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Do Mushroom Supplements Work?

mushroom supplements

Mushrooms are a popular health food choice. But not everyone likes the taste of mushrooms – whether you’re considering trying lion’s mane, reishi, shiitake, changa, turkey tail, or reishi mushrooms. Mushrooms can also be difficult to cook with and expensive.

If including mushrooms in your meals is inconvenient, you may prefer a mushroom supplement. But do mushroom supplements work? Find out if they are the right choice for your health needs.

Mushroom Benefits

Mushrooms are a popular health food because they are low in carbohydrates, fat, calories, and sodium. They are also cholesterol-free. They are rich in potassium, vitamin D, protein, fiber, niacin, riboflavin, and selenium.

The unique funguses are packed with antioxidants. They are known to have antidiabetic, anticancer, antiviral, and immune-boosting properties. They are beneficial in reducing oxidative stress.

Whole Mushrooms vs. Mushroom Extracts

Ask any expert about supplement benefits, and they will tell you it’s typically better to eat whole food than an extract. So how do mushrooms measure up?

Making a mushroom extract involves taking a ground mushroom and separating beneficial compounds to yield a concentrated product. Dual extraction is preferred because it uses alcohol and water extraction to obtain more beta glucans and secondary metabolites. Resulting water-soluble compounds like polysaccharides are mixed with alcohol-soluble end products like terpenoids to create a more potent extract.

Whole mushrooms do not undergo extraction. They are either eaten whole or ground down into a mushroom powder.

Mushroom extract provides a more concentrated dose of beta-glucans and secondary metabolites than whole mushrooms. For example, a cordyceps mushroom extract will contain more cordyceps than whole mushrooms. The chemical is a known anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and immune-boosting agent.

Additionally, supplements made with an extract may be a better source of vitamin D than whole mushrooms.

Mushrooms contain ergosterol which can be transformed into vitamin D with ultraviolet light exposure. However, most store-bought mushrooms are stored in dark places and lose their vitamin D potency. Supplement manufacturers can fortify their supplements with vitamin D to make them a better nutritional source.

So are extracts a better choice? Not necessarily.

Whole mushrooms tend to have a broader spectrum of nutrients, including prebiotic fiber that benefits digestion. They also contain higher levels of B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Overall, they are a better source of balanced nutrients.

Most supplements are made with a mushroom extract or various mushroom extracts. However, there are some mushroom powder supplements made from whole mushrooms.

Do Mushroom Supplements Work?

There may be some discussion regarding mushroom supplement’s efficacy. But most contain vitamins and minerals that benefit health. However, you must take a high-quality supplement regularly to experience its effects.

How Long Does It Take Mushroom Supplements to Work?

The time it takes mushroom supplements to work will vary depending on the quality and type of the supplement, the dose, and how often you take it. A daily dose of 2 g (about one teaspoon) of high-quality whole mushroom powder or a comparable dose of supplement capsules provides benefits in two to three weeks.

You may consider increasing your dose in the early stages to help your body adapt faster, but you should speak to a medical professional before proceeding.

So, do mushroom supplements work? The answer is yes, provided you take the recommended dose of quality products. Choose a brand with good reviews that performs lab testing to ensure you get effective results. To discover which mushroom is right for you, read about selecting the best mushroom supplement.