Benefits of mushroom supplements
By Jen Weinhardt, Director of Research and Development at True Grace
Mushrooms are becoming increasingly popular in healthy circles, but they can also be a little confusing. You might wonder: Are they the trippy kind of mushrooms? Can I cook with them? Do I eat them raw? Which mushroom is good for what? What’s the best way to get these mushrooms? So many questions. So little time.
So let’s answer some.
Are they the trippy kind of mushrooms?
Short answer: no. The mushrooms that are becoming more widely available (and used in things like “mushroom coffee”) are in the medicinal mushroom category, not the psychedelic category of mushrooms. The difference? Psychedelic mushrooms like psilocybin have been making waves in the media recently as they are beginning to be studied in clinical trials. Ultimately though, they’re not legal right now. Medicinal mushrooms, on the other hand, are legal and provide many health-supporting benefits. Think of them as superfoods.*
In fact, these mushrooms have been used for over 2,000 years as powerful superfoods, and thanks to modern technology and clinical trials, we now understand the compounds within these mushrooms that deliver their benefits.
Are they culinary mushrooms?
Yes and no. Your typical culinary mushrooms, like white button and portobello mushrooms, can provide some benefits (like delivering vitamins, minerals, and fiber), but they don’t always provide the additional active compounds that medicinal mushrooms do.
Some medicinal mushrooms can also be considered culinary and are great on salads, pizza, or sauteed by themselves. For example, Lion’s Mane, a type of medicinal mushroom that can also be considered a culinary mushroom, contains compounds called “hericenones” and “erinacines” that have been shown to stimulate nerve growth factor in the brain.*
Other medicinal mushrooms, like Cordyceps, are not great on salads, and would best be consumed as a supplement.* And even for those medicinal mushrooms that can be cooked or eaten raw, it can be difficult to know exactly how much of important active compounds you’re consuming—so supplements are an ideal way to get your daily dose.*
Which mushroom is good for what?
There are too many types of medicinal mushrooms to touch on here (unless you’ve got 10 straight hours to devote to reading), but these are some of the most popular ones that are well supported by a growing body of research.
- Reishi contains compounds called “triterpenes” that have been shown to support cellular health. These same compounds have been clinically studied to support blood sugar health. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Reishi is known to preserve human vitality and promote longevity.*
- Shiitake is a popular medicinal mushroom that can also be considered culinary. Beta glucans in Shiitake have shown beneficial effects on immune support. (Beta glucans are perhaps the most famous health-promoting compound in medicinal mushrooms.) Shiitake has been cultivated in Japan for thousands of years as a food and medicine.*
- Chaga has been studied for its ability to support digestive health as well as reduce oxidative stress.*
- Turkey Tail has been used in China and Japan for many years to support endurance and longevity. Extracts from Turkey Tail have been shown in clinical trials to support cellular health.*
- Maitake, known in Japan as “the dancing mushroom,” is recognized for its ability to balance bodily functions and enhance overall wellness.*
- As mentioned previously, Lion’s Mane has been shown to support cognitive health. Other studies indicate it can also support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.*
- Lastly, Cordyceps is known for its ability to support energy and endurance. An active compound in Cordyceps, known as cordycepin, helps improves circulation.*
What’s the best way to get these mushrooms?
True Grace offers fruiting body extracts of the mushrooms discussed above in at least one of our four mushroom products. The “fruiting body” (typically the stem, cap, and gills of the mushroom) contains the highest concentration of active compounds. The other major part of the mushroom is the “mycelium” (root-like strands).
You can learn more about why fruiting bodies are so special in this blog post by renowned mushroom expert Jme Bonfiglio.
Here’s a quick snapshot of what True Grace USDA certified organic mushroom extracts are all about.
We start with mushrooms that are:
- Grown on farms and hand-harvested at their peak
- Grown on their preferred natural food source
We turn those mushrooms into extracts that:
- Contain guaranteed levels of active compounds
- Come exclusively from the fruiting body, never mycelium
- Contain no grain, no added starch, and no fillers
- Are tested for purity, potency, and identity by a third party, Alkemist Labs
Resources available upon request.