Red Flags! How to Choose a Mushroom Product

One of the troubles with an emerging health trend is that it is difficult to parse out the truth from the disinformation and marketing schemes.  Consumers need to know that most mushroom supplement products on the market are compromised in some way.

It is a matter of educating people on what makes a quality, medicinally efficacious product. Even understanding the role and mechanisms mushrooms play in our lives and bodies.  That is why I produce The Myco Files, a mycology centered news show with a satirical twist. It is critical to educate and entertain to make mycology interesting.  I have been in the international mushroom business since 2016 and a mushroom geek since 2009. I have learned a lot about what makes a quality mushroom product.

Let’s start with a little mycology 101: Fungi are made of two basic parts: the mycelium which is the main body of the organism. Then the mushroom or fruit body which is the reproductive organ of the organism/mycelium.  Different parts means different molecular make up which means different chemical components.

Many “mushroom” products are made from non-extracted mushroom powder which is indigestible and your body cannot access the active beneficial compounds as readily. It’s much better  to find a product that has at least gone through an extraction process like hot water or alcohol. These extraction processes crack the cell wall and release more of the bio available beneficial physiologically active compounds that we want to access.

Other “mushroom” products are made from mycelium on grain or “mycelium biomass”, which means they are mostly starch. That starch comes from the brown rice or oats that the mycelium is grown on.  Mycelium does have active compounds but the amount of those compounds found in these kinds of products is very low. They are usually around 75% starch, 25% mycelium even when extracted because much of the starch is soluble.  You want to find a product that is made from or includes “fruit body extracts” or “whole mushroom extract” to avoid the starch.

Beware of products that brag about their polysaccharide content!  Even though polysaccharides can be beneficial compounds, many “mushroom” products add fillers like maltodextrin which is a starch sugar that tests as Polysaccharides. Beware of products that make claims like “30%, 50%, 70% polysaccharides” here’s the thing: Maltodextrin registers as a polysaccharide in testing! It will only hurt you in the wallet. Maltodextrin is used in the drying process to prevent the machines from getting clogged up. It also helps the mushroom extract not to clump up and get sticky. 

Watch out for products that claim high extract ratios. For example you might see 50:1 or 100:1. These ratios are kind of meaningless when you understand that extracts are standardized to target certain active compounds like Beta glucans, triterpenes, erinacines, and even cordycepin.  The extract ratio is an expression of mass concentration not an expression of potency. 

You want to find a product that has verifiable Beta glucans, this a far better metric for medicinal efficacy than polysaccharides.  Beta glucans from mushrooms are proven immune modulators and anti inflammatories. Between these two functions they can help treat and cure many different chronic conditions. Even if you are not “Sick” , taking quality medicinal and functional mushroom extracts daily will help you feel better, lighter on your feet and have more clean energy throughout the day. Mushrooms elevate your base line feeling, setting a new standard for feeling good.

Lets recap:

-Made from whole dried mushrooms/fruit body

-Raw mushroom powder is indigestible, need to be cooked or extracted

-Look for hot water or alcohol extracted (or both!)

-That has verified Beta glucans content.

-Contains no fillers

-Avoid high rations like 50:1 or 100:1

-Buy Organic!

The word “conventional” is used to describe non-organic mushroom products. 

The phrase "full spectrum" is used to describe myceliated grain, or mycelium biomass


Knowing all that, it was easy for me to develop and formulate a much better quality and much higher potency mushroom extract product.  I started to provide the best possible mushroom product, mushroom geek verified.  My mushroom concentrates powders tick all the boxes and will give you measurable observable visceral results. I chose to provide a water soluble powder to add to your daily beverage routine (coffee, smoothie etc). Rather than capsules or some flavored drink mix. I believe it is important to be able to taste your medicine, so that your tongue can tell your brain what to do with it. 

In the mushroom supplement world things get even more nuanced when you start looking at the different mushroom strains, or kinds of mushrooms. As they are not all created equal. More on that later!

There are a lot of different mushrooms being offered, a lot of language to learn and a lot of bullshit to navigate when you're trying to choose a mushroom supplement that is appropriate for you and your needs. I am here to help you run the obstacle course of choosing the right mushroom product and how to identify the red flags of mushroom supplement claims. Happy Hunting!


Share this post