Fungi, or mushrooms, are an enigmatic group of living organisms that have captured the human imagination since time immemorial. But did you know that mushrooms are also one of the most diverse sources of medicinal and nutritional compounds? Many species of mushrooms are rich in important nutrients and bioactive compounds that have been shown to improve everything from immune function to brain health.
When it comes to supplementing with mushrooms, there are two main types of extract: those from the fruiting body and those from the mycelium. Understanding the differences between these two types of mushroom extract can help you make informed decisions about which type of supplement is right for you.
First, let’s define what we mean by fruiting body and mycelium extracts. The fruiting body is the part of a mushroom that we traditionally think of as the mushroom itself. It is the above-ground, reproductive structure that produces spores and is visible to the naked eye. In contrast, the mycelium is the underground network of thread-like structures that grows beneath the soil, logs, or other substrate. While the fruiting body of a mushroom is what we typically see and eat, the mycelium is actually the living, growing part of the mushroom and it contains many of the same bioactive compounds found in the fruiting body.
Fruiting body extracts are made from the mushroom's visible, fruiting body, typically through a process of drying, grinding, and extraction. These extracts are rich in the specific compounds that the mushroom is known for, such as beta-glucans, triterpenoids, or ergothioneine. Fruiting body extracts are considered to be the most traditional and well-established type of mushroom extract, and have a long history of use in traditional medicine.
On the other hand, mycelium extracts are made from the underground network of thread-like structures that grows beneath the soil or substrate. Because mycelium is difficult to extract from its growing substrate, mycelium extracts are typically grown on a grain or other substrate, and then processed into a powder or extract. While mycelium extracts can be rich in beneficial compounds, they can also contain other substances such as starches, which are not found in fruiting body extracts.
One of the main differences between these two types of extract is that fruiting body extracts are typically more concentrated in the beneficial compounds that mushrooms are known for. For example, the beta-glucans found in many medicinal mushrooms are more concentrated in the fruiting body than in the mycelium. This means that fruiting body extracts can be more potent and effective than mycelium extracts.
Another important difference is that fruiting body extracts are more sustainable and environmentally-friendly than mycelium extracts. Mycelium extracts are typically grown on a grain substrate that has been pre-sterilized, often using a large amount of energy and resources. In contrast, fruiting body extracts can be processed from wild or cultivated mushrooms, and do not require the same level of resources to produce.
So, which type of mushroom extract is better for you? The answer depends on what you are looking for in a supplement. If you are looking for a potent, effective extract that is traditional and well-established, fruiting body extracts are likely your best bet. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a more budget friendly and still generally effective option, mycelium extracts might be a better choice.
At Fungible Chocolates, we only use 100% fruiting body mushroom extracts in our functional mushroom chocolate bars. We believe that by using the most traditional and effective type of mushroom extract, we are able to provide delicious and nutritious chocolate bars for our customers, all while supporting sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices.
So, if you're looking to incorporate the health benefits of mushrooms into your life, you might want to consider a product that is made with fruiting body extracts, like Fungible Chocolates' functional mushroom chocolate bars.