No, we're not talking about psychedelics.
If you’ve been on the wellness side of the internet lately, you know ‘shrooms (not that kind) are all the rage right now. (Well, okay that kind is also the rage these days, but that’s not what we’re talking about.)
From supporting the immune system and improving concentration to even potentially fighting cancer, there’s a lot of claims around mushroom supplements.
Of course, some of these claims are exaggerated and ungrounded in good research, but how magical are these mushrooms? Let’s go on a trip to find the best mushrooms and mushroom supplements on the market.
Many of the benefits mushroom supplements provide are thanks to their antioxidants. Because medicinal mushrooms all have high antioxidant levels in common, they offer similar purported benefits.
These benefits include strengthening the immune system, reducing inflammation, and improving concentration and energy levels. Each mushroom provides its own benefits too, which we’ll get into in the next section.
To get the most of these shrooms’ individual and shared benefits, you can combine these supplements or opt for buying a mushroom blend. Since mushroom supplements are generally safer than conventional medicines, you can safely experiment to find what works for you.
In general, you can think of mushroom supplements like the ones from Mario Kart. Yes, they’ll give you a little boost, but usually it’s not going to make or break your race.
Here are the types of mushrooms you’re most likely to find in supplements and the unique benefits they provide. We have written articles about all of them. So for more specifics on each, check those out.
Lion’s Mane: Best known for its potential longevity and anti-aging benefits, lion’s mane might help you feel sharper for longer. It’s believed to promote a healthy nervous system and reduce inflammation.
Chaga: If you’re looking for an all-in-one boost, Chaga mushrooms are a good place to start. They can offer a range of overall health benefits, from enhancing immune function and reducing inflammation to lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels, both of which reduce the risk of heart disease.
Reishi: Popular for its calming effects, reishi mushrooms can support immune and mental health. They’re believed to have anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and maybe even anti-cancer components.
Cordyceps: If you’re looking for a mushroom with physical and mental benefits, cordyceps has got your back. Research shows these shrooms might improve cardiovascular performance and increase mental clarity.
Turkey tail: This healing fungus can support immune and gut health and even prevent cancer.
In this article, we’re going to touch on two different main categories of mushroom supplements:
1) Full Spectrum
These supplements contain an array of mushrooms altogether, so you can have a bit of everything. We’ll highlight a few great products.
2) Individual Mushroom Species
These hone in on a specific mushroom, like the types we outlined above. If a certain mushrooms gives a specific benefit you’re looking for, then go here.
We also have these individual mushrooms ranked based on which type of mushroom has the strongest research overall. That’s why Lion’s Mane tops this part of our rankings.
First, here are the best mushroom supplements that incorporate a blend of quality mushrooms.
*Note: We do have affiliate links throughout this article, which means we receive a commission if you purchase from any of our links. This supports our mission to bring complicated health and fitness info in an entertaining package. And it keeps us from putting up annoying things like banner ads. Those suck.
When it comes to mushroom supplementation, RealMushrooms are the real deal. As a family-owned business with over 40 years under its belt, they specialize in making high-quality organic mushroom products.
They are one of the few companies that third-party test their mushrooms for beta-glucan content, which are the polysaccharides that make mushroom supplements effective. They’re the beneficial compounds. In fact, their lion’s mane powder contains extract directly from the mushroom’s “fruiting body,” where these beta-glucans are found. So you know you’re getting tested, high-quality ingredients. All of their products are certified USorganic, gluten-free, and vegan.
Their powders and capsules contain no starch, grain, or fillers.
Most other mushroom supplements, regardless of the type, don’t live up to this quality.
Their 5 Defenders blend includes turkey tail, reishi, maitake, shitake, and chaga mushrooms.
How to take: Since it comes in a simple powder, it’s easy to add to smoothies, coffee, or tea.
If you prefer it’s also available in a capsule version.
Okay, this is my personal favorite. It contains the same high-quality mushroom blend that’s organic, vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and tested for beta-glucan content.
Unlike a regular powder though, this includes the superfruit cacao in a delicious hot chocolate powder.
It’s sweetened by delicious organic coconut sugar, but still only contains 6g of sugar per serving, which makes 1 cup of mushroom hot chocolate.
In addition to being backed quality antioxidant-rich mushrooms, it’s straight up one of the best tasting hot chocolates I’ve ever had.
PerpetuaLife’s mushroom blend supplement contains all of the mushrooms we’ve covered in this article plus maitake, shiitake, white button, black, and royal sun mushroom extracts. In total, each capsule has 2500 mg of mushroom extract.
