Our Relationship with Fungi

Our Relationship with Fungi

Did you know humans are more closely related to mushrooms than we are to plants?

Fungi breathe as humans (animals), they inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Plants, on the other hand, inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen during photosynthesis.

We now know humans share about 30% DNA with fungi. Under a microscope, human and fungal cells are highly similar. Due to this relationship, our cells have an innate ability to recognize the structural compounds from mushrooms, more than any other natural source, responding to them with activation and increased effectiveness in terms of the immune response against pathogens.

As it turns out, animals and fungi share a common ancestor and branched away from plants about 2 billion years ago on the genealogical tree of life. Animals branched away from fungi about 650 million years ago. This means mushrooms have had their form longer than we’ve had our form for more than a billion years, evolving and developing mechanisms against pathogens over time! Interesting enough, most bacterial diseases that affect fungi, also affect us.