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Mycelium Vs. Fruiting Body: Discovering the Benefits of Whole Mushrooms
Dec 09, 22
This article has been vetted by the Onnit Advisory Board. Read more about our editorial process.
Author: Sony Sherpa

Mycelium Vs. Fruiting Body: Discovering the Benefits of Whole Mushrooms

  • by Sony Sherpa
  • |
  • 7 min read

Functional mushrooms have been incorporated into many holistic health practices and used for centuries in traditional eastern herbalism. However, these mushrooms have grown in popularity more recently because they promote mental and physical wellness.

You have probably come across the "mushroom fruiting body vs. mycelium" debate while looking into the advantages of functional fungi and how to use them. But why is this distinction between mushroom mycelium vs. fruiting body crucial?

According to scientific research, the fruiting body of a mushroom has a higher concentration of the majority of the beneficial bioactive compounds than the mycelium does. Usually, when grown in a lab, the mycelium attached to the grain cannot be separated. Most of the extracted compounds when the mycelium is used in an extraction process come from the grain substrate and are not bioactive.

Knowing which part of these fungi you get when you buy a supplement is crucial if you want to benefit from their bio-compounds. Additionally, it can be challenging to determine which products on the market will support your health because so many of them make claims about their ingredients and efficacy.

So, let’s look at mushroom supplements: mycelium vs. fruiting body, which one is better, and how you can make an informed decision while picking out either fruiting body mushroom or mycelium supplements.

Fruiting Bodies Vs. Mycelium

Due to their extensive range of health benefits, mushroom supplements are finally gaining popularity. But not all supplements made from mushrooms are created equal. The mycelium (vegetative body) or the mushroom (fruiting body) is typically present in functional mushroom products.

But we should first consider a mushroom's life cycle to comprehend what constitutes a high-quality mushroom supplement and the hoopla around fruiting body extract vs. mycelium.  

What Is A Mushroom Fruit Body?

What Is A Mushroom Fruit Body?

The mushroom fruit or fruiting body refers to the fungi itself. It is the part of the mushroom that we are all familiar with. It consists of the mushroom's cap, gills, stem, scales, skirt, and volva. The fruiting body is the only part of a mushroom you would buy to put in your typical stroganoff.

What Is Mycelium Of A Mushroom?

Mycelial fibers that support and produce the fruiting body are found below the surface. Since it is the concealed portion of the mushroom structure, the mycelium is unknown to many people. The mushroom mycelium roots emerge from the base of the fruiting body stem in a manner akin to a flower or plant.

The fruiting body releases spores, which grow into mycelium to form a network (almost like roots). The life cycle eventually results in the mycelium producing a pinhead (or primordium), which develops into a whole fresh mushroom.

Mycelium Vs. Fruit Body: How Does This Relate To Mushroom Supplements?

The idea that a mushroom's fruiting body is the only part that has any value is not entirely accurate, although it is the part that is most easily recognized.  And although mycelium can contain minute amounts of beneficial compounds like beta-glucans, their mass is too small to be of significant nutritional value.

Many mycelium extracts are also thought to contain up to 80–90% fillers, typically rice or oat powder, depending on the substrate the mycelium was growing on. Therefore, you can anticipate rice or oats in the supplement because many mycelium extracts are from mushrooms grown on oats or rice.

How To Understand What You're Buying?

How To Understand What You're Buying?

Undoubtedly, it can be very challenging to distinguish between the various medicinal mushroom products that continue to saturate the market. However, according to experts, there are steps you can take to make sure you're getting the most out of your supplementation with medicinal mushrooms.

The label should be read from front to back. Never compromise on this. Make sure the product clearly and specifically lists all of its ingredients. Additionally, highlight goods that disclose the quantity of beta-glucans they contain.

Check the number of carbohydrates or starches on the label to find out how much mycelium is in your mushroom supplements.

Also, consider the smell and taste of any medicinal mushroom products you buy. Genuine medicinal mushroom supplements will smell distinct and rich. Depending on the type of medicinal mushroom, this smell may be earthy, musty, or bitter. It shouldn't have any starch-like odors (for example, cereal or crackers).

Another essential thing to consider is the color of the mushroom powder. It should be dark and rich, as light mushroom powders are almost certainly made of grains.

If the product's manufacturer doesn't give enough details about its contents, it might be considered low-quality. Lack of transparency may also be a big red flag that the product doesn't contain the high-quality mushroom extracts you're looking for. So steer clear of extracts that are vague.

You can buy extracts of both mycelium and fruiting bodies. But instead of mycelium on grain or mycelium and fruiting body combined products, you want to look for pure mushroom fruiting body products.

FAQs

Is The Fruiting Body Made Of Mycelium?

The fruiting body and mycelium are two distinct parts of a mushroom. The fruiting body is the stalk and cap that come to mind when you think of a mushroom, while the mycelium is the underground, root-like portion.

How Long Does Mycelium Live For?

Mycelium can grow indefinitely and spread throughout the ground.

What Is The Best Form Of Lion's Mane To Take?

Lion's mane can be best taken in powder or capsule form. But if you want to whip up a culinary delight, fresh Lion's mane mushrooms can be incorporated into gourmet meals too!

Final Thoughts

Understanding the differences between the fruiting body and the mycelium will enable you to choose a mushroom supplement that best meets your requirements. The bottom line is that, between mycelium vs. fruiting body, the medicinal value is significantly higher when using the mushroom fruiting body rather than the mycelium. Both scientific research and reputable experts in the field agree with this.

And finally? Research is essential—do more research, like you're doing now. Learn more about the products that catch your attention and the benefits of supplements that include medicinal mushrooms. And keep in mind that anything that sounds suspicious or makes wild and fantastic claims about a medicinal mushroom product is probably false.

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