For centuries, reishi mushrooms have been used in medicinal preparations for enhancing the immune system’s function and longevity.
With the recent popularization of medicinal mushrooms, there are a large number of reishi mushroom supplements available in the market. However, most of them promise a lot but deliver very little, and it can be tough to find the best ones that are truly effective.
Today, we are going to undertake an in-depth study of some of the best reishi mushroom supplements that you can try out.
What To Look For In Reishi Mushroom Supplements
An essential ingredient of ancient chinese medicine, reishi mushrooms have long been known to promote good health, longevity, and well-being. A dark and glossy fungus with a woody texture, reishi is usually found in the hot and humid regions of Asia.
Studies have shown that reishi mushroom supplements boost immunity by increasing the body’s white blood cell count. It also contains antioxidant properties, protects us from the onslaught of anxiety, and improves cardiovascular health.
While the benefits of reishi mushroom supplements are numerous without a doubt, the trouble lies elsewhere. According to a recent study by Nature, a leading scientific journal, close to 75% of Reishi supplements were found to be low in the amount of required beneficial components.
This is a direct result of most reishi supplements being extracted not from the actual mushroom, but from the mycelium substrate on which it grows. Many of these products that are grown from the mycelium substrate are cheaper to produce but are not nearly as effective as they claim to be.
Further, most reishi supplements boast the presence of polysaccharides as a measure of quality, but we have found that this measurement can be often misleading. A large amount of polysaccharides is usually an indicator of starch fillers such as grains and doesn’t necessarily mean that the supplement contains the beneficial components of the reishi mushroom.
So, what should you look for in reishi mushroom supplements when making a choice? Most importantly, you need to confirm that significant amounts of beta-glucans and triterpenes are present in the supplements. These beneficial components are byproducts of utilizing the whole fruiting body of a mushroom instead of mycelium on grain which is essential in determining high-quality mushroom supplements. In the following sections, we’re going to take a closer look at the importance of each of these factors when it comes to choosing the best reishi supplements..
Importance Of Beta-Glucans
As mentioned above, polysaccharides are not a definitive indicator of the efficacy of any mushroom supplement. Mushrooms can contain a wide variety of polysaccharides, but the most important among them are beta-d-glucans.
Beta-d-glucans,the most beneficial of the many fungal polysaccharides, are a form of beta-linked glucose molecules which are found within the cell walls of all medicinal mushrooms, including Reishi. They are the most potent and active beneficial compound which help to improve the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol and reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol. They also help to strengthen the immune system, control blood sugar levels, and improve intestinal health.
The main reason beta-d-glucans are important for any mushroom supplement is because when there are significant amounts of beta-d-glucans present, you are able to infer that there are significant amounts of other beneficial compounds extracted from the mushroom as well.
Importance Of Triterpenes
Besides beta-d-glucans, triterpenes are another significant component you need to look for in a reishi mushroom supplement. It’s the triterpenes that are responsible for the characteristic bitter taste of reishi mushrooms.
Tests have revealed high-quality reishi to have many triterpenes, including sterols, ganoderic acids, and lucidenic acids. Triterpenes present in reishi help to boost the immune system, protect from radiation-induced damage, and may even help in cancer reduction.
Triterpenes also help to promote liver health and better nervous system functions. They have anti-anxiolytic properties, which help to ameliorate the effects of depression, improve focus, and promote better sleep. They can also help in maintaining proper hormonal balance, improving blood circulation, and also have anti-inflammatory properties.
With so many benefits, it’s essential that you make sure your reishi supplement is rich in triterpenes.
Importance Of Whole Fruiting Body Vs. Mycelium
Generally, this is one of the major aspects where confusion regarding mushroom products lies. Most reishi supplements available in the market today are made from mycelium on grain and not the whole fruiting body of the mushroom.
This results in a wide variance of the efficacy of the products. Why is this so? To understand this, we need to first take a closer look at what the differences between mycelium and the whole fruiting body are, and how they affect a supplement’s effectiveness.
The whole fruiting body of a mushroom is essentially the ‘fruit’, or the organism’s reproductive structure. It’s the umbrella-like structure we usually picture when thinking of a mushroom, and it’s this structure that contains the majority of beneficial components of a mushroom.
On the other hand, the mycelium is the root network from which the whole fruiting body grows. Mycelium usually needs a substrate to grow on and forms a complex network with it.
