Functional mushrooms are rising stars in the health supplement world, and the market offers a variety of products to choose from; however, not all mushroom brands are created equal. The best functional mushroom brands emphasize the important distinction of mycelium vs. fruiting body, practice transparency and proper sourcing, and use the best processing methods.

The future of functional mushrooms is bright. In recent years, the mushroom business has become a multi-billion-dollar industry. According to a report by Market Research Future, the medicinal mushroom market could grow at a rate of 8.9% between 2023 and 2030, leading some to believe they may play an essential role in the future of health and wellness.

When purchasing functional mushroom products, one fundamental criterion to judge them on is whether they are comprised of mycelium (grain spawn), the fruit of the mushroom, or a combination of both. Grain must also be included for growth when using mycelium in a mushroom product. While mycelium has reported health benefits, this inclusion of grain leads to poor product quality. Mycelium products are not harmful to you, but products containing some or all of the mushroom fruit are of higher quality. Here are five ways to determine whether a functional mushroom supplement is high-quality.

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Mycelium vs fruiting body:

It’s labeled correctly

Mushroom product labeling requirements from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tell manufacturers to clearly distinguish whether the product contains the actual mushroom fruiting body or just the mycelium in any food or supplement product. However, not everyone follows these rules, and mushrooms are low on the FDA’s enforcement priorities.

Mycelium vs fruiting body:

It’s third-party tested

The lack of labeling regulations in the functional mushroom market can make determining if you are buying quality products difficult, which is why a third-party test is a big vote of confidence for a mushroom product. Most companies will include this information on their product or website. A third-party test confirms that a product is what it claims to be and is safe to consume.

Mycelium vs fruiting body:

It’s an extract product

It is a good sign when a functional mushroom product is an extract because the mushroom extraction process breaks down the fungal cell wall and improves bioavailability. Better bioavailability means the user will receive more of the mushroom’s benefits.

Generally, with plant supplements, an extract is a better option than the whole herb. An extract can give you more beneficial nutrients in more substantial concentrations. Whole herb products have not been standardized, meaning it’s difficult to ascertain the quality and potency of the product. Furthermore, they often contain indigestible plant fiber and less active phytochemicals, which lessens the overall quality and effectiveness of the product.

Mycelium vs fruiting body:

It lists the number of beta-glucans

Functional mushroom benefits are derived from their active compounds, which are less abundant in the mycelium and more plentiful in the fruiting body. The most important compounds in fungi are called beta-glucans, which offer various health benefits, such as supporting the immune system – the more beta-glucans, the better the product.

Mycelium vs fruiting body:

It’s organic

Buying organic food and supplements can have many benefits as they are often grown locally and, therefore, fresher. They also use methods of harvesting and processing that are more environmentally friendly.

Some commercial mushroom producers use pesticides. Using pesticides is not just an environmental issue. This practice can be harmful because mushrooms are very porous and easily absorb pesticides, fungicides, heavy metals, and other toxins used in non-organic growing. Buying organic functional mushrooms means you are getting a non-toxic product. Furthermore, it reduces the number of chemical fertilizers and pesticides released into the environment.

Mycelium vs fruiting body:

Top-rated supplements

There are many high-quality functional mushroom supplements on the market today. However, some do not include the most beneficial parts of the mushroom and are not worth the cost.

Real Mushrooms offers a variety of functional mushroom products that serve many purposes, such as supporting cognitive performance, physical performance, longevity, immune strength, or digestive health. The company refers to their products as “real” because of their manner of harvesting and using mushroom crops. They ensure their high-quality products are made entirely from the mushroom fruiting body.

“There’s an FDA guidance policy around mushrooms and mycelium and how they should be properly labeled,” Founder Skye Chilton said. “A product shouldn’t imply that it contains mushrooms if it doesn’t have mushrooms in it. This is what we try and educate our consumers on.”

All Real Mushrooms products have been third-party tested to ensure that their mushrooms are appropriately labeled. Their quality is also backed by the fact that they are organic and contain high amounts of beta-glucans. Their Reishi mushroom supplement was independently reviewed by Consumer Labs, receiving a high rating.

Making mushrooms part of your life

The functional mushroom market is growing for a reason. Mushrooms offer many health benefits. The Lion’s Mane mushroom has been shown to boost cognitive performance, while the Reishi mushroom can relax the mind and induce sleep. If you’re feeling sick, the Chaga mushroom is packed with antioxidants and has been shown to boost the immune system. These are just a few of the big names in the world of functional mushrooms.

Beyond the functional variety, research supports that mushrooms are great for your health. They support a healthy immune system, protect brain health, lower cholesterol, and even decrease cancer risk. If you have further questions about incorporating functional mushrooms into your lifestyle, you may want to consult your doctor.

Further Reading

The Washington Post: Can adaptogen drinks replace alcohol? What you need to know.

Real Simple: What’s the Deal With Functional Mushrooms? Here Are 6 Types Worth Knowing About

Today: What Are Functional Mushrooms?

Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only,

and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet, fitness regimen, or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional in order to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health.

Regarding Nutritional SupplementsOr Other Non-Prescription Health Products: If any nutritional supplements or other non-prescription health products are mentioned in the foregoing article, any claims or statements made about them have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and such nutritional supplements or other health products are not intended to

diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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