Q 1. Mushrooms are in a class of their own. What makes them different from plants and animals?
Magic mushrooms. They can be delicious, intoxicating, mysterious, and even deadly. Because of these qualities, mushrooms have, over time, been known to be both friend and foe. All mushrooms are fungi, but not all fungi are mushrooms. Mushrooms are neither a plant nor an animal. Mushrooms are cellularly more like humans than plants. For example, a person eats food and digests nutrients for good health. On the other hand, plants take in nutrients from the earth, and through photosynthesis, they harness the energy of the sun to keep them healthy. Through its intricate network of mycelial fibers, mushrooms secrete enzymes that digest organic residue, helping plants and animals decompose. The fungus then uses those digested components as food, and its web transfers those nutrients to its surrounding environment, working in harmony with Mother Nature. Over 100,000 species of fungi in the kingdom have been identified in the literature, but of those mushrooms that are truly magical, in the sense of being medicinal and functional, only a small subset exists. Mushrooms are more popular than ever as part of a nutritious meal, as a coffee substitute, and for medicinal benefits.u
Q2. What nutrients do mushrooms provide, and how are they beneficial to immune health?
Edible mushrooms are more than just part of a tasty and nutritious meal. They also provide a unique combination of nutrients with wide-ranging health benefits. Mushrooms are a source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and an impressive array of large molecular weight, protein-binding sugars – the most common of which are β-glucans. Polysaccharides are complex, branched, chain-like molecules built from many smaller units of sugar molecules, and work with cellular health and immunity as modifiers of biological response. Immune system cells are wired to interact with these fungal β-glucans. This is because the immune system has evolved over time to protect itself from fungal pathogens. In general, mycosaccharides initiate a massive activation of our immune system, and have been shown in the literature to calm an overactive immune system, while at the same time getting an underactive immune system into gear, adapting to the body’s needs for optimal health. Results.u
Q 3. Which part of the mushroom should I eat? Fruit bodies or fungi?
The fruiting body is the part of the fungus that grows above the ground, produces spores, and is very rich in polysaccharides that have been studied for good health. Mycelium (singular) and mycelia (plural) are similar to the “roots” of mushrooms. It helps mycorrhizal fungi collect and use nutrients and allows the fungus/fungi to communicate with each other and the environment around them. This fungal web is thought to be intelligent – it has an ecological memory that helps it decide where, when and how to grow. However, mushrooms that undergo a fermentation process, such as solid-state fermentation, completely transform this superfood so that the benefits of both the fruit body and fungal biomass can be seen and complement each other for better health. u
Q 4. What is the best way to take advantage of the magical benefits of organic whole-cycle whole mushrooms, and why?
Not all mushroom products are created equally, and there are many different ways mushrooms can be grown and how they are processed—each of which will have a significant impact on the compounds that are actually in the final product. Mushrooms can be found all over the world, and their habitats are very diverse. In most cases, mushrooms are found in nature attached to solid support structures such as organic detritus from plants, animals, and insects. Because of these conditions, you want to grow your mushrooms as close to nature as possible, mimicking the natural environment for the best growth and nutrient-rich matrix content possible. Solid-state fermentation helps achieve this because it allows these mushrooms to be grown in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment, as one might find in a natural environment, without the use of unnecessary fungicides or pesticides.u
Q 5. What should consumers look for in a mushroom supplement?
Aside from taking a product that offers full-cycle mushrooms, preferably from several types that are certified organic, such as shiitake, reishi, chaga, turkey tail, cordyceps, lion’s mane, and maitake, as found in Bluebonnet’s Myco-7™ Vegetable Capsules for Defense Mushrooms, must also be grown using solid-state fermentation providing both fungal biomass and fruit bodies, which are then specially blended to deliver a full range of benefits related to immune health, energy, vitality, and everyday wellness.u
In addition, the formulas must also provide all the bells and whistles of the nutritional benefits needed for a top shelf item such as:
- Organic and locally grown, USA
- Non GMO Project Verified
- Certified Kosher by KOF-K
- Free from common allergens (soy, gluten and milk)u
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.