What would we do without our furry friends?
Those gentle snuggles after a stressful Monday and giant welcome-back hugs at the airport make life all the better.
Simply put, pets are family. This is why we’re always looking to keep them healthy, and mushroom extracts are a versatile way to do that.
Unfortunately, not all mushroom supplements work. Some contain diluting fillers that limit their bioactive compounds and functional benefits.
To help you pick the best mushroom supplement for your pets, we’ve gathered information about three types of mushroom extracts: Turkey Tail, Reishi, and Lion’s Mane. As we go over their features, you’ll learn:
- 3 Types of Mushroom Supplements Recommended
- Advantages and Benefits of Mushroom Supplements for Pets
- Standard Features of the Best Mushroom Supplements
- FAQs About Mushroom Supplements for Pets
But first, let’s look at the different types of mushroom supplements and their uses.
3 Types of Mushroom Supplements
There are various options for mushroom supplements with different bioactive compounds and benefits.
However, all medicinal mushrooms contain beta-glucans that can stimulate your pet’s immune system.
The following table highlights three mushroom supplements and the various needs they support:
Let’s delve into these mushroom supplements and their features.
1 – Organic Lion’s Mane Extract Capsules for Pets
Lion’s Mane Extract from Real Mushrooms is produced using hot water to break down the fibrous cell walls to release this mushroom’s bioactive molecules
This method is called hot water extraction and results in concentrated levels of beta-glucans which have important immune system benefits. Beta-glucans help train your pet’s immune system to be vigilant and to defend against possible challenges to it, among other benefits.
Why Lion’s Mane Could Be the Best Mushroom Supplement For Your Pet
Important Features of Real Mushrooms’ Lion’s Mane Extract
- 100% Lion’s Mane mushrooms – This supplement is made exclusively from Lion’s mane mushrooms without any fillers or additives. This exclusivity ensures a high concentration of beta-glucans and triterpenes such as hericenone which can provide healthy neurological support.
- Gluten-free – The Lion’s Mane Extract excludes any gluten to help your furry one maintain a healthy weight and digestive system.
- Over 30% beta-glucans – Ample concentration of these functional fibers, the beta-glucans, boosts your pet’s immune system for a balanced immune response.
- Non-GMO – Lion’s Mane Extract is 100% organic and excludes any genetically modified ingredients to avoid problems associated with GMOs.
How Lion’s Mane Extract Compares With Other Supplements
- Non-water soluble components – Most hot water extract supplements discard the water-insoluble solids, but Lion’s Mane Extract keeps them. This inclusion adds to the available beta-glucans levels (rated at over 30%).
- No Mycelium – Mycelium is primarily grown on grains like rice and oats and these grains end up in the finished product, severely diluting the mycelium content as well as active compounds like beta-glucans.
- Generous servings – This supplement offers up to 120 servings of 300 mg capsules.
To get an idea of how pet owners have been using Lion’s Mane for their furry loved ones, read their reviews and latest prices:
2 – Organic Reishi Mushroom Capsules
Reishi Capsules from Real Mushrooms are produced using hot water and alcohol. The hot water extracts the water-soluble compounds of Reishi mushrooms while the alcohol pulls out the water-insoluble components.
This procedure leads to a wholesome supplement with various bio-actives, from immune-boosting beta-glucans to triterpenes that promote a healthy inflammation response in your furry one.
Why Reishi Could Be the Best Mushroom Supplement For Your Pet
Important Features of Reishi Mushroom Capsules
- 100% reishi mushrooms – This supplement contains only the mushrooms with no added mycelium (the fungal rooting structure) or grains as fillers. This enhances the levels of crucial compounds such as beta-glucans.
- Over 4% triterpenes – These include many different ganoderic acids and ganoderols, which help maintain LDL cholesterol levels already within a healthy range.
- Over 25% beta-glucans – This concentration is enough to boost the overall diversity of healthy bacteria in your pet’s gut for a healthier digestive system.
How Reishi Mushroom Capsules Compare With Other Supplements
- Extracted with hot water and alcohol – Dual extraction equips this supplement with the full spectrum of bio-active compounds, including the non-water soluble ones.
For instance, Reishi Capsules have triterpenes (defensive compounds) such as ganoderic acids, which are non-water soluble and best extracted using alcohol.
- Triterpene – Reishi Capsules feature 12 mg of unique triterpenes, which aren’t found in Turkey Tail or Lion’s Mane Extract.
The Reishi Mushroom Capsules give you additional active ingredients, but if you want to learn more, read their reviews and latest prices.
3 – Turkey Tail Extract Capsules
Similar to Lion’s Mane, Turkey Tail Extract by Real Mushrooms is also produced by hot water extraction.
This process keeps beta-glucan levels high (at over 30%). Turkey tail is the subject of more scientific studies than any other functional mushroom. Time and again it has shown its effectiveness in supporting the immune system, even among animals.
