How to Tell if Your Mushroom Powders Are Good
Medicinal mushrooms and supplements are among the latest natural health and wellness trends to attract people’s attention.
However, using mushroom powders for medicinal purposes is not a new concept. In many Asian cultures, mushrooms have been used for centuries in this way.
In western society, mushrooms have also started to be considered a mainstream supplement.
The sudden interest in mushrooms powders and supplements has led to tremendous growth within the medicinal mushroom industry. Mushroom supplements have become much easier to find as a result and are now standard in most health food stores as well as for sale online.
One of the consequences of the medicinal mushroom industry growing fast is that the quality of products can vary greatly. This is not surprising and often happens when there is a sudden demand for a product.
For consumers, it means that a little extra care and attention is required when shopping for mushrooms powders in order to find the very best options.
Here are our top tips for checking the quality of mushroom powders and ensuring the very best quality.
#1 Compare the Beta-Glucans Content of Different Powders
Beta-glucans are the main compounds found within functional mushrooms; they are responsible for the fungi’s health benefits. Research has shown that beta-glucans help modulate the immune system and reduce levels of excessive inflammation within the body.
Other benefits that are thought to be linked to beta-glucans include helping to control blood sugar levels, improving energy levels, reducing the feeling of fatigue, and supporting good cardiovascular health.
Therefore, when choosing mushroom powders, it is essential to ensure that they have a high ratio of beta-glucans. Most mushroom powders sold as a supplement should state how much beta-glucans they contain as part of the nutritional information displayed on the label.
#2 Is There Information about the Extraction Methods Used?
The bioavailability of beta-glucans and polysaccharides is essential for ensuring the best possible effects. The bioactive compounds in mushrooms are not accessible to humans, and therefore careful extraction is required to break down the cells, chitin, making them available to the body.
There are several different ways of extracting the critical compounds from mushrooms so that they can be sold in powder form. Each method has its pros and cons, but some produce higher levels of certain compounds found within the fungi.
It is essential to choose products that have been made using an extraction that improves the bioavailability of both beta-glucans and polysaccharides. Methods such as alcohol extraction, dual extraction, and hot water extraction are considered to be some of the better options for this.
#3 How Are Mushrooms Grown and What Quality Checks Have Taken Place?
As medicinal mushrooms have become increasingly popular, the way they are grown has changed to keep up with demand. Most of the mushrooms used to create powders are developed in labs and require careful manipulation.
Growing mushrooms in this way is not necessarily a negative when done correctly and can result in almost identical products to those grown in the wild. Unfortunately, many budget brands use artificially enhanced mushrooms and farming methods to make their products cheaper.
When shopping for mushrooms powders, it is always worth spending a little time researching the different brands that are available. The best brands will give detailed information about how their products are grown and the extraction methods that are used.
Third-party lab checks have also become common, and the result of these can be helpful when trying to determine the best quality products. Most brands will provide complete lab reports for their products either on their website or as part of the product.
#4 Which Parts of the Mushroom Are Used?
There are two parts of the mushroom that can be used to make powders, the fruiting body, and the mycelium. Early research has shown that the bioactive compounds linked to many of the health benefits of fungi are found in the fruiting body rather than the mycelium.
This means that to get the best results from mushroom powders, they need to be made using the fruiting body of the fungi. There are still many healthy compounds within the mycelium, meaning that they are often used to make mushroom health supplements.
Finding information as to strictly which parts of the mushroom have been used can be a little tricky. Some brands might display this information on their website, although this is not always the case. Checking the lab reports for mushroom powders is the best way to go.