You probably know that mushrooms offer a wide range of health benefits, but did you know that the form of ingestion is crucial to unlocking the beneficial properties?
TLDR: choose an extract over a powder so that your natural digestive enzymes can absorb the essential nutritional and bioactive ingredients of the mushrooms.
Why are powders inferior to extracts?
Powders still have the cellular walls intact, meaning the nutrients are locked behind the indigestible walls and simply pass through your digestive system. Extracts, on the other hand, undergo a process to unlock the water-soluble bioactive ingredients such as proteins, B-vitamins, vitamin D, minerals and essential nutrients called β-glucans (pronounced beta-glucan).
Often times, mushroom powders (dehydrated and ground mushrooms) also include the medium that they are grown on, such as starch or grain due to the mycelium.
Mycelium is responsible for taking in nutrients and releasing enzymes during the mushroom growing process. It acts like a complex network that feeds the mushroom; you can think of mycelium as roots of the mushrooms. The myceliated grains are then freeze dried and ground into a powder – no extraction treatment is used. When consuming powders, chances are, you are getting a variable amount of grain (such as rice) in the powder. This means you are potentially paying for a reduced amount of bioactive ingredients and unintentional consumption of growing medium.
So what is an extract anyway? Let's break it down:
Mushrooms are formed by tough cellular walls that are mostly indigestible. These walls are mainly made up of Chitin (pronounced as KY-tin). Chitin is also what makes up the external skeleton of shellfish and some insects. Chitin is heat sensitive; this means that heat-treated procedures like Hot Water Extraction (HWE) can be used to break down these tough cellular walls. This can be done by boiling procedures that fully heat the fungi. The mixture is then loaded in a spray-drier that uses pressurized hot air to remove any liquid, creating a concentration.
Traditional Chinese Medicine, which has used mushrooms and herbs for thousands of years, almost always makes a tea from herbs. Tea is a the most simple water extract. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners will boil herbs for long periods of time to extract the medicinal compounds.
A hot water extract is a very simple and effective way to concentrate mushrooms and at the same time make them more bioavailable.
What does Good Pharma use?
Good Pharma uses hot water extraction for our mushroom extracts. We standardize our beta-glucan levels in each extract, which means each dose has a consistent amount of the bioactive ingredients.
Our organic lions' mane mushroom extract is standardized to 20% beta-glucan level. The concentration level is 6:1.
Our organic chaga mushroom extract is standardized to 15% beta-glucan level. The concentration level is 8:1.
Our infusions contain real mushrooms, organically cultivated and naturally grown as nature intended, concentrated into a form that provides benefits so you know your product actually works.
Next time you purchase a mushroom product, check the supplement panel to see if the mushrooms are in extract or powder form.