A lot of people take mushroom supplements due to factors such as personal belief, medical reasons due to doctor recommendation, cultural belief and such.
The goal of this blog is not to discuss the benefits of mushroom supplementation since we are in no position to provide scientific data of any sort but to warn the end user of supplements of the different types “powders” that are out there supposedly of top quality and made of 100% Cordyceps or 100% Lion Mane or 100% Reishi and such.
There is nothing better than the fresh mushroom (fruit body) that’s grown. Most of the time the fruit body is what provides the full benefits that are sold as part of the supplementation.
What you need to know is that there are entities taking advantage of “eat better / be better” to sell stardust as opposed to what’s really advertised.
Let’s continue by using the cordyceps mushroom supplementation example but most other mushroom supplements follow this same principle.
Cordyceps powder is a well known and used mushroom supplement. This is a mushroom that usually grows in nature on insects. Cordyceps spores will infect the insect and take over its nervous system to eventually consume it and produce a mushroom that will release spores and the cycle goes on.
Commercially, selling cordyceps harvested from nature is not viable or extremely expensive and due to people foraging so much it’s more and more difficult to find cordyceps out there. The answer is to grow indoors in big quantities so it becomes commercially viable.
The base ingredient used by most growers to grow cordyceps is brown rice including some extra ingredients in small portions to feed the mushroom. After that there are different recipes some with eggs some with yeast and so on… in fact there are probably hundreds of recipes out there to grow cordyceps.
Here are the three methods that we know of that people use to make cordyceps supplementation aka powder. Ideally you should pay attention to the bottle labelling and even contact the company to ask questions before buying.
Cordyceps powder made of mycelium.
The mycelium in a nutshell is the root system of the mushroom. Basically cordyceps roots are grown in liquid (mix of water and sugar). This allows the roots to grow at a very fast pace. The “roots” mycelium is then dried and put in powder format. This method allows the manufacturer to completely skip the fruiting stage. It means no need to go through the final most difficult stage of actually growing a mushroom. This may have some of the properties or benefits of the cordyceps but not all.
Cordyceps powder made from rice and other ingredients.
Commercially cordyceps is grown mostly on brown rice and other ingredients. There are tons of recipes to grow cordyceps commercially but it needs a substrate to feed on. The supplementation you take could in fact be a powder made of cordyceps mycelium (root), maybe cordyceps fruit body (the mushroom) but also a portion of the substrate. This means you are not taking only cordyceps but also brown rice and other things that were used in the recipe to make the substrate. This method of doing allows the manufacturer to fill up bottles faster.
Cordyceps powder made from the fruit body (mushroom).
This is the way cordyceps powder should be made. It is a time consuming process usually in terms of months and there is a cost involved in producing cordyceps fruit body (mushroom) but the benefits of supplementation as you may have guessed by now will come from the fruit body (mushroom) and not rice and other ingredients.
So next time you want to buy supplementation pay close attention to the labeling on the bottle. If it doesn’t clearly state how the powder was made you can contact the manufacturer and make sure you are in fact paying for 100% fruit body in powder format as opposed to consuming rice and other unknown ingredients.
What we like to do at MushroomHobby is to sell on occasion the fruit body in dried format. It will be the full mushroom but dehydrated. Again this can be reishi or cordyceps or lion mane. We do not sell powders.
Once it’s in powder format we have no way of validating what we’re buying but seeing the mushroom in the package is proof that we’re not paying for rice or other ingredients. All that’s left is to process the dried mushroom and make our own powder if that’s what we want.
Bottom line, research before buying supplementation.