5 Secret Health Benefits of Mushrooms You Need to Know

mushroom article

Mushrooms are powerful, natural medicine that the earth provides to us, but not many people know about all the health benefits of mushrooms. And no, we are not talking about those ‘shrooms that make you hallucinate.

There are more than 10,000 forms of mushrooms, each with their own benefits, including great levels of antioxidants and protein.

 

Depending on the type and known medicinal benefits, you can experience the health benefits of mushrooms in an extract, a supplement, or even as a flavorful addition to your favorite dish.

 

Here Are 5 Amazing and Lesser-Known Health Benefits of Mushrooms:

 

1. Immune System Boost

Mushrooms, even those white button mushrooms that are available in most supermarkets, are found to increase the production of antiviral proteins that protect and repair tissues, including those of your immune system.

 

Mushrooms have high levels of choline – a nutrient that promotes sleep, learning, and memory. Choline also reduces inflammation.

 

Mushrooms contain antioxidants comparable to many vegetables, including green beans, carrots, peppers, and tomatoes. Try Enoki mushrooms, which have a mild flavor, but pack an immune-boosting punch with anti-cancer benefits.

 

2. Treat Allergies

Mushrooms have demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties, and in some cases, can be used as a treatment for allergies and other breathing problems. Maitake and reishi mushrooms are said to protect your liver and help your body eliminate the leftover histamine from allergic reactions, as well as aid your body’s inflammatory response.

 

Fun anecdote: After years of terrible allergies to all things cute and fuzzy, I got a dog. By day two, I had the sniffles and itchies and hives from head to toe. I researched natural cures, and I learned about reishi, a mushroom extract that if taken for a long duration can reverse allergy symptoms.

 

I tried reishi extract, in combination with nettle tea and a natural supplement, the Allergy ReLeaf System – a mixture of nettle, licorice root, vitamin C, turmeric and other natural herbs and supplements – and it worked! Eight months later, I still don’t have allergy symptoms to my sweet pooch.

 

3. Heart Health

When ingested, mushrooms are a fat-free and healthy food source that is low in calories and sodium and offers filling fiber, which decreases your risk of obesity and heart disease.

 

Mushrooms also contain beta-glucans that improve insulin resistance and lower blood cholesterol levels, as well as B vitamins that turn carbohydrates into glucose to power your body and provide you with energy. Shiitake mushrooms are not only flavorful, but they are also known to have anti-tumor, anti-viral, and cholesterol-lowering properties.

 

Eat mushrooms for your cardiovascular health, as they are full of fiber, potassium and Vitamin C that work together to regulate blood pressure and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

 

4. Weight Management and Nutrition

Mushrooms are full of dietary fiber (which is key to a properly functioning digestive system). They also reduce appetite and keep you feeling fuller longer.

 

Crimini mushrooms have a high concentration of vitamin B12, commonly found in animal food products, and are a great way for vegan and vegetarians to get these essential nutrients.

 

Portabello mushrooms, which have more potassium and fewer calories than bananas, contain B vitamins that are essential for a healthy metabolism and nervous system.

 

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5. Cancer Prevention

Mushrooms contain the mineral selenium, which helps your liver function properly. Selenium also helps your body detox potentially cancer-causing compounds.

 

Mushrooms are also an excellent source of Vitamin D, and it’s the only vegetable or grown source of this essential vitamin. Just like people, mushrooms produce Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, so growers expose mushrooms to the sun to promote the production of this essential vitamin.

 

Vitamin D, when found in mushrooms, can inhibit the growth of cancer cells, and also supports healthy teeth and bones.

 

Mushrooms also contain folate, which aids in the repair of the DNA synthesis within your body and prevents the formation of cancer cells from mutating your DNA, as well as beta-glucan fibers, which stimulate your immune system to fight cancer cells and prevent tumor growth and production.

 

Maitake mushrooms are said to reduce blood pressure and blood sugar, as well as have anti-cancer, anti-viral, and immune-boosting properties. Mushrooms, specifically crimini and portobello, are full of free-radical fighting antioxidants, which are substances that protect cells from damage.

