The medicinal use of mushrooms has been around in Asia for centuries. And true to the western world, we’re a bit slow on the pickup. But recently, the use of mushrooms for health purposes has taken the rest of the world by storm. This post is all about the best mushroom supplements to keep you healthy and what you need to know to get started on your shroomy journey.
Check out our recent video interview with Fresh Cap Co-Founder Tony Shields on the main medicinal mushrooms and their superpowers.
How we Chose the Best Mushroom Supplements
We believe wholeheartedly in mushroom supplement benefits. It’s why we take them. So how did we choose our faves? Easy. We had some non-negotiables:
- They must be organic mushroom supplements and non-GMO because we want our good stuff to come from the best stuff.
- It must be made with the whole fruiting body (everything above the ground you can eat). It’s where the beneficial beta-glucans are the highest.
- Contains no mycelium (the less effective roots of the shroom). Many mushroom brands use it as a filler, but it only adds trace amounts of the healthy stuff you want.
- No grains, fillers, or flavoring agents – because yuck.
- How it’s processed affects the mushroom supplements potency. The best brands use hot water extractions and or dual extraction methods to squeeze every drop of goodness out of the mushrooms.
How to Take Medicinal Mushrooms
Supplements are broken down into two categories: mushroom capsules and medicinal mushroom powder.
If you go with a mushroom powder, you can dissolve it into soups, tea, coffee, smoothies, or any other food you can think of.
Medicinal mushrooms aren’t meant to be eaten raw. So don’t go foraging for Turkey Tail and pop it into your salad.
Best Mushroom Supplement Brands
- Fresh Cap
- Moon Juice
- Host Defense
- Four Sigmatic
- Real Mushrooms
- West Wolf Medicinals
Chaga is a whopper of a medicinal mushroom.
It has high beta glucan levels – meaning incredible immune system boosting properties. It’s also an antioxidant powerhouse that fights free radicals and inflammation.
In addition, it combats oxidative stress, which causes skin aging. It’s why a lot of people use chaga for its antiaging properties.
Besides antioxidants, chaga is packed with polyphenols, triterpenoids, vitamins, and minerals, which all support whole-body health. It’s a total immune system supporter and body-balancing fungus.
Chaga grows on dead trees and is mostly wild harvested in Canada, Northern Europe and Russia. The beneficial compounds of chaga are dependent on the relationship between the birch tree it grows on and the mushroom.
Pro tip: Efforts to cultivate chaga have created inadequate mushrooms, so it’s essential to buy only wild-harvested chaga.
Fun fact about chaga: During WWII, after the Finnish people ran out of rations, they’d drink chaga instead of coffee because they said it tasted similar.
Our pick for the best chaga mushroom supplements:
Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Lion’s mane doesn’t look like a regular stem and cap mushroom. Instead, it looks like a little white hairy snowball and grows naturally on hardwood logs all over the globe.
Lion’s mane is a total brain booster in every way and supports overall neurological health.
It also improves focus and can reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Lion’s mane stimulates the production of nerve growth factors (NGF) which are vital in protecting and maintaining nerve and brain cells. A lack or imbalance of NGF can lead to neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. So, taking it as a medicinal mushroom supplement provides some intense brain food.
Lion’s mane has become a go-to mushroom supplement for all things brainy. Whether you take it to improve cognitive function or your mood, it’s good stuff.
Our pick for the best lion’s mane mushroom supplements:
Reishi (Mushroom of Immortality)
Reishi is nature’s chill pill and one of the most wildly taken mushroom supplements in the world.
It’s a showstopper of a shroom and one of the original superfoods. It’s been showcasing its medicinal mushroom badassery for more than 2000 years, hence the mushroom of immortality nickname.
Not only is it a little valium-esque, but it can also help with weight loss, keep your immune system balanced and even has been shown to fight cancer. So, it pretty much covers all the bases.
However, its most unique benefit is its calm-the-f-down properties. In addition, reishi is packed with the compound triterpene, which are mood boosters that also encourage sleep.
