alpha-glucans are basically starch, not so medicinally interesting.

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So, beta-glucans, I'd say, are the really interesting quality marker.

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At the time, there was a company out of Ireland that developed an assay that

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you could basically test for fungal beta-glucans.

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So, we could start to test products and standardize to them.

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So, our company has been doing that for some years already. We started working

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with your community and we launched our products back in 2019 at the Biohacker

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Summit in Helsinki, which was a fantastic event. It blew my mind.

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We really realized, okay, these people, these biohackers, these guys,

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these guys are not buying Reishi for beta-glucans or immune support.

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They're buying Reishi for sleep support, for the rest and digest, the relaxation.

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So, we started to realize, okay, mind's made not for immune support, right, beta-glucans.

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It's around cognition performance, brain performance, unlocking that potential, cordycepin for energy.

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So, we said, okay, so we said, oh my God, there's these, okay,

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there's these uses, use cases that this group is really saying,

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hey, this is really what we need to pay attention to." And we said,

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yeah, absolutely, let's do that.

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So, we started a project to figure out how to standardize the products to those

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different secondary metabolites, if you call them.

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So, cordyceps, or hirucinones in lion's mane, butylinic acid,

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and chaga, which is the main antioxidant there.

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And we contacted a lot of labs globally, and we sent samples off to get tested.

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And we got some results that were, for us, very surprising.

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We were getting results like our lion's mane sample, which we only use,

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let's say, fruiting bodies, which are the mushroom part.

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We were getting a compound back for high levels of erycinone.

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And erycinone is a... It also crosses the blood-brain barrier and produces NGF,

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but it's only found in the pure mycelium.

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Matti Astanasius NGF is neuro-growth factor, so it improves neuro-growth factors in the brain.

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So potential therapeutic use for neurodegenerative issues or nervous system

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issues, but also for cognitive performance, why people are interested in Lyme's,

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man. Just to add that detail.

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Tomer Yeah, that's good. So, we got the results back and it said we had pretty

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high levels of erycinones in our product. And we said, oh my God,

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this is like a world news.

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I sat on the executive committee for the International Medicinal Mushroom Society.

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So, I'm looking at any new publication that's coming out from research that

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goes through our committee, if it's going to be at our Congress.

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And pretty much the consensus was erycinones are in the fruiting body,

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aeronazines are in the mycelium. How can this lab be saying that the erycinones

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are in our product? So, we asked them, hey, what is the assay that you're using?

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What's the standard that you're using to compare it against?

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So, when they do these tests, they have to have a pure standard of a compound

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that then they use as a reference material to go.

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Okay, your graph looks like this one, so you have this much levels of this compound, right?

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So we said, hey, just tell us what the standard is and where did you get it?

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And we found out that they were using a compound from Reishi,

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a triterpene compound from Reishi to judge the erycinone and haricinone levels of lion's mane.

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So it's like using a standard for apples to test something in like rose root,

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just because they're plants and it's a secondary metabolite.

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They're totally different compounds.

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So we immediately realized, okay, the foundation for the secondary metabolite

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tests in the entire industry is actually these accredited laboratories,

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but they're not AOAC approved or internationally approved methodology for testing

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the secondary metabolites.

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So we said, okay, if we're going to standardize this, we need to take a step

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back and take the responsibility ourselves.

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As we're a company that's doing the production of this material and the extraction

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in-house, and we're selling the ingredients to over, let's say 110 brands just

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in Europe alone, it's really our responsibility to do that.

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So, we set up our own laboratory with the university here in Finland and for

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the last 12 months have been basically sending lots of batches and buying those

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standards from different professors who found these different compounds and

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developing our own assays to get international accreditation for it.

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So, we can go to market and be the first company to really have a really strong

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position on that we know the levels of these secondary metabolites.

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So, Ryan, we're really excited about that actually. It's been a big project

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that's been in the dark for a long time, but within the next months we'll be

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releasing all that data.

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So if I add what this means is many companies on the market they are not mentioning

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the amount of active secondary metabolites but they talk about standardization

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against beta-glucans like 10%, 15% whatever is usually in the packaging.

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So if you're lucky there is active ingredients also but not necessarily because

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the standardization is on beta-glucans.

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Any mention on secondary metabolites is unreliable so you're

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basically actually directly looking into the reason

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why someone is having mushroom product and

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many of these products are quite expensive like you spend like a

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lot of euros to buy this so you better buy something that actually works so

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if you're taking lion's mane for brain function like you better have the active

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ingredients that do support that and if you want beta glucans you can also like

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just buy some oats or something like this so beta glucans are also present in other food products.

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And it's great for gut health, right? So beta-glucans do stimulate the immune system.

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I think the production of macrophages, which are cell eaters,

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which is amazing from an immune system standpoint.

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But if you want these other compounds that are potentially the reason why you're

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having these mushrooms, then you better get the right product.

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And a lot of products also, maybe because it's more cost effective,

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if you take lion's men, you mentioned fruiting bodies, they might use mycelium

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because you don't need to wait for the rooting body, you can just process the whole mycelia like.

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Mass, and it's impossible to reliably separate the growing medium from the mycelium.

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They just process the growing medium also.

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So potentially you're just getting sawdust, right? Paul Yeah, basically.

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Trey It's mainly a North American issue, but yeah, thankfully in the European

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Union there's some regulation against, let's say, what's called mycelium on

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grain or powdered products that are actually, let's say, 99% grain.

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In the US it's a much more difficult issue. If you go to Whole Foods,

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there's three brands, that sell there.

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One of them is Fungi Perfecta that's owned by Paul Stamets. He's a fairly famous mycologist.

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Even he sells mycelium on grain. So his products are over 95% just grain.

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Grain, great, sure, eat it, whatever.

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It's sugared, maybe not so healthy for you, but it's maybe not a food supplement.

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So I think that it's going to come to Europe. There's going to be companies

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who file for the food safety reports and get that figured out.

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But I think that it's not an issue yet, but I think you have to be really careful.

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And I think that as we were talking before we started recording,

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this trend is, it's booming right now.

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And anytime you're going to see a big boom like this, the market's going to

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be ahead of regulation. The market's going to be ahead of the laboratories.

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So all this stuff has to catch up. Obviously, our company is here to stay for

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the next 100, 200 years. We have great investors on board.

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No one's forcing us to sell. We didn't take any VC money, thankfully.

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Mainly we're focused on big long-term partnerships. So for us,

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we want to just improve the quality of the metrics that we use to design everything

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so that we can really be proving that through transparency that everything's efficacious.

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Yeah, you were launching your first product, which actually was more like a

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forestry and I guess more like agricultural side that you were running at that time. Yeah.

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And then moving into these consumer products and that was five years ago.

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And we have the 10 year anniversary of Biohacker Summit.

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Next year, 2024 in Helsinki, Finland. Congratulations, by the way,

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that's a fantastic achievement to do anything for 10 years.

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Yeah. So for 10 years, I've seen like trends coming and going.

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So yeah, these medicine mushrooms, functional mushrooms have been around for 10 years.

