If you peruse Amazon or conduct a quick Google search, you’ll soon realize that there are a lot of different functional mushroom products on the market. Different types of dried powders or concentrated extracts, grown in the USA or imported, mycelium on grain or fruiting bodies. What’s the difference between all of these different types of products?
Let’s break this down by the top 3 most important questions you need to ask before purchasing a mushroom health supplement:
1) Is this product a mushroom or mycelium?
A true mushroom is the fruiting body of the mushroom species. Mycelium is the root structure of the specific fungi that transports nutrients to the fruiting bodies. The mushroom fruiting body, grown naturally, is where the majority of the active nutritional compounds are stored. Mycelium, though part of the fungi structure, does not contain as many nutritional compounds.
True mushrooms require proper growing conditions and expertise to produce, oftentimes overseas as the U.S. does not have these proper conditions or growing expertise. Mycelium is fairly cheap and easy to grow on grain substrates, and this is the common practice for U.S.-produced mushroom products.
*Be sure that the product you purchase is made with mushroom fruiting bodies, not mycelium on grain. The FDA makes a clear distinction between the two.
2) Is this product a dried mushroom powder or an extract?
Most mushrooms are 70-90% water and indigestible fiber, meaning that the nutritional compounds are quite minimal in a single mushroom and very hard to digest. This would mean we would have to eat way more mushrooms than feasible to get the desired benefits, if at all since our bodies might not even absorb them.
Even if we just dry the mushrooms to remove the water, there are still high amounts of chitin, an indigestible fiber, that prevent our bodies from absorbing the nutritional compounds. This is why we must extract the nutritional compounds from the mushrooms.
The easiest way to accomplish this and increase their potency is using hot water and/or alcohol extraction, which allows us to increase the potency of beta-glucans, the highly desirable starch in mushrooms that provides excellent health and immune-supporting properties. To do this, we often need somewhere from 1 to 10 pounds of dried mushrooms to create 1 pound of concentrated mushroom extract. By consuming these concentrated extracts, we need only 1-2 grams of mushroom powder per day to reap the desired benefits.
There is a price and quantity difference between all of these products, however, with extracted mushrooms you need to consume much less to receive the desired benefits.
*Look for mushroom extracts, not just dried mushrooms powders
3) Is this product organic?
For mushroom products to be certified organic, they have to go through a stringent third-party testing and inspection process once they are imported to the U.S. No matter where in the world the mushrooms come from, whether the U.S. or abroad, they must go through stringent third-party testing to ensure only the highest quality compounds are sold. With an organic label, you know that you are receiving a safe and reliable product, no matter the origin of the mushrooms.
*Ensure your mushroom products are always organic
For any other questions in regards to mushroom product quality, please email us at email@example.com!