Amazon.co.uk - Where Better to Start?
The Mushroom supplement category is growing rapidly, with new players, new blends and fresh marketing catapulting the humble fungi to the forefront of people's supplement choices.
Although used for 1,000's of years in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, adaptogenic mushrooms are relatively new in the western world and can be treated with some skepticism by traditional medical professionals.
Amazon.co.uk is a great barometer for "functional" mushroom sales in the UK. If we drill down into the figures and ingredients we can check for quality, cost per capsule and evaluate if the juice is worth the squeeze!
The top 5 products in the Mushroom Supplement Category are all variations of Lion's Mane items.
Lion's Mane or Hericium erinaceus for the scholar's amongst you, is a medicinal mushroom known for its support of cognitive function, nervous system health, digestion, immune function, and possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. So far, so promising.
The pricing for the top items on Amazon are high on volume (up to 120 capsules) and low on price. This is not a good combination! Something is amiss. It is difficult to make a high quality, potent product at a low price. Let's explain!
Growing Pains & Extraction
Mushrooms used in supplements are grown in two ways. From the root or on grain. Grain-based mushrooms are called mycelium, a variation of the root on the whole mushroom.
This mycelium is nominally a mushroom, but lacks the rich nutrients of the fruiting body. Often mycelium is ground-down and extracted to make a supplement. This is a weak variation and often includes a lot of grain. You can see this on the ingredient list. It's much cheaper too.
The second issue we have is strength declarations. If you dig into the figures, you will see companies claiming 1500mg in one capsule. A standard capsule is roughly 500mg, so how is this possible? Extraction Ratios!
Let's take the 1500mg example. This was extracted at a 12:1 ratio meaning there is about 125mg of extract actually in the capsule, water-extracted from 1500mg of Lion's Mane. This is an indication of volume rather than quality.
On this particular Amazon listing there is no mention of geta-glucan or polysaccharides content. These properties are taken from the wall of the fruiting body, and are the most bioactive components of the mushroom. Any company paying the price of extracting these properties in their supplement should definitely have it in their marketing.
Are Mushroom Supplements Worth It?
This brings us to cost, I would suggest that a happy medium can be found between price, volume and quality. Here at Sharesiopa we have pushed for quality at a reasonable price, without the wild volume. We offer 60 capsules at £25, or roughly 40p a capsule (1 or 2 per day).
Regardless of which way you go, Medicinal mushroom supplements offer a substitute for the jitters and the crashes without any caffeine. And they are ALL cheaper than in-store daily alternatives.
Are they worth it? Give is a go.