Frequently Asked Medicinal Mushroom Questions
Keep asking us questions and we’ll keep answering them
Where’s my order?
Please check your order confirmation email which will have a link to your order’s status. This link will also contain the tracking info if your order has shipped. Orders will generally ship within 2 business days if all items are in stock.
Do you accept returns?
Yes, please see our returns page for details.
My Package arrived damaged. What do I do?
Contact us immediately with your order# and send us photos.
You’re a Canadian company but your prices are in USD. Why?
The majority of our order originate in the U.S. and the majority of our expenses are in USD hence all our prices are in USD.
Where do you ship from?
All of our orders ship from Sparks, Nevada, USA.
Where do you ship to?
We ship to USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
If you do not see your country listed at checkout, we recommend setting up a freight forwarding account with some like Shipito. These types of services give you a US address to ship to and then charge you a small fee to forward your shipment on to your destination country. If you are in Europe you can also order via our Amazon.co.uk Store and it will ship from the UK.
See more info on our Shipping Page.
Mushrooms – General
Where are your mushrooms from?
All our mushroom extracts are from the leading supplier of organic mushroom extracts: Nammex. They have over 40 years of mushroom growing experience and were one of the first companies to bring organic medicinal mushrooms to North America. All of their extract are made from certified organic fruiting bodies, organically grown or wildcrafted from deep within mountain regions of China.
China is the leading supplier of mushrooms worldwide and supplies over 85% of the world’s mushrooms. It is one of the only places in the world where you can get 100% organic fruiting body extracts that can be sold at an affordable price.
Note that any products made in the USA are typically not mushroom but mycelium grown on grain. The grain material that the mycelium grows on ends up being a significant portion of these products. Independent analysis has shown that due to this high amount of grain, they contain very little of the active compounds found in the research. Read your supplements panel very closely and look for the words “mycelium”, “myceliated brown rice”, “mycelial biomass”, “full spectrum”, “whole life cycle” or other derivatives of mycelium. Click here to see what it actually looks like. It is not mushrooms. This is why we specifically test for starch, to show that we have no added fillers like grain.
Do you test for heavy metals?
Of course. All products are screened for heavy metals. We follow the American Health Products Association (AHPA) guidelines for heavy metals which is in compliance with CA Prop 65.
Why do you only list beta-glucans and not polysaccharides?
Beta-glucans, which are a polysaccharide, are the most well researched medically active compound in mushrooms. For this reason, we specifically measure beta-glucan levels on our products. We do not believe in using polysaccharides as a measure of quality as it can be easily doctored using starch. Starch is an alpha-glucan, which is also a polysaccharide.
As an example, mycelium on grain products have been shown to have high levels of starch, which allows them to tout high polysaccharide numbers when in reality they have very low amounts of beta-glucans as the bulk of these polysaccharides are made up of starch. The starch comes from the grain that ends up in the final product.
Do you test for mycotoxins?
Why do you list starch on your packaging?
We list starch as a way to prove that our product is 100% mushroom. Typically whole mushrooms contain less than 5% starch so any product claiming to be made from pure mushroom should also conform with the rule. All of our products have less than 5% starch as they are made purely from mushrooms without any added of fillers or carriers.
Starch is a common carrier material that can be found in medicinal mushroom supplements. It is often used as a flow agent in form of dextrose or maltodextrin. Flow agents are often added in the packaging process to help the mushroom materials flow through the machinery better.
In the case of mycelium on grain products, high amounts of starch are present due to the grain that ends up in the final product.
This is why it is so important to measure starch so that you’re not wasting your money on carrier materials or grain.
What is mycelium on grain?
Mycelium is the vegetative state (think root system) of the fungal life cycle. The fungal lifecycle consists of spore, mycelium and mushroom. Mycelium is the stage that produces a mushroom but it is not a mushroom. Just look at some images in Google.
Mycelium on grain or grain spawn is a method for producing the seed for growing fresh mushrooms. It has now been adopted by many mushroom ingredient suppliers as an inexpensive way to produce a “mushroom” supplement, yet in reality it is not a mushroom product. It is a mycelium on grain product.