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Like as long as I remember, those have been available in the market in parking

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circles, but they really picked up in interest in 2000s,

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sorry, 2020s, I would say like 2019 already some, but now there's a lot of product

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companies around it, there's a lot of influencer and consumer marketing around

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consumption of mushroom products.

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I guess like part of the reason why it became so trendy is because the idea

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of having mushrooms is like, Whoa, I'm going to get psychedelic effect or something,

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but it required a good amount of education that a mushroom tea is not like you're

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like getting drip out of it.

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Like you're actually getting health benefits, but still like a lot of people,

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they just get like super excited because they think they're getting a drug.

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So they might confuse that with magic mushrooms and even in the marketing of

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these functional mushroom products like Chaga and Reishi and Lion's Mane,

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there is mentioning of like magic.

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Every day magic, that's Four Sigmatic's tagline.

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Also, IT Fungi, like Estonian company and then there is, I've seen a lot of

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these magic mushroom tea companies.

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So it's being used in the marketing because of the esoteric mystery that is around Soma, right?

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Like the mythical brew that was supposedly a mushroom that gave like this altered

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states and powers and access to mystical realms and of the whole mushroom thing.

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In terms of psychedelic mushrooms, namely psilocybe mushrooms,

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was pretty much popularized by Gordon Wasson, who went to Mexico and had mushrooms

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with Mario Sabino and published that in a major American newspaper,

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which was kind of out of ordinary because it was almost like a regular business

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person going to Mexico and drinking mushrooms and discovering this thing and

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bring it back to America.

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And it became a big thing.

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Of course, during the time when the hippie culture and the hippie movement was

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like growing up, taking LSD and mushrooms and like all of these things.

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So eventually getting psilocybin banned as a Schedule A drug,

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but now it's coming back.

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So the legalization is spreading across states in US.

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It's in Canada. When we did in 2018, we did Biohacker Summit in Toronto in Canada.

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Mushrooms were already, like there was a course at the University of Toronto

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on how to grow your own mushrooms, like magic mushrooms.

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People were using those and now there's like the whole therapy use and there's

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all these therapy centers popping up left and right and research coming out.

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The amount of money and funding that has gone into from the early 90s to thousands

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onwards into studying classical psychedelics and their potential therapeutic

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use, it's like a new gold rush now.

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There's venture funds that focus on funding research and there's big breakthroughs coming through.

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Mainly the legal ones are the ones that are studied most or which are legal somewhere.

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In the Netherlands, mushrooms have existed for a long time and in some countries

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it's been part of the culture.

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Not been banned, but most in US it's been like ketamine because that has been

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therapeutically possible and now increasingly psilocybin mushrooms as well.

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How do you see like this connection between like functional mushrooms and psychedelic mushrooms in general?

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I think that there's a lot of, yeah, it's a very good question.

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I think there's a lot of connections there from different angles.

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There's the VC angle, venture capital angle, there's the commercial angle,

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but then there's also like you said this, why the trend is happening? Is it this?

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I think when you look at the trend, people are getting more excited about functional

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mushroom ingredients and functional mushrooms.

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We see it in cosmetics and pet food. It's all over the place now.

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Food and Bev supplements, nutraceuticals and we also sell to doctors in Spain.

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Our products are sold in pharmacies and doctors are prescribing them,

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using them in clinician settings.

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So, basically all over the place. I think people see the power of mushrooms.

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If you ever tried psychedelics, you know how powerful mushrooms are.

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So, I think that idea is just ingrained that, ooh, I have high expectations for this product.

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I think it actually might do

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what it says it does because I've had my mind blown by mushrooms already.

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And then you try ratio. Okay, you get better sleep. So, the Biohacker Summit,

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we were there in Amsterdam and we would give people – the people would buy the

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product on the night before. I said, hey, come tomorrow, show me your Oura Ring data.

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If you got lower deep sleep, I said, I give you your money back." And people

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would happily come and go, oh my God, I got a 10, 20%, 30% boost in my deep sleep normally.

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I said, great, that's fantastic. And okay, that's not a mind-altering.

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Ego-shattering, life-changing experience that you can rid alcohol or something

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depression in your life.

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But okay, you're going to be having a better day today, you're going to have a better day tomorrow.

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Let's talk about these kind of uses. Reishi for sleep, but it's potentially

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also a hangover cure. So can you talk about that a little bit?

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Yeah, that's some interesting research we just learned about a year ago.

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First human clinical was published about using Reishi with alcohol to intake.

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So we know that when you drink alcohol, your heart starts to race,

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it starts to beat faster.

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Probably all of us have experienced lying in bed just heart pounding or you

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wake up warm and hot and it's just horrific for your sleep. So the hangover is pretty bad.

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I think that they were looking at, okay, Reishi is activating parasympathetic

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nervous system, it's lowering your heart rate, it's doing actually all this

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kind of anti-alcohol stuff.

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So let's give a control group alcohol with no added Reishi and a control group

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with added alcohol and Reishi.

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And what we could see is that the heart rate spike would happen with both groups,

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and then it would slowly go down if you drank just alcohol.

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But if you took it with Reishi, it would go spike, but it would come down to

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normal baseline within just a few hours.

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So in terms of being able to operate in a social function, operate at a customer

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dinner, operate at an investor dinner, whatever you have to do,

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have a little couple glasses of wine, but still have a good night's sleep,

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I think Reishi's a powerful ally. Yeah, that's for sure.

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It's also touch base with Cordyceps that has Cordyceps in and that is related

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to caffeine and adenosine specifically.

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So pretty exciting. We've been working with FC Barcelona and Real Madrid football teams.

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We also have recently signed a deal to bring out 10 Champions League football

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athletes to work with us.

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And we've been testing Cordyceps in these kind of environments on sports performance effectively.

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Is it actually working? What is it doing? Because we know that there's really

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interesting active compound in cordyceps called cordycepine.

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And cordyceps cross the blood-brain barrier, it suppresses melatonin production.

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Which itself is also a little bit scary if you take it too late a day,

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but could be great if you want to party all night.

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But I think that the most interesting thing with cordyceps is that we've been

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seeing companies like Onnit in the US, a handful of really good,

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I would say supplement brands, have funded their own human clinical trials around

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cordyceps in the US and they've seen that it increases stuff like VO2 max.

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So if you're an endurance athlete, usually you fail because your muscles don't get oxygen, right?

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So, if you could vascodilate, increase the amount of lung capacity,

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increase the amount of blood capacity to carry oxygen, basically you're going

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to be performing better and faster and longer.

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So, we said, okay, footballers are probably the people to test this with,

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they're just running all the time.

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And they've seen – and these are groups that have trainers, they know what they

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eat, they know when these guys poop and they know if they're getting enough sleep at night.

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So, they're in these like basically hospital-like settings. So,

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it's been really fantastic groups to work with.

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We're seeing personal bests, we're seeing performance increases,

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we're seeing everything across the board with cordyceps.

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And the nice thing is it's WADA approved. So, it doesn't have any doping effects,

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it's not anti-doping or any of those kind of issues for athletes.