Why Turkey Tail Could Be the Best Mushroom Supplement For Your Pet
Important Features of Turkey Tail Extract Capsules
- 100% turkey tail mushrooms – This supplement is made exclusively from turkey tail mushrooms and without fillers such as mycelium or grain. This ensures high levels of bio-actives, including 90 mg of beta-d-glucans.
- Certified organic mushrooms – The Turkey Tail mushrooms are wild harvested from organic designated forests and then screened for pesticide residues.
- Over 30% Beta-glucans – This supplement offers a high concentration of beta-d-glucans (90 mg per serving) to help your pet maintain blood pressure already within a normal range and keep their immune system strong.
How Turkey Tail Extract Compares With Other Supplements
- Polysaccharopeptides (PSP) and polysaccharide-Krestin (PSK) – Turkey Tail features these natural protein-bound polysaccharides that stimulate your pet’s immune system. These compounds are more present in Turkey Tail Extract than in Reishi or Lion’s Mane Extract.
- Higher concentration of beta-glucan – Compared to Reishi and Lion’s Mane, Turkey Tail Extract offers higher levels of beta-glucans with 90 mg per serving (30%). For measure, Reishi and Lion’s Mane Extract offer 45 mg and 25%, respectively.
You’ll get more beta-glucans with Turkey Tail Extract, but if you want to learn more, check out the reviews and latest prices.
Advantages and Benefits of Mushroom Supplements for Pets
Enhances Gut Health
Mushroom supplements such as Lion’s Mane Extract can enhance your pet’s gut health. They contain oligosaccharides, which are natural carbohydrates that act as prebiotics (food for the good bacteria in your pet’s gut).
There are also human clinical studies showing Lion’s Mane can be highly beneficial in relation to gastrointestinal issues, and ulcers (2,3,4).
Supports the Immune System
Mushroom supplements such as Turkey Tail Extract support your pet’s immune system by boosting the production of cytokine and T cells (one of the primary lymphocyte cells that form the immune response).
These supplements contain polysaccharide-Krestin (PSK), a compound that one study found to support T cell production.
Supports Neurological Health
Holistic vets like Dr. Rob Silver DVM, and Dr. Donna Kelleher DVM recommend Lion’s Mane extract for slowing the progress of neuro-degenerative ailments in dogs and cats such as Degenerative Myelopathy (a.k.a. Dog Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (a.k.a. Dog dementia).
Using Lion’s Mane extract as a natural solution for pet neurological support is based on human and animal studies that have demonstrated the positive effects of this mushroom on protecting cognitive function, stimulating nerve growth, and even helping regenerate damaged nerves (5,6,7,8,9).
Giving your dog or cat a Lion’s Mane supplement is also a good preventative step for protecting their cognition and brain health as they age. Reishi is also useful as a stellar source of antioxidants for keeping neurons healthy as pets age.
Standard Features of the Best Mushroom Supplements
The best mushroom supplements feature various bio-actives with different benefits, but they also share some features and advantages—for instance, they use the mushroom itself, not mycelium or fillers, and they have high beta-d-glucans content.
Here’s a deeper look at these features and their advantages.
1 – No Mycelium or Fillers
For these fungal organisms, the mushroom, sometimes referred to as the fruiting body, is just one stage in its life cycle. It’s what you see growing above the ground and what you are buying in the supermarket. However, many so-called mushroom supplements sold in North America do not have mushrooms in them at all!
Instead, these companies use the root system of the mushroom, which is called the mycelium. Why? Because it is far more economical to produce mycelium than to grow mushrooms in full.
Mycelium for supplements is typically grown in a grain-based substrate (the medium the mycelium grows on). When harvesting the mycelium, the grain is not separated from the mycelium and goes straight into the final product. This grain is just filler and provides no health benefits.
Between the grain-based filler and the lack of mushrooms, many supplements contain low concentrations of beneficial compounds from fungi, and high concentrations of starch.
We provide a detailed breakdown of the key differences between the mushroom (fruiting body) and the mycelium (vegetative body) in our article Medicinal Mushroom Benefits: Mycelium vs Fruiting Body.
Top mushroom supplements are processed without mycelium, chemical additives or preservatives. They use only the mushroom.
Here’s an example of a label from Real Mushrooms that clearly indicates the product is made of 100% mushrooms, not mycelium, and with no added fillers or starches of any kind (green arrow).
2 – Beta-D-Glucans
These are common polysaccharides (carbohydrate arrangements) found within the cell walls of mushrooms and in supplements.
Beta-d-glucans serve your pet by turning the immune system up or down (immunomodulation) among other benefits, but this effect isn’t consistent across all mushroom species and supplements.
Immunomodulation depends on factors such as:
- Extraction methods used
- Shape and size of the beta-d-glucan molecules
- Levels of beta-d-glucans in the extract
Expert Tip: Check the label on your mushroom supplement before purchasing to ensure you’re getting the highest quality. The best manufacturers document the levels of bio-actives present in their products.