The process involves taking a plastic bag of sterilized, cooked grain (rice, oats, sorghum, etc), injecting it with a fungal culture (reishi, chaga, shiitake etc.) and allowing the mycelium to grow out on the grain. Once the mycelium is fully grown out on the grain, it is harvested and the mycelium with the grain is dried and turned into a powder. This produces a product that does not contain any mushrooms, though the package may say “mushroom” on it, and it has a very high starch content (upwards of 70%) because of the residual grain ending up in the final product. Because of all this added starch, the amount of fungal material in the product is very low, leading to very low levels of active compounds like beta-glucans.
Mycelium on grain is a cheap way to make “mushroom” supplements that are not actually mushrooms. In reality, when you compare the amount of active compounds in the product, it ends up being a very expensive product.
Product made entirely from fruiting bodies, like Real Mushrooms, typically have 5-10x more beta-glucans than mycelium on grain products.
What is the concentration ratios of your extracts?
Our extracts range from 1:1 to 16:1 but we do not list them specifically as we believe extract ratios have only limited value when not accompanied with active compound testing.
For example, without analytical testing there’s no way to know whether a 10:1 extract is more concentrated than a 4:1 extract. It is also possible to have two products with the same extract ratio yet with completely different levels of active compounds.
Also note that the higher the extract ratio, the more dense and sticky the final product gets so in order to keep it as a free flowing powder, a carrier is often added. This will dilute the potency. This is why measurement of active compounds and starch is so important.
Extract ratios can also be misrepresented. For example, fresh mushrooms are typically 90% water so the wet to dry ratio is 10:1. Some products use this ratio saying their products are a 10:1 extract (10lb of fresh mushrooms = 1lb of powder) when in reality it’s just a 1:1 (1lb of dried mushrooms = 1lb of powder). All extract ratios should be based off dry weight.
Without analytical testing of active compounds and starch measurements to show purity, extract ratios have limited value. Higher extract ratio does not equate to higher potency.
For these reasons, we do not specifically publish our extract ratios. If you’d like to know, just contact us.
The amount of active compounds in our products are some of the highest in the marketplace and the low levels of starch demonstrate the purity of our products.
Do you provide certificates of analysis?
Yes. Please contact us directly if you wish to see a certificate of analysis.
How is a mushroom extract made?
I’m not feeling anything. Are they working?
Will using the extract powders with hot liquid kill the active compounds?
All of our products have already been extracted with hot water and/or alcohol. Any further “extraction”, like adding them to hot water, will not effect the powder or the medicinal compounds.
When alcohol is used for extraction, is any alcohol left over in the final product?
When alcohol is used for extraction, it is precipitated out so it does not end up in the final product.
What does the "Lot#" printed on the back of the package mean?
This indicates when the product was created. It is not an expiry date. The product is good for 2 years from the lot#.
What is the nutritional breakdown of mushrooms?
Generally speaking, mushrooms are roughly 25% protein, 58% carbohydrates and 3% fat. The rest is vitamins and minerals. 1 gram would be around 3-4 calories.
Can I give your products to my pet?
Yes of course. A holistic vet who prescribes our products recommends 1/8 tsp twice daily for small dogs. Scale the dosage up or down accordingly to your pet’s size. If they do not like the taste, break the servings into smaller dosages more frequently over the day.
Why are only some of mushrooms dual extracted?
We use double extraction on our reishi and chaga ingredients in 5 Defenders and Reishi 415.
It is most important in reishi and chaga as much but not all of the beneficial triterpenes are non-water soluble. With other mushrooms it’s not as important as the main active component is the beta-glucans which are water soluble.
Typically with concentrated extracts, like in 5 Defenders and Reishi 415, you remove the mushroom fiber before concentration begins. This is why you would do separate hot water and alcohol extractions so you can obtain those beneficial triterpenes before the mushroom fiber gets removed.
