For centuries, medicinal mushrooms have been used in the treatment and prevention of a wide range of medical conditions in order to improve longevity and vitality. Several studies have illustrated the versatility of mushrooms and their roles in reducing inflammation, improving immune function, lowering risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and improving overall well-being. As society increasingly aims to find natural alternatives in health care and the popularity of mushrooms increases, it is important to recognize when a supplement company is taking advantage of its consumers.
The mushroom products manufactured by Eversio Wellness are hot water or hot water and alcohol extracted in a sophisticated facility to ensure maximum bioavailability of beneficial compounds. Those lengthy labels on the back of our products provide consumers with a bounty of information in regard to the quality of our products; but let’s take a closer look into exactly what all of this information means!
Health Canada Requirements
To start off, Health Canada requires medicinal mushroom products to include a number of items on their labels: the common and latin names of the mushrooms, the extraction ratios used, the parts of the mushroom used, and the quantity crude equivalents. Health Canada also requires all supplement products to display a Natural Product Number (NPN), which ensures that Health Canada has assessed a product and decided it is safe, effective, and of high quality. Making sure you can identify this information on a supplement label will assist you in finding a high-quality mushroom product!
The extraction ratios of mushrooms are another important factor to look for on your mushroom product labels. The extraction process isolates and concentrates beneficial compounds to produce more potent products; this means that less product is needed to deliver an efficacious and therapeutic dose. Certain fungi require hot water AND alcohol extraction in order to isolate even more therapeutic constituents as some mushrooms contain beneficial compounds that are either water or alcohol soluble, but not both.
Calculating the QCE (Quantity Crude Equivalent)
Let’s take a look into the extraction process of our popular product DEFEND Now, which contains Turkey Tail in 12:1 extract capsules:
- We begin with 12 kg of dried fruiting body mushrooms
- The fruiting body is micronized (ground super fine), then hot water extracted (cooked for many hours to release beneficial compounds from chitin walls), and spray dried back into dry powdered extract form (fiber removed and moisture evaporated)
- We are then left with 1 kg of super fine extract powder with isolated, concentrated, and bioavailable beneficial compounds (beta-d glucans 53%)
This explanation further informs us on the quantity crude equivalent (QCE) of each product, which is 12:1 in this case as 12 kg of the fruiting body resulted in 1 kg of the extract.
Furthermore, Eversio Wellness consistently practices transparency to its consumers by sharing the COAs (Certificate of Analysis) of each product. The COAs reassure consumers that the percentage of compounds that are claimed to be in the products is scientifically confirmed through lab testing. Not only does the COA confirm the percentages of the beneficial constituents, but it also tests the heavy metal and microbial contents so you can be sure that your mushroom product is safe.
Reading a Mushroom Supplement Label
Lastly, and most importantly, the labels should inform you on what part of the mushroom the supplement is made from. The fruiting body of a mushroom is the reproductive structure, whereas the mycelium is the vegetative body; meaning that the fruiting body can produce spores and the mycelium usually does not. In the culinary world, the fruiting body is often what is isolated and consumed, while the mycelium is integrated within the plant matter it feeds from. Thus, mycelium products often have a lot of fillers and grain products. Although both may contain important medicinal compounds, it is the fruiting body that contains a significantly higher and increased therapeutic amount.
If a mushroom product contains grain products, this should be listed in their “other ingredients.” If you find the words “full spectrum”, “mycelial biomass”, or “extracellular compounds” on the label, this means the product is made from the grain substrate the mushrooms are grown on, and potentially the primordia and mushroom fruiting body, all combined and often not in extract form. Full spectrum is often advertised as a beneficial aspect of the product by some companies, but, under the surface, this means that the product is watered down, and you’d need to consume much more of it to achieve the same benefits as you would from a product containing 100% fruiting body. In all honesty, this process of making products “full spectrum” is just a way in which companies are lowering manufacturing costs and raising their profits.
As medicinal mushrooms continue to rise in popularity, especially due to the influential effects of social media, many of us are likely to hop onto Google and enter searches such as “mushrooms Canada” or “mushroom dispensary near me” and click on the first result that the search engine pops out. Although this is the reality of consumerism, it is important to keep in mind the information that has been discussed in this article; it’ll ensure that you have the knowledge to buy high quality products that are more likely to provide a therapeutic benefit and give you the immune system boost you're looking for. No one enjoys wasting money in this day and age!
We hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below!
By Silvana Jakupovic — BSc and 4th Year Student of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM-Boucher)