What Others Say About Mushroom Supplements for Pets
The most common talking points on mushroom supplements for pets among users were regarding:
- Energy levels – The supplements can improve energy levels within weeks of administration.
- Vitality – Mushroom supplements can reduce age-related tiredness.
- Adaptogenic qualities – The supplements can help your pet relax and adapt to stress.
“My dog has been taking Turkey Tail for three weeks and I see a dramatic improvement in her energy level.” Ellie, Turkey Tail Reviewer
“My dog is almost 17 and I am excited to find a supplement that has taken years off his age.” Stacy, Lion’s Mane Reviewer
“My senior foster is very unsettled at certain times of the day. These chews help her relax and settle down.” Beth H, Mushroom Relax Pet Chews Reviewer
FAQs About Mushroom Supplements for Pets
Can I Give My Pet Mushroom Supplements With Food?
Yes, you can. In essence, mushroom supplements are functional foods and work best when combined with a balanced diet.
How Long Do Mushroom Supplements Take To Kick In?
This timeline is variable, but mushroom supplements like Reishi and Lion’s Mane can take effect after 2–3 weeks of daily use.
How Many Times a Day Should I Give Mushroom Supplements?
Most mushroom extracts can be taken once a day and still be effective. Check the labelling on your supplement to confirm the recommended dosage.
Why Give My Pet Mushroom Supplements Instead of Just Fresh Mushrooms?
Some of the functional mushrooms are too tough to be edible (i.e. reishi and turkey tail). Also, mushroom supplements are made with an extraction process that makes the natural compounds within mushroom more accessible to your pet’s body. Otherwise, these valuable compounds would remain trapped behind chitin fungal walls—the same tough substance that makes up crustacean shells—and undigested.
Get the Real Stuff
So there you have it—three needs uncovered by three types of mushroom supplements: Lion’s Mane, Reishi, and Turkey Tail.
Whichever option you choose, consider the following:
- That your supplement contains zero fillers or mycelium (only mushrooms) for maximum health-support.
- That your supplement is organic to avoid allergic reactions.
- That the product lists the beta-glucans content for quality.
At Real Mushrooms, our goal is simple: to offer high-quality supplements from actual mushrooms. This stems from the industry problem of diluted supplements.
A recent study of mushroom supplements found that 74% of Reishi products are inauthentic. Most contain diluting fillers such as grain and mycelium.
Dilution causes higher concentrations of alpha glucans and lower levels of crucial beta-glucans. As such, these supplements offer little value to your pets.
Real Mushrooms supplements are made solely from mushrooms (the fruiting body). This reality is why we list the scientifically verified ingredients and active compounds on our products. unlike most companies.
Related Articles On Functional Mushrooms For Pets
- Lion’s Mane for Dogs: A Fungi for Your Furry Friend’s Mind
- Turkey Tail Mushrooms for Dogs: A Versatile Fungi for Pet Health
- A Better Bowl of Pet Food: Mushrooms & 5 Other Superfoods for Furry Friends
- Facts About Fungi for Your Furry Friend
- Can Dogs Eat Cooked Mushrooms? Facts, Benefits, And 3 Recipes
- Flickinger, E. A., & Fahey, G. C., Jr (2002). Pet food and feed applications of inulin, oligofructose and other oligosaccharides. The British journal of nutrition, 87 Suppl 2, S297–S300. https://doi.org/10.1079/BJNBJN/2002552
- Ali Durmus, Ilgim Durmus, Omer Bender, et al. The effect of Hericium erinaceum on the prevention of chemically induced experimental colitis in rats. https://www.kjim.org/upload/kjim-2019-050.pdf
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- Qin M, Geng Y et al. Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ethanol Extract of Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Agaricomycetes), in Mice with Ulcerative Colitis. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2016;18(3):227-34.
- Hirokazu Kawagishi et al. Erinacines E, F, and G, stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF)-synthesis, from the mycelia of Hericium erinaceum. Tetrahedron Letters, Volume 37, Issue 41,1996 Pages 7399-7402
- Lai PL, Naidu M et al. Neurotrophic properties of the Lion’s mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2013;15(6):539-54.
- Kevin Spelman, Elizabeth Sutherland, Aravind Bagade. December 1, 2017. Neurological Activity of Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus). https://journal.restorativemedicine.org/index.php/journal/article/view/109/126
- Mori, K., Inatomi, S., Ouchi, K., Azumi, Y., & Tuchida, T. (2009). Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytotherapy research : PTR, 23(3), 367–372. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.2634
- Saitsu, Y., Nishide, A., Kikushima, K., Shimizu, K., & Ohnuki, K. (2019). Improvement of cognitive functions by oral intake of Hericium erinaceus. Biomedical research (Tokyo, Japan), 40(4), 125–131. https://doi.org/10.2220/biomedres.40.125
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