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5@5: MDMA, psilocybin investments | Air pollution deaths | Carb-loading Neanderthals

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Each day at 5 p.m. we collect the five top food and supplement headlines of the day, making it easy for you to catch up on today's most important natural products industry news.

How MDMA and psilocybin became hot investments

Will psilocybin and MDMA become the new Prozac? Universities and Wall Street have both shown interest in the demonstrated therapeutic effects of these substances, but critics worry that a push to make them more accessible will come with its own set of risks, especially for those with severe psychiatric disorders or cardiac problems. More than a dozen startups have emerged on the scene, and the handful of companies that are now public are valued at more than $2 billion. This article for The New York Times notes that changing politics, the still-raging opioid epidemic and the public's acceptance of legalized recreational marijuana all point to this industry's bright future.

Air pollution from farms leads to 17,900 US deaths per year, study finds

This isn't news to anyone who lives near a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO), but a first-of-its-kind report has pinpointed meat production as the leading source of deadly air pollution that kills 17,900 Americans each year. These emissions now account for more deaths annually than pollution from coal power plants! Per serving, the rate of air-pollution deaths linked to red meat is twice as high as that of dairy and over 15 times as high as that of all fruits and vegetables. What we eat, then, has more effects on the health of our fellow humans than we may have realized. The Washington Post dives into the details.

A controversial diet change could reduce air pollution and save lives

So now that we know what conventional animal agriculture is doing to our air quality, what diet changes should be made to remedy that? This Inverse article says that (shocker) eliminating red meat and eating more chicken instead is the way to go, in addition to adopting a vegetarian or flexitarian lifestyle. Switching to more plant-based diets could prevent 68% to 83% of annual agricultural air pollution deaths, according to the authors of the study.

Neanderthals carb loaded, helping grow their big brains

A new study of bacteria collected from Neanderthal teeth shows our ancestors had adapted to eating lots of starch by at least 600,000 years ago, which may have fueled a significant expansion of their brains. The "groundbreaking" findings indicate that starchy foods have been part of human diets for far longer than was once assumed, and that Neanderthals were cooking their food before eating it. ScienceMag has the scoop.

‘Shark Tank’ vegan burger startup breaks into Target while chasing $10M in revenue

Two-year-old plant-based meat company Everything Legendary is locking in deals to push it toward $10 million revenue this year after snagging Mark Cuban's interest (he invested $300,000 for 22% of the business) on "Shark Tank." The startup is now poised to debut its vegan-cheese-stuffed patty this coming Saturday in 310 Target locations across 13 states. INNO reports.

TAGS: General 5at5
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