When a mushroom extract is made from the mycelium, the majority of the composition is made up of the substrate material, like grains and starches, and very little of the actual mycelium. This makes the formulation have very small amounts of beneficial compounds and doesn’t effectively promote the beneficial properties of the mushroom.
That’s why, when going for a Reishi mushroom supplement, you must choose one made from the whole fruiting body. This ensures that you’re getting the entire benefits of the mushroom.
When buying a Reishi supplement, you need to keep in mind the above factors and choose accordingly. And with that out of the way, we’re now going to take a look at the best Reishi mushroom supplements that you can buy.
The 3 Best Reishi Supplements
The first supplement we are going to take a look at is the Reishi 415 from RealMushrooms. RealMushrooms is one of the major mushroom supplement producers in the country, and is well known for their high-quality products like the 5 Defenders mushroom extract.
The Reishi 415 comes in a pack of 90 capsules, and is ideal for providing stress relief, immune system support, vitality, and relaxation. The product is made from whole fruiting body mushrooms and contains a high level of beta-d-glucans and triterpenes.
What’s more, for those of you who don’t like to be restricted to capsules alone, this product is also available in powder form so you can add it to your coffee or teas. Having this flexibility makes it our top recommendation.
Why Do We Recommend it?
The Reishi 415 from RealMushrooms is manufactured from organically grown red reishi, which guarantees high potency. Plus, the product uses a dual extraction process that utilizes both water and ethanol to obtain the maximum number of beneficial components from the raw mushrooms.
Contrary to other reishi supplements in the market, Reishi 415 doesn’t use any filler material. This ensures that the product’s efficacy remains intact, and users get the full benefits of the whole fruiting body.
Based on a unique formula that’s been tried and tested over thirty years, Reishi 415 is made by a team with over forty years of mushrooming experience. No wonder it’s one of the most trusted reishi supplements on the market!
This supplement is an 8:1 concentration of reishi, which means that 8kg of mushroom is used to make 1kg of the extract. Containing more than 15% beta-glucans, more than 4% triterpenes, and less than 5% starch, this extract has been verified by third-party labs for high efficacy and quality.
And that’s not all; the product is certified organic, kosher and gluten-free, and entirely suitable for vegans.
So, if you’re looking to boost your immune system, increase your stamina, and improve your vitality with a lab-tested high quality product, Reishi 415 is for you. 100% safe and side-effect free, this is a reishi extract supplement that can be trusted to be highly effective.
The next product we have for you is from Nootropics Depot, a brand that needs no introduction for mushroom and nootropics aficionados (if you do need an introduction read our Nootropics Depot review). Entirely organic and gluten-free, the Nootropics Depot Red Reishi extract is made from whole fruiting bodies and does not contain any fillers or starches.
Rich in beta-d-glucans and triterpenes, each bottle contains 60 capsules, with each capsule containing 500mg of the extract. At a dose of 1-2 capsules per day, each container can last you either one or two months, depending on the dosage.
Since this Reishi mushroom extract uses only whole fruiting body mushrooms, it preserves all the beneficial components throughout the extraction process. This cannot be obtained from lower quality products that use mycelium on grain.
Why Do We Recommend It?
The Nootropics Depot Red Reishi mushroom capsules are made from authentic red reishi mushrooms that are sourced directly from China. These mushrooms are grown using entirely organic farming practices, and hence, are free from heavy metals and harmful pollutants.
The red reishi used in this product is grown organically on a wooden substrate and this process helps with the formation of the highly beneficial triterpenoid compounds. You can tell if a reishi supplement is high in triterpenes due to the bitter taste the supplement has.
Apart from triterpenes, it also contains generous amounts of beta-d-glucans, another component that is significant in determining high-quality mushroom supplements.. Combined, these two components prove that this is a top quality supplement that has been properly extracted.
Another reason for putting this product high on the list is that it uses the mushroom’s whole fruiting body to prepare the extract. As discussed above, this ensures that all the beneficial components of the mushroom find their way into the supplement. The manufacturers leave no stone unturned to ensure this by rigorously testing the products for active compounds.
Using a 1:1 hot water extraction process, the supplement is prepared by submerging the red reishi with hot water. This leads to a breaking down of chitin, which increases the bioavailability of the extract.
Since this extract is essentially a powdered form of the whole fruiting body, none of the essential components are lost. In other words, you get very high levels of triterpenoids, beta-glucans, and all the other beneficial compounds found in reishi.
