Have you noticed recently that your favorite North Korean athletes look stronger, or run faster than they did just a few weeks ago? If you have, it’s probably because of a new mushroom sports drink that the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) unveiled in a “new inventions” report released Friday.
The drink is supposed to make athletes perform better and recover faster from physical activities. “They succeeded in finding a way to cultivate mushroom fungus and made a functional drink,” the report said. “This natural drink is very effective in enhancing physical ability of sportspersons and recovering from their fatigues.”
It is unknown just how effective the drink is, and whether or not it will help North Korea return to its once dominant place on the Olympic stage.
North Korea has been investing heavily in mushrooms as of late, opening a Central Mushroom Research Institute in the capital of Pyongyang last October. Kim Jong Un, the country’s beloved leader, visited the institute after its opening to provide “field guidance.” Kim “called on the officials and researcher of the institute to register shining scientific research successes and thus turn the institute into a scientific research center to bring substantial benefits to the people” the report stated.
What the North Korean state media won’t tell you is that the institute may have been created in an effort to combat the country’s deficient food supply and lack of resources. North Korea has struggled with food production since a famine in the 1990s wiped out an estimated one million people. North Korea has almost no resources and does not look for aid from other countries, even though it is, at times, desperately needed. A study by the Food and Agriculture Program and the World Food Program released in November of 2013 estimated that 84 percent of households still have”borderline or poor food consumption.”
Might this new mushroom sports drink lead to better athlete performance? The world will have to wait and see.