Medicinal mushroom supplements may be our new well-being secret weapon. The fact that mushroom supplements are straightforward is one of the main reasons why people are trying them.
The best mushroom supplements are exactly what they sound like: a combination of extracts from various mushrooms, occasionally combined with vitamins and minerals for added benefits. These may seem too good to be true because they guarantee an improvement in your mood, a boost to your immune system, and healthy antioxidants.
But do mushroom supplements work? These supplements typically contain mushrooms that are distinct from the ones you consume. Many of the advantages originate from fungi that have been used for medicinal purposes in the East for a long time, including Reishi, Cordyceps, Lion's mane, Maitake, Chaga, and Turkey tail.
Below we will talk about are mushroom supplements good for you and if they really work!
What Are Mushroom Supplements?
For thousands of years, Eastern medicine has used mushrooms. However, in modern times, people who want to use them to address health issues typically turn to supplements.
Mushroom supplements are powders or extracts produced from different types of functional fungi.
They come in various forms, including powders, capsules, liquid extracts, teas, coffees, mouthwashes, gummies, and occasionally in combination with other goods like CBD. While some supplements combine extracts from several different types of mushrooms, others only contain extracts from one particular kind of mushroom.
Most mushroom supplements can be divided into two groups: mushroom extracts and dried and ground whole mushroom powder. All the nutrients and bioactive substances from the entire mushroom life cycle, including the fruiting bodies and mycelium, are present in the whole mushroom powder.
A standardized dose of one of the bioactive ingredients in mushrooms, like beta-glucan polysaccharides, is typically present in extracts. After being taken from the mushroom in hot water or alcohol, the desired component may be packaged in liquid or dried and sold as an extract powder.
There are several ways to incorporate mushroom supplements into your daily wellness routine easily:
1. Mushroom powder:
This is typically sold in plastic canisters or resealable pouches. When consuming loose powder mixtures, add a scoop to your favorite beverage or use them in your cooking.
2. Mushroom tinctures:
Liquid extracts are frequently sold in dropper bottles, making it simple to add a few drops to a broth, a bowl of soup, or other liquid.
3. Mushroom capsules:
For ease and convenience, mushroom powder blends are also available in capsule form.
4. Finished mushroom products:
Exotic broth mixes and ready-to-use beverages that are reformulated with water contain extracts and flavorful mushroom powder blends along with other ingredients.
Now, do mushroom supplements really work? Let's look at what we know so far!
Mushroom Supplements: Do They Work?
Considering medicinal mushroom supplements are all the rage right now, it is natural to question: do mushroom supplements actually work.
Taking whole mushrooms has many health advantages. They are low in calories, fat, and nutrients like sodium and sugar, which experts advise us to limit. They also give us access to various nutrients we would not otherwise have. So, adding mushrooms to your diet is a pretty fantastic idea.
The different benefits of these supplements come from various kinds of medicinal mushrooms, which is why mushroom supplements are so great. Supplements from mushrooms provide the same low-calorie nutrition as the related mushroom species.
Their antioxidants can assist in preventing damage brought on by oxidative stress by balancing free radicals. Beta-glucan polysaccharides may help the body's immune system and inflammatory response. In addition, functional mushroom supplements' prebiotic fiber promotes the development of various bacterial species in the gut.
Benefits Of Mushroom Supplements
Chaga, Lion's mane, Cordyceps, Reishi, Maitake, and Turkey tail are some medicinal mushrooms primarily used in powders, capsules, and other supplements. Here are the health benefits of each of these functional fungi.
Lion's mane mushroom
Lion's mane is abundant in numerous compounds, including beta-glucans, that modulate the immune system and are neuroprotective.
Hericenones and erinacines, found in Lion's mane, may help stimulate Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) synthesis in nerve cells, according to in vitro research(1).
Additional research on older adults(2) with mild memory issues who took Lion's Mane extract had better brain function than those who did not consume the mushroom. This suggests that the lion's mane mushroom is an incredible aid to sound mental health and may even promote neurogenesis.