 

Eat More Mushrooms For Your Health!

There are so many varieties of mushrooms to choose from, all with different textures and flavor profiles. Try a few and test out your culinary skills in to reap the numerous health benefits of these powerful nutrient sources.

 

Not a fan of the flavor? Don’t worry! There are many mushroom extracts and supplements to choose from, like Onnit’s Shroom Tech Sport preworkout supplement or Shroom Tech Immune Support.

 

Mushroom supplements disguise the taste while still allowing you to experience all of the health benefits that these amazing fungi have to offer. Whichever way you like them, mushrooms are an amazing addition to your healthy lifestyle.

 

The post 5 Secret Health Benefits of Mushrooms You Need to Know appeared first on YogiApproved™.

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These Radioactive Factory Workers Made History In The 1920s

The factory girls were told the radium they were ingesting was safe, but it turned out to be their demise.

In 1898, Marie Curie and her husband Pierre discovered the element radium and earned two Nobel Prizes. But in 1934, Marie died from radiation exposure. The chemist’s death was just one stop on radium’s trail of destruction.

In 1898, Marie Curie and her husband Pierre discovered the element radium and earned two Nobel Prizes. But in 1934, Marie died from radiation exposure. The chemist's death was just one stop on radium's trail of destruction.

Wikimedia Commons

From the early-to-mid-20th century, radium cropped up everywhere in consumer goods.

From the early-to-mid-20th century, radium cropped up everywhere in consumer goods.

Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed

People equated radium’s glow with health and vitality, hence its use in medicines and cosmetics.

People equated radium's glow with health and vitality, hence its use in medicines and cosmetics.

Radior Cosmetics / Via Wikimedia Commons

It was also common at the time to drink water laced with radium.

It was also common at the time to drink water laced with radium.

Flickr: blueshift12

During World War I, The United States Radium Corporation set up a watch factory in Orange, New Jersey. Many of their employees were young women, who painted the watch faces and tiny dials with glowing radium paint.

During World War I, The United States Radium Corporation set up a watch factory in Orange, New Jersey. Many of their employees were young women, who painted the watch faces and tiny dials with glowing radium paint.

Wikimedia Commons

Other major radium watch companies were in business in Waterbury, Connecticut and Ottawa, Illinois.

Other major radium watch companies were in business in Waterbury, Connecticut and Ottawa, Illinois.

Public Domain

To get a fine point on their brushes, the women were instructed to lick the brush tip, ingesting radium every time.

To get a fine point on their brushes, the women were instructed to lick the brush tip, ingesting radium every time.

This photo appeared in a 1938 newspaper, with the caption “Her left arm gone as result of radium poisoning, Charlotte Purcell demonstrates how doomed radium workers pointed brush tips for painting luminous watch dials, thus contracting dread disease.”

Leonard Grossman / Via lgrossman.com

Flickr: darronb

When the women asked their superiors whether the paint was safe to ingest, they were told yes. But the company knew it wasn’t, and the dangers of radium weren’t unknown at this time. In fact, the male workers at the watch factory were protected with lead aprons and metal tongs for handling the radium, while the women had no protection at all.

When the women asked their superiors whether the paint was safe to ingest, they were told yes. But the company knew it wasn't, and the dangers of radium weren't unknown at this time. In fact, the male workers at the watch factory were protected with lead aprons and metal tongs for handling the radium, while the women had no protection at all.

Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed

In 1922, a worker named Mollie Maggia fell very ill. Her body was decaying before her eyes. At one point, her entire jaw literally fell off. She died the same year.

In 1922, a worker named Mollie Maggia fell very ill. Her body was decaying before her eyes. At one point, her entire jaw literally fell off. She died the same year.

Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed

Other women suffered horrifically as well. The radium ate away at their bones, gave them giant tumors, and actually made them glow in the dark.

Other women suffered horrifically as well. The radium ate away at their bones, gave them giant tumors, and actually made them glow in the dark.

Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed

The U.S. Radium Corporation denied being at fault, claiming its employees were just trying to get money from the company. They even tried to ruin the women’s reputations – including Molly Maggia’s – by asserting their health problems were due to syphilis.