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And for Olympic athletes, of course, WADA approval is what they use as well.

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So, we've been able to really help a lot of these top performing athletes perform

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just a little bit better.

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And I would say that it's a fantastic fungi.

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Of course, if you're a top performing athlete, you want to always perform better.

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But also, if you're just having depression, It's a bit hard to get going in

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the morning, you need some extra energy.

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Yeah, I'm having actually coffee with Cordyceps right now. I'm definitely a user.

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One thing that I want to ask you is that in Europe...

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Not all variants of cordyceps are allowed, like it's a novel food partly.

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And I think it's sinensis that is, or is it militaris? So there's cordyceps,

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militaris and sinensis. Like which one is now the commercial? Yeah.

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So cordyceps sinensis is approved for food supplement usage.

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And there's two forms that are approved. There's the fruiting body,

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and the fruiting body costs €50,000 a dried kilo.

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And you basically, the two main exporters of that is Tibet or China,

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but Tibet or, Oh, I just lost it.

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But the country that's a benevolent dictator in that same region.

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Anyway, Himalayan mountain countries basically.

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David Bonilla Nepal is one of them as well, yeah. But anyway,

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it's 50,000 euros a direct kilo. It's basically very rare to find.

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Yak herbers are basically on these mountaintops walking around and they find

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it growing in caterpillars.

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It's not able to farm it right now, so it's only a wild forage product and it's very expensive.

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Usually in Europe, I don't think there's any fruiting body products you can

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find on the market with Cordyceps sinensis.

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So, the alternative that is a Cordyceps sinensis mycelium that's produced in

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a pure form and how you do that is you separate it and you can grow mushrooms

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in liquid culture which is like a mixture of sugar water basically or solid

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state fermentation which would be great or sawdust or something.

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So, you can produce pure mycelium but we're just not seeing any of the medicinal compounds there.

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So, the main marker would be Cordyceps sinensis and there's trace amounts in

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Cordyceps sinensis but Cordyceps medullatatus is the other species of cordyceps

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that has just a lot more of cordycepine in it.

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So it's the one that our company exclusively works with, but it's just unapproved for use in EU.

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So we sell it in the US market and the UK market to brands there,

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but we just don't really work with it in Europe so much.

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But I think one of these days somebody's gonna have to file for the novel food

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application and just get it done properly.

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Yeah, I agree. Like it's so much slowing down the food innovation in Europe.

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Like Another one that is available in U.S. is Turkey Tail, which also grows

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like freaking everywhere, like on the planet.

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And I find it all the time also.

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And that's one thing you can't sell in Europe because of the Novel Food Act

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that it doesn't have commercial use before year 97 or something like this.

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Although it's one of the most interesting mushrooms for sure.

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So there's still like all of that to process and make a commercial product is

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another thing from just herbalism of collecting these plants for personal use.

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Just to be really clear, also just when we're talking about this subject,

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turkey tail and cordyceps are two mushrooms that our company produces a lot

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of. We have products on our shelf.

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We just don't sell them in Europe, but we can give them away.

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So basically, we have a rule, and every time I'm on a podcast,

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I say this again to everybody, is that if you want to DM me on Instagram or

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DM Kääpä Mushroom brand on Instagram, when you place an order,

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we'll just put a free bottle in there for you.

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So we understand that people need these mushrooms and we have powder,

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we have tinctures, we have whatever you want. And I think just mention that

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you heard this and it's a free, we can give it to you.

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That's really a nice bonus to spread the goodies. Now let's talk about another mushroom.

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Is one of the most famous mushrooms. It's not fully understood,

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and that's Amanita muscaria.

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It's the fly agaric mushroom, the mushroom with the red cap and the white dots,

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which has been popularized by mass media and folklore and a lot of that,

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and Christmas candies and decorations on,

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pine trees and whatnot.

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And that is the mushroom that people have thought is super, super toxic and

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you should never eat, has been warning children about not eating,

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touching those mushrooms.

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Which is partly true, because it can cause nausea if not processed properly

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and can have some toxicity effects, but when cured and processed effectively,

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it is one of those mushrooms that has been connected to shamanic traditions

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in Siberia and here in the north.

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And it turns out from a scientific standpoint, it's very interesting.

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It's a GABAergic mushroom, so it slows down the nervous system.

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It has a relaxing effect and also it improves acetylcholine,

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which is concentration simultaneously.

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If you take a higher dose, then it gets into this psychedelic effect,

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which is almost delirious. People don't really enjoy that trip usually.

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It can be a bit nightmarish in some cases, but in small amounts,

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like in terms of microdosing, has shown to be,

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in some preliminary clinical studies, a promising way to withdraw from benzodiazepine

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addictions or even alcohol addiction that also affects GABA.

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So it can be used as a replacement to alcohol withdrawal symptoms,

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but you should never mix those two because that can be life-threatening.

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You don't want to take them at the same time with alcohol, but as a compound it's very interesting.

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And also topical use has been used as a muscle relaxant.

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So if you have any kind of pain or anything, there's people who rave about using

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Amanita as a topical treatment.

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So that is one thing that has been flying under the radar,

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is not as studied as many of these other functional mushrooms or psychedelic

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mushrooms, but as an active compound or compounds,

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and could be potential also for, you mentioned alcohol use like with Reishi,

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maybe this is a way then to get rid of your alcohol addiction, who knows.

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But there is actually drug companies that have tried to modify it to create

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a drug on the mass market for these very specific uses.

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So that's one of those mushrooms that grows everywhere.

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In the North. There's a lot of folklore associated with it.

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The funniest story is that the story of Santa Claus, which has been pretty much

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made by Coca Cola, is actually an adaptation of old stories, shamanic traditions.

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Santa Claus also is like Saint Nicholas, connected to religious gift-giving priests and all that.

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But in the North, basically the story goes that the shamans,

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they dressed up in red coat with white stripes.

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Santa Claus also has a red coat and white stripes, just like the mushroom,

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bringing gifts under the Christmas tree.

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The Christmas tree is under which you have the mushrooms growing also,

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like the Amanita muscaria mushrooms.

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When he's intoxicated on the mushrooms, he's flying with the reindeers.

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Basically, the thing is that you traditionally you would give the mushrooms

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to reindeer and their liver would like filter out the toxins and you would drink their piss.

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So then you fly with Rudolph the reindeer figuratively.

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And because in the winter your front door might not be accessible,

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you come down the chimney.

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So that's how Santa Claus enters the building terrorizing the children or bring

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gifts if they're being naughty or nice.

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So there's like a remix of different traditions.

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Some people have been trying to trace this story and it seems like hardly a

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made up story as well, but it's a fun story.

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I think it's more interesting story than the Santa Claus story.

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It's this mushroom story associated with it.

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Have you seen like in any of the, you're sitting in the board,

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like any interesting mushrooms or this mushroom particularly that has been like

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catching the eye of the scientific community?

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I think this is an interesting one, just like psychedelics in general,

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but I think it's always this regulatory issue from a commercial standpoint.

