The Importance of Lab Testing Mushroom Supplements
Many mushroom products these days boast great benefits, but are they lab tested?
When walking through the herbal aisle of your favorite grocery store, you may notice a plethora of mushroom teas, tinctures, and powders for sale. It’s certainly a delight that mushrooms are becoming more broadly implemented in everyday rituals and daily dietary choices. Some mushroom products boast great benefits, however, but they do not list ingredients nor provide a certificate of analysis. How can an average consumer navigate mushroom products to get the most effective, nourishing and nutritive products on the market? As the mushroom-market grows, it’s important for consumers to stay informed. We’re happy to help you keep a keen eye as you introduce the wondrous world of fungi into your lifestyle.*
Heavy Metals and Contaminants:
The last thing you want in your health product are heavy metals and other foreign contaminants that detract from its purpose. Heavy metals that are typically tested for range from arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. Because mushroom supplements are not categorized as drugs by the FDA, they don’t uphold the same rigorous testing requirements. While lead toxicity from herbal tinctures and supplements is rare, it’s important to be aware of the possibility. Without proper lab testing, both the manufacturer and the customer are left in the dark about heavy metals in their products. A certificate of analysis isn’t always available at farmers markets, so it’s important to at least ask if your tincture was made with a double-extraction method and if they used a sterile room to create the product.
At Mushroom Revival, we always test our mushroom tinctures to make sure they don’t contain heavy metals. The same goes for other contaminants such as bacterias and molds. We test each tincture for levels of common contaminants such as mold, yeast, coliforms, E.coli, Staph. Aerus, and Salmonella. Each product comes complete with a certificate of analysis available on the product site or by scanning the QR code on the side of the product box.
The Importance of Lab Testing for Nutrients:
Enough about the bad stuff, let’s get to the good stuff.* Mushrooms, as you may already be aware, are nutrient dense.* Different mushrooms have benefits such as supporting the bodies response to occasional stress (*cough*, Reishi), enhancing brain power (hint: Lion’s Mane), and supporting healthy levels of energy on a cellular level (yup, Cordyceps).* The majority of mushrooms’ beneficial properties lie in three active compounds: beta-glucans, triterpenes, and ergosterol.* The importance of lab testing mushroom products becomes even more important when looking into the levels of these beneficial compounds. Without checking for proper testing, you might not get the most high quality bang for your buck.
Beta-glucans are a polysaccharide that make up some of the cell wall in most mushrooms. However, beta-glucans aren’t the only polysaccharide found in mushrooms; for example, chitin also makes up the mushroom cell wall.
Even worse some polysaccharides such as glycogen, which are used as fillers, contribute to a product’s total polysaccharide content. If a product simply lists the level of polysaccharides on the back of its label, you can’t be sure how much of which polysaccharides you’ll be consuming!
Not all beta-glucans are the same, they have different branching structures. In mushrooms, 1,3 and 1,6 beta-glucans are the best. Maitake, for example, contains 1,3/1,6 beta-glucans and D-fraction. On the back of your label, it’s important to check for the beta-glucan content. Our Reishi Calm Tincture, for example, contains 1,3/1,6 Beta Glucans at 0.611%. You can check out levels of beta-glucans in our other products, in our shop.
Triterpenes, also known as triterpenoids, are another active compound found in many mushrooms. Some mushrooms well known for their triterpene content are reishi and chaga. Ganoderic acid, for example, is a triterpene found in reishi that supports a healthy immune response.*1
Ergosterol has been compared to cholesterol in humans as they are both sterols, a subgroup of steroids. Ergosterol is found in the plasma membrane of fungi and helps maintain membrane fluidity. Ergosterol also supports immune function in healthy individuals.*
The Overall Benefits of Lab Testing:
Our lab tests also reveal other levels of beneficial compounds found in our tinctures. In the certificate of analysis of our Cordycep’s Energy Tincture, you can find tested levels of cordycepin, adenosine, adenine, and uridine. Knowing the amounts of beneficial compounds can be greatly informative when deciding which mushroom product to buy.
As a consumer it’s important to have these tools at your fingertips, making it easy for you to select the best product without any of the fuss. When buying mushroom products on the market, always check the label on the back and always check for a certificate of analysis.
- DOI: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.2018027357
- DOI: 10.1007/s12291-017-0678-x
- DOI: 10.1021/jf102285b