On the other hand, our Chaga Extract, Lions Mane Extract, and Cordyceps-M products are 1:1 hot water extracts that still contain all of the mushroom fiber so nothing is lost in the extraction process and all of the non-water soluble components are still present even though it is a hot water extract.
What is the optimal way to take your products?
The optimal way to use our product is whatever way is the most convenient for you. This could be with hot water, coffee, tea, smoothie, shake, yogurt, bone broth, etc.
It says you‘re USDA Organic but I can’t find you in the USDA Organic Integrity Database
Consumer brands typically don’t end up in the USDA Organic Integrity database because the brands themselves don’t apply to the certifying bodies for organic certification. It’s the facilities where the end products are produced that need to apply to be organically certified.
The facility producing the final product will add the brand’s products to their organic certificate annex which lists all the organic products for any brand that the facility produces. This means that the brand itself would not show up in the integrity database when you search for it, only the facility would.
In our case, one of the companies we use is Namar Foods. They create the finished products who are certified by SCS Global Services. You will find Namar Foods in the USDA Organic Integrity database.
Health Practitioner Accounts
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Why doesn’t my discount show up?
Your discount will only show up if you are logged into your verified purchasing account.
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Why is this product so bitter?
To give you further details about the bitterness of Reishi 415, the bitterness comes from the beneficial triterpene compounds. These compounds give reishi its bitter flavor. These compounds are found in the mushroom and our product is extracted exclusively from the mushroom (fruiting body).
You want a reishi product to be bitter. If a reishi product is not bitter, start asking questions.
Many so-called reishi products do not taste bitter and this is a perfect indicator of the product not containing any detectable amounts of the beneficial triterpene compounds. This is either due to inferior extraction or the product not being made from the mushroom.
What is the concentration ratios of your extracts?
This product is a 15:1 extract meaning that 15 kilos of ground up reishi make 1 kilo of our extract.
What part of the reishi mushroom is used for the extraction?
We strictly use the cap of the reishi mushroom for extraction.
Is this made from red reishi?
Yes. This is made from Ganoderma lucidum which is red reishi.
What mushrooms are contained in this product?
5 Defenders contains the following extracts:
- 8:1 Organic Chaga Sclerotium Extract (hot water / alcohol extract)
- 8:1 Organic Maitake Mushroom Extract (hot water extract)
- 15:1 Organic Reishi Mushroom Extract (hot water / alcohol extract)
- 8:1 Organic Shiitake Mushroom Extract (hot water extract)
- 8:1 Organic Turkey Tail Mushroom Extract (hot water extract)
Why do you use Cordyceps militaris and not Cordyceps sinensis like the majority of other products?
Authentic Cordyceps (O. sinensis), the caterpillar fungus, the one everyone sees in pictures (the dead caterpillar with the blade-like fruiting body growing from it) is actually the most expensive mushroom in the world; upwards of $40,000/Kg. With such a price tag there is absolutely no way authentic cordyceps (O. sinensis) could be used in an affordable supplement product.
Cultivation of authentic fruiting bodies has previously been impossible and only recently has China figured out how to cultivate Cordyceps sinensis to produce a fruiting body. That being said, the price is still much too high for commercial supplements, leaving only mycelium available for commercial products.
Anything from China is typically a product called Cs-4 which is a 100% pure mycelium product made via liquid fermentation.
Anything produced in the U.S. is mycelium on grain, which ends up being very high in starch due to the nature of Cordyceps mycelium which grows very slowly leaving a high amount of residual grain in the final product.
At Real Mushrooms we take a different approach. We use Cordyceps militaris because fruiting bodies can be cultivated. This allows us to use 100% organically certified fruiting bodies for our Cordyceps-M extract powder. We do not deviate from our ethos of offering 100% fruiting body products with high beta-glucan levels and next to no starch.
If you’d like to learn more about how Cordyceps relates to supplements, read: Cordyceps and Supplements: Past and Present.
Is this made from the caterpillar fungus and does it contain bugs?
See the answer above and this product contains no bugs.
Lions Mane Extract
Are you able to measure the hericenones and erinacines?
Currently it is not possible to measure these compounds but we are looking into ways to do so.