Myths around koprin
About “Grandma’s methods” of treatment for alcoholism is described here: Dung beetle fungus and alcohol: myths around treatment with koprin.
Let’s list the most popular myths about coprine, a substance isolated from the fungus Gray dung beetle, Coprinopsis atramentaria.
The statement is fundamentally wrong, poisoning is not caused by koprin itself, but by products (aldehydes) that appear as a result of the breakdown of alcohol.
The statement is fundamentally wrong; in other representatives of these species, coprin has not been identified or an extremely small amount has been isolated. So you can safely eat Coprinellus disseminatus as a snack if you collect enough of it.
For the last 10 years, a drug allegedly made from the white dung beetle, Coprinus comatus, has been actively advertised and sold on the Internet. Photo of one of these drugs:
This is a terrible fake! I willingly believe that White dung beetle (like many other mushrooms) contains many useful substances: vitamins K1, B, C, D1, D2 and E, tocopherol, choline, betaine, riboflavin, thiamine, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, selenium , iron, zinc, copper, sodium, 17 amino acids, fructose, glucose, beneficial acids (folic, nicotinic, pantothenic, polyunsaturated fatty acids). Helps lower blood sugar levels. Normalizes blood pressure. Improves metabolism and digestion processes.
But as a remedy for alcoholism, it is not used and has never been used.
It is difficult to say why the dung beetle is white here in the photo. He’s more photogenic, no doubt. And much tastier than gray dung beetle, fried, not in capsules. But the mistake is not only with the photo: the drug is advertised as an extract from the white dung beetle.
This is the worst misinformation!
Why do you think the official pharmacology has not started producing tablet dung beetles? Because they have not been tested: preparations of fruiting bodies have shown mutagenic and gonadotoxic effects in laboratory animals. This argument is more than enough. But I will add: using dung beetles as a remedy for alcohol addiction, you risk not only the health, but also the life of the person you are trying to save.
The inability to calculate the exact dosage of mushrooms in a portion of soup or stew can lead to fatal consequences: toxic damage to the liver, brain, heart, and kidneys is possible. Possible psychosis with delusions and hallucinations, as well as heart attack, stroke, convulsions, paralysis, dementia and death.
“Koprin Syndrome”, aka “Koprinus syndrome”, in essence, is a poisoning syndrome when the liver is unable to cope with poisons. It is not necessary to poison a loved one with one poison in order to save him from another, in artisanal conditions, without the possibility of immediately providing emergency medical care.
This is not entirely correct information, more precisely, it is completely incorrect.
Used and still in use Teturam aka Disulfiram, Antabuse, Antikol, Lidevin, Torpedo, Esperal was actually discovered much earlier than koprin, in 1948. This is a purely chemical compound, it was discovered in Denmark, and the circumstances under which it was discovered are quite interesting. It was noticed that the workers of one of the factories that produce rubber are reluctant to visit cafes and bars, referring to the fact that drinking alcohol causes them unpleasant changes in the body: the pulse quickens, sweating increases, the face becomes covered with red spots. Chemical analyzes have shown that in the process of making rubber, vapors of a substance are released, which, when inhaled into the body, does not combine well with alcohol, prevents its complete decay, stopping this decay on products that have a negative effect on many organs of the body.
So Antabuse (Teturam) is not a “synthetic coprine” at all, it is a completely different drug.
Listen, this is such a stupid story that it’s not even entirely clear from which side to approach the exposure. We are no longer living in the Middle Ages. The chemical formula of koprin is known, all laboratories are equipped with modern equipment. And if coprin is not found in some kind of fungus, it means that it is not there.
What is “Koprin Syndrome”, once again: these are symptoms of poisoning.
You ate mushrooms, drank half a liter with your friends. And suddenly, someone got sick. Yes, of course, everyone will joke that it’s the mushrooms. What if there were no mushrooms on the table? They would joke that the potatoes were “nitrate”, of course! What mushrooms did you eat? It looks like scales.
Cases of the occurrence of “Koprin’s syndrome” after the use of common flake, Pholiota squarrosa, have been recorded in a few. Units for all years of existence of the term “Koprin’s syndrome”. Coprin was not found in the fungus.
Also, it was not found in Govorushka with the clubfoot, Ampulloclitocybe clavipes. And there are several officially confirmed cases of the occurrence of “Koprin’s syndrome”.
You can and should think logically. There are three possible explanations for this.
- In these mushrooms there is a certain substance, the formula of which is still unknown to science, which acts on the liver in a similar way to coprin: it blocks the production of some enzymes necessary for the complete breakdown of alcohol. And then it really is “Koprin syndrome”, not from koprin, but from a substance that is still unknown to science, interacting with alcohol.
- “Koprin syndrome” is a poisoning. Similar symptoms are given by poisoning with other poisons that have nothing to do with either koprin or alcohol. Why do symptoms appear only when mushrooms are consumed with alcohol? Alcohol itself is a poison for the liver, it can enhance the effect of other poisons. In addition, there have been cases of symptoms of poisoning after eating mushrooms and without alcohol, the same flake. These cases are isolated, there are no clinical studies, no poisons have been identified. Therefore, we can talk about the possible presence of poisons, as well as about the individual reactions of the body, and about the erroneous definition of the type of fungus.
- Let’s take a close look at the symptoms again, what ailments does “Koprin Syndrome” cause? It lists hyperemia, pressure surges, heart problems, nausea, vomiting, loss of consciousness. These are not only symptoms of poisoning. The same symptoms, among others, are caused by an allergic reaction, a “food allergy”.
Allergies vary from person to person and are very individual. And with the fact that all mushrooms are quite strong allergens, no one has long argued. Alcohol can increase allergic reactions.
Therefore, there is no reliable information yet about what we are dealing with, with the “Koprin syndrome” or with a complex allergic reaction.
In conclusion, I would like to summarize, in short theses:
- In no case do not self-medicate the “alcohol dependence syndrome”, no matter what advertised “natural” drugs you are offered
- If you have even the slightest doubt about whether any mushroom is combined with alcohol, refrain from taking them together, give up something, either alcohol or mushrooms. Because in suspicious people, all kinds of symptoms can appear solely on a psychological basis.
- If you are allergic, try to refrain from constantly eating any mushrooms. Especially when paired with alcohol.
- Do not kick or trample dung beetle mushrooms. Nobody is forcing you to eat them. Let them outlive their short life and participate in the life of the ecosystem.
Photos used for illustrations: Vitaly Gumenyuk, Tatiana_A.