Does eating mushrooms (which are fungi) increase the likelihood of contracting fungal infections such as athlete’s foot and jock itch?
Not unless the 'shrooms have jock itch and you rub them all over your nether regions (Not that there’s anything wrong with that… wait a minute. That is wrong. Completely wrong!)
Different fungi. The answer is no.
Just to clarify, I realize the primary cause of jock itch and athlete’s foot is the growth of fungi on the skin due to tight underwear and sweaty socks, respectively. But I’m just wondering if, in some way, internal consumption of fungi makes the situation worse.
That’s about equivalent to asking if eating a hamburger could give you fleas. After all, cows and fleas are both mammals, right?
Even if the fungus you were eating was still alive, it’s way off on the other end of the fungus kingdom from the parasitic sorts which cause skin irritations.
OK, I give. A flea is a mammal?
If Lewis Carrol only knew…Alice in wonderland with jock itch. Has a nice ring, no?
I think Chronos meant that cows and fleas are both animals. In the same way that edible mushrooms and parasitic fungi are both fungi. In both cases you are talking about organisms that are in the same kingdom but still very different.
When my boyfriend had a case of athlete’s foot that he couldn’t get rid of (yes, I know, very sexy), he asked his naturopath about it. I know that some people have serious reservations about whether naturopaths are “real doctors” or not, and I share some of those reservations, but in this case, the advice she gave him worked.
She basically told him that he had to go on a yeast-free diet. This included yeast itself and also sugar, which yeast feeds on. And also anything fermented, or anything that was itself a fungus. So for six weeks, he couldn’t eat bread, milk, ice cream, soy sauce, or cheese, just to name a very few things.
However, the reason for not allowing fungi in the diet (i.e., mushrooms) was not so much that mushrooms would contribute to the athlete’s foot problem, but that they would counteract the effect of the anti-fungal medication my boyfriend was on. In other words, the medicine would attack the fungus in his digestive system rather than the fungus on his skin. At least, that was the theory. It seemed to work, because after six weeks the athlete’s foot disappeared.
I bring up the other dietary requirements because it seems that what you eat can have an effect on fungal infections; just not necessarily mushrooms.
All of the above is based on personal experience and the advice of my boyfriend’s (certified) naturopath. I have no medical citations for it or anything.
I’m not sure that a mushroom-jock itch connection can be so easily dismissed.
As I understand it, mushrooms are not stand-alone organisms. Rather, they are just the reproductive organs of fungi which are growing underground. When the underground fungus is ready to reproduce, up pops a mushroom, or a bed of mushrooms, above-ground. The mushrooms then churn out spores, which are carried by the wind to new locations.
My impression is that there is still a whole lot we don’t know about fungi. Would we recognize all the different life phases of a given fungal organism if we saw them?
The sources I have seen say that jock itch and athlete’s foot can be caused by “a variety of fungi.” I don’t think you could pick up one of these infections by eating a mushroom. On the other hand, if a spore from a given mushroom were to land in your nether regions, who’s to say that it couldn’t, er, “find purchase” there?
If jock itch and athlete’s foot fungi don’t originate with spores, then how do they reproduce, I wonder?
I’m no doctor, and I am certainly no fungicologist (if that’s a word).
Several posters have dismissed out of hand any connection between mushrooms and jock itch. Do you know with certainty that a fungal species that forms mushrooms can’t also cause jock itch, or are you making assumptions? Does anyone know the particular species implicated in jock itch, and the complete life cycles of those species?
Quite right, of course, Dr. Lao. Does anyone know where there’s a nice handy brick wall against which I may bang my head?
Meanwhile, as to spoke-'s point, most mushrooms routinely eaten by humans (in fact, all of them, unless you’re incredibly brave, nature-smart, or stupid) are grown commercially, so we do, in fact, know their entire life cycle. All fungi reproduce by either spores, fission, or budding (really just a special case of fission), but that doesn’t imply that any given spore can take purchase upon any given surface.
I’m still not sure it’s that simple. We certainly know a life cycle for edible mushrooms. We know that spores from that mushroom can find purchase in soil, and under moist, dark conditions will produce more mushrooms.
But are we sure we know all possible life cycles for that given species of fungus? Do we know with certainty that a particular fungus that takes purchase in soil and produces mushrooms couldn’t also take “root” in human skin and produce a fungal infection?
I wonder if anyone has ever studied whether mushroom farmers have a higher incidence of fungal infections?
Has anyone ever done comparative analysis of the genetic material of various manifestations of fungi? (To determine whether “jock itch” and various mushroom species are in fact different organisms, or just different manifestations of the same organism?)