Chaga has been researched for its potential use in treating stomach and skin conditions. Pre-clinical studies point to several promising health advantages, including a high antioxidant content, critical anti-microbial compounds, immune and digestive support, inflammation control, and adaptogenic properties.
Reishi mushrooms contain polysaccharides linked to immune function; that can significantly support the immune system. Additionally, it can support lung health, promote calmness and restful sleep, lessen occasional anxiety and restlessness, and promote stable blood sugar levels.
Turkey tail mushroom
Turkey tail contains protein-bound polysaccharides (PBP), which have been shown to have the most potent immune-supportive effects. When used alone or in combination with herbs that work synergistically, these PBP compounds can improve immunity(3).
Preliminary studies in humans, animals, and test tubes show that Cordyceps supports normal inflammatory and immune markers levels. The mushroom may also have hormone-regulating properties linked to(4) improvements in sperm health and libido (in women) in studies.
Maitake(5) mushrooms help the immune system function by promoting the immune system's lymphocytes, monocytes, natural killer cells, and T-helper cells. Additionally, it supports stable blood pressure levels.
Are Mushroom Supplements Safe?
It is impossible to make a generalized opinion about the safety of supplements due to the diversity of mushrooms in them. Nevertheless, a high-quality mushroom supplement is most likely safe to consume in recommended dosages. Based on the available research, we can say that medicinal mushroom supplements, like Reishi, Chaga, Lion's mane, Turkey tail, Cordyceps, and Maitake, don't lead to profound side effects.
Make sure your mushroom supplement is made with premium, organic mushrooms that are grown following stringent safety and purity guidelines. Choose a company that oversees the entire cultivation and production cycle and submits its goods for third-party certification.
Consult your doctor before trying any mushroom supplements, especially if you have a medical condition. Some of them may cause medication interactions, lower blood pressure, or blood sugar.
How Soon Do Mushroom Supplements Start Working?
Some supplements work best when taken daily, while others can be taken occasionally. The mushroom supplement's benefits gradually support your body's optimal functioning over time, typically after two to three weeks.
The recommended dosage of bioactive compounds and nutrients can be obtained daily with as little as 2000 mg (or one teaspoonful) of high-quality mushroom powder or three capsules. However, taking two doses every day for the first few weeks might help your body adapt even more quickly.
Is Mushroom Powder Or Capsules Better?
Mushroom capsules are better for those who want to incorporate the benefits of the mushroom fuss-free, on the go, and without the taste of functional fungi. Powders can be your choice if you don't mind the taste of the mushroom
What Are The Side Effects Of Mushroom Supplements?
Medicinal mushroom supplements are generally well tolerated when taken as advised. However, some people may experience digestive upset, dryness of the mouth and nose, and itchiness. They can also potentially interfere with your blood pressure and sugar-lowering medication.
Should You Take Mushroom Supplements On An Empty Stomach?
Mushroom supplements can be taken on an empty stomach or with meals. However, if you are new to functional mushrooms, they may cause digestive issues. If you notice any problems, switch to a post-meal routine.
A simple and convenient way to access the power of functional mushroom superfoods is through supplements. Various mushroom species provide different ways to support your health and wellness goals, each with its unique qualities and shared benefits.
But do mushroom supplements really work? The evidence says they do. However, factors like the quality of the mushroom supplements and consistency of use also determine their effectiveness. And remember to talk to your wellness expert before starting any form of supplements, including mushrooms!
- Neurotrophic Properties of the Lion's Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia, (1)https://www.dl.begellhouse.com/journals/708ae68d64b17c52,034eeb045436a171,750a15ad12ae25e9.html
Neurological Activity of Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus),
Immunomodulatory effects of Yun Zhi and Danshen capsules in health subjects—a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study,
- Review of Naturopathy of Medical mushroom, Ophiocordyceps sinensis, in sexual Dysfunction, (4)https://www.phcogrev.com/article/2016/10/19/1041030973-7847176566
- Effect of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) D-Fraction on the Control of the T Lymph Node Th-1/Th-2 Proportion, (5)https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/bpb/25/4/25_4_536/_article