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Buying Functional Mushrooms: Find Your Match

| Leestijd 5 Minuten

Where to begin when buying functional mushrooms? Which mushroom best suits your needs? And do modern mushroom supplements deliver the same benefits as traditional Chinese medicine?

Also read: Mushrooms: Best Supplements for Muscle Gain?

There is an increasing amount of research conducted on the power and benefits of medicinal mushrooms, and we aim to keep you informed. In this comprehensive guide, we provide all the information you need about functional mushrooms to help you find your perfect match.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us, or you can browse our products directly.

What are functional mushrooms?

How to buy the best functional mushrooms

Functional mushrooms, also known as medicinal mushrooms, contain specific dietary fibers that can support health. They may look like typical forest mushrooms, although they often have a distinctive appearance.

What truly sets them apart is their extensive history of use in traditional medicine, including Chinese and Latin American traditions. Perhaps you’ve heard of a friend who had to drink one of those mushroom teas from a Chinese herbalist. Although the taste was far from delightful, she swore it helped with her eczema or stomach problems.

Today, functional mushrooms are much more accessible, available in the form of powder or capsule extracts, free from unpleasant tastes and side effects, yet equally effective.

Which mushrooms should you choose?

In this article, we delve into the benefits of functional mushrooms. Here’s a brief overview of the mushroom supplements offered by MushPeak (further details below):

  • Lion’s Mane: Known as the “mushroom for the brain,” associated with supporting brain health and cognitive function.
  • Cordyceps: Traditionally used to enhance energy and stamina.
  • Turkey Tail: Recognised for its positive impact on immune system function.
  • Chaga: Referred to as the “king of functional mushrooms,” used for immune system support.
  • Reishi: Often referred to as the “mushroom of immortality,” employed to strengthen the immune system.

Different types of functional mushrooms and their benefits

Chaga as one of the functional mushrooms

For many people, mushrooms still carry a somewhat ‘mystical’ aura. As children, we were often told not to pick or consume mushrooms, especially wild ones, as some can be poisonous. Functional mushrooms, however, are equally extraordinary, and the best part is that they are 100% safe and can enhance our lives in various ways.

While the specific benefits vary from one mushroom to another, the majority of health advantages offered by functional mushrooms are attributed to compounds like polysaccharides, triterpenes, beta-glucans, antioxidants, and other dietary fibers (you can read more about these later in this article).

These dietary fibers can have positive benefits for our health, both physically and mentally (1, 2).

Lion’s Mane: mushroom for brain health

Lion's Mane supplement

Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a mushroom supplement commonly used by people seeking to enhance their cognitive performance. In recent years, this particular mushroom has garnered significant attention due to its potential health benefits.

Over the past decade, extensive scientific research has explored the workings of Lion’s Mane. While more research is required to validate these findings, some studies suggest that the mushroom may enhance concentration, reduce ‘brain fog,’ and even mitigate the risk of brain diseases (3, 4).

Also read: Lion’s Mane Benefits and Research: Ultimate Guide

Turkey Tail: mushroom for a resilient immune system

Turkey Tail supplement

Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor), like other functional mushrooms, is non-toxic. They can be found growing in forests, parks, and nature reserves, where they play a crucial role in decomposing organic matter.

If you happen to pick a mushroom that resembles Turkey Tail, don’t worry – mushrooms resembling Turkey Tail are also non-toxic. However, it’s worth noting that this mushroom is not typically consumed due to its tough texture and woody taste. Therefore, it’s more convenient to buy Turkey Tail mushrooms in the form of powder or extract capsules.

So, what makes this mushroom so valuable? According to certain research, Turkey Tail can enhance your gut health and contains prebiotics that can reduce harmful bacteria in your gut (5). On the other hand, it can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut.

A balanced gut microbiome helps improve your digestion, strengthen your immune system, boost your energy levels, and enhance your overall well-being.

Cordyceps: mushroom for energy and brain power

Cordyceps supplement

Another mushroom from which you can derive energy is Cordyceps. Do you often feel sluggish during the day? Struggle to wake up in the morning? Or are you looking to naturally replace your coffee addiction? If so, you might want to consider trying organic Cordyceps 1:1 powder capsules or 8:1 double extract capsules.

Cordyceps is known as the ‘mushroom for energy’ and is also associated with improved libido. According to certain research, cordycepin, a major component of Cordyceps, can strengthen the immune system (6). And a strong immune system offers numerous health benefits.

Also read: Cordyceps Benefits: Research + 10 Health Benefits

Chaga: king of functional mushrooms

Chaga as a supplement

Chaga, scientifically known as Inonotus obliquus, is often referred to as the ‘king of functional mushrooms.’ According to certain studies, this fungus can have positive effects on the nervous system, hormones, blood vessels, and the intestines (7, 8).

In some regions, Chaga is fondly nicknamed ‘the black gold of the north’ because it is highly regarded as a valuable medicinal resource, especially in Northern European and Asian folk medicine. The fungus presents a black exterior while featuring a stunning orange interior.

Also read: What Is Chaga Mushroom? Discover Its Power + Benefits

Reishi: divine mushroom of immortality

Reishi supplement mushroom

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is known as the “divine mushroom of immortality,” and its reputation is well-deserved. It has been a staple in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries due to its purported health benefits.

In traditional Chinese medicine, Reishi is viewed as the source of longevity, life energy, spiritual power, well-being, and success. According to certain research, the components of Reishi, including beta-glucans, triterpenes, and ganoderic acids, may contribute to a healthy immune system (9).

