When someone finally understands how important mushrooms are to their well being, whether they are trying to overcome a health issue, or they just want to safeguard themselves from illness, being extra picky about their mushroom supplements is more important than any other food or supplements they may want to add to their arsenal for good health. Various factors when choosing which supplement and what kind etc. will spell out exactly how it will work for you, to what extent, and even if it will work at all. You can even go on to say that choosing poorly in your mushroom supplement can harm your health and work against the reasons you have decided to take them in the first place! Make sure to follow this check list carefully when you are deciding on your mushroom supplements.
It can seem fairly obvious nowadays to suggest to choose only organic supplements, and any other food you want to ingest for that matter, but for mushroom supplements, it is of major importance. Many foods have a shell or skin that you can peel away and discard that protects you somewhat from the chemicals and pesticides that are sprayed to protect them. Unfortunately with most mushrooms, since you can eat every part of them, even the root system called mycelium, the mushroom in its entirety can soak in the dangerous chemicals transferring them directly to you. That is why it is vital to choose only organically certified mushroom supplements. Many mushroom supplements contain the mycelium to add extra nutrients that you may not get with limiting yourself to just the fruiting body of the mushroom. However if pollutants from the air or water surrounding the mushrooms are contaminated or sprayed with pesticides, these dangerous chemicals can be passed directly into the root system and fed to not only the rest of the mushrooms, but to the unsuspecting consumer as well. Mushrooms more than any other supplement are a direct reflection of the quality of environment in which they were grown. Buy only organic.
2) Grown in the USA
"My mushrooms supplement was grown in China, but the label says they are organic so it is okay, right?"
NO! Natural forms imported from China come with many risks that make purchasing cheaper mushrooms not worth it. Even though they spread propaganda saying wild harvested mushrooms are better, most consumers are not aware of the many dangers of consuming mushroom products that are not developed in the United States. For example when purchasing cordyceps, when a Caterpillar dies from an infection from Cordyceps sinensis, many molds and forms of candida, bacteria and protozoa are often also present. When mushrooms are growing under laboratory conditions however, quality is assured. Furthermore, don't forget that the quality of the mushrooms grown under laboratory conditions are far superior from the specimens harvested in the wild because of the natural chaos of nature, there is no way to predict the nutritional value or ensure a consistency like you can in a laboratory. To make matters even more risky, unethical yet crafty exporters from other countries have implanted lead wires into wild mushrooms to increase the weight of their products so they sell for more. This unfortunately caused severe lead poisoning in consumers of the imported mushrooms. Another reason you should only buy American cultured mushrooms is the consistency from using one strain. Since most cordyceps and other medicinal mushrooms on the market are hand-collected by villagers in China and Tibet, many different strains are gathered for exportation so there can be a huge variation in strain and ultimately no consistency in quality, or nutritional value. This means you may very well be wasting your money on a product that does not work. To make matters worse, to prevent invasion from other fungi post-harvest, many bundles of wild mushrooms are treated with fungicides. It is estimated that over 85% of mushrooms are imported from China. If a mushroom supplement is not very expensive, guess where they are getting their mushrooms from? That's right, you guessed it, China. Of course it is much cheaper to buy supplements if the ingredients are of risky origin. The "Organic" seal is only as strong as the government that is enforcing the seal's legitimacy. If a country is corrupt, how often do you think the supposedly organic food is getting inspected, if ever? If a mushroom supplement company is not going out of their way to let you know that they use only American mushrooms then you can assume they are importing from China and you run the very real risk of them being contaminated. Do not waste your money on a supplement that not only does not do what you want, but actually may be harming you.
3) Buy only extracted or heat-treated mushroom products.
Mushrooms must be either heat treated or extracted to have the important and healing constituents made bio-available to the body. The cell walls of the mushroom are made up of a very hard layer that is chitinous, which means the nutrients that do most of the heavy lifting are not digested and pass right through your body without making use of all the benefits they offer. When you go to buy your mushroom supplement, make sure it says right on the package that they are either an extract or heat treated. Many companies just sell the mushrooms in powder form mixed in their products, and since people do not know any better, they end up wasting their money. Don't be fooled by marketing schemes, buy only from Adaptogen Superfoods, an American company that cares.
4) A Mushroom Blend
When considering which mushroom is right for your particular situation, consider the fact that mushrooms work far better together than by themselves. The have a synergy that seems to compound their efficacy. Many researchers are coming to the conclusion that, to increase your body's natural responses and to strengthen the immune system, a spectrum of polysaccharides and medicinal mushroom supplement constituents are more effective than just the constituents of just one kind of mushroom supplement. The constituents may increase the number of macrophages, killer T & NK (natural killer) cells and lymphocytes and also stimulate their activity levels. Using a number of medicinal mushroom species sends the immune system more stimuli, awakening natural defenses in the body. Since each mushroom species has a unique amalgam of macro-sugars, and the course of decomposition of these sugars results in sub-derivatives that are particular to each mushroom. This results in the activation of a broader array of receptor sites in the immune system, much more than if just one species of medicinal mushroom was used. So when shopping for the perfect mushroom supplement, go for a blend!
5) Full Spectrum Mycoproduct
Full Spectrum Mycoproducts are the complete fungal material with all the biologically active constituents, including the fruitbodies, mycelium, primordia, and the extracellular compounds produced throughout the whole life cycle of the organism. These extracellular compounds (compounds that are excreted outside of the cell and into the surrounding environment) are responsible for the main nourishing and medicinal properties known from the fungal kingdom. This includes all the antiviral properties, antifungal properties, antibiotic properties, and all the other important compounds that the fungus produces to give itself advantages over the surrounding microbes and bacteria in this highly competitive environment in which they are growing. These secondary metabolites have opened up the frontiers of medicine, with such unbelievable breakthroughs as cholesterol lowering drugs and even antibiotics. Research is still in its beginning stages with mushrooms even though they have been used as medicine and superfoods for hundreds of years. That is why it is important to use the whole food, and use a full spectrum mycoproduct. Who knows what amazing, nourishing, and functional compounds we are still waiting to be discovered in the many stages of life of the medicinal fungi. Don't limit yourself to just one part of of medicinal mushrooms, buy a full spectrum blend that contains all of the wonderful and nutritious constituents and compounds that are inside, waiting to be discovered.
6) Powder or capsule?
Whether you are a pill-popper or a smoothie maker, there are advantages to both ways of ingesting your mushroom supplement. I don't need to go on about the convenience of just taking your mushroom supplement in the form of a capsule. A problem is cost. Capsules are generally a lot more expensive than buying your mushrooms in powder form. Additionally, when you start using your mushrooms in powder form, more ways of using them come jumping out of the woodwork. Using your mushroom powder in new ways is fun! You can put them on your favorite food or in many of the beverages you enjoy. Some mushroom enthusiasts really start to savor their taste as an additional twist on your morning coffee or your afternoon matcha as an exciting part of your daily routine. When you link in your mind, all the medicinal and functional properties of your mushroom supplement to the their very pleasing and earthy taste, the satisfaction of ingesting your mushroom powder starts to expand into not only a task you have to accomplish for supporting your well-being, but it becomes an important ritual that you look forward to. You start thinking of all the additional and creative ways you can use it from adding it to your favorite recipe, to sprinkling it over your post workout smoothie, and this process evolves into not only a great way of supporting a healthy body, but it can also give you a calm and confident mindset toward that road to healthier living. Anyone who has ever taken a Tony Robbins seminar or has listened to Dr. Andrew Weil speak on the mind-body connection, knows that the mind and body are linked together and the power of the mind can lead the body to amazing heights and incredible feats. To what height do you you wish to ascend?