The world of mushroom extracts can be overwhelming. You could walk into a health store and see a wide array of options available in various brands and forms. It may be confusing to know what to look for, let alone which mushroom is the right one to pick!
This might also come as a shock to you, but… not all functional mushroom extracts are created equally and, therefore, have the same potency.
In this blog, we dive deep and explore the key factors to consider when selecting the right mushroom extract, ensuring you make an informed decision for your well-being.
Despite the name, DIRTEA mushrooms are the cleanest, purest and most potent! So, yes, there is no nasty/dirt in your mushroom extract, which is why our quality is of the highest standards.
1. RESEARCH YOUR FUNCTIONAL MUSHROOM SPECIES
Understanding your reason for searching for the right mushroom extract is key. Before delving into the world of mushroom extracts, clearly define your wellness objectives.
Most functional mushrooms contain high amounts of the same vitamins and minerals, but they also offer diverse health benefits, and each species has its unique set of properties. Our mushrooms include:
- Reishi is mainly known for supporting immune health and for its calming effects, which may promote better sleep
- Lion’s Mane is recognised for its potential brain-boosting properties and possibility to enhance focus
- Chaga is believed to provide a natural boost of energy and support immunity due to the vast amounts of antioxidants it contains
- Cordyceps is often used for energy improvement and exercise performance
- Tremella is known for its ability to hydrate the skin, and encourage the natural production of collagen
2. CONSIDER THE EXTRACTION PROCESS
The extraction process of functional mushrooms is crucial in order to unearth the real benefits hidden inside. Our bodies cannot break down and absorb all nutrients from mushrooms that are raw or cooked.(1) Common methods of extraction include hot water extraction, alcohol extraction, and dual extraction. At DIRTEA, we use a dual extraction process, which combines both hot water and alcohol extraction. It is preferred as it captures a broad spectrum of beneficial compounds from the mushrooms.
3. CHECK WHETHER IT IS 100% FRUITING BODY OF A MUSHROOM
The fruiting body of a functional mushroom contains the highest level of beneficial compounds. As functional mushrooms are expensive to grow and cultivate, many brands opt for using parts of the mycelium along with some of the fruiting body. At DIRTEA, our mushrooms are from 100% fruiting bodies. One of the most notable benefits of the fruiting body is that it contains the highest amounts of beta-glucans. Beta-glucans are a type of polysaccharide, a complex sugar found in the cell walls of mushrooms. Beta-glucans are known for their immune-modulating properties.
4. ORGANIC PRODUCE
Like any fruit or vegetable, organic is always preferred. And mushrooms are no exception. If your mushroom is not organic, it may contain contaminants or toxins. Organic mushroom extracts are cultivated without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or fertilisers. An article from The Guardian, explains that organic food has more antioxidant compounds linked to better health than regular food and lower levels of toxic metals and pesticides, according to the most comprehensive scientific analysis to date.(2)
5. WILD HARVESTING WHERE POSSIBLE
Mushrooms have evolved in their natural habitats, adapting to various environmental conditions. Some proponents believe that this natural resilience translates into a broader spectrum of bioactive compounds, potentially offering more robust health benefits. (3) More importantly, mushrooms want to be picked at the right time as this helps them spread their spores. When the conditions are right, they will grow and once matured, harvesting can begin. Patience is key. Mushrooms like Chaga, which mature out of birch trees under extreme conditions in cold climates like Siberia, can take anything up to 7 years to mature before they can be harvested.
So, as you see, not all mushroom extracts are the same. Choosing the right functional mushroom extract is a pivotal step toward integrating the magic of these fungi into your daily routine. As you embark on this journey, keep these steps in mind to ensure you're selecting a product that aligns with your wellness goals.
- Patel, D.K., Dutta, S.D., Ganguly, K., Cho, S.-J., and Lim, K.-T. (2021) ‘Mushroom-Derived Bioactive Molecules as Immunotherapeutic Agents: A Review’. Molecules 26, pp.1359. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051359
- The Guardian(2014) Clear differences between organic and non-organic food, study finds. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/11/organic-food-more-antioxidants-study (Accessed:5 October 2023)
- Procházka, P., Soukupová, J., Mullen, K.J., Tomšík, K. Jr., and Čábelková, I. (2023) ‘Wild Mushrooms as a Source of Protein: A Case Study from Central Europe, Especially the Czech Republic’. Foods. 12(5), pp.934. doi: 10.3390/foods12050934.