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Mushroom Pills vs. Powders: 4 Tips to Help You Choose

Mushroom Pills vs. Powders: 4 Tips to Help You Choose cover
Written by Real Mushrooms - Updated: June 13, 2024

You’ve just learned about the amazing medicinal benefits of mushrooms, and you can’t wait to try them as supplements. However, the only problem is that you can’t decide whether to take them in pill or powder form. Are there any advantages of taking one type over the other?

The answer to whether you should take pre-dosed capsules or loose powders is not cut and dry unless you have difficulty swallowing pills. After that, it’s as easy as choosing the powdered versions of these supplements.

To help you choose which mushroom supplement form to take learn:

1 - Mushroom Pills

Mushroom supplements in capsule form offer a no-mess, no-prep, and no-fuss way of experiencing the power of functional mushrooms in a pre-dosed format.

handful of pills on top of a reishi mushroom
Mushroom pills are a great choice for bitter-tasting mushrooms, like Reishi, that may drastically alter the flavor of food and drinks.

Consider Your Taste Buds

Mushrooms such as reishi have a distinct bitter taste. Mushroom pills make it easy for you to enjoy the benefits without tasting the bitterness. Simply pop a capsule or two in your mouth, and wash it down with water or your favorite drink.

Washing down the capsules with a drink is a quick and easy way to incorporate the medicinal benefits of reishi mushroom supplements such as immune support and mood elevation, into your day.

Pets are not left out, either. Reishi is featured in both an immune-supporting blend and a calming blend for pets. If your fur baby is a picky eater, these options come as an enticing flavored extract chew that masks the bitter taste of reishi.

a dog with mushroom chews for pets
Mushroom Immune Pet Chews contain a blend of organic extracts of Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake, Turkey Tail mushrooms, and Chaga.

Think About Your Usage and How Often You Travel

One scoop or two? Heaped or level? Do these questions often plague you? Luckily, you don’t have to worry about that with capsules. Capsules are pre-measured to an exact concentration with simple, clear instructions. All you need to do is swallow them; no complications.

Also, mushroom capsules come in different-sized bottles with pills ranging from 60 to 120 per bottle. If you don’t want to carry the whole bottle of supplements, you can easily scoop out a handful and store them in your pill organizer or a smaller, more compact container.

2 - Mushroom Powders

teaspoonful of powder with mushrooms in the background
Mushrooms powders can offer more flexibility by letting you dose amounts different than that pre-measured into capsule form, which can be helpful in adding mushrooms to recipes.

Mushroom powders are the result of meticulously and precisely extracted mushrooms. These powders come in single and blend varieties.

A study of 152 participants showed that 32% experienced difficulty when swallowing pills (1). Of that number, some stated that their inability to swallow pills resulted from memories of choking on medication. Others also had significantly smaller oral cavities than those who easily swallowed the pills.

Does this sound like you? Luckily, you have the option of choosing powders instead of capsules. Here are a couple of tips to help you choose the former over the latter.

Consider Whether You Want Flexibility for Your Recipes

Powders give you the versatility that mushroom pills do not. You can get creative with how you take your powders with a variety of recipes. Keep it simple by tossing a few teaspoons into your favorite tea, soup, or smoothie.

Alternatively, you could get a little fancy. For example, if you work out a lot or need a little energy boost in the middle of the day, you could make a delicious smoothie using mushroom powder. There’s no end to the snacks, meals, and drink recipes that you can add mushroom powder to that will enhance the healthfulness of your diet.

If you’re a chocoholic, can you think of a better supplement than one containing a hot chocolate mix? You get to enjoy your favorite flavor with the added medicinal benefits of five organic functional mushrooms.

Even though the average American drinks more than two cups of coffee a day, excessive caffeine can cause (2):

  • Restlessness
  • Dehydration
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness

Instead, replace your daily dose of coffee with cordyceps or lion’s mane mushroom supplement powder known to give energy, clarity, and focus. These two powders mimic the benefits of coffee without the negative side effects.

Lion’s mane mushroom powder and a thermos
Customers love our Mushroom Hot Chocolate Mix for the health benefits of our 5 Defenders blend and the taste of 75% heirloom cacao.

Get on the Mushroom Coffee Bandwagon

Replacing your morning coffee with a functional mushroom beverage may be out of the question for you. If so, consider joining the leagues of people adding mushroom powders to their coffee routine. We concur that mushrooms + coffee are a match made in heaven. The earthy taste of mushroom extracts brings the flavor of coffee to the next level, plus the functional health benefits can’t be beat.

Popular mushroom extracts to add to coffee:

  • Lion’s mane for cognition support
  • Cordyceps for mental and physical energy
  • Reishi for a calm mind
  • A blend like 5 Defenders for comprehensive immune support

Using a mushroom powder in your coffee is preferable over pre-mixed instant mushroom coffees sold on the market if you want to a) guarantee the quality and potency of your supplement, and b) control the amount and flavor profile.

Learn more about the benefits of mushroom coffee and some recipes here.

mushroom coffee being poured into a cup
Mixing mushroom powders into your coffee is a great way to elevate your morning health routine without additional supplement pills.

Picky Eaters & Pill Haters Rejoice!

If you have a child who’s a picky eater, the flexibility that powder gives you allows you to mix it into your child’s food. And because most mushroom powders are virtually tasteless, your child won’t be able to detect them in their food.

The same can be said of your pets. Sometimes you just can’t get them to take their chews or pills. The best way to ensure that they still reap the benefits of mushrooms is to simply sprinkle the powder onto your furry friends’ food or treats.

