top of page

Fruiting Body vs Mycelium - It's a Quality Thing...

Functional mushrooms are getting a lot of hype these days. We are seeing them added to everything from gummies (hey, we did it!) to coffees, soups, smoothies and even gum. People are continually searching for ways to improve their health and well being - and that's a good thing.

However, as consumers demand for more functional products increase, marketers in the nutritional supplement space have rushed in to capitalize on this trend. While we're not against this, it's important to note that not all mushroom products on the market are created equal.

Functional Mushrooms have been used for medicine for 1000's of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine. In China, (pioneers in functional mushroom growing and research) mushrooms are grown via outdoor cultivation. It's a low tech process but sustainable. The mushrooms are grown on wood logs or saw dust (just like nature intended) and usually in a greenhouse.

The mushrooms then grow and produce a fruiting body (that's the stem and cap part of the mushroom-the mushroomy part!) 🍄 When ready, the mushrooms are, dried and extracted, typically in both hot water and alcohol. The finished mushroom extract is entirely derived from the fruiting body of the mushroom. No grain. No fillers.

This gives us a very potent extract rich in triterpenoids and beta glucans. This is what most consumers think they are getting when they buy "mushroom supplements" on the market today.

However, you can imagine that this is an expensive and time consuming process. So to save on costs and time, some companies have chosen to use the myceliated grain as their actual finished "mushroom product" instead of using the mushroom part - the fruiting body.

Total sidebar, but you might be asking what is mycelium? Mycelium is the network of threads, called hyphae, from which a mushroom grows. Interestingly, not all mycelia fruit mushrooms, but all mushrooms come from mycelia.

Now back to the story. These companies use the myceliated grain, which is sterilized grain (like rice, oats, sorghum, etc) that has been inoculated with the mycelium of a fungal species like reishi, lion's mane, shiitake, etc. It's the growing medium used to grow the mushrooms.

Instead of waiting around for the mushroom to grow, some companies will use the mycelium and the grain together and simply powder it, package it and sell it as a mushroom product - even though there isn't really any mushroom in it! 😡

You can tell if a company is using myceliated grain as their "mushroom product" because it is typically produced in the US, usually in a indoor lab, or in climate controlled rooms, with racks and racks full of this substrate housed in plastic bags.

Sometimes, marketers will try and use the term "full spectrum" mushrooms as if that is a good thing. While this sounds like something you would want, all "full spectrum" means is that it has some of the fruiting body in it and the rest is filler mycelium.

In all honesty, there is some interesting research being done on mycelium with some promising results. However, it is important to note that these studies are done with PURE mycelium only and it's usually grown in a liquid nutrition bath and does NOT include the grain spawn. Almost ALL of the commercial products that are using mycelium right now as their finished product are using both the mycelium with the grain.

As Dr.Terry Willard says, "When you include the grain spawn, you're diluting the actual chemistry - the harmonic vibrations out of it, with grain polysaccharides instead of actually having the medicinal stuff."

The takeaway - supplements made from mushrooms are not the same as supplements made from mycelium - no matter what a marketing company tries to tell you.

At Adaptdaily, we believe in the medicinal benefits of functional mushrooms. So we use only the organic fruiting body of the mushrooms and include them often in our intelligently blended formulations, so that they are therapeutic and effective.