How To Avoid Hidden Nasties In Your Mushroom Supplements & Choose A Quality Product

What To Look For When Buying Lion’s Mane Mushroom (Or Any!) Mushroom Products

Medicinal mushrooms like lion’s mane are popular supplements because of their unique antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and energising effects. 

Want better brain health? Need more mental clarity and focus? Looking to give your gut some support? Want to give your immune system a boost? 

You got it. Mushrooms are the answer. 

The benefits of medicinal mushrooms mean that more and more people are catching on. But this newfound popularity also means that there are a lot of lower quality options popping up on the market. 

So how do you know which to choose? And does quality really matter that much anyway? 

In this blog, we’ll give you all the information you need to be able to identify only the best quality medicinal mushrooms - and avoid the nasties in cheaper alternatives. 

If you’re looking for mushroom supplements that will give you real, natural results, you need to choose carefully. 


Why You Need To Pick Your Mushroom Products Carefully

When you start to look for medicinal mushroom products, you’ll notice just how many options are out there. That can be a little overwhelming. 

Which should you choose? Do you go for price? Expensive or cheap? Or do you go for quantity? Neither. Quality is what matters most. 

You see, not all mushroom supplements are created equal.

It’s sad, but in the mushroom industry, some businesses are more focused on making quick money even if that means giving you a low quality and ineffective product. In attempting to cut costs, companies like this will compromise on product quality. 

And the worst part? They won’t even be transparent about what you’re getting. You’ll think you’re getting a quality mushroom supplement when in actual fact it’s packed full of fillers and poor quality fungi. 

Some brands are focused on getting the newest, hottest product live and on sale as fast as possible, but they can only do that by cutting corners. That means poorer quality products for you.  

If you want to improve your health and use the natural power of mushrooms like lion’s mane to do it, then you need to be sure you’re getting exactly what you think you’re paying for. 

We want everyone to be educated on what to look for so you always know you’re getting the best for your body. So, how can you make sure you’re only getting a good grade of medicinal mushrooms? 

Signs Of Unreliable Mushroom Supplements

When you start to shop for your mushrooms supplements you have to play detective. Hunt down the best products, scrutinise the ingredients and pin down exactly what’s inside the capsules you’ll be consuming. 

Luckily, there are some obvious signs to look out for when you’re buying your mushroom supplements. 

The first place to look at is the description a company gives of their mushrooms. If you see the words ‘proprietary blend’, take a pause. Essentially, these words mean that the company doesn’t want to share what mushroom mix they use and they’re legally protected by using this wording. 

When you’re trying to decide whether to buy, ‘proprietary blend’ doesn’t give you much to go on. You won’t know the active ingredients, the ingredient ratios or the number of fillers added. 

Bottom line? Avoid the proprietary blends and continue your search.

When it comes to what’s inside your mushroom supplements, find out if you’re getting 100% mushroom or not. If you’re shopping for lion’s mane, you want to see the words “100% lion’s mane fruiting body”. That’s the part that really offers incredible results. 

What’s The Difference Between Cheap & Quality Mushroom Products?

The biggest difference between a low-quality and high-quality mushroom product is the growing process and how much mushroom you’re actually getting because of how it’s grown. 

You want supplements that contain 100% fruited mushrooms and not mycelium grown on grain. 

Here’s why.

There are two main methods for growing mushrooms like Lion’s Mane:

  1. You grow and harvest the mushroom fruiting bodies
  2. You grow mycelium over sterilised grain, which is known as mycelium on grain

Carefully Cultured Fruiting Body Mushrooms 

When a brand uses method one above they allow the fungi to go through its full growing cycle (like a baby coming to full term), yielding the final fruiting mushroom. You would recognise a fully fruited mushroom because that’s when they appear up out of the ground and take on a definite mushroom-y look. 

It’s the fully fruited mushroom that we want in our supplements (and we’ll get on to why in a second). 

On top of this, fully fruited mushrooms are grown on wood, which is a mushroom’s favourite buffet. So, not only are you getting the full mushroom in its adult form. You’re also getting mushrooms that have been happily thriving on their favourite food, making them even richer in the medicinal compounds that are going to benefit you.


You Can Have Fast or Effective 

When a brand uses method two they are using only a part of the very beginnings of the mushroom. This method only cultivates the mycelium, which is basically the root stage of the growth cycle. 

The cheaper mushroom products often use this method because it’s much quicker, but in the end, you’re only getting trace amounts of the mushroom’s first shoots, not its final gully grown fruit. Add on to this the fact that it’s grown in rice grain you’re also getting more starch than the actual beneficial substances. 

But Why Are Fully Fruited Mushroom Products Better?

Well, it comes down to the science. There are more studies proving the usefulness of fully fruited, 100% mushroom lion’s mane supplements. The full fruit of a mushroom is shown to contain more beta-glucans than mycelium on grain, which is more of the good stuff for you. 

Although businesses try to produce their lower quality mycelium on grain faster and in higher quantities, they’re also cutting out most of the beta-glucans and potent chemical compounds. The end result? A cheaper, faster mushroom supplement that might not bring you the results you want. 

What To Avoid

Now you know what you want to look for in your medicinal mushroom products, but what should you be avoiding?

  • Ingredients: If you see the words “added grains” or “cultured on oats” then this means the brand has used method two and this is not a 100% fruited mushroom supplement. Similarly, if it includes mycelium biomass that usually means your mushrooms are lab-grown.

    Bonus tip - check the colour of the supplements you want to buy. They should be dark in colour and rich-looking. Pale or white supplement powder indicates that it’s grown on grain.

  • Fillers and bulking: Common fillers to avoid are dextrose and maltodextrin, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide or microcrystalline cellulose. These are added purely to help with manufacturing.
  • Artificial colours: Red 40, Blue 2 and Yellow 5 dyes have been connected to risks of cancer and other disorders.

  • Heavy metals: If mushrooms are not grown in a safe, clean environment they can contain toxic pollutants which can be passed on to you without you knowing. It’s important to know where your mushroom supplements are grown to avoid this.

  • Gelatin: This is not veggie or vegan friendly as it contains beef or pork.

  • Low-quality capsules: Our capsules are made of Pullulan, which is made from fermented tapioca which is gluten-free, organic, kosher, starch-free and naturally vegan. Handily, these capsules also protect your supplement from degradation. 


Mushroom Powder Or Extract?

You know you need 100% fruited mushroom products, but which is better - mushroom powder or mushroom extract?

You want to find the medicinal mushroom supplements that are extract, not powder. The difference comes from the process, just like with the fruited vs. grain problem.

A mushroom extract takes the fruiting bodies and puts them through a process involving alcohol called dual extraction (using alcohol is proven to have better results than water here). The mushrooms are boiled and broken down making the beneficial medicinal compounds available for your body to digest. 

In powders, the mushroom is simply ground into a powder, which skips the vital step where the active compounds are actually unlocked. 

Your body would need to work harder to get any benefit from a powder, whereas an extract hands over all the goodness on a silver platter.

Where Can You Get 100% Lion’s Mane Extract Supplements?

Here at Twenty-Two, we know our lion’s mane supplements are grown in the very best conditions, are harvested in controlled environments and are extracted to perfection. This leaves you with a medicinal mushroom supplement you can trust for your body and health. 

If you’d like to learn more about Lion’s Mane supplements, their ingredients, the growing process or the benefits they can bring you visit our product page here.

Want to find out more about mushrooms? Check out our latest articles to get all the dirt on fungi and discover everything you need to know about mushrooms...

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