WHAT’S IN YOUR MEDICINAL MUSHROOM PRODUCT?
I probably get asked this question the most.
Followed closely by:
What flavour’s or additives are in your products?
Why don’t you use the mycelium?
What else is in a medicinal mushroom product usually?
Now to preface this I’m probably not going to make friends with this blog (maybe I will who knows!) and to be frank there’s plenty of products on the market that aren’t genuine IMO so i’m calling them all out!!!
So how do you ‘make’ a medicinal mushroom product?
Well, simply, you grow the mushroom, dehydrate it, either ground it down to a fine powder (capsule or bottle it) or tincture/extract it, then bottle it and bob’s your uncle fungus!
Using the above formula for each outcome (either powder/capsule or extract/tincture) your ingredient list will be small, concise and simple;
The mushroom specie/s & the capsule
The mushroom specie/s & the liquid solvents (usually water and a type of ethanol/glycerin)
BUT what’s all this other stuff on the label!
9/10 It’s probably a mycelium product or contains a bunch of additives like vitamins/flavours etc.
They might list terms like “myceliated grain”, “mycelial biomass’, or “freeze-dried myceliated brown rice” etc. (you get the picture, basically doesn’t say “pure Lion’s Mane”)
1.the vegetative part of a fungus, consisting of a network of fine white filaments (hyphae).
Cool so basically, they’re including the ‘root’ of the mushroom. YEAH!
Except there is a catch, the roots are so fine and small that they’re intricately meshed to the substrate they are growing on which can be a varied amount of things!
Here's what our fruiting blocks look like before they are inoculated with the mushroom;
We plant the ‘seed’ or ‘spores’ of the mushroom onto a medium (we use wheat grain or a type of bird seed), let this grow/consume the nutrition in the medium (substrate), then use a bit of the grain spawn to inoculate our growing medium (we use coffee grounds & sawdust, others use soy hulls, sugar cane mulch and so many other things!).
To finish this point off, the mycelium that exists in mushroom products is the left over growing medium….
Once the mushroom has consumed the wheat grain/seed/oats/whatever it’s usually then ground down into a fine powder and used as the mushroom component in powders/extracts.
Here's what our blocks look like fully inocluted (see how they turn almost pure white);
So in summary, no actual mushroom is used…(unless listed of course but then if they’re both in the list how much of the real mushroom are you getting?)
The next part is the additives, some will add a varying range of vitamins/minerals/flavourings for I suppose the purpose of added nutrition or to make the supplement more palatable?
Let’s look at it like this:
In a bottle of say 100mL of extract, if you use 50% solution of mushroom liquid extract (could be fruiting body or mycelium) and 25% flavour extract & 25% vitamins/minerals additives – how much of the actual medicinal mushroom and it’s properties are you getting per dose? In my opinion, it’s a fair judgement to say probably not as much as you could or should… (and guess what, you don’t have to list the exact percentages of each ingredient!)
The other really really important thing when checking out mushroom products is to find out where exactly are a) the mushrooms from and b) where are the rest of the ingredients from.
Just about all the products I’ve come across hold a small Australian component i.e. one or two of the mushrooms in the range are grown in Australia and the rest are usually from China.
Now I’m not taking a dig at Chinese mushroom cultivation, they are absolute PRO’s and have been forever, plus they have such an eclectic variety of shroomydooms out of the whole planet BUT why settle for something from another country when you can support local and Australian mushroom brands & cultivation. There’s a great variety out there you just have to look!
The other problem with overseas/international mushrooms is that their regulations aren’t up to our extremely rigorous AUS standards and they can alter their country of origin through particular countries e.g. imported from china to the US, repackaged/partially processed, shipped to AUS where the product is now deemed a product of the US. Tricky huh?
Do your research peeps! Ask questions! If it’s not clear on the label or on their website then shoot them a message and double check (don’t forget to find out if they grow it themselves or use a third party).
WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
3 Things to look for when purchasing medicinal mushroom supplements/products.
Is it the fruiting body or mycelium based?
What are the rest of the ingredients? Does it have filler flavourings/vitamin additives?
Where are the mushrooms from? (look for country of origin labelling/on their website)
Lastly, just do what is best for you! Trust your judgement and research.
Some things work for some and some don’t and that’s okay.
To quote Tony Shields from FreshCap (one of my heroes):
“At the end of the day, it’s the efficacy of the product that matters.
We all take medicinal mushrooms for different reasons. Some use mushrooms for specific illnesses, and others just use it for immune support and to help feel amazing everyday.
Your primary concern should be whether or not your product is safe, ethically produced and from a trusted source.”
Feel free to contact us anytime if you have any questions!
Some more from a few other blogs:
“The way many supplement brands market and sell their fungi products is cause for concern. If consumers don’t know what to look for when buying a medicinal mushroom supplement, they may easily be misled by the packaging, naming, and labelling of the vast products available.
It can be difficult to distinguish a real mushroom extract made of the mushroom (fruiting body) from one made of the mushroom’s “root” structure, mycelium. Reading a supplement’s packaging and nutritional labels won’t necessarily tell you the whole story either.
Mushroom product labeling requirements from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tell manufacturers to clearly distinguish whether the product contains actual mushroom (the fruiting body) or just the mycelium in any food or supplement product. But not everyone follows these rules and this is low on the FDA’s enforcement priorities. “.1 Real Mushrooms
“Fruiting bodies offer a much more effective, high-quality product than mycelium extracts. Fruiting bodies are considered “full spectrum” as they provide a wider array of the mushroom’s nutritional components. Fruiting bodies offer more minerals, including phosphorous, copper, zinc, and potassium. Fruiting body extracts also contain higher concentrations of vitamins, including vitamin C, vitamin D, beta-carotene, and various B vitamins.
Mycelium, on the other hand, was primarily created as a cheaper alternative that was quicker to produce. The benefits of mushroom extracts are studied in relation to the fruiting body. Mycelium actually contains very little of the important compounds, vitamins, and nutrients of the actual mushroom. Furthermore, mycelium is not allowed to be considered a mushroom by the FDA, but many companies in the mushroom extract industry will hide this with clever labels. For instance, instead of listing beta-glucans (the effective compounds in fruiting bodies), mycelium producers will generalize by stating that their product contains high amounts of polysaccharides. This isn’t untrue but only because polysaccharides are a class of carbohydrates, and the brown rice used in mycelium extracts is definitely a carbohydrate. In other words, the high amount of polysaccharides mainly comes from the starch, gluten, and other non-mushroom components in the brown rice.
With mycelium on grain mushrooms, you are essentially getting a lot of ground rice with low potency mycelium. Fruiting bodies give you nothing but the potent, effective, concentrated compounds present in the actual mushroom extract.”.2 Nootropics Depot