The U.S. Radium Corporation denied being at fault, claiming its employees were just trying to get money from the company. They even tried to ruin the women's reputations – including Molly Maggia's – by asserting their health problems were due to syphilis.

National Park Service / Via Wikimedia Commons

In 1928, Sabin Von Sochocky, one of the founders of the U.S. Radium Corporation and the man who had actually invented the radium-laced paint, died from exposure to his own product.

In 1928, Sabin Von Sochocky, one of the founders of the U.S. Radium Corporation and the man who had actually invented the radium-laced paint, died from exposure to his own product.

The American Magazine / Via Wikimedia Coommons

The radium girls pushed for safer work environments while facing their own fast-approaching deaths.

The radium girls pushed for safer work environments while facing their own fast-approaching deaths.

Leonard Grossman / Via lgrossman.com

This memorial to the radium girls stands in Ottawa, Illinois, where the Radium Dial Company once operated.

Flickr: polomex

A century later, the radium in their bones still glimmers underground.

A century later, the radium in their bones still glimmers underground.

Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed

Need more creepiness in your life? Check out Backstitch on Instagram! You’ll find stories and comics all about fatal fashion through history!

Need more creepiness in your life? Check out Backstitch on Instagram! You'll find stories and comics all about fatal fashion through history!

Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed

Sources: Jacopo Prisco / CNN, Kate Moore / BuzzFeed, Adrienne Crezo / Mental Floss, Debbie Galant / NY Times, Suzette Ferrari / Slidell Little Theatre, Daven Hiskey / Today I Found Out, Roger Russell / Radioactive

A Man Cleaning His Fish Tank Accidentally Released A Deadly Toxin, Sending His Entire Family To The Hospital

Soft corals used in saltwater aquariums can be contaminated with dangerous palytoxin. Here’s how to handle them so you don’t get sick.

When a man in the UK was cleaning his fish tank, he accidentally released a dangerous toxin.

When a man in the UK was cleaning his fish tank, he accidentally released a dangerous toxin.

The Zoanthus species of sea coral.

Antos777 / Getty Images

Chris Matthews was cleaning a fish tank at his home in Steventon, England, when he removed coral from the surface of a rock. The next day he had flu symptoms, as did his entire family – and their two dogs.

Matthews, who knew that some corals used in aquariums could be hazardous, suspected that it might be the reason they were all feeling ill, so he called for help. About 50 emergency personnel, including a hazardous materials team, arrived at his home, according to the BBC.

A total of 10 people were hospitalized, including Matthews, his family members, and four firefighters.

Matthews said he was unaware of how easily the toxins could be released and that cleaning the rock in the air, rather than under water, was potentially a problem. “We did not know that doing it out of the water would release it out into the air,” he told the BBC.

John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxfordshire confirmed that five family members and four firefighters were treated at their facility on March 26. The family is “recovering well,” Matthews told the BBC, as are the family dogs, which were treated by a veterinarian.

@OfficialDrMike / Twitter

The soft corals that contain palytoxin grow on rocks and attach themselves in a way that makes them almost impossible to remove without physical scraping or using some other method, said Jonathan Deeds, a research biologist at the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in College Park, Maryland.

The corals are greenish-brown in color and can be invasive, grow fast, and spread in the tank.

“Basically they look like small anemones,” Deeds told BuzzFeed News. “They are small and grow in a patch that are connected to each. This is the group that has historically produced palytoxin.”

The toxin is usually released when people clean the tank and try to remove the growth.

“The most severe cases are when people take these rocks out of the tank and they try to trim them back by pouring boiling water over that part of the rock,” said Deeds, who is an expert on palytoxin. “That causes aerosolization of the toxin.” (The FDA, which oversees food and drugs, does not regulate fish tanks or these types of exposures, the agency noted.)

Coral reef aquarium tank

Vojce / Getty Images

The toxin disrupts cell membranes and can cause cells to die over several hours. Unlike other marine toxins, palytoxin can be dangerous if ingested, inhaled, or if it gets on your skin, and the symptoms vary depending on the route of exposure.