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Even with these bigger psychedelic companies publicly traded,

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you have a Thailand Sciences here in Europe, you have their stock price just

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plummets and they're just doing nothing like they used to.

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And I think the market is just going, okay, this is interesting,

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but when? And when are we going to get this to market?

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Obviously there's now companies selling Aminata Muscata under the radar in the

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US market already. you can go on and find about 10, 20 companies that will ship to your door.

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They've had a little bit of a loophole, I think, in the FDA requirements there.

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But I think that in general, when people find something that's benefiting their

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life, making a quality of life better, the government's going to have a tough time regulating that.

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You saw prohibition against alcohol in the US was a pretty much disaster.

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And the war on drugs, I think, is a pretty much disaster as well.

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So I think that there will always be this kind of breakthrough moments that will happen.

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But I think what's really important is to look at that story around the amritamuskaria

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use in Finland and generally pretty much every culture globally.

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We used to sit down as a community and partake in some ritualistic ceremony

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that helped us deal with whatever is going on in our life and open up with some

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traumas that we might have or relationship issues or stresses.

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And as a community, we would come together to help and support and hold each other up to do that.

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And I think that ceremony is something that we've lost. And of course,

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Amanita Muscaria can help you get to that place.

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There's others, San Pedro, peyote, ayahuasca, other types of mushrooms.

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There's many things there.

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But I think in general, we as a community just need to remember to sit down

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and support and help each other.

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In this day and age, a lot of people are nomadic and traveling around a lot

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and or we're in big cities and we get lost.

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But I think it's important to find what is your tribe and what is your community

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and really sit down and imbibe in some sort of ceremony to really support each other.

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And I think that's, yeah, I guess we've been doing this for thousands and thousands

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of years, even Chaga, Reishi, Lion's Mane, all this used to also thousands and thousands of years.

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Yeah, the traditional use, I think Cacao ceremony is a good example of the sacred

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aspect of cacao that has spread to the West from Guatemala and elsewhere and

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connected to the New Age traditions.

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Actually, one thing to point out about cacao ceremonies is that the type of

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cacao ceremony that people see is actually a hippie New Age version of the original,

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which is not done in the same kind of way like most cacao ceremonies are.

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But maybe there could be other ceremonies like chaga mushroom tea ceremonies

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and whatnot to connect the spirit of that mushroom.

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Now with Amanita muscaria, I want to add, before people go out there picking

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up it, Teemu told it's a good alcohol treatment thing, that you should know what you're doing.

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You don't want to mix it with alcohol. You need to know how to process it properly

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because it has ibotenic acid, and ibotenic acid can be very problematic and toxic.

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So you want to get rid of it and you have to cure it properly to eliminate that.

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And of course, there's the muscarin and muscimol conversion that you want to

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take care of like through the same carboxylation process.

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But the ibotenic acid is the one that is a bit worrisome in amanita.

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And of course, then you can also mix up amanita to other amanita mushrooms that

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do have amatoxins and also phylotoxins that can actually cause the liver failure.

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And that's like the white death. White death.

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Yeah. Jussi Lennon And you really need to know like with just any mushroom,

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you need to be 150% sure of your identification before you pick it up.

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Generally speaking, the polypore mushrooms that grow on trees are less likely to be toxic.

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To my understanding, there is less of a risk involved in polypore mushrooms,

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but anything growing on the ground which is seasonal, you have to really know what you're doing.

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If you're going to collect, extract or do anything about these things,

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so it comes with a little bit of caution right there.

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There's a lot of interesting properties and opportunities it is in this space.

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And when it comes to the psychedelic mushrooms, psilocybin mushrooms,

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we have discussed this in other podcasts, but just to refresh the memory,

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psilocybin is a tryptamine.

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Tryptamines in general are analogues or very similar to the brain neurotransmitter serotonin.

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So just very small adjustments or differences.

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Psilocybin looks very similar to the active compounds in other psychedelics

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like DMT and LSD and even mescaline.

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Structurally speaking, all are affecting the serotonin system and often binding

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to 5-HT2A receptor in the brain, which exercises its effects primarily.

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But there are many other targets also that are a bit unknown.

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We think we know. Everyone's talking about 5-HT2A.

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Who knows about TAR1, for example, or some of the other targets.

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Also, psychedelics, by the way, they also affect the endocannabinoid system,

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or they do affect pain reception,

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and that might be part of the therapeutic reason and use also like this kind

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of almost like pain dampening effect that they bring along like during the experience

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that can also have a psychological component.

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Yeah, I think the main, if you look neurologically what they're doing,

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it's very clear and very interesting.

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I think if you put people in these NMRI machines, You can find out where blood

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is flowing in their brain and you can start to say, okay, that's where long-term

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memory goes, that's where short-term memory is, that's where our pain centers are.

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And it's a very functional tool to understand a little bit about this brain and how it works.

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And they also put people in these MRI machines and they said,

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don't do anything at all. Just chill, don't meditate, don't do anything, just don't do anything.

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And what they found across genders, age group, geographic locations is that

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what we have in that mode is called a default mode network.

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So there's an area that's lit up, that's our default mode network and it's common across all humans.

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So we have this center in our brain called the default mode network that is just our default mode.

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If Teemu asks me how I'm doing, I'm going to say I'm good. Am I good?

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Actually, fuck, I'm really not good at all, but I just say I'm good when I automatically

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respond to people. I don't know.

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Or we have a way of saying hi, that's who we are. Or we have stories we tell ourselves, right?

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For instance, I tell myself I'm worthy of love. I am a successful business person.

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I get stuff done if I decide to do it. Very positive stories.

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We also have very negative stories we tell ourselves too. I'm not worthy of love.

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People don't want me around. I'm not funny, whatever it might be.

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So I think that pausing that default mode and checking in with yourself every

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once in a while is a super important practice.

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And what we know from psychedelics is that when you put people under NMRI machines

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after they've taken psychedelics is that effectively their default mode,

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it just stops. There's no blood flow there anymore.

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So effectively, neurologically, at a macro level, a big-picture level,

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is just suppressing our default mode network.

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This story you tell yourself you're able to reflect on for the first time.

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When I came to Finland, I was able to reflect on American culture.

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I couldn't do that in America, but because I was out of the system,

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I was out of the culture, I was

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out of the way, I was able to compare and contrast and think about that.

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So I think one of the major therapeutic uses for psychedelics,

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what we see is trauma support, PTSD support, we see alcoholism,

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depression, and all these kind of things because you're able to really get to

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the core of your default mode, your foundation.

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Your ego, what your identity is, and you're able to reflect and then possibly change upon it.

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And I think it fits in now probably we've done a 10-person trial that has been

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state-supported first ever last year.

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And we had fantastic results. So basically people who are long-term clinically

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depressed, can't hold a job, we're really having a tough life,

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alcoholism, about seven or eight of those people are holding jobs now like eight,

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nine months later. Fantastic.

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Finnish government got so excited about this, they've now commissioned like

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a hundred-person trial.

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And one of my good friends, Antti Huipuli probably as well, is really part of that trial.

