If you are going to spend money on medicinal mushroom supplements, make sure they actually are going to strengthen your dog’s immune system. So many products on the market are complete junk. Not only will you be throwing out money by buying them, your dog will not get better by taking them.
How do you know if a company is supplying quality mushrooms? Look for the following information on the website or product label.
AVOID SUPPLEMENTS MADE WITH MYCELIUM
Products should be made from mushrooms, not mycelium.
Even though the front label may say “mushrooms,” you need to look at the Supplement Facts panel. Does it say Reishi mushroom? Reishi mushroom mycelium? Or Reishi mycelium? Some products will list the latin name, Ganoderma lucidum, without mentioning mushroom or mycelium.
MOST “mushroom” supplement companies in the U.S. market do not source their product from actual mushrooms, but from mycelium instead.
And what is mycelium, anyway? It’s a sterile, lab-grown (usually in cheap plastic bags), vegetative part of the fungal organism. It is grown on grains and is significantly less favorable because it greatly lacks in beta-glucans, the active, beneficial compound in medicinal mushrooms.
Honest companies will reveal if the product is mycelium. They will also state in the “Other Ingredients” that there is grain or myceliated grain. Good companies will also list the milligrams of each mushroom, though this is extremely rare to find. On the other hand, dishonest companies love to use “proprietary formula/blend” – a great way to hide that their product is not potent at all, even if they use mushrooms instead of mycelium.
MYCELIUM IS A COMPANY’S WAY TO MAKE MONEY AT YOUR EXPENSE
Mycelium on grain is nothing more than what commercial mushroom growers call “grain spawn.” Grain spawn is not a mushroom and definitely not a genuine mushroom product. It is cheap to produce and is therefore economical to grow in North America. Unfortunately, mycelium grown on grain or rice contains minimal amounts of the important compounds that are in medicinal mushrooms. Myceliated grain is cheap to produce and often cheap to purchase, but the lack of medicinal compounds makes it gram for gram the most expensive product on the market.
THE BEST SUPPLEMENT TO BUY IS A MUSHROOM EXTRACT
Interestingly, although mushroom powders are superior to mycelium on grain powders, they are still less potent than a concentrated extract. Traditional Chinese Medicine, which has used mushrooms and herbs for thousands of years, almost always makes a tea from herbs. Tea is a 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 the best way to concentrate mushrooms and at the same time make them more bioavailable. The combined use of alcohol and water is utilized when some important compounds in the mushroom are not water soluble, such as Reishi or Chaga triterpenoids. However, many companies will use only an alcohol extract, which makes an inferior supplement. Look for companies that state their mushrooms are hot water extracted. A safe bet – if they don’t state it, don’t buy it. They are likely using ethanol.
Read Part 2 to find out what else you need to watch for when buying medicinal mushroom supplements.