Traditionally, it was thought that only nobility could afford the rare fungus. But today, it’s cultivated on hardwood logs inside greenhouses all over the world. It takes about 9-months to grow the fruiting body. But before its harvested, billions of spores are collected to enhance the superpower of the reishi supplement.
Pro tip: the best reishi mushroom powder has both the spores and the fruiting body.
Our pick for the best reishi mushroom powder:
Cordyceps Mushroom (the Athletes Mushroom)
Cordyceps is a great all-around stimulator for the body. It’s energizing and known for its libido-enhancing benefits.
Loads of athletes use these orange stalky medicinal mushrooms because they help the body utilize oxygen more efficiently, providing next-level endurance. It also boosts post-workout muscle recovery.
The cordyceps mushroom grows naturally on a parasitic fungus found on specific caterpillars in the high-altitude regions of Tibet. So, as you can imagine, it’s super rare. At one point, prices were as high as $20k a pound. Luckily, its sister species is just as powerful and can be cultivated organically on a bed of soy and rice.
Pro tip: the best cordyceps supplement is organic and vegan. If it’s not vegan, it’s not authentic. Don’t buy it.
Our pick for the best cordyceps mushroom supplement:
Turkey Tail – The Best Mushroom Supplement for your Immune System
Turkey tail mushrooms have been used for centuries for their health benefits. The beta glucan levels are super high.
Studies have shown it has cancer-fighting benefits and may alleviate the side effects of chemo. Turkey tail contains PSK (polysaccharide-K), which stimulates the immune system and has been approved in Japan as an anticancer drug.
In general, it provides the ultimate immune defense.
You can find the turkey tail mushroom all over the world. In fact, if you’ve ever taken a walk through a forest, you’ve probably seen it. It grows on decaying stumps, dying trees, and fallen logs. It’s so common in the wild that it’s harvested directly from the forest.
Our pick for the best turkey tail mushroom supplement:
Best Anti-Aging Mushroom Supplement
If you want a mushroom supplement that supports brain power and overall stamina (who doesn’t?!), then try West Wolf Medicinal’s Anti-Aging Mushroom and Herb Extract Blend. Cordyceps and Lion’s Mane combined with turmeric, holy basil, ginger, cinnamon and marshmallow are blended to create this potent mushroom supplement that will have you wanting to add it to any beverage of choice.
Best Mushroom Supplement When You Want It All
Why buy one medicinal mushroom supplement when you can buy a blend? Many brands combine their own super mix to make it easy for you to get all the nutrients you want in one scoop, pill or mushroom extract.
The best medicinal mushroom blend is FreshCap mushrooms Thrive 6. It’s their stellar blend for immune support, focus, and energy.
Thrive 6 has a fat juicy combo of the best mushrooms for health: chaga, cordyceps, reishi, turkey tail, lion’s mane, and maitake mushrooms and not one thing more. No additives, no grains, nothing but organic whole fruiting body goodness.
Our pick for the best mushroom supplement blend or complex:
Side Effects of Mushroom Supplements
Generally, mushrooms are considered safe and have been used for centuries. However, that doesn’t mean you should just take loads of them and hope for the best.
You always need to consider your health and current medications. For example, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, don’t take mushrooms. If you have low blood pressure, immune disorders, diabetes, etc., talk to your doctor. In life, as a rule, it’s always a good idea to get professional medical advice before randomly loading up on supplements. And by professional, we don’t mean Google.
Some mushroom capsules and powders can cause mild side effects like diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, and dry mouth. So, start with the lowest dose and take it from there.
The Final Schroom
The bottom line is that mushrooms have a considerable amount of health benefits that go way beyond eating a portobello burger for lunch. Hopefully, this post helped you choose the best mushroom supplements to get you started.
Whether you try out single source mushroom capsules or seek out a mushroom blend, more and more research is being done, and it’s all promising.
Tell us in the comments below if you’ve tried mushroom supplements and which ones are your faves.