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Mushroom Liquid Extracts

There's an increasing range of mushroom supplement products that mushroom lovers can appreciate. Although mushroom powder has dominated the market for the longest time, the demand for alternative products and methods of consuming less time-consuming and more convenient supplements has been on the rise.

Mushroom liquid extracts have been among the products that have hit the market in response to this rising demand. The silver lining in mushroom liquid extracts is that there's no preparation time, and they're ready to consume right out of the pack, as long as you can withstand the staple bitter taste that comes with most of the extracts.

Although picking up steam, the extracts are not as popular as mushroom powders, and if you're considering transitioning into mushroom liquid extracts, equipping yourself with as much information as possible is crucial to maximize your experience. This guide covers everything you need to know about the extracts and how to make the most of the experience.

What is a Mushroom Liquid Extract?

Mushroom extracts come about in a variety of ways. But generally, the process involves taking a raw mushroom and applying a solvent to it, like water or alcohol, to draw out its active compounds. Extracting the mushroom draws out some of the active ingredients in the mushrooms, releases their powers, and increases bioavailability.

The mushroom extraction process also helps to break down the hardened outer cell wall of mushrooms called chitin, which increases the release of the active compounds sitting deep in the mushroom.

The History of Mushroom Extracts

Mushroom liquid extracts might be a relatively new idea in the natural supplements world, but they are not a new product. They’ve actually been around for ages.

In fact, mushroom liquid extract products like tinctures have been around since Egyptians first distilled alcohol. People have been using solvents to produce potent plant extracts for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.

However, with the growth of the pharmacology industry, the use of tinctures in medicine tapered but has now revived with new applications in the natural supplements industry. The methods used in mushroom liquid extraction today are more advanced and cleaner but follow the same basic concept used thousands of years ago.

Methods of Mushroom Liquid Extraction

When considering different types of mushroom liquid extracts, you first want to consider the type of extraction method. This can affect the potency and purity of the final extract and the benefits it's able to convey. There are different commonly used methods. The preferred method depends on the quality of the extract and the mushroom in question.

Single vs. Double extraction

Mushroom liquid extracts can either be single or double-extracted. The double extraction method involves using alcohol and hot water extraction. It ensures the final product has as many of the mushroom's compounds as possible and is more potent and beneficial than single extracted products.

Alcohol extraction pulls out the soluble compounds. Other solvents like glycerin and vinegar can be used in the place of alcohol. During alcohol extraction, the bioactive medicinal compounds in the mushroom's cell walls are preserved, which gives the product a longer shelf-life and more stability.

Single extraction only relies on one method to produce a single, pure, potent tincture. However, double extraction methods capture many active compounds in the mushroom material.

Hot water extraction

Hot water extraction is preferred for mushrooms that are rich in Beta-glucans, which are hot water soluble. The hot water breaks down the cell walls of the mushroom and pulls out the beneficial compounds said to have potent immune-enhance benefits. After being heated at very high temperatures in water, the beta-glucans are more readily absorbed, and their medicinal properties can be utilized by our bodies. Although this method is commonly applied on an industrial scale, it's also used at home, which is why people use mushroom teas and soups. The process is not as effective as commercially produced extracts but has been used with plenty of success even in the past.

Alcohol extraction

This type of extraction process is the second most common extraction process. Using this method, mushrooms are combined with alcohol and left to sit for several weeks to months. Although this is an effective method used to create potent mushroom liquid extracts, it is typically used to isolate sterols, flavonoids, and triterpenoids, non-water soluble active compounds in some mushrooms.

In many cases, an alcohol extraction is a double extraction that also includes hot water extraction to extract the compounds that might not be effectively extracted by alcohol.

Glycerin extraction

Glycerin is another effective solvent often used to attract constituents from mushrooms without the use of alcohol. The extraction process when using glycerin is the same as with water and alcohol, except glycerin is used as the solvent.

An added benefit of using glycerin is its anti-fermentative properties that make it effective for preservation. However, glycerin-based tinctures have a shorter shelf-life than their alcohol-based counterparts.

The extraction process of mushrooms is crucial to the quality of the final products, and brands have been working to find new, effective, and efficient methods to extract the active compounds without adding new compounds into the extract. Ultrasonic extraction technology is one of the methods that have been identified to produce high-quality and high-potency dual extracts that carry all of the mushroom's beneficial polysaccharides, vitamins, and triterpenes.

This method is the most efficient yet at breaking down the chitin to release active compounds trapped in the cell walls of the mushroom, delivering potent and bioavailable liquid extract.

This extraction process sends waves or mechanical vibrations through the liquid. The large change in pressure creates tiny pressure bubbles on the surface of the mushroom cells floating around in the liquid. These eventually implode, causing an opening in the mushroom cells releasing all the active compounds into the liquid.

Potential Benefits of Mushroom Liquid Extracts

The actual benefits you can get from mushroom extracts vary depending on the type of extract you purchase. Each type of mushroom is known to have specific benefits, which are carried forward in the mushroom liquid you purchase. Some blended options offer a bit of everything for enthusiasts who want a more broad-spectrum approach to the benefits of shroom extracts.

Some often reported benefits of taking mushroom liquid extracts include the following;

  • Immune support – Medicinal mushrooms are said to carry many benefits associated with the immune system. It is possible that they might help to modulate the immune system and help the body overcome various diseases and infections. However, these benefits are only associated with a few mushrooms, and there's not a lot of scientific data to show how these benefits impact the immune system.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties - For ages, mushrooms have been associated with fighting inflammation. However, some clinical studies have suggested that much, but more randomized clinical trials are needed to look further into these benefits. Some mushroom lovers have reported positive results to this effect after taking mushroom supplements.