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So it's really exciting to see governments looking at this and going,

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okay, this actually works, this does something.

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But I think the challenge that we have is, okay, we can have people have these

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phenomenal moments, They can leave that just like I can leave the biohacker

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center going, I got a cold plunge every day, I need to start doing my kettlebells again.

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But how do we actually make that change and institutionalize that into our life?

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And I think that's where you see a lot of new clinical studies coming that it's

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macro dose of psychedelics plus an ongoing dose of lion's mane.

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Because lion's mane, we've completed as a company our first human clinical trial

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now just a couple of weeks ago, which is very exciting, we'll be publishing

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in the next few months. but what we found is that lion's mane is improving nerve

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growth factor four to eight times.

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We can see that in rats' brains. We know that.

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We know it's increasing neurogeneration. We know it's increasing the number

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of brain cells that we have.

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But our clinical trial, we looked at markers around cognitive performance and memory loss.

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And we were able to make a very conclusive statement after double-blind placebo

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randomized crossover study that it's helping with that.

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If you're looking at, you just had this big moment, you just took psychedelic

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macro dose, You got all these ideas, you want to do something.

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How do you formalize that in your brain? Take lion's mane. It's going to help

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at that time where you need neuro generation, you need new synapse connections,

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you need new brain cells.

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It's a great ally to help strengthen that implementation of whatever those ideas might be.

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So yeah, indeed, like the default mode network is highly active on people with

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depression, anxiety, and even OCD.

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So this over activation is often associated with these kinds of symptoms and

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like temporarily interrupting that default mode network seems to have a lot

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of therapeutic benefits for depression and anxiety and OCD.

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Also anorexia they found like in new studies very good results with any kind

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of like neurotic compulsive like repetitive behaviors including addictions like

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there's a huge opportunity here.

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There was a new study recently published in Neuroscience and Behavioral Review

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on this default mode network, and also the theory of mind network as well.

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They did that with over 2000 participants.

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So it's a pretty significant sample.

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And the studies, mine main highlights were that the default more network and

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theory of mind are both related on how we perceive and understand self and others.

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So there's this experience of boundary dissolution that you blend into the environment.

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You realize that the difference between the self and the environment that others,

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like there is no difference.

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Like we are all one. That's the kind of like almost yes, that people have.

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And the other thing is because you're suppressing your perception of yourself, limiting the signals.

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And then the other thing is that psychedelics change the self-perception and

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modulation of social thinking. So there's the social component.

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The study was the first one investigating social cognition of psychedelics and how they overlap.

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And they realized that there is like this awareness and social cognition is

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like empathy and like all of that is modulated through these experiences.

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And this helps emotional processing of interpersonal and social issues.

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And so a lot of people when they have depression, anxiety, a lot of that is

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actually connected to interpersonal relationships, trauma, interactions with family, all of that.

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Like by having this partner dissolution experience and also modulation and change

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in the way you relate to social situations gets you out of that repetitive loop

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of the way you look at things. So it gives you a break of being you.

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So you can look at the things from a different angle.

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Exactly. And now we think of any kind of world conflicts, let's take what's

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going on in the Middle East right now.

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If we gave mushrooms to just calculating how many people there are,

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like 50 million combined in Palestine, Israel, like combined,

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I like in terms of how much this would cost, like I would put the number based

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on conversation with my friend, Philip Dusek, like somewhere between a hundred

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to 300 million, we could solve world peace.

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Like it's you just put everyone on mushrooms for a while and they realize we all won.

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Like there's no separation. Why a war, right?

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You are, in a sense, you are like a cell in a body called humanity and it's like...

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Overactive immune system that is attacking itself is by attacking your basically

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friends that are your neighbors.

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But of course, there's a very deep, very deep psychological.

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Who knows how deep these kind of traumas go, like generational trauma.

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Someone did something to someone like freaking thousand years ago and it's still going on.

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But that's the thing that is hope for humanity in these times is that there's

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a compound or like an approach that would bring us closer together,

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We increase our empathy,

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get us out of our materialistic, short-sighted, egoistic needs and would see

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things from the perspective of the other and help us solve interpersonal problems and trauma.

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Because there's a lot of stuff we need to release, like still coming from the

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world wars that we have fought before, like famines and all kinds of horrible

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things humans have done to each other.

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Yeah, but even just our public school system, just whatever programming we have

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in our life, I think to solve world peace, you solve yourself.

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And I think that starts with deprogramming yourself. You're born and we think

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I'm Teemu Arina, I'm Eric Puro, and I'm this old and I am a product of everything that I decided.

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I am in control and it's not the case at all. So many things are put into our

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default mode, our ego, or as a story that we tell ourselves subconsciously or

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consciously and we're 21 and we don't know what we're doing and we're making bad decisions.

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And I think that this is, it's so worthwhile to check in with yourself every

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few years, at least. It's not even like just this thing that like some hippies

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do or did, but it's now something that is quite mainstream.

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So there's a lot of public figures that have come out talking about like how

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massive change and benefit this has been to their life.

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Like giving a few examples of celebrities, Prince Harry, for example,

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probably a lot of family troll right there, right?

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Really attributed psychedelics as one of the biggest game changers.

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If you take even mystics, like you take Deepak Chopra, Deepak Chopra has spoken

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about how his experiments with LSD has had massive, great impacts on his mind.

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Also, recently there was, in our conference, there was Ollie Ollerton,

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who is a former SAS commando, Green Barrett from UK, like television shows all of that.

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Lifelong trauma, not just related to war, but basically being attacked by a

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chimp when he was basically a helpless infant.

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And that trauma leading him to his carrier choice and everything,

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and alcohol addictions and everything.

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And drinking ayahuasca was one of the biggest things for him to transform the

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way how he sees the world.

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And also there has been, psychedelics have been attributed to creativity.

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The original developers of

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computers like Steve Jobs, even Bill Gates has recognized these compounds.

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So there seems to be like now this huge movement of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who are excited about.

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And this kind of whole conscious movement, of course, connected to Burning Man

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and a lot of this, this kind of

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like new renaissance of mind opening and awareness that is coming along.

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Public podcast in the biohacking community, you have Tim Ferriss speaks and funds very openly research.

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He was, although these are like superheroes we follow, he was suicidal,

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lifelong trauma, like almost killed himself.

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And psychedelics are one of the key things that attributes to getting out of

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his addictive personality coping mechanisms.

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There are so many individuals who have found benefits of using this.

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Maybe the world leaders need to try out a little bit of psilocybin.

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Mike McDonald Yeah, I think a lot of those people found psychedelics because

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their pain and suffering was just so high they didn't have anything else to do.

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At some point you have to become enlightened or you kill yourself.

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But it's strange that our society requires you to get to the breaking point

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before you find the solution.

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We used to have this functioning culture and functioning society that every

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few years you come together as a community, you take this, you check in with

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yourself, you support each other and we've just lost that.

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And I think it's one thing to give everybody mushrooms but it's another thing

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to change the way we think about society and culture that our job here is to pick each other up.

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If we see people with pain and with suffering that we pick them up,

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we go, hey, what's going on? How are you doing right now? How are you feeling?

