Sometimes it feels like every day there is a new supplement that you should be trying to give yourself a major health boost.
But mushrooms aren’t anything new. They have played a role in traditional medicine, and especially Eastern medicine, for thousands of years.
While there is still of lot of work to be done to understand exactly how mushrooms work and all their potential health benefits, generations of accumulated experience and wisdom suggest that adding some more mushrooms to your diet is a good idea.
To feel the true benefits, it is probably going to take more than adding a cup of Shitake to some of your favourite dishes. What you will want is the highly concentrated mushroom extract that you will find in mushroom powders and capsule supplements.
To help you do exactly that, in today’s article we are going to deep dive into why mushrooms are such a good addition to the human diet, and the specific health benefits of the different types of mushrooms that you are likely to encounter.
We will also share our list of the eight best mushroom supplements that you can buy today to start seeing the positive effects.
Generally speaking, mushrooms are a good thing to have in your diet. They are low in calories, but high in health-boosting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are also one of the few things that you will find in the produce section that is rich in essential Vitamin D.
Add to this that they are high in protein, and we should all be adding a cup of mushrooms to our favourite dishes more often.
But on top of this, each different type of mushroom contains additional properties that offer other health benefits. Some clear brain fog and improve focus, others boost energy and clear the skin, while still others might even boost the body’s ability to fight cancer.
Let’s take a look at the properties of the various types of mushrooms and the different health benefits that they offer.
Reishi is one of the most popular mushroom supplements on the market because it is a mood enhancer that can reduce anxiety and ease depression. For this reason, it is sometimes called natural Xanax.
It works in this way because it has a lot of the compound triterpene, which helps the endocrine system balance hormones. This substance may also have a positive effect on managing diabetes.
Reishi mushrooms have also been linked to weight loss, immune system function, and may even help the body to fight cancer cells.
Lion’s Mane is often seen as the nootropic of the mushroom family because of the positive effects that it has on brain functionality.
Lion’s Mane can provide mental clarity, improve memory, increase concentration, and alleviate anxiety and irritability.
Importantly, it fosters the production of the bioprotein Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and Myelin, which acts as insulation around the nerve fibres. Together these compounds are crucial for brain health, and imbalances have been linked to serious neurological disorders.
Chaga mushrooms are incredibly rich in antioxidants, which gives this mushroom compound significant anti-inflammatory properties.
The high concentration is thought to proactively combat oxidative stress, which can fight the signs of aging, especially in the skin.
Chaga mushrooms may also be useful in preventing the growth of cancer cells, and at reducing cholesterol by lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
Everyone’s favourite edible mushroom, Shitake is a great way to keep cholesterol in check and look after the heart.
Shitake also lowers LDL, which reduces cholesterol, and can inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the liver.
These mushrooms also contain phytonutrients, which aid in the prevention of plaque build-up and can help maintain healthy blood pressure and circulation.
Turkey Tail is the best mushroom for fighting cancer, in combination with medically prescribed treatment.
As well as being incredibly rich in antioxidants, these mushrooms contain a compound called polysaccharide-K, which stimulates the immune system.
This has been linked to an improved survival rate in people with certain types of cancer, has been shown to help fight leukemia, and can improve the immune systems of people undergoing chemotherapy. It has proven so effective that it is an approved anti-cancer prescription drug in Japan.
But, as with all serious medical treatments, mushroom-based medicine should be used in consultation with your doctor.
Cordyceps can give you an energy boost, both for athletic performance and in the bedroom.
The mushroom can help the body utilise oxygen more efficiently and enhance blood flow, which can help improve performance.
It has also been linked to faster recovery after hard workouts.
This is another fungus that has been linked with cancer treatment and recovery. Some studies suggest that it can trigger a cascade of enzymes that can kill leukemia cells.
They have also been linked with lowering blood sugar levels and regulating the immune system, and may be especially effective at fighting viruses.
Maitake mushrooms, popular in Japan, contain chemicals that have been linked to fighting tumours and stimulating the effective activity of the immune system.