What sets Perpetua Life apart is that it’s transparent about how much of each mushroom is included. Many mushroom blends are made of proprietary blends, which means they don’t list how much of each ingredient is in the blend. Companies do this so that they can say they have great ingredients, but include low doses of them. In contrast, PeretuaLife is completely transparent with their doses.
These delicious gummies are vegan and gluten-free with a natural raspberry flavor. Each bottle contains 60 gummies, which offers about 30 servings if taking two per day.
They’re a U.S.-based company with products made in the U.S., third-party tested for quality, GMP-certified, and non-GMO.
Now, you may be looking for a specific species. Here are the most popular the most well-researched, and the main reasons to look into buying a specific species of mushroom.
Lion’s Mane is the most popular of the functional mushrooms. It’s also probably the most well-researched.
There are two main benefits of a Lion’s Mane mushroom supplement:
Lion’s Mane is a popular ingredient in “nootropic” supplements. These are products designed to improve your focus, energy, and mental performance.
This mushroom is also high in antioxidants, so it may support the immune system. In particular, lion’s mane may reduce inflammation. This study even showed that it helped prevent stomach ulcers.
To learn more about these benefits, check out this article on lion’s mane supplements.
If your goal is athletic performance, cordyceps is the mushroom supplement you’re looking for. Here are the potential benefits.
1) May Increase Cardiovascular Performance
There have been some human studies like this study, which showed an increase in cardiovascular performance in older people.
Another study repeated the benefits, showing a 7% increase in Vo2 max.
This may be because cordyceps can increase blood flow.n fact, cordyceps is often called “The Viagra of the Himalayas” because of its blood flow benefits.
2) Healthy Cholesterol
Animal studies have appeared to help maintain LDL cholesterol levels in a healthy range. However, this has not been replicated in human studies.
3) May Improve Your Mood
Anecdotally, one of the biggest claims about cordyceps is the improvements in cognition. One mice study, for example, showed that it had a neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effect on the brain of mice. Again, though, it hasn’t been replicated in humans.
For more, check out this article on cordyceps supplements.
Chaga is also a very popular mushroom supplement with some similar and some different benefits.
The benefit that distinguishes Chaga from other mushrooms is its positive effects on gastrointestinal and digestive health. While research is still ongoing, it seems promising. For example, in one study, patients with irritable bowel disease who took Chaga showed reduced DNA and white blood cell damage.
2) Support The Immune System
Chaga contains ample beta-glucan polysaccharides, the active antioxidant compounds of mushrooms. Because of this, it may support immune health, combat inflammation, and play an adaptogen role.
To learn more, check out this article on Chaga supplements.
Reishi’s main benefits revolve around the immune system. In particular, the research has looked at people with cancer.
A polysaccharide extract from reishi may boost the activity of white blood cells like lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cells in cancer patients. These cells make up the immune system’s surveillance team. They travel around looking for suspicious cells to munch (think of them as pac-men).
A lot of the research has been in animal and cell studies, so this isn’t an endorsement to use it as a first-line therapy. And we still don’t know how this extends to those without cancer, but it stands to reason we may also see some immune system benefits.
Here are the benefits for turkey tail mushrooms.
1) May Support Gut Health
One study showed that participants who consumed turkey tail mushrooms had improved gut health and reduced levels of potentially harmful bacteria in the stomach.
2) Fight Inflammation
Like the other topic mushrooms on our list, turkey tail contains the active polysaccharide compounds that may support the immune system.
Medicinal mushrooms are types of fungi used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. As powerful adaptogens, they can improve one’s overall well-being when consumed consistently. Supposed benefits range from providing immune support and improving heart health to reducing inflammation and lowering blood sugar levels. The extract of medicinal mushrooms is often the main ingredient in mushroom supplements.
Today, one of the marketing buzzwords for these species of mushrooms is “functional mushrooms.” They are synonyms, so don’t let the marketing hype confuse you.
Mushroom supplements are pretty simple. They just contain mushroom extracts with additional healthy ingredients sometimes sprinkled in. However, these supplements don’t typically include the mushrooms you buy from the grocery store, like shiitake. Rather, they include mushrooms used primarily for medicinal purposes in TCM, short for Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Whether you pick a capsule or powder mushroom supplement is totally up to your preference; neither choice is better than the other. To make it easier for you, we broke down the pros and cons of each.
Capsule-based mushroom supplements
Powder-based mushroom supplements
Medicinal mushrooms are generally well tolerated (unless you have a mushroom allergy). You should also consult a health professional before trying medicinal mushrooms if you take certain medications or have a pre-existing medical condition.