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See, you're walking in LA and you see a homeless guy, talk to them.

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And I think that's just something we've lost, we've isolated that somehow.

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Yeah, these have been used traditionally by tribes to for keeping the community together like the...

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Native American church uses it primarily for that reason. It's not for therapy.

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Of course, it's for interpersonal and social therapy. They use a cacti,

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the peyote, and all that.

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They have the talking stick going on, and this is how they keep the community together.

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And this is the way how it's being used in healing arts in South American traditions,

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also in the community to help and heal the community.

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So there's that aspect for sure. So that's the therapeutic side.

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That's the compound side, the benefits.

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If you take like psilocybin, like there's probably a lot more benefits that

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are not just related to like depression and anxiety.

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Those are the things like we study the things that we are looking at clinically.

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People who have cancer and so on, like they're in the end of their life,

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like how to help them cope with the psychological issues. Of course, that's what we study.

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But there is a growing number of people who are looking at this from creativity

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and productivity standpoint as well. The whole micro-dosing has been a massive thing.

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I also mentioned amanita muscaria. You don't need to have a trip.

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You can have a lower amount and it will have a very different effect.

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So there might be progressively different effects to different dosages as well.

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And there might be other compounds also involved.

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Interestingly, like the cultivation of these mushrooms was only

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recently discovered like in I think it's the 70s 80s

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it used to be wild mushrooms but now the whole

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cultivation what you guys also do with the inoculating logs

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it was not obvious how to grow these mushrooms so it was like a bunch of hippies

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in the 70s 80s who published like their own experiments how they were able to

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cultivate these in laboratory environment that's how it spread everywhere it

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seems like these mushrooms have some kind of a symbiotic relationship with their

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environment that needs to be mimicked in some way.

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And horticeps is a good example also that to actually produce the active compounds,

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you need to make the mushroom fight for its life a little bit,

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like then it actually does produce the active compounds.

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So you have to like somehow simulate or emulate original habitat to produce

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the best possible results, right?

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Yeah, I would love to say that it's easy to grow mushrooms, but it's not.

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And I think it's been a serious journey for our company.

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A lot of people's stress levels and long nights. But it's a very interesting thing to do.

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I think it's very satisfying work and it's a nice, I'm not fixing cars or something.

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It's just, it's an organic living organism that's growing just 50 meters that way from my office.

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And it's interesting to check in on it and have that connection somehow.

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The more and more that we learn, the more, like you said, the more and more

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we can change those growing environments and we can modify that.

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And we learn how that mushroom is responding to certain things and we can update

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how we grow in that way to increase these different levels of compounds.

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I think there's a lot of good publicity in terms of communicating the benefits

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of this intelligence of the mycelial network, like how reliant our living ecosystems

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are on the mushroom mycelial networks that are underground.

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Some of the biggest species on Earth are

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actually, mushrooms that have... Trey Lockerbie, MD, PhD Yeah,

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honey mushrooms. Ivo Stein, MD, PhD Honey mushrooms are like several miles.

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And then you have this whole communication that they have of nutrient delivery

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and so on, that where they form symbiotic relationship with trees to help the

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trees access resources that they don't immediately have available.

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And then there is the whole, I would say, the nature and environment protecting

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capability of detoxing.

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So you can use this as construction material, like mycelium is a pretty good

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construction material as well, but you can use it also to clean waste.

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Let's say you have a mine that left toxic spillover in the nature,

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how do you clean that up? You can't just use detergent, right?

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So you actually have to do something and mycelium might be the way to extract

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all that toxicity out of the earth.

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And so mushrooms have so much potential as the ultimate chemists of the forest

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to help us heal, clean the environment.

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And also So when modified, they can produce the drugs and compounds that are

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potentially, when produced now in other methods like more polluting to the environment

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or destroying the environment.

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So you can actually produce some compounds in a more efficient manner by using

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mushrooms and their intelligence for it.

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Do you have a theme for the next year's, yeah, the Biohacker Summit?

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Yeah, for the 10 year anniversary, we decided to go to the roots,

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connecting nature, science and technology. So that's the way how we have defined

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biohacking for a long time, is that biohacking is about using nature,

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technology and science to optimize your health and performance.

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And it's that natural understanding, but that was like intuitively 10 years ago, how we defined it.

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And now we realize how important it is because technology and science is often separate.

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Like we have conferences and events that are very science and tech and anything

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nature is a bit like un-blue.

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And then you have the people are super nature-connected.

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Holistic hippies, and they're almost anti-science and anti-technology sometimes

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in their mindsets. They walk barefoot and all that.

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But I think we need both. And connecting nature, science, and technology is what bikers do.

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They use thousands of years old traditions from food and diets, for example.

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So they follow the Mediterranean diet or what's going on in India and Japan

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and Brussels and all that. They study those.

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What is the healthiest diet? it, then they combine that with the modern science and technology.

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Okay, can we modify some compound like turmeric to make it more bioavailable?

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And then they test themselves with, so it's a very scientific methodological

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approach to figure out what works, what doesn't.

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If you are skeptical about reishi, measure your deep sleep.

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So in a sense, it's connecting those both. And the way I see it is in modern

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times, in industrial times, we have used science and technology to extract resources

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from nature with the expense of almost destroying our planet and our living

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conditions and ecosystems.

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And we are in trouble basically, like we have microplastics everywhere in the

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food chain, the oceans are polluted.

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We have a huge problem. How do we get out of it? Not by eliminating all the

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tech and science, but actually by using tech and science to help nature heal.

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So now it's time for using technology to bring back the healthy ecosystems.

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And that's the only way forward I see. And it's also the same for health and medical care.

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It's been very methodological. What is the molecule? What is the one marker?

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What is the targeted drug thing in a certain receptor?

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And now we start to realize that you need to manage stress, you need to eat

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all foods, you need to take the bacterial environment into account.

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Microbiome. Suddenly we realize that health is wealth and to maintain that wealth

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you have to actually maintain a stable, healthy ecosystem inside and outside

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of you and it comes from nature.

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So many companies have tried to create some kind of meal replacement that is

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just molecules, almost like space food that is just essential things for the human body.

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But that's where my skepticism comes into play. Do we really understand the

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tens of thousands of compounds you're getting in when you drink coffee or chaga tea?

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We might know one thing, like curcumin, turmeric is not curcumin,

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right? So there's the other compounds.

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And why are they there? What are they doing? What are they supporting?

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Why do these plants, mushrooms, why do they go through the effort of producing

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something complex like psilocybin in a mushroom? Like, why is it there? What is its function?

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It's an energy intensive process of producing something so complex.

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Why does it do it? And That's the mystery that I believe that with artificial

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intelligence and new technology we might be able to unravel.

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You can find new targets, new metabolic pathways and all of that, but to somehow.

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Reduce human health, the complexity of our natural ecosystems into single targeted

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solutions, those can be super powerful and they are and have been utilized.

