Fungi Are All Around Us and Even Inside Us

Fungi Are All Around Us and Even Inside Us
One of the five million fungus species – morel mushroom

The cover of the April 2024 issue of National Geographic and its first article are dedicated to what the editors call “Fabulous Fungi.” The articles deal with “The Wondrous World of Fungi” with incredible pictures and a narrative that exposes what the authors call “The Hidden Kingdom.” Most of us probably don’t realize that fungi are all around us and even inside us. 

Various fungus species have a symbiotic relationship with many plants and animals, including humans. Most plants today depend on mycorrhizal fungi living in their root systems to metabolize sugar from photosynthesis while bringing nutrients and water to the plant. 

Fungi are heterotrophs, organisms that take nutrition from other organic sources such as plant or animal matter. They can break down wood and dead plant material by releasing and reabsorbing enzymes. Without fungi, dead plants and animals would pile up on forest floors, and plants would be unable to take in needed nutrients. 

Fungi are all around us and even inside us. They work in our digestive system, and scientists are still studying what they do. Cancer research has found that fungi in the colon, breast, and lungs are related to the metastatic spread of cancer and can be used to predict the presence of cancer and perhaps even treat it. 

Scientists estimate that there are around five million species of fungi, and they are more diverse than plants or vertebrates. In 2015, our program released a children’s book titled “The Friendly Fungus Among Us,” written by Charlsey Ford and John Clayton. This little 16-page booklet, written for children, points out a few benefits and uses of fungi, including food, medicines, insecticides, and detergents. It also introduces children to the role of yeast and truffles in food.  

God’s design is so incredible that science is just scratching the surface of the things that enable human life to exist on Earth. Trying to explain it by undirected evolution is impossible. “We can know there is a God through the things He has made” (Romans 1:20) is true. We see evidence everywhere, even in the fact that fungi are all around us and even inside us, and life would not be possible without them. 

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Reference: National Geographic, April 2024

The Friendly Fungus Among Us children’s book is available from the Does God Exist? ministry by contacting or in the set of 16 children’s books at