Regular consumption of this supplement helps to improve immune system response, has anti-inflammatory properties, and even anti-cancer effects. Plus, it also helps to improve sleeping patterns and provides better general health.
Nammex is one of the biggest names in medicinal mushrooms, and Pure Nootropics uses reishi extracts from this supplier. Actually, both RealMushrooms and Nootropics Depot utilize this manufacturer as well – it’s one of the reasons that we trust these brands so much! Because of this, you can be sure that you’re receiving high-quality, lab-tested extracts.
Pure Nootropics is another reputable vendor for medicinal mushrooms and has been around since 2013. We highly recommend this vendor for your nootropics and mushroom extract products because of their commitment to assuring high quality supplements. You can read our full Pure Nootropics review here.
Why Do We Recommend It?
We were impressed with the bioactive components that this reishi extract contains. Apart from being a rich source of beta-glucans, it also contains copious amounts of triterpenoids, peptidoglycans, and other polysaccharides.
In fact, on more in-depth analysis, we discovered that Pure Nootropics Reishi Powder contains over 120 triterpenoid compounds! Apart from the above, it’s also a good source of vitamins and minerals such as riboflavin and selenium.
Similar to the RealMushrooms Reishi extract, Pure Nootropics Reishi powder is also prepared using whole fruiting body mushrooms grown entirely organically. Organically grown fruiting bodies offer the best benefits and ideal concentrations of essential compounds.
Also, the mushrooms used in this extract don’t contain any mycelium grown on starch substrates like grain. This ensures that users only get the complete fruiting body, and nothing else.
All the above qualities allow it to boost users’ energy levels and promote antioxidant activity. Plus, the extract also supports the immune system response and helps calm you down and get better mental acuity.
We would have liked it if this product were also available in capsule form, as that simplifies its consumption. Currently, users only have the option of purchasing the powder, which might be challenging to measure and consume.
Our top three picks aside, we would like to mention the Reishi Elixir from Four Sigmatic, which is another well-known manufacturer of mushroom supplements. Each pack of the Reishi Elixir contains 20 servings, separately packed in easy-to-use sachets.
This product is highly recommended by all users as a potent stress buster and energy booster. Just one drink every night before bed, and you’ll have a good night’s sleep that’ll recharge you just right for the next day.
Entirely organic and caffeine-free, it contains all the essential components that make reishi so popular. Plus, you can always mix it with nut milk and natural sweeteners to concoct that perfect bittersweet nightcap. Lastly, it’s produced by Four Sigmatic (read our review) – so there is no downside to trying it out.
Why Do We Recommend It?
The first reason: it’s made from the whole fruiting body extract of the mushroom. Naturally, this ensures that it contains all the essential components, such as beta-glucans. However, we must admit that we’re not sure about the exact beta-glucans content of this product.
We like it because it doesn’t contain any mycelium fillers, which mostly end up diluting the potency of the extract. Plus, it’s entirely organic and doesn’t contain stimulants such as caffeine.
We also like how it’s sugar-free and 100% vegan. What’s more, all these claims have been tested to be accurate by independent laboratories, so their veracity is beyond any doubt.
Each serving of Reishi Elixir helps relieve stress, relaxes the body and mind, and prepares you for a good night’s sleep. And though the taste is slightly bitter, we take that as a good sign since it proves that the product contains sufficient triterpenoids.
All reishi mushrooms used in this product are grown on linden logs, which guarantees the highest quality components. Sourced from quality locations around the world, this product ensures you get the full benefits. And if you don’t like it, you can get a full refund, no questions asked.
Reishi has long been known as an essential medicinal mushroom with a wide range of benefits. The catch is that not all Reishi products are created equal, and you might just end up with the wrong one in case you’re not careful.
Low-quality Reishi products are mostly based on mycelium and contain a lot of starchy fillers. This results in weak products that can’t hold up to rigorous quality testing and inspection.
Most Reishi products available in the market fall in the above category, and hence aren’t at all as effective as they should be.
That’s why we recommend that you always conduct thorough research before settling on a product. Pay special attention to the beta-d-glucans and triterpenoids content, and make sure that you’re getting a whole fruiting body extract.
If you’re looking for more well-rounded products that contain a variety of mushrooms you should check out some of the best mushroom extract supplements that we love.