Other commonly reported benefits associated with mushrooms include anti-aging effects on the skin, faster wound healing, and fatigue reduction, and some types of mushrooms are even said to enhance athletic performance.

Potential Side Effects of Taking Mushroom Liquid Extracts

We know much more about mushrooms and mushroom concentrates now than was known in the past. But plenty still needs to be confirmed and studied to provide the full picture of mushroom extracts. Although side effects are rarely reported among mushroom fans, particularly those taking mushroom extracts, there might be concerns about the ideal dosage.

Taking too much could result in undesirable effects, with the most commonly reported being diarrhea, and there could be chances of interactions, which is common with supplements. People with auto-immune conditions are discouraged from supplementing with adaptogens because they could stimulate the immune system. At the same time, some mushrooms like Reishi could interact with some medications for conditions like diabetes, blood clotting, and high blood pressure.

More research is required to confirm these concerns. However, mushroom extracts are largely safe when taken in moderation and in the right dosage. If you're on any prescription medication or suffer from any long-term conditions, it is highly recommended that you speak to your doctor before adding mushroom extracts to your supplement routine.

Types of Mushroom Liquid Extracts

Mushroom liquid extract types vary depending on the type of mushroom used to make the extract. Some extracts are from magic mushrooms, and others from medicinal mushrooms. Common types of mushrooms used to make the extracts include;

Reishi

Reishi mushrooms are fondly called the "elixir of life" because of their life-boosting properties. The tincture provides a calming effect and is said to help manage stress levels. This type of mushroom extract is also said to have other benefits, such as boosting the immune system, inflammation, and sleep support.

Chaga

Chaga mushroom extracts have the highest antioxidant content. They’re essential in keeping the skin healthy and safe from the sun’s UV rays. Chaga mushroom liquids should feature heavily if you’re an active person looking to increase your athletic performance. The contents of the mushrooms are said to help support stamina recovery by increasing oxygen flow in your body.

Cordyceps extracts

Cordyceps are a preferred everyday tincture. The mushroom offers extensive benefits, including stamina, energy, and endurance. They also dilate your airways, making them a great choice for people with asthma and other respiratory conditions. Also, the active ingredients in this range of mushrooms are said to help lower stress levels and provide an energy boost. Some reports have also suggested that this range of mushroom extract might also increase a male's sex drive.

Lion’s Mane

Lion's mane is an iconic mushroom that resembles a real lion's mane, hence the name. The mushroom is thought to have brain-boosting properties and is fondly called the "student mushroom" because of its Central Nervous System support properties.

Taking lion’s mane mushroom liquid reportedly helps alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Using the extract over a long period can also protect you against age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia.

Turkey tail

Turkey tail is another powerful mushroom that is popular around the world. It is known for having excellent properties that potentially balance hormones, boost the immune system, and improve prostate health.

Turkey tail tinctures also have antioxidants, which are vital for cellular development and can protect against cancerous cells.

Blended

Evidently, any mushroom fan who wants to enjoy certain benefits must take some time to determine the benefits they want and match them to the right mushroom extract that will produce those benefits. But how about those who want a little bit of everything from every type of mushroom?

Blended mushroom extracts provide just that. A world of potential wellness and therapeutic benefits from different mushrooms is locked up in one small bottle. The best thing about mushrooms is that combining them doesn't diminish the health effects of individual species, so you're able to take advantage of more properties from each mushroom.

The blended mushroom liquid lets you get the effects of multiple mushrooms as a simple way of adding different fungi species to your supplement routine.

Differences Between Mushroom Powder and Mushroom Liquid

Mushroom powders have been around for the longest time. They are the ones that most mushroom fans have gotten used to and appreciate the most. With the introduction and continued uptake of liquids and extracts, you might be left wondering if there's a difference and whether you, too, should make the switch from mushroom powders to extracts.

It's important to mention that mushroom supplements are a matter of personal preference. While each option has unique benefits it gives to the consumer, some people might still prefer one product over the other despite the said benefits. But it never hurts to try. You might find that you respond better to mushroom extracts.

Here are a few differences that set the two products apart and might help you determine which suits your lifestyle and health goals better.

Processing

The first major difference between mushroom powders and extracts is the processing. The processing of mushroom powders involves harvesting the fruit body, the reproductive structure, and its mycelium. Once harvested, the mushrooms are heated to dehydrate them completely, followed by milling and grinding into a fine powder.

Depending on where you source the powder from and the brand, it can contain either the fruit body and mycelium. In many cases, whole mushroom powders contain all the components of the mushroom, providing a wider range of benefits to the consumer.

Mushroom extracts can also contain nutrients from the fruit body and the mycelium, depending on the brand and the mushroom in question. The processing starts with harvesting, drying, and grinding the mushrooms and then placing them in a solvent.

Hot water is used if the compounds to be extracted are water soluble, while alcohol is used for alcohol-soluble compounds. After the steeping period, the mushrooms are drained, and the solvent is retained. The process can be repeated several times, extracting the same mushrooms in alcohol and water to maximize the extraction.

If alcohol is used in the extraction, it is allowed to evaporate, leaving behind a concentrated liquid packed with nutrients from the mushroom. Additional processing may be required if the brand wants to sell the extract in a powder form.

Benefits

The main difference between mushroom powders and mushroom liquids is the benefits that each offers. Whole mushroom powders are rich in macronutrients, micronutrients, antioxidants, beta-glucans, prebiotic fiber, and other additional