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Mushroom Extracts vs Mushroom Powders

We wanted to take a deep dive here and discuss the importance of mushroom extracts vs. mushroom powders and break down the difference between both. There are many mushroom supplements out there and quite a lot of misinformation floating around, so sometimes it can be overwhelming knowing what to choose. We hope that this mini-guide helps you on your quest for health!

Mushroom powders are generally just dehydrated and ground-up mushrooms. The problem with mushroom powders is that they have not been through an extraction process that gives our bodies access to the water-soluble and non-water-soluble benefits found in medicinal mushrooms. Mushrooms must be extracted by either hot water or dual-extraction (hot water and alcohol) to make their medicinal and nutritional compounds available to the human body. The fungal cell is made up of chitin, which is the same tough substance that makes crustacean shells. Humans lack the chitinase enzyme that digests chitin, so most mushrooms we eat as food end up as insoluble fibre, which is beneficial for the gut, but the medicinal compounds we're after end up locked inside this chitin cell wall! 

How do we access these compounds? Hot water extraction is best for water-soluble compounds such as beta-glucans; this method melts away the chitin and releases the therapeutic polysaccharides for absorption. Alcohol extraction is best for non-water soluble compounds such as triterpenes, which cannot be extracted using hot water alone. Dual-extraction uses the concentrates from both the hot water extraction and alcohol extraction, making both the beta-glucans and triterpenes available for absorption. Not all mushrooms need to be dual-extracted, and in some cases, it can be detrimental! These liquid extracts are then concentrated and finally dried into an extract powder.

The best way to check if your medicinal mushroom product is an extract is to check the ingredients list. Does it just say mushroom powder? If so, then you will not be able to obtain any of its medicinal compounds, and it'll be pretty useless nutritionally. The best things to look out for on an ingredients list is 'extract' and 'dual-extract' and the mushroom extraction ratio. For example, a 10:1 extract would mean it took 10 lbs of mushrooms to make 1 lb of extract. Another thing to look out for is which part of the mushroom is the extract from; it should be listed as 'fruiting body' so we know its from the mushroom itself rather than mycelium! Mycelium is a lot cheaper to produce and lacks nutritional potency compared to the fruiting body. 

Transparency is key; if you are unsure about a supplement you are about to buy don’t be afraid to ask questions! All of our mushrooms are organic and go through a thorough extraction process to ensure that all of their magical benefits are readily available for absorption. We proudly work with one of Europe's leading medicinal mushroom suppliers, who are pioneers in high-quality extracts.

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