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Nicoletta Lanese

Seizures, heart rhythm problems and acidic blood seen in 12 people after eating snacks containing mushrooms

A compilation of photos of colorful ziptop packaging, like those used for snacks. The packages read "Extreme potency! Diamond Shruumz" and show pictures of fruit gummies or filled ice cream cones.

Sweet snacks with added ingredients marketed as reducing stress and boosting brain power may be behind a spate of severe illnesses being investigated by U.S. health officials.

As of Tuesday (June 11), 12 people in eight states have gotten sick after consuming Diamond Shruumz-branded chocolate bars, gummies or cones, which are ice cream cones with a sweet filling. Despite the brand's name, the company says on its website that its products don't contain psychedelics, such as psilocybin

On the Diamond Shruumz website, the products implicated in the ongoing investigation are described as containing a "primo proprietary blend of nootropic and functional mushrooms" but no psychedelic ingredients. Nootropics are substances marketed as being capable of boosting brain performance. 

The fungi in Diamond Shruumz products include reishi and chaga mushrooms, which the company website describes as having "immune-boosting and stress-relieving properties." The mushrooms are also described as "adaptogens," or substances intended to help the body adapt to physical and mental stress. These two mushrooms are not psychedelic, and there isn't strong scientific evidence to back their purported health effects.

Related: Poison control calls about kids ingesting cough suppressant more than doubled in recent years

The website also includes a disclaimer about cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, but CBD isn't clearly listed in individual products' descriptions.

Of the 12 people who got sick after consuming the products, 10 have been hospitalized, and none have died.

"The cause of the reported illnesses is not known at this time," according to a health advisory issued Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As the CDC and other officials investigate the cases, no one should eat, sell or serve any flavors of the implicated products, and they should discard any that they've already purchased.

In the past, some nootropic supplements have been found to contain unapproved drugs. The CDC has not yet determined whether this is the case with Diamond Shruumz products. However, the agency warned that, in general, such products might "contain undisclosed ingredients, including illicit substances, other adulterants, or potentially harmful contaminants that are not approved for use in food." 

The 12 people who got sick after eating Diamond Shruumz products reported their symptoms to U.S. poison control centers and sought medical attention. Many had serious symptoms that affected multiple systems of the body. 

Those symptoms included sedation, seizures, muscle rigidity and too-fast or too-slow heart rate, as well as nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. The patients also experienced skin flushing, excessive sweating and metabolic acidosis, in which the blood becomes abnormally acidic. Several of the hospitalized patients needed admission to an intensive care unit, as well as a breathing tube and mechanical breath support.

"CDC, FDA, and America's Poison Centers are continuing to monitor cases of illness reported to poison centers nationwide," the CDC statement notes. "Any suspected cases or adverse effects after consuming any Diamond Shruumz brand products should be reported to the Poison Help Line (1-800-222-1222)." 

The implicated products are sold online and in person through a variety of retailers. The full list of sellers is not known but includes smoke and vape shops, as well as retailers that sell hemp-derived products such as CBD or delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8 THC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said. Images of the related products can be found on the FDA website.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to offer medical advice.

Ever wonder why some people build muscle more easily than others or why freckles come out in the sun? Send us your questions about how the human body works to with the subject line "Health Desk Q," and you may see your question answered on the website!

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