Like many mushrooms it has also been linked to lowering cholesterol and boosting weight loss.
The types of antioxidants that are prevalent in Oyster mushrooms have been linked to protecting the body’s cells from the kind of damage that might lead to chronic diseases.
It also helps strengthen the immune system and can quicken recovery from minor illnesses.
How to take your Mushrooms
It can be hard to get all the benefits of mushroom by just eating mushrooms alone. You would need to be adding them to every meal, which could get expensive, and dull. In addition, not all mushrooms are easy to eat. For example, Coprinus mushrooms can turn to black sludge if they aren’t eaten pretty promptly after picking.
That is why many health food companies are now creating mushroom extract supplements, which can be taken either as a capsule or in powdered form. Powders are great for adding to smoothies, or even a cup of coffee. They generally have a nutty taste that complements coffee nicely.
8 Best Mushroom Supplements
Mushroom Complex 8
If you don’t want to choose just one type of mushroom and what to try and get the benefits of all the different varieties, then this capsule supplement from Time Health is a great choice.
The formula contains extract from eight different types of mushrooms: Chaga, Cordyceps, Coprinus, Lion’s Mane, Maitake, Oyster, Reishi, and Shitake.
The capsules are produced in the UK from organically grown EU mushrooms, so there is minimal risk of anything nasty making its way into the formula. The recipe is particularly strong in beta-glucan, predominantly found in Oyster mushrooms, which helps prevent cholesterol absorption.
- 120 capsules pouch (£0.23 per capsule)
- 8 different types of mushroom
- UK made, from EU ingredients
- High in beta-glucan
Time Health Reishi Spore Powder
As well as their all-in-one capsule, Time Health makes a variety of different mushroom extract powders from the different mushroom strands. These are perfect for adding to a smoothie or a cup of coffee.
Again, all powders are made in the UK from mushrooms grown in the EU to strict organic and health standards.
- 100 grams (£26.99 per 100 grams)
- Choose from Reiki, Cordyceps, Chaga, Lion’s Mane, and Maitake
- Made in the UK
- Mushrooms are grown in the EU
Super Mushroom Complex
The Vegan Vitality Store also makes a “mushroom multi-vitamin”, that includes extract from a variety of different types of mushrooms, specifically: Lion’s Mane, Reishi, Chega, Shitake, Cordyceps, and Maitake.
This is a string formula, with a 30:1 extract per mushroom ration, but it is also highly affordable with capsules costing just £0.14 each. The recommended daily dosage is two capsules per day.
The capsules are made with no fillers, binders, or additives, and they come in a low-water, fully recyclable pouch, which is good news for the environment and your conscience.
- 120 capsules (£0.14 per capsule)
- Contains Lion’s Mane, Reishi, Chega, Shitake, Cordyceps, and Maitake
- String formula
- No fillers, binders, or additives
- Low-waste, fully recyclable pouch
Mushroom Coffee Blend
If you are looking at mushrooms to give you the kind of mental energy boost that you get from a cup of coffee, then you will love this mushroom coffee blend from Time Health.
It combines barista blend Arabica Coffee with Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, and Chaga mushrooms, as well as Red Maca, Theanine, Bacopa, and Resveratrol.
All of this is designed to give you that concentration and energy boost that you get from a cup of coffee, but with half the caffeine, minimizing any jitters and withdrawal symptoms. It has a nutty taste that appeals to many, and there is also a decaf option available.
- 40 servings (£20.99 per 100 grams)
- Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, and Chaga
- Coffee and mushroom blend
- Half the caffeine of regular coffee
- Decaf available
Mountain Life Mushroom Powders
Mountain Life is another great brand that offers a range of mushroom powders, so you can choose your own depending on the benefits that you are looking for.
Their options include Shitake, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, Maitake, Oyster, Reishi, and Tremella.
Tremella mushrooms are thought to possess strong anti-aging properties, to help fight obesity, and protect nerve endings.