“Right now it looks like one of the most potent ways to be exposed is by breathing it in and getting it into the lungs,” said Deeds. When inhaled, the symptoms can include uncontrollable coughing, fever, headache, difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, sore throat, runny nose, chest pain, skin redness or a rash, swelling, muscle pain, numbness or tingling, and eye irritation. The surface of the eyes, or corneas, are particularly sensitive to the toxin.

“It can definitely cause permanent damage to your eyes,” said Deeds. In some cases, people have needed a cornea transplant after exposure. “Those are very rare, but it has happened,” he said. People have accidentally rubbed the toxin into their eyes and sometimes the corals can squirt a stream of water when they are removed from the tank.

“When you pull it out of the water, it closes up,” he said. “If you pick up a rock and are looking at it, it can close up and squirt you right in the eye. So eye protection is a very good idea manipulating these things.”

No humans have died from exposure to corals from a fish tank. But some dogs may have.

No humans have died from exposure to corals from a fish tank. But some dogs may have.

Fcscafeine / Getty Images

There have been no recorded deaths due to palytoxin associated with corals used in an aquarium, said Deeds. However, in rare cases – maybe 10 to 20 total worldwide – people have died after eating the liver or other internal organs from fish contaminated with palytoxin.

A few dogs may have died of palytoxin, but tests were inconclusive. The level of toxin that is lethal to a pet is very low, and may not have been detectable in tests. These cases probably occurred when people put the rocks from a fish tank in a container on the floor and a pet licked them.

“We haven’t been able to confirm this, but there have been a few cases of dogs dying after being exposed like that,” Deeds said.

It can be hard to know if you are buying a coral that contains palytoxin.

It can be hard to know if you are buying a coral that contains palytoxin.

Harmonia101 / Getty Images

Although Matthews believed a coral in his tank called a “pulsing xenia” was responsible, that would be unusual, Deeds said.

“I can’t say for sure unless somebody actually tests it, but it’s more likely that he had Zoanthids in his tank,” he said.

Palythoa and Zoanthus coral species are the most likely to have palytoxin. But aquarium stores don’t generally provide scientific names, and even if they did, experts don’t always agree on the number of species and what their names should be, Deeds said.

“So it’s very difficult to say ‘don’t buy this one,’” he said. “The names are not standardized.”

But there are some best practices to follow to avoid palytoxin when handling coral, including to a new set of guidelines released this month by the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association, a UK-based organization.

The group recommends that people do not spray or wash rocks under running water, pour boiling water or hot water on them, or microwave rocks with live coral on them. They also recommend avoiding steam-cleaning any tank ornaments or rocks that contain what they call zoantharians, a collective name for these coral species.

If you need to remove a coral from a tank, store it in a plastic bag and close it, and soak rocks in a diluted bleach solution before disposing of them. You can find more tips on safely handling coral on their website.

A group of researchers at the University of Hawaii was looking for the cause of ciguatera fish poisoning, a different toxin that can contaminate seafood, Deeds said. The group did this by exploring local legends about what was poisonous in folklore, he said.

There was a particular pool that warriors were said to visit for seaweed that could be used to make spears poisonous.

“They discovered this tidal pool where these little anemones were growing and they discovered palytoxin,” Deeds said.

In the last 10 years, interest in research on palytoxin has increased, Deeds said, particularly after a 2005 outbreak of illness on a beach in Italy was found to be due to palytoxin, which is also produced by a type of algae. Other cases of illness associated with fish tanks have occurred in Scotland and Australia.

Tracy Anderson’s 5 Moves to Sculpt a Lean, Sexy Stomach

Ready to get a seriously sculpted midsection? Try these five ab-toning moves from celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson. The fitness guru recommends doing 30 reps of each move on one side, then repeating on the other side. Anderson also suggests 30 to 60 minutes of cardio six times a week.

1. Susu Plank and Low Front Kick

Start in plank with right ankle crossed over left. Bring right knee forward to kneel, and then step left foot forward while bringing left hand to inner thigh. Lift right leg and extend it straight out. Return to the first step and then repeat. To increase the calorie burn, use 1.5- to 2.5-pound ankle weights.

