Mushroom supplements have gained significant popularity in recent years due to their potential benefits for focus, immunity, energy, and stress resilience.
With the growing demand, the market has become flooded with various mushroom products, making it challenging to choose the right one.
To ensure you make an informed decision and receive optimal health support, there are several key factors to consider when selecting a mushroom supplement.
In this article, we will explore seven essential things to know before purchasing a mushroom supplement.
Let’s jump in!
7 Things To Know When Choosing Mushroom Supplements
1. Fruiting Body VS. MOG
When looking for a high-quality mushroom supplement, it is important to understand the difference between products made from the fruiting body and those made from MOG (Mycelium on Grain).
The fruiting body refers to the visible part of the mushroom, while mycelium is the root-like structure responsible for delivering nutrients to the fruiting body.
Traditionally, fruiting body mushrooms have been consumed for their therapeutic properties, supported by modern scientific research.
Although both mycelium and fruiting body contain active compounds, recent studies have shown that fruiting body mushrooms have higher concentrations of beneficial compounds and beta-glucans compared to mycelium.
Additionally, it is crucial to consider how the mushrooms are grown. Mycelium supplements are typically cultivated in labs using grain-based substrates, which can dilute the potency of the final product. On the other hand, fruiting body mushrooms are often grown on wood, mimicking their natural environment and allowing them to produce a broader range of active compounds and phytochemicals.
Extraction is a vital process that unlocks the therapeutic potential of mushrooms.
It involves breaking down the indigestible fiber and chitin present in mushroom cell walls, making the beneficial compounds bioavailable and potent.
Proper extraction ensures that the mushroom supplement is easily absorbed by the body.
There are two common types of extraction methods:
- Hot Water Extraction: This method involves simmering mushrooms in hot water for an extended period, releasing water-soluble polysaccharides like beta-glucans. Hot water extraction is crucial for maximizing the health benefits of mushrooms.
- Alcohol Extraction: Some mushrooms have denser textures and require alcohol extraction to extract beneficial triterpenes. In this process, the fruiting bodies are soaked in alcohol for several weeks, allowing the extraction of these compounds.
It is important to choose a mushroom supplement that undergoes proper extraction to ensure bioavailability and potency.
3. Extraction Ratios and Equivalent Weight
When evaluating mushroom supplements, it is essential to understand extraction ratios and equivalent weight.
Extraction ratio refers to the amount of dried mushroom used to produce a specific amount of extract.
For example, a 4:1 extraction ratio means that four pounds of dried mushrooms were used to obtain one pound of extract.
However, some products may use deceptive practices by exaggerating the amount of mushrooms present in the product. They might claim a high extraction ratio but actually contain only a small amount of mushrooms.
To avoid falling for misleading claims, it is crucial to ensure that the product's label accurately represents the amount of extract present.
Transparency in extraction ratios and equivalent weight is vital for choosing a quality mushroom supplement. If the information is not readily available, it is recommended to reach out to the company for clarification.
4. Testing For Active Compounds
The efficacy of mushroom supplements lies in their active compounds. It is important to know the exact composition of the product to understand its potential benefits. Beta-glucans and triterpenes are two commonly studied active compounds in mushrooms.
Reputable mushroom supplement companies should provide testing for these active compounds, ensuring that the product contains the specified amounts.
The presence of beta-glucans and triterpenes can be confirmed through laboratory testing, and the results should be available to consumers. Third-party testing adds another layer of credibility to the product's quality.
Different mushroom species have varying levels of active compounds, so it is helpful to compare different versions of the same species to determine the most effective product for your needs.
Furthermore, ensure that the beta-glucan listed on the label is derived from mushrooms rather than other sources, such as oats.
5. Are they Organic?
When considering a mushroom supplement, it is crucial to prioritize organic certification.
Organic certification ensures that the mushrooms are grown without the use of harmful pesticides, herbicides, or chemicals. Mushrooms are highly porous and can easily absorb toxins from their environment, which can accumulate in the final product.
Certification by recognized organic regulatory bodies, such as the Soil Association, guarantees that the mushrooms meet stringent standards for organic cultivation.
By choosing organic mushroom supplements, you can minimize your exposure to harmful substances and ensure a higher quality product.
6. Where are they Sourced?
The sourcing of mushroom supplements plays a significant role in their quality and effectiveness. Understanding where the mushrooms are grown and the growing standards followed is essential.
Look for companies that are transparent about their sourcing practices. Reputable companies often work with reputable growers who specialize in organic mushroom cultivation. They establish long-term relationships with growers from different regions, ensuring a diverse range of high-quality mushrooms.
Xotic Mushrooms Melbourne, is a prominent source of functional mushrooms, supplying a significant portion of the world's mushrooms.
Its long history in mushroom cultivation and traditional growing methodologies make it a reputable source.
All our Gourmet Mushrooms are 100% Organic and are pre packaged in biodegradable containers.
Sustainability is a critical aspect to consider when choosing a mushroom supplement, especially when wild harvesting is involved.
Some mushrooms are rare and wild harvesting can lead to environmental damage or even extinction of certain species.
For sustainable practices, look for cultivated mushrooms that offer similar health benefits to their wild counterparts.
Cultivated mushrooms grown on the right substrate can provide comparable therapeutic properties while being more sustainable.
However, some mushrooms, like Chaga, require wildcrafting and must be harvested in a manner that preserves the host tree and allows the Chaga conk to regenerate.
Companies that prioritize sustainability work with experienced growers who understand how to harvest mushrooms responsibly without harming the environment.
Choosing the right mushroom supplement requires careful consideration of several key factors.
Opting for a supplement made from fruiting body mushrooms, with proper extraction methods, transparent information on extraction ratios and equivalent weight, and testing for active compounds, ensures a high-quality product.
Organic certification, transparent sourcing practices, and sustainability measures are also important considerations.
By following these guidelines and conducting thorough research, you can select a mushroom supplement that aligns with your health goals and supports your well-being.
NOTE: Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before adding any new supplements to your routine, particularly if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications.
Prioritizing quality and understanding the nuances of mushroom supplements will help you make an informed choice for optimal health support.