Full Spectrum Mycoproducts
There is a lot of confusion today from all the marketing claims on the internet about what form of medicinal mushroom products is the best to use. Some say it is the fruitbody, or the mycelium, or a hot water extract standardized for some particular compound. There is a lot of complex biochemistry going on in the mushroom kingdom that can be valuable for its health giving potential. We have addressed these issues here so you can decide which medicinal mushroom supplements are the best for your use.
– Definitions –
‘Fruitbodies’ are the mushrooms you see growing out of the ground or off of trees or organic debris. They are the reproductive part of the fungal organism, like the flower of a plant. Just like flowers will only bloom during a certain season, fruitbodies will only form in response to some stress in the environment, such as heat or cold, fire or flood, running out of food, or some other stress that forces the organism into a “reproduce or die” stage. The mushroom fruitbodies that you see are strictly the reproductive portion of the fungus at the end of its life cycle.
‘Mycelium’ is the growth form of the fungal organism. This is the state in which all of the life processes other than reproduction occur, such as growth, feeding, and competing for survival (including antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral compound production). In cultivated mushroom products, the mycelium can be grown on a solid substrate of some organic material that it would naturally grow on. For production of most mushroom-derived drugs, the compounds are extracted not from the mycelium, but from the broth or substrate the mycelium is grown in.
‘Extract’ is a word that covers a lot of possibilities. Extracts are usually made from either mushrooms or mycelium, which are extracted with some type of solvent with the intention of concentrating some desirable portion and eliminating or reducing some non-desirable portion of the fungus. There are a number of solvents which are used, depending on which type of compounds the extractor is hoping to concentrate. The two most common solvents used are Alcohol and Water. Extracts tend to be more expensive than raw materials and they may be either more potent or less potent than the raw material, depending upon which compounds are being concentrated and the desired end use of the material. The following section should clarify how extracts are made, what their uses are, and why there is so much misunderstanding about them.
Full Spectrum Mycoproducts are the complete fungal material consisting of all the biologically active components, including the mycelium, primordia, fruitbodies, and most importantly, the extracellular compounds produced throughout the entire life cycle of the organism. It is these extracellular compounds (compounds that are excreted outside of the cell and into the surrounding environment) that are responsible for the main medicinal properties known from the fungal kingdom. This includes all the antibiotic properties, antiviral properties, antifungal properties and all the other ‘survival’ compounds that the fungus produces to give itself an advantage over the competing bacteria and microbes in the highly competitive environment in which it lives. These secondary metabolites have opened up the frontiers of medicine, with such breakthroughs as antibiotics and cholesterol lowering drugs.