And yes, I’m engaging in wild speculation, but hey, speculation is the mother of scientific discovery…
I admire your open-mindedness. Sometimes science is very dogmatic. However, we do know the identity of the fungus that causes jock itch. It’s a yeast called Tinea cruris. Mushrooms are not Tinea cruris. They aren’t even yeasts.
Still, you seek genetic evidence. So I looked on the NCBI database for gene sequences from T. cruris and from mushroom species. I found thousands of mushroom sequences but (sadly:() no T. cruris sequences.
Well, I know a conspiracy when I see one, so I searched PubMed for any studies linking mushroom contact to jock itch. Nada!
My suspicions growing, I did a google search using the terms mushroom and jock. Finally, my efforts paid off. There is a connection!!
::ducks and runs out of the room::
[link disabled-- Chronos]
[Edited by Chronos on 02-05-2001 at 11:06 PM]
This kind of thing is why I would never consult a naturopath about anything. There are several over-the-counter ointments, powders, etc that will knock out athlete’s foot without requiring any special diet.
Spoke: When people talk about “various fungi” being able to cause jock-itch and the like, I think they are just referring to the various different species of Tinea .
Tinea species are NOT yeasts. Rather they are related ( different subclasses ). Both yeasts and the various ringworms are in Class Ascomycetes, which also includes morels and truffles, but not the true mushrooms, which are in Class Basidiomycetes. These two groups together are often collectively referred to as the “higher fungi”. The life cycle of both groups are thoroughly documented ( there’s a fair number of professional mycologists out there, though I’m not one of them ).
I can’t imagine how, in any way shape or form, that the fungicides ( which are most often topically applied anyway ) used to treat ringworm could cause a reaction with your garden-variety ingested button mushrooms. In fact even with something like morels, I can’t see it. They’re pretty different organisms. Never say never of course - I’ve been wrong before . If there is serious interest I can e-mail my old Mycology professor and ask. But I’m 90% certain that the answer will be dismissive and include much eye-rolling .
And just as an aside, I would say that except in very severe and tenacious cases, ringworm outbreaks ( whether Athlete’s Foot or some other kind ) should be contained inside of three weeks at the most with proper, attentive treatment. They can be tenacious at times. But usually just in the form of coming back ( after taking shelter in a toenail or something ) over and over again. I speak from unhappy experience.
I would think if you had mushrooms growing out of your naughty bits, itching would be the least of your problems.
So when people recommend active culture yogurt for yeast infections, we’re not supposed to eat it? :eek:
*Okay, I know that you’ve supposed to eat it rather that douche with it, but I’m using this to illustrate a point. Of course things we eat have an effect on our bodies.
I certainly don’t think I’m going to have portabellas springing from my ass, but where does the fungus originate? Does it evolve spontaneously from the sweat, smegma and heat contained in your underwear or do the spores hide in locker #8 at the YMCA, popping out at the first sight of tighty-whities?*
I edited out a link in choosybeggar’s post, showing where he got that… enlightening… excerpt. No offense, all, but I just somehow doubt that such pages really advance the fight against ignorance.
Meanwhile, I once upon a time actually stumbled across a web page listing (and in many cases linking) every scholarly publication ever written on the subject of fungi, but I can’t seem to find it anymore.
Sue Duhnym: Err…Yes. What we eat does have an effect our bodies. But going from that to “Eating mushrooms will increase your risk of developing jock-itch” is quite a leap. It’s a bit like saying, “eating cracked crab will increase your risk of contracting pubic lice.” Agaricus bisporus, the common button mushroom in stores ( also the Crimini and Portabella - all different strains of the same entity ), is not a parasite. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, no Basidiomycete is parasitic on animals ( plants and other mushrooms is a different matter ). And Agaricus sp. are about as closely related to Tinea as a Dungeoness Crab is to a Pubic Louse. If that close.
The simple fact is that the genus Tinea is ubiquitous in human society and probably has been for thousands of years. I don’t have statistics handy, but probably a fairly significant percentage of people are infected in this country at any one time. And while Athlete’s Foot is typically transmitted in warm, wet areas like locker rooms ( it was epidemic at my old work place ), some species are quite easily transferred by dryer contact. And since they live in keratinized layers, that can include hair and nails. I know people that have had all several toe-nails pulled trying to get rid of the damn things. Unsuccessfully in one case. They can hunker down for years in one person, with only occasional eruptions, like I said. Of course, more normally they are contracted, then eventually expunged.
But did you remember to throw those infested shoes out ?
Well, he decided to try the naturopath because he’d been using Tinactin religiously for three months, to no effect. If the naturopath’s recommended treatment hadn’t worked, he would have gone to a podiatrist. But the naturopath’s treatment did work. Just to make it all a little more clear.