2. Side-Lifted Kick and Single-Leg Plank

Start resting on left hip and forearm with hips stacked and knees bent. Extend right leg forward as you lift hips off ground and raise right arm straight up. Swing right leg back, placing right foot and hand on ground, and then press body up into a single-leg plank, lifting left leg up and out diagonally to the left. Return to the first step and then repeat. Don’t forget to keep abs tight to help with balance.

3. Crossed Lunge and Plank

Start in plank with left leg extended up and diagonally out to the left. Bend left knee and step forward into a lunge as you swing left arm back. Sweep right leg behind left to back left corner and place left hand on left thigh (don’t let knee go over toes). Return to the first step and then repeat.

4. Alternating Pike Hold and Sitting Weighted Punch

Lie faceup with legs extended and a 3-pound weight in each hand, elbows tucked into sides. Lift legs off ground. Press arms overhead as you crunch up to sitting with left leg bent in front of you and right leg bent behind you. Lower back to the first step and then repeat the second, this time with right leg in front and the left leg in back. Continue lowering down and alternating legs.

5. Weighted Toe Reach and Crunching Leg Lift

Holding 3-pound weights, lie faceup with hands extended overhead. Crunch up, lifting arms and legs to meet (lead with your abs, not your neck). Lower back down to the ground and then roll over onto right side, and with weights still in hands, place right forearm and left hand down; step left foot over right. Pushing into left foot, left hand, and right forearm, lift body up. Lower back down, return to first step, and repeat.

Found: This Water Purifier Makes Bottled-Quality Water Right In Your Own Home

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Americans spend $16 BILLION dollars a year on bottled water, according to recent findings. Let’s do the math on that. If the average cost of bottled water is $1.27, that makes bottled water approximately 400 times more expensive than tap water.

 

Not that we’re advocating to drink tap water . . . because while there are mixed feelings about the safety vs. health risks of drinking tap water, there are many reports where they have found toxins, carcinogens and other dangerous contaminants present in tap water, like chromium, lead, chlorine, and mercury to name a few.

 

What’s Wrong With Bottled Water

Perhaps the above information is why bottled water is popular and why Americans buy so much of it. Yet beyond the budget-breaking expense of purchasing bottled water, all that plastic is a serious environmental concern.

 

Most plastic water bottles are made with PET (polyethylene terephthalate) which is derived from crude oil. Yikes! That doesn’t sound appetizing to drink from, right? Beyond that, plastic water bottles are distributed all over the world, using mostly fossil fuels to manufacture them creating a high risk of contamination.

 

Finally, after you’ve finished drinking that bottle of water, if it doesn’t get properly recycled, can take up to 1,000 years to break down due to its chemical composition. And, billions of plastic water bottles are dumped into our our soil, lakes, rivers, and oceans. Sadly, a large part of this waste winds up in the ocean, causing a huge threat to marine life.

 

Jacqueline Savitz, an official representing a marine advocacy group, says that “We know plastics are building up in marine animals, and this means we too are being exposed, some of us every day.”

 

plastic-water-ocean

 

The Health Risks of Drinking Bottled Water

Ironically, many people choose to drink bottled water for the common misconception that it’s a safer alternative to tap water.

 

Yet the media has recently released disturbing findings that plastic particles have been found in the world’s leading bottled water brands. These plastic particles have caused “widespread contamination” – plastic was found in 93% of the samples tested. This is the latest in decades-long reports of a widespread public health crisis regarding our tap water that continues to span across our nation.

 

 

So What’s the Solution?

If we can’t rely on bottled water, and we want to keep costs down without resorting to tap water, the solution is in filtered water. But most store-bought filters or fridge filters only filter for taste – they don’t necessarily purify and make the water safe to drink.

 

If you want a water filter that can remove all the toxins in your tap water and also taste pure tasting water like bottled water (but without the plastic!); you need to use a filtering process known as reverse osmosis. You can get a reverse osmosis purifier installed under your kitchen sink but the installation process is expensive and can require drilling holes into your counter top not to mention ongoing plumbing costs and hassles.