Distinguishing between 1:1 mushroom powder and dual extracts

MushPeak offers capsules of both 1:1 powder and dual extracts for most functional mushrooms. In summary, the difference between these products is as follows:

  • 1:1 Mushroom powder is created using a special purification method known as ‘grinding.’ Organic, dried fruiting bodies are steamed and ground, effectively breaking down the cell walls of the mushrooms, making it easier for the human body to absorb the active ingredients. This process uses one part powder for one part mushrooms.
  • Dual extracts are produced by extracting the active ingredients with hot water and ethanol. Several parts of the mushrooms are used to create one part of powder, resulting in a higher concentration of specific compounds.

For a more in-depth exploration of this topic, you can read our comprehensive article on the difference between our 1:1 mushroom powder and our dual extracts.

Which is better: fruiting body, mycelium, or a combination?

mushroom fruiting body vs mycelium

MushPeak’s products exclusively contain high-quality fruiting bodies. Fruiting bodies are the visible, above-ground parts of the mushroom, which are easily recognisable as the typical mushroom shape. These parts often boast higher concentrations of specific bioactive compounds.

On the other hand, mycelium refers to the underground network of fungal threads. It is cost-effective and grows rapidly, but the concentrations of bioactive compounds can vary depending on the growth conditions.

MushPeak’s mission is to provide genuinely top-quality mushroom supplements. For those seeking specific health benefits from functional mushrooms, many prefer supplements based solely on fruiting bodies.

Mushroom supplements vs. traditional mushroom tea

Some people still favour traditional Chinese herbalists. In these cases, we are often asked whether our mushroom supplements are as effective as the mushroom tea used in traditional Chinese medicine.

In summary, both forms have their unique advantages, and the choice depends on individual circumstances. However, it’s worth noting that mushroom supplements generally offer a higher concentration of active compounds compared to traditional tea preparations.

Furthermore, they are more convenient to consume, free from unpleasant tastes, and save a significant amount of time – you don’t have to spend hours preparing tea.

How should you take mushroom supplements?

how to take functional mushroom supplements

General guidelines for taking mushroom supplements are as follows:

  • Do not exceed the recommended dosage on the package.
  • Take the capsules with water to facilitate absorption and digestion.
  • Take the supplements consistently at the same time, preferably with food.
  • Monitor side effects and stop if you experience nausea, upset digestion, or other problems. Not many side effects are known, but every body is unique and reacts differently.
  • Always choose top-quality and high-quality supplements. Therefore, MushPeak operates with strict quality control and is fully transparent about our ingredients and production processes.

The best way to take (or combine) a mushroom supplement also depends on the specific mushroom(s) you are taking. When in doubt, always seek the advice of an expert.

Ready to buy your functional mushroom supplement?

Do you know which mushroom supplement you like? Choose top quality and discover MushPeak’s organic mushroom supplements.

Discover our mushrooms!

 

Disclaimer

Supplements should not be used as a replacement for a diverse diet, a healthy lifestyle, or as a treatment for any medical condition. Keep this product out of the reach of children. If you are ill, pregnant, or in doubt, always consult with your healthcare provider. The information provided on this website is intended for general informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. While traditional Chinese medicine has a history spanning thousands of years and has been tested on numerous individuals, MushPeak does not make claims indicating the proven medicinal properties of herbs or mushrooms, in accordance with current EU legislation. Detailed information about mushrooms is available from publicly accessible sources on the Internet. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

References

  1. Fang K., Yunfei G., Weihao W., Yuxia M., Longkui C., Xuetuan W., Hang X., Xian W. (2023). A review of Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides: health benefit, structure-activity relationship, modification, and nanoparticle encapsulation. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. 243. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2023.125199
  2. Venturella G., Ferraro V., Cirlincione F., & Gargano M.L. (2021). Medicinal Mushrooms: Bioactive Compounds, Uses, and Clinical Trials. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 22(2):634. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22020634
  3. Younis N.A. (2020). Online Survey for Patient Outcomes on Hericium Erinaceous Mushroom. Pharmacognosy Journal. 12(3):519-525. https://doi.org/10.5530/pj.2020.12.79
  4. Spelman K., Sutherland, E., & Bagade, A. (2017). Neurological Activity of Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus). Journal of Restorative Medicine. 6(1). https://doi.org/10.14200/jrm.2017.6.0108
  5. Pallav K., Dowd S.E., Villafuerte J., Yang X., Kabbani T., Hansen J., Dennis M., Leffler D.A., Newburg D.S., & Kelly C.P. (2014). Effects of polysaccharopeptide from Trametes versicolor and amoxicillin on the gut microbiome of healthy volunteers: a randomized clinical trial. Gut Microbes. 5(4):458-67. doi: 10.4161/gmic.29558.
  6. Lee C.T., Huang K.S., Shaw J.F., Chen J.R., Kuo W.S., Shen G., Grumezescu A.M., Holban A.M., Wang Y.T., Wang J.S., Hsiang Y.P., Lin Y.M., Hsu H.H., & Yang C.H. (2020). Trends in the Immunomodulatory Effects of Cordyceps militaris: Total Extracts, Polysaccharides and Cordycepin. Front. Pharmacol. 11:575704. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2020.575704
  7. Abugomaa A., Elbadawy M., Ishihara Y., Yamamoto H., Kaneda M., Yamawaki H., Shinohara Y., Usui T., & Sasaki K. (2023). Anti-cancer activity of Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) against dog bladder cancer organoids. Front. Pharmacol. 14:1159516. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2023.1159516
  8. Jayachandran, M., Xiao, J., & Xu, B. (2017). A Critical Review on Health Promoting Benefits of Edible Mushrooms through Gut Microbiota. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 18(9), 1934. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18091934
  9. Wa Chan S., Tomlinson B., Chan P., & Wai Kei Lam C. (2021) The beneficial effects of Ganoderma lucidum on cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk. Pharmaceutical Biology. 59:1, 1159-1169, DOI: 10.1080/13880209.2021.1969413
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