Where capsules are tasteless, some powders offer a bit more flavor. For example, You may struggle to take a capsule because you don’t look forward to it. But chocolate-flavored powder supplements? Yum! If your favorite mushroom supplement comes in a delicious chocolate flavor, you’re more likely to remember to take it than swallowing a tasteless capsule.

Additionally, you should consider flexibility regarding where and how you use mushroom powder.

These supplements come in different sizes, like 45 g and 60 g resealable pouches. They’re small enough which makes it easy for you to toss them into your gym bag, work tote, or travel toiletry bag.

3 - Choosing the Right Mushroom Supplement

Now that you have an idea of what form of mushroom supplements you prefer, it’s important to know what to look for. Factors to always consider before purchasing any kind of mushroom supplements include:

Mushroom versus Mycelium

This is an essential aspect of mushroom supplements. What is sold as mushroom supplements are sometimes nothing more than mycelium (root system) and filler products such as starch and grains.

High-quality mushroom supplements, including those sold at Real Mushrooms, contain nutrients from the mushroom, not the mycelium. The mushrooms contain high levels of beta-glucans compared to the products commonly sold in North America that are made from mycelium grown on grain (3).

Beta-glucans are beneficial in the following ways:

  • Support heart health
  • Support the immune system
  • Balance inflammation
  • Fight cell abnormalities
  • Balance blood sugar levels
  • Improve gut health
reishi mycelium grown on grain and whole reishi mushroom
Real reishi mushroom, such as that in our 100% organic reishi mushroom powder, should contain no added starch, mycelium, or grain of any kind.

Extraction Method

The extraction process is a necessary process that helps give the body easier access to the important compounds found in mushrooms. There are two extraction methods: hot water extraction and dual extraction.

Think of the hot water extraction method as making tea. You drink the tea as the solvent which remains after extracting the compounds. This method will extract only water-soluble compounds from the mushrooms. The solvent is then dried and becomes an extract powder.

Beta-glucans are the most active ingredient found in turkey tail, lion’s mane, cordyceps, maitake, and shiitake products. Because they’re water-soluble, beta-glucans are best extracted using the hot water extraction method.

The dual extraction method extracts non-water soluble compounds from the mushrooms. For this, alcohol is used. The leftover solids from the first extraction are now steeped in a water and alcohol solution. Afterward, the solids are removed, and the liquid is dried to form a powder.

This extraction method is best suited to chaga and reishi mushrooms that contain water-soluble beta-glucans and terpenoids which are alcohol-soluble. Terpenoids are known to:

  • Enhance memory
  • Balance inflammation
  • Fight cell abnormalities
  • Support a calm mood

Testing for Active Compounds

The only reason mushrooms are important is because of the compounds inside, the most important being beta-glucans. High-quality supplements will contain the highest concentration of beta-glucans. They will also list the concentration of beta-glucans directly on the label. If your mushroom supplement lists a percentage of more than 20% beta-glucans, you can be almost certain the product contains mushrooms and not mycelium. It will therefore provide you with the functional health benefits that mushroom extracts can provide.

Ingredient label on a bottle of mushroom pills
High-quality mushroom supplements will contain a percentage of more than 20% beta-glucans, as shown on the label above.

Combined, all three factors above determine whether a mushroom supplement is high-quality or a filler product with little to no health benefits.

The Best Mushroom Supplements in Powder and Capsule Form

Whether you’ve ultimately chosen to purchase supplements in powder or capsule form, there’s no denying that Real Mushrooms is the best source of high-quality mushroom supplements. We have products in both pill and loose powder formats, and different sizes of packages, giving you options to choose what suits you best.

At Real Mushrooms, we have been growing mushrooms for over 40 years. With our deep experience, we offer products that contain real mushrooms (fruiting bodies) and not just mycelium (roots) and other filler products.

Our supplements are not only safe for you, but they’re also safe for pets. Additionally, our products are vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and non-GMO.

mushroom pills from a bottle
Real Mushrooms products are verified for quality at accredited 3rd party labs, guaranteeing their quality and safety for you, your loved ones, and your pets

Resources

1. Radhakrishnan, C., Sefidani Forough, A., Cichero, J. A. Y., Smyth, H. E., Raidhan, A., Nissen, L. M., & Steadman, K. J. (2021). A difficult pill to swallow: An investigation of the factors associated with medication swallowing difficulties. Patient Preference and Adherence, Volume 15, 29–40. https://doi.org/10.2147/ppa.s277238

2. Buchholz, K., & Richter, F. (2023, January 17). Infographic: How many cups of coffee do Americans drink each day? Statista Infographics. Retrieved January 26, 2023, from https://www.statista.com/chart/19524/cups-of-coffee-drunk-by-americans-per-day/

3. Bak, W. C., Park, J. H., Park, Y. A., & Ka, K. H. (2014). Determination of glucan contents in the fruiting bodies and mycelia of Lentinula Edodes cultivars. Mycobiology, 42(3), 301–304. https://doi.org/10.5941/myco.2014.42.3.301

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Real Mushrooms is the premier provider of organic mushroom extracts, verified for the beneficial medicinal compounds like beta-glucans and free from starchy fillers like grains. With over 40 years of mushroom growing experience, Real Mushrooms prides itself on providing a transparent source of functional mushrooms that you can trust. All the information provided on our blog has been reviewed by our science and medical team.

Disclaimer: The information or products mentioned in this article are provided as information resources only, and are not to be used or relied on to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information does not create any patient-doctor relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. The information is intended for health care professionals only. The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information in this article is intended for educational purposes. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by licensed medical physicians. Please consult your doctor or health practitioner for any medical advice.

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