What are mushroom extracts, and why do they reign supreme?
Extractions are a popular way to consume your dose of mushrooms, and they’re also one of the best ways. When it comes to the consumption of mushrooms, the two top choices are powdered extracts or dual extractions. An extract is an optimal method of consumption because it ensures that the components of the product will be bioavailable. Considering bioavailability is the bread and butter of shopping for mushroom products; it should always be checked off on your list before you purchase a mushroom product. Without considering bioavailability, you’re likely not going to get the maximal bang for your buck. Remember that mushrooms are very starchy and sometimes a little difficult to digest. And while you’ll still get a decent amount of fiber intake, a simple dried mushroom product won’t give you what you’re looking for in terms of bioavailable nutrients. As mushrooms are on the rise for their purported health benefits, it’s becoming increasingly more important to stay informed on the methods of consumption so you can actually benefit from the mushroom magic.
How are Extracts Made:
Extracts are made by extracting a part of a mushroom, such as the fruit body or mycelium. An extract can be made by dissolving the mushroom in a menstruum (a.k.a., a solvent). Common solvents are water or alcohol, but in the case of mushrooms they’re usually both! Mushroom extraction is the way to go because it breaks down chitin–the polysaccharide that makes up the fungal cell walls–and allows for increased bioavailability of beta-glucans! The solvent can be filtered out, leaving behind a dry, powdered extract or the plant matter can be filtered out, creating a tincture!
Powdered and Tinctured Extracts:
Powdered extracts are a result of a process that breaks down the mushroom to make it more bioavailable. It’s important to make sure that the powder you purchase is indeed an extract. It’s possible that you’ll find many mushroom products in powdered form that are actually raw dried mushrooms that haven’t gone through any extracting process. Extracts increase the potency of beneficial properties; when shopping it’s important to know which part of the mushroom contains the most benefits. For some mushrooms, most of the potent benefits are within the mycelium whereas with others their potency lies only in the fruiting body! Each mushroom is different so make sure to do your research before purchasing a specific supplement.
Tinctured extracts are the yin to powdered extracts yang, so to speak. Both methods of consumption are viable if made in the right conditions and using the right process.
Hot Water Extracts:
Double extraction is the best way to go in most cases. Recall that a double extraction involves alcohol and water to extract both beta-glucans (water soluble) and triterpenes (alcohol soluble) which is why a double extraction is oftentimes the best way to get benefits from as many compounds as possible.
However, the alcohol extraction step can sometimes cause water soluble compounds (b-glucans) to precipitate, thus leading them to be filtered out from the final tincture. Since triterpenes and beta-glucans are both usually sought after in mushroom products, double-extractions involving alcohol and water are the way to go. But perhaps you know that you’re seeking beta-glucans over triterpenes. Well, in that case it would be noble to avoid the alcohol extraction, and just stick to a water extract!
Reishi, for example, is a mushroom that is best consumed after a dual-extraction. This is because reishi’s value is equally derived from both its beta-glucan levels and triterpene levels!* Our Reishi Calm Tincture at Mushroom Revival uses a double-extraction for our reishi product to guarantee levels of both. When creating a tincture, we strive to give you the best product possible. That’s why our product uses 100% fruit body with no mycelium on grain and always comes with a certificate of analysis. Bonus points: our product keeps the environment in mind with biodegradable packaging and we plant a tree for every product you purchase. In doing so, we keep the symbiotic relationship between humans and nature going! Learn more about our product and mission statement here.