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If you have a bacterial infection, get penicillin, right? But then the question

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is, if you really want to maintain good health and longevity,

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which is very interesting and I want to touch that still, you really have to

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acknowledge that there are things that we don't fully understand. Yeah, definitely.

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I think I feel exactly the same philosophy as you do about this point.

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I'm not the pharmaceutical industry, I'm in the nutraceutical industry.

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There was a very interesting for the first time, I've been in this industry

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for six years, and for the first time ever, there's our biggest expo for the

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ingredients, the nutraceutical ingredients is an expo called Vita Foods out of Geneva.

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And it's huge. It's where KSM 66, it's all the really high end ingredients that

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have a lot of clinical trials around them are displaying new clinical trials

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and talking about them, a lot of great presentations.

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And for the first time ever, the day before this expo, there was a kind of a

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VIP invite only session where top EU bureaucrats in the healthcare system wanted

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to know from brands and different wearables and biohacking wearables,

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how we could improve and lower the cost of our healthcare system.

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And so we had a one day session where basically I participated with many other

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people discussing the benefits of our products and what are the standardization,

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what's the quality rate measurements, what do that clinicals look like,

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how can we stop putting people in hospitals?

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If I treat somebody with our products, for instance, with Lion's Mane like we

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do in Spain, we're treating people with dementia, Parkinson's,

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Alzheimer's, they're getting better.

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And them taking that 20 years before would still be at 10 times less cost to

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the single payer healthcare system of Spain, which is basically the Spanish

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government, than waiting until they have these problems and then throwing a

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bunch of pharmaceuticals and huge expensive hospitals at these people.

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People are waking up to this right now. And I just did an interview with Nutri-Ingredients

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where we talked about the same thing.

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And I think our industry is going to look a lot different in 10 years,

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because I think a lot more people like you and I are starting to get more power

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and control in this place, thinking about what are ways we can reduce the cost

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and improve people's living,

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that they're not getting sick, that they're not having to go and get to the

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hospital, this kind of thing.

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Juha Sannenen Yeah. And we also have now the diagnostic tools to get the biomarkers at lower cost.

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There's algorithms, and the whole understanding of genetics and metabolic pathways

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and everything has gone so much further.

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Like even understanding like proteins, like we didn't like fully understand.

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It's like things are changing rapidly and the pharmaceutical industry is also very interested in it.

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Often they have a second arm, which is on the nutraceutical side,

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like developing these products.

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So it's from their standpoint where the money is, that's where the money is going to flow.

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But of course for now it's been like that you have this huge healthcare system,

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which is not the healthcare system, it's a sick care system.

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And now what we are talking about is the true healthcare system.

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The preventive side is the true healthcare system.

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And it has had less priority and all that because it's unproven.

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But now we have like diagnostic and heuristic methods to

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take massive data sets and we can predict the future. We can already predict

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lifestyle, dietary, et cetera, factors that like on a population level might

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extend or shorten health span.

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Longevity is another thing. Can you live longer? Can you extend lifespan?

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What are the key factors?

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Maybe calorie restriction, maybe exercise, all of that, enough sleep,

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stress management, whatever in blue zones.

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But then extending healthy years in your life, if 13% of people are spending

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on average of their whole lifetime in a crippled, suboptimal state,

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basically like with degenerative diseases.

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You can reduce that 13% by even 1% or 2% can have a massive impact on the cost

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on healthcare system, which is collapsing under this.

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I totally see the same way that this is the future.

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And I see that nature can teach us a lot if we study and listen to it.

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And mushrooms, they are, genetically speaking, quite close to us, right?

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They do produce compounds that we have receptors for in our bodies,

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so that's why these things work, right? Maybe you can elaborate on that a little bit.

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Mikael Pantelis Yeah. Mushrooms are more closely related to humans than plants are.

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But I think even more interesting than that, mushrooms are more closely related

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to humans than they are to plants.

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So I think in a source of bioactive ingredients, mushrooms are very potent.

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We've talked about, what, six mushroom species? We're talking about millions

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times more than plant species.

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So from a source of bioactive material, I think it's really high.

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We've just scratched the surface.

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And I know some really exciting companies now in Europe that are looking at

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genome basis and testing new fungal species for different compounds and I think

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it's a breath of pharmacopeia, the forest is, and I think these fungi are going

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to be providing a lot of great solutions. But I think we have to resist this.

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I think longevity is great and as we're living longer, the healthcare system

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is also rising as well. So I think that from a personal perspective,

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I don't know how long that's going to take for a bunch of bureaucrats to change

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how we do this actually true into a healthcare system.

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But just as managing a company, I have 30 employees.

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What can I do, right? What can I do to help my employees have less stress,

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less sick days, higher quality of living, higher standard of life?

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What are the things that I could do?

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And I think some of the stuff that you guys are coming up with at the Biohacker

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Summit, you were showing me earlier, looks pretty fantastic.

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And I think a lot of companies, anyone who's listening to this has a company

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or is in charge of HR in any sense.

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There's a lot that we could do just as a private sector to start to implement

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some of these things to help just treat our people a bit better.

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Yeah, one mushroom that also came to my mind which is like unexplored and not

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so well understood is which grows everywhere.

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Everyone is like mixing it up for reishi but it's not reishi.

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It's called the red conk mushroom.

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The latin name is Formitopsis pinnicola and it's actually a COX-1 and COX-2

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inhibitor and what is COX-2 inhibitor is NSAIDs so like these anti-inflammatory

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medications that people huge pharmaceutical market like consume like copious amounts.

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Ulcers and all kinds of gastric issues and there's so many issues with those drugs.

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So I see these mushrooms could like potentially have like similar anti-inflammatory

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effects without the consequences on like harsh consequences.

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Totally. We're right now doing a trial on Chaga because it's also helping moderate

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your blood sugar, right?

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How many pharmaceutical diabetes pills do we take?

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I mean, and blood sugar moderation from Chaga is a very researched piece.

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We have to just prove that and we have to do our own clinicals and we have to

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show to customers that, hey, you have type 1, type 2.

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Taking Chaga is not only helping you longevity with antioxidants,

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but actually it's just helping moderate your blood sugar, which I think that's

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a huge thing that even if you don't have diabetes, you should be paying attention to.

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One of the top ones that I've seen for blood sugar regulation is Agaricus Blase from South America.

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And I use something like berberine all the time.

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If I take some rice, I fall asleep. I'm gone.

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I go and have a nap. If I have some Berberine or if I have some Agaricus Blasei,

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I'm fine. I don't get a crash.

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So for me subjectively speaking it works. Now we just need the evidence,

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just like for Berberine, that it might be a superior alternative to taking some

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diabetic blood sugar regulation drug.

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But having said that, I also believe

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that the pharmaceutical industry will discover ways to optimize this.

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Just like Berberine, there's a better version of that, it's called Dehydroberberine.

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So We can modify these molecules downstream or upstream metabolites that might

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actually be even more effective than the original ones that we find from these natural sources.

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So you can get a 2.0 version when you combine science.

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So I don't completely see a pharmaceutical experimentation and the fact that

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they like to modify and patent stuff as an inherently bad thing.

