Medicinal mushrooms are all the rage. You can find them in trendy coffee shops, upscale supermarkets, and in slews of supplements. They’re added to everything from lattes and teas, to smoothies and salads. But why all the fanfare for these fabulous fungi?
Mushrooms have gone mainstream primarily due to their immune-protective properties, and each one possesses a unique cocktail of nutrients and bioactive compounds that bestow it with its own variety of health benefits.
It’s critically important to know how mushrooms are grown in order to know 1) if they contain a potent enough concentration of compounds to make them able to benefit your health and 2) if they are pure enough for consumption.
How Mushrooms Are Grown
In nature, mushrooms grow in a variety of places, like on dead logs lying on the forest floor. But these days, most mushrooms that we eat or use medicinally are cultivated. They’re often grown on grains such as rye, rice, or wheat. The substrate on which the mushroom is grown can imbue it with additional nutrients and active compounds, just like the vegetables we eat absorb nutrients from the soil in which they’re grown.
For this reason, Pure Synergy® developed a completely new and innovative way to grow our mushrooms for Immune Health™. We cultivate them on organic turmeric rhizomes and organic heirloom black rice. As the mushrooms grow, their enzymes transform and absorb the beneficial compounds and antioxidants inherent in the turmeric and black rice. They take in and incorporate these bioactive nutrients — curcuminoids, turmerones and anthocyanins — into their own already nutrient-dense structures. The result is a synergy of immune protection that’s more than the mushrooms could provide on their own.
The Mycelium—Fruiting Body Debate
Fungi are fascinating organisms that are neither plants nor animals. The vast majority of their “bodies” are underground in rootlike structures called mycelium. Every step you take in a forest is on top of a vast network of mushroom mycelium which play a critical role in recycling nutrients for the entire ecosystem. What we call the “mushroom,” is actually the fruiting body of the fungus — much like an apple or a banana is to a tree.
There’s a heated debate in the dietary supplement industry over which portion of the mushroom is the most valuable — the mycelium or the fruiting body. Some claim that the fruiting bodies contain the lion’s share of nutrients and active compounds. While others argue the opposite, that it’s the mycelium that have the greater potency.
As usual, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Certain compounds are more concentrated and bioavailable in the mycelium, while others are more potent in the fruiting bodies. That’s why we use the mycelium and the primordia, or the mushroom “sprouts,” in our formula. This enables us to get the whole spectrum of beneficial compounds that these amazing organisms have to offer, giving us the best of both worlds.
Although there are thousands of known types of mushrooms, only a handful have been given the distinction of being labeled “medicinal.” Here’s a breakdown of seven of the most famous healing mushrooms that are in Immune Health, and what makes each one so special.