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Medicinal Mushroom Extracts vs Whole Powders

August 10, 2022
mushroom extract vs whole mushroom

The medicinal mushroom market has never been more crowded with different products, making it hard to navigate which type of product may be best for you. There are tinctures, capsules, gummies, and a whole range of different mushroom powders to choose from, and all make claims that they are ‘the best’.

In your mushroom journey you may have come across the terms ‘whole mushroom powder’ and ‘mushroom powder extract’. Surprisingly to some people, these are different types of powders which are processed in different ways and
thus, are not created equally. Read on to discover more about whole mushroom powders versus mushroom extract powders.

Whole Mushroom Powders:

Whole medicinal mushroom powders are made by grinding down dried whole mushrooms, their mycelium and in most cases the substrate they’re grown on, into powder. This powder contains the fruiting body, mycelium and may also contain starches such as rice or grain (depending what the mushrooms were grown on).

There may also be pollutants in these mushies, as there has been no purification process adhered to.
As we have covered in our wood-grown vs grain-grown blog post, starches from grain and rice substrates are non-nutritious excess and dilute the potency of your mushroom powder.

Medicinal & Functional Mushroom Extract Powders:

At Mush Mush, we only use medicinal mushroom extract powders for our blends. After years of research, we wholeheartedly believe that dual-extraction is the only way to access the full spectrum of nutrients and benefits of medicinal mushrooms.
Dual extraction, also known as double extraction, refers to a two-step process using a combination of hot water and, in our case, organic alcohol extraction.

In the first stage, our mushrooms are steeped in an organic alcohol solvent to draw out the fat-soluble adaptogenic terpenoids contained in the mushrooms. The second stage utilises a hot water extraction method to draw out the water-soluble compounds, also known as the polysaccharides, and the immunomodulating beta-D-glucans.
This process ensures that the full spectrum of active compounds can be digested and used within the human body. The double extraction also leads to a more potent and higher quality product which is actively bioavailable, making dual-extraction the only way to go in our minds!

What is Medicinal Mushroom Bioavailability?

Bioavailability is a fancy term which means that humans can successfully digest and absorb the nutrients from the products we consume. While whole ground medicinal mushroom powder sounds great, the reality is that these products do not contain any bioavailable ingredients.
The cells of functional mushrooms are made up of a very tough fibre called chitin (which can also be found in lobster shells). Chitin effectively acts as a guarding barrier to all the beneficial compounds embedded in the mushroom. Humans are unable to digest ‘chitin’ properly meaning that the whole ground, non-extracted medicinal mushrooms found in whole powders are indigestible and therefore, have little to no health benefit.
As we’ve touched on in our beta-D-glucan blog, the medicinal activity of a mushroom comes from its active compounds (triterpenes, polyphenols, sterols, and beta-D-glucans).
Within whole ground mushroom products, these beneficial compounds remain trapped within the fibrous chitin guard and are unable to be digested and activated in our bodies.
Medicinal mushrooms which have been extracted have dissolved the hard cell wall barrier removing the chitin and making the active compounds available to the human body.
Mush Mush product quality is our top priority, and this is why we use a specific and
researched dual-extraction method. We want to ensure access to the full range of active compounds from each of our mushrooms.

In Summary

Our recommendation is to always lookout for a medicinal mushroom extract powder over a whole powdered or non-extracted medicinal mushroom formula. Unfortunately, whole- powdered medicinal mushrooms have no bioavailability or access to the active compounds, and thus, have little to no benefit for your wellbeing and health. The dual-extraction method is superior for breaking down the tough cell walls, dissolving chitin (a compound which cannot be digested in the human stomach) and making the essential active compounds
bioavailable for our digestion.

Check out our range of 100% bioavailable, dual extracted powder blends to find your Mush Mush match.

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