 

But now there is a better option. AquaTru is the first and only countertop water filter AND water purifier that uses a patented 4-Stage Ultra Reverse Osmosis Technology to remove toxic chemicals and contaminants from your tap water. It removes 15 times the amount of contaminants than leading store-bought filters and is verified and certified to NSF standards (the National Standards Institute of Public Health).

 

Aquatru-water-filter

 

The AquaTru™ 4-Stage filtration process is like none other. This four-stage purification process removes contaminants like fluoride, lead, pesticides, drug residues, and other toxins and chemicals.

    Mechanical Pre-Filter removes sediments and cloudiness from water

    Activated Carbon Pre-Filter: Removes more than 99% of chlorine and chloramines

    Ultra Reverse Osmosis Filter: Removes toxic inorganic contaminants including lead, Chromium 6 and drug residue-among others

    Activated Coconut Shell Carbon VOC Filter: Removes toxic organic chemicals which ensures great tasting water

 

Want to try the AquaTru for yourself? Click here and use code: YOGI for $100 off!

 

The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) AquaTru the seal of certification – the highest standard in the industry for water filtration and purification certification. This guarantees the AquaTru system you’re using is of the highest quality, and FACTUALLY filters a wide, and diverse collection of contaminants.

 

Simply put, it’s easy to use, low maintenance, has a compact footprint, saves you money and drastically cuts down on harmful contaminants, waste, pollution, and your carbon footprint. For those living a healthy, natural and conscious lifestyle, choosing a water filter over bottled water is important. The AquaTrue water purifier is for those wanting to drink the best quality water.

 

We’ve had the opportunity to try AquaTru for ourselves – we love it and use it in our office daily. From the high-tech Ultra Reverse Osmosis 4-Stage Purification process, to how great the water tastes, and finally to how well designed and easy to use this countertop water filter is; we recommend AquaTru as a safe, effective, and affordable alternative to bottled water or other water filter options.

 

Want to try the AquaTru for yourself? Click here and use code: YOGI for $100 off! That’s right, AquaTru is hooking up YogiApproved readers with $100 off. Boom!

 

(Advertorial)

The post Found: This Water Purifier Makes Bottled-Quality Water Right In Your Own Home appeared first on YogiApproved™.

Emily Skye Says She’s “Getting Stronger” in a Post-Baby Body Photo Showing Loose Skin

Fitness influencer Emily Skye is enjoying her post-pregnancy workout regimen with her “cutest training buddy ever.” In a mirror selfie with her three-month-old daughter Mia, Skye shared her progress since giving birth.

“Some people might think my progress is due to my genetics or because of breastfeeding but I can tell you it’s got a LOT to do with hard work and consistency!” she captioned the photo, which shows her loose skin. “All those midnight workouts I did after Mia fell asleep and eating healthy meals from my FIT Program are getting me great results.”

RELATED: The Flat-Belly Workouts Celebrities Swear By for Sexy, Sculpted Abs

She goes on to share that she’s getting stronger and leaner and is in good spirits, which she said helps her mini-me, too. “When I’m happy Mia seems happier too,” she wrote.

Since bringing home baby, Skye has been transparent about the body changes she’s experienced. Last month, she posted a side-by-side image comparing her pre-baby and post-baby abs.

“Physically speaking I will never be the same (which isn’t a bad thing) and I’m making the most of what I’ve got,” she said. “I’ve still got loose skin on my belly but my abs are beginning to make a comeback – which shows me that what I’m doing is working…”

One workout she’s probably doing is her 20-minute core routine, which focuses on developing strong abs as well as the core muscles that help support every body, not just post-partum bodies. 

RELATED: 7 Moves for a Stronger, Tighter Core

“Almost every woman that I talk to wants to have a great set of abs,” Skye told Health in 2016. “It’s one thing to have strong abs, but it’s more important to have a strong core. Your core muscles are the muscles inside you that you can’t see, but do almost all the work. For people that suffer from back pain and poor posture, working on your core strength can go a long way to helping you improve these problems.”