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But I'm very skeptical with psychedelic mushrooms that if you take the trip

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out of the experience that it's the same like therapeutic potential.

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Because it seems to be like that. And it's the same with if you take something

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like mushrooms and you just extract the psilocybin and you don't get like the

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body load, like the kind of intoxication or the same with we spoke about peyote or San Pedro.

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If you take like just the mescaline out, like it's going to be very different

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from having the plant with hundreds or thousands of compounds,

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we don't know what they do,

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which seem to have like very different effect and

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in nature there's a lot of examples of like where actually like a full spectrum

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thing might be a better more stable source than like just the extracted single

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molecule that you're consuming and yeah even though we do standardize and we

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extract and we figure out like this is it there might be like all that interaction

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that happens with all these.

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Reduced the end result. Two of the largest publicly traded psychedelic companies

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have contacted me asking if we could standardize psilocybe as a compound,

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but in a natural product.

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So just like we do with beta-glucan, we can bring that from...

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Some batches are 14%, some batches are 17%. We can just tighten,

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tighten, tighten those quality requirements and how we grow it.

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We can do the same with psychedelic mushrooms. So that's actually why they're not using it.

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It's not because just isolating that psilocybe compound is better,

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it's actually worse and they know it.

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They just don't have a supplier who has the technological know-how to do that work.

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So I think in the future you'll see that more and more. I think you'll start

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to see really legitimate, hopefully it's our company, but I think somebody out

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there will do it properly.

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But anyway, just to summarize from the commercial side,

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it's important to check your sources, that you get good material.

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It's labed and actually standardized for the compounds that you seek.

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It's not loaded with heavy metals or sawdust or whatever, because there's so

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much counterfeit stuff happening and just cost savings that happen in supplement industry.

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One of the biggest industries and full of all kinds of scammy things,

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it's important that you're getting the real deal and you get what you pay for, right?

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And not getting any detrimental effects from this compound. So standardization,

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laboratory testing, all that is super, super important.

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Having said that, a lot of mushroom products, they do come from China.

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Like not everything coming from China is inherently bad. There might be like really good farms.

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And the fact that they grow these in logs is already more controlled environment

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than like collecting them from wilderness.

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But having said that, there's a lot of like poor quality material coming from

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like the cheapest areas of the world.

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But now we have to also look into the quality and I believe the highest quality

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mushrooms, they come from the North and specifically from Finland.

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That's just my opinion, but I guess you guys have the lab certificates to prove

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that. You know, what's important to us is that we don't really want customers or anybody to trust us.

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We just provide COA data on every package or every product. So you can go in

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and take a look what the heavy metal levels are of that batch that you're taking.

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And that's something we provide all the companies that we work with as well.

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So, I think it's really important that, yeah, we back that up because there

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was a study released January of this year at an Italian market.

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It's one of my colleagues at the International Medicinal Mushroom Society.

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And to be honest, our society is 90% Chinese, right? It's basically just a few

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of us who are not from China.

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And he produced this report and it was called Let's Open Pandora's Box.

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It was about the quality issues in mushrooms in the European Union.

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And he took, what is it, 18 of the top-selling medicinal mushroom products on

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Italian Amazon, on, bought them, tested them for heavy metals,

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tested them for beta-glucan levels, tested them and also DNA.

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And to me, the most damning thing was only four of those products were the correct

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DNA of what they said it was.

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So a product said it's shiitake, it didn't even have any shiitake in it, it's just some powder.

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And out of those products that they tested for its DNA, I think three,

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they didn't even know what it was. It's just some random powder.

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So I think the market is booming so big that always regulation is going to take time to catch up.

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And unfortunately, a lot of the European

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Union regulation is not checking everything's coming in from China.

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These are European companies buying their ingredients from China and you just

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don't know and they don't know.

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These are two, three guys that just started a company. They're not doing quality

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tests every batch that they're bringing in.

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So it just becomes, it's a big reason why I think that our companies take it

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off is that we're just so transparent and honest about all that stuff.

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So I think it's something that'd be definitely worrisome.

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But I think with any big boom, you're going to have a bunch of companies get

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started and trying out. Really the best ones will stay.

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So you're going to see a huge amount of boom and some will leave,

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but the ones that are consistent and able to continually deliver high quality, they'll stick around.

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For sure. And that's what we want to promote if anyone is buying any mushroom

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products. We only want to promote the reputable.

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High quality ones. And luckily enough also, you are not just selling your own

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products, but you're also supplying raw materials for other companies to white

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label and using their own products.

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So there's a lot of good companies to have quality ingredients coming from your lab as well.

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Yeah. We have fantastic kombucha companies we work with here in Finland,

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beer companies we work with, whiskey companies.

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It's just all across the whole gambit. That's also another thing where mushrooms

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can be used more widely on food products.

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Hopefully the novel food regulations don't get on the way of innovation on using

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these things. I use chaga mushrooms.

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One of the recipes, I love risottos. I love rice.

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I guess I mentioned that occasionally. I'm mostly keto, but when I do want carbs,

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I like a really nice mushroom risotto.

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And I use, in the stock as the base, I use chaga mushroom tea.

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So it's this dark risotto. It just has all the goodies and I wish something

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like that could be solved like in the supermarket.

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Unfortunately, like even putting chaga into coffee is like somehow almost like

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you can sell those separate.

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You can sell tea, coffee, but when you put them together, it's another food. Like what's going on?

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That's Europe, right? European. Yeah. Yeah. It's only approved for food supplement

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use chaga is, so you can't use it from food.

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But I think that Finland might be the only country following that to that level of intensity.

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Anyway, I hope like regulation catches up as well with the innovation and studies

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coming out and safety profiles and testing and everything.

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And I thank you very much for this excellent, insightful interview.

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And yeah, just share if there's anything worth sharing, if people want to learn

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more information about.

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Yeah. I think last thing I'd like to say is just Teemu, I would like to offer

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you, we have a, we've made this art exhibit that we'd like to offer for your

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next Summit. It's a mushroom coffin.

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So it's actually a coffin made out of mycelium.

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And there's little turkey tails popping up. Because I think from the earth we

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are and to the earth we shall return. And so it's a beautiful symbol.

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Yeah. So I think if you want to have it at the Summit, it's yours.

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Joonas. Yeah, we always create art and definitely mushrooms are going to be

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part of it in our Helsinki Summit. So I would love to have a coffin there.

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Because it's about longevity. Biohacking is a lot about that and I couldn't think

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of any better installation than that.

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So it's a gift for you for all the hard work you do. I appreciate it.

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So yeah, if people want to come to Biohacker Summit, check biohackersummit.com.

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Eric has promised to be in every event we do.

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That's actually going to hold true, but he's definitely been for the last five

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years, big fan of what we do. I'm a big fan of what he does.

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So check out their products, come to the Summit. Kääpä is a hard thing to pronounce, right?

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So it's K-Ä-Ä-P-Ä, mushrooms. That's what you want to Google for.

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Kiitos Teemu, pleasure talking with you. Appreciate it, man. Be well. Stay mycelium.

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Music.