The mushrooms in their recipes are grown naturally on hardwood logs, instead of on grain on lab-grown substances. They also only grind the fruiting body of the mushroom, which is where all the most valuable properties are.
- 100 grams (£9.99 per 100 grams)
- Shitake, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, Maitake, Oyster, Reishi, or Tremella
- Naturally grown on logs
- Only harvest fruiting body of the mushroom
Hey Natural Lion’s Mane Mushroom Capsules
Hey Natural is another well-known British supplement brand that has branched out into mushroom supplements. Currently, they only make this Lion’s Mane option and Reishi capsules.
The recipe is all organic, with their growing processes certified as organic by the soil association.
This is an all-natural option with no added fillers or binders. Just good fungi!
- 90 Capsules (£0.21 per capsule)
- Lion’s Mane or Reishi
- Soil Association certified
Nouri Organic Lion’s Mane
Nouri is known for its nootropic supplements, which is why it doesn’t make a collection of mushroom supplements, but instead has focussed on perfecting its Lion’s Made organic capsules.
Lion’s Mane might be the best mushroom when it comes to enhancing mental cognition. It can clear brain fog, improve memory, and boost focus and concentration. The high concentration of NGF and Myelin also help ensure long-term brain health.
While this is the immediate benefit, you can also enjoy better gut bacteria – the gut is the second brain after all – and a natural mood boost.
- 90 capsules (£0.13 per capsule)
- Lion’s Mane
- Natural Nootropic
- Boost concentration and focus
Super U Shroom Coffee
Coffee fans might also want to try this coffee blend from Super U, which is an instant coffee option that combines Arabica coffee with Chaga, Cordyceps, and Lion’s Mane mushrooms.
Delivering a naturally nutty taste, this drink has half the caffeine of a regular cup of joe. It is great if you are trying to cut back on caffeine or suffer from caffeine jitters.
- 60 servings (£0.58 per serving)
- Chaga, Cordyceps, and Lion’s Made mushrooms
- Arabica coffee
- Half the caffeine of normal coffee
Is there a big difference between the different mushroom supplements?
Aside from the type of mushroom, there is not a huge difference between the mushroom supplements on our list because we have only chosen supplements that are made from mushrooms grown in organic conditions.
However, there are cheap supplements out there that are best avoided. The best way to avoid these is to steer clear of anything containing Mycelium. This suggests that rather than being grown naturally, the mushrooms were grown in a lab, often in cheap plastic bags.
To contain all of the necessary nutritional benefits, mushrooms really need to be grown on wood.
What are the side effects of mushroom supplements?
While mushroom supplements are manufactured in such a way as to make them safe, it is still possible to have a bad reaction, especially if you suddenly introduce a lot of mushroom into your diet.
Watch out for dizziness, dry mouth, itching, nausea, stomach upset, and rash. If you notice any of these side effects, stop taking the supplement. Once you have recovered you can slowly introduce the supplement back into your diet, starting with a significantly smaller dosage.
Fungi are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals for our health and wellbeing. Consumed in concentrated amounts, such as in the form of powders, mushrooms can have a big impact on our health.
Lion’s Mane is a natural nootropic with similar properties to caffeine, which helps us feel more alert, but without any of the side effects. It can also have a positive impact on mood.
Cordyceps is a major energy booster that can improve the quality of your workouts. Reishi is a natural Xanax that can calm anxiety and ease depression.
Like all-natural supplements, mushroom powders are not a miracle cure-all. But they are a safe way to improve how you feel in certain areas of your life through what you eat.
- Coprinus Mushroom Benefits – Dr Weil
- Mushrooms: Health Benefits – WebMD
- Beta-Glucans: Overview, Uses, Side Effects – WebMD
- Six Mushrooms that act as Turbo-Short for your Immune System – Healthline
- These Magical Mushroom Supplements – GQ
- The Best Mushroom Supplements – Get The Dose
Last update on 2021-05-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API