Mystery “Alien” Skeleton Turns Out To Be A Human With Genetic Mutations, According To A New Study

First discovered in 2003, this tiny skeleton – only six inches long – has been speculated to be a mummified fetus, the remains of a human child with dwarfism, a monkey, or even, ahem, an alien.

The remains of a tiny, mummified, humanlike skeleton were found in Chile about 15 years ago.

The remains of a tiny, mummified, humanlike skeleton were found in Chile about 15 years ago.

The tiny skeleton was discovered in 2003 in a deserted mining town of La Noria in the Atacama region of Chile.

It has a number of abnormalities, including: 10 pairs of ribs instead of 12; a skull defect known as high-head syndrome, where the top of the skull is cone-shaped; and premature closure of the growth plates in the bones, something that doesn’t normally happen until a skeleton is much larger, later in childhood.

But this skeleton was only six inches long, which is normally the size of a 20-week-old human fetus.

Bhattacharya S., et al. / Via genome.cshlp.org

People had a lot of thoughts about what it might be.

No one was exactly sure how old it was – or what it was. Researchers thought it might be a monkey, or a human fetus with genetic mutations, or a preterm infant with birth defects, or maybe even a child with a previously unrecognized form of dwarfism.

The so-called Atacama Humanoid was the subject of a 2013 UFO documentary called Sirius, which referred to it as a tiny ET, and discussed “the discovery of an alleged humanoid body whose DNA has been sequenced and found to be of an “unknown classification.” You can watch it on YouTube.

A 2013 study determined that it was definitely of human origin, female, and no more than a few decades old.

youtube.com

Now a new analysis of the entire genome provides much more information about the skeleton.

Now a new analysis of the entire genome provides much more information about the skeleton.

A new study clearly shows that this is a human female with multiple rare mutations in the genes that control bone formation. The research was published in the journal Genome Research, and led by Garry P. Nolan, the Rachford and Carlota A. Harris Professor in the department of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine. Nolan also conducted the 2013 analysis, with colleagues.

“The timeline starts about 50 years ago, which is when we think she died,” said study coauthor Dr. Atul Butte, the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg Distinguished Professor at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.

The DNA sample was somewhat degraded, but not as degraded as truly ancient samples. “This is not like one of those Ice Age samples, it’s more recent,” Butte told BuzzFeed News.

An analysis of the mitochondrial DNA, which is inherited only from the mother, suggested she was of Chilean ancestry.

And the DNA mutations are “one-of-a-kind” and “super rare,” Butte said. “A whole bunch of these genes are already known to be involved in bone growth and how bones grow and mature and these are new defects, new mutations, that people hadn’t seen before,” he said.

The researchers checked for the gene mutations in tens of thousands of known recorded DNA sequences, but didn’t find anyone else who had them. “Is there someone else on planet Earth who could have one of these? Could be, you never know until you go look,” Butte said.

And it’s clear that these are not the remains of a much older child with some type of dwarfism or other genetic changes that stunted growth. “This body, the baby, has a bone-age somewhere between 4 and 6 years of age, but we don’t think that the baby lived that long,” said Butte. Instead, the gene mutations were likely causing the bones to age prematurely.

“What we think is probably this baby was still in utero, maybe this was a miscarriage or was not born or was stillborn and had the bone defects that led to the unusual skull and led to the bones growing like this,” he said “Or maybe the miscarriage happened because all of these defects.”

“It’s a sad story,” said Butte. “This is a human girl – there’s a tragedy involved here.”

However, the researchers hope the findings can lead to better recognition and understanding of bone growth abnormalities, possibly leading to better treatments for children who have such problems.

Bhattacharya S., et al. / Via genome.cshlp.org

So, you can still believe in aliens – just don’t point to this skeleton as evidence that they exist.

So, you can still believe in aliens - just don't point to this skeleton as evidence that they exist.

“I think this really shows the role in science in puzzling out these interesting questions,” said Butte.

The team is “not pursing any other hypothetical aliens,” he said, although he thinks “there are still people looking for aliens in the desert of Atacama.”

“Look, I love Star Trek, I love all those movies, I watched X-Files,” said Butte. “You can still believe – I still believe – but this is not one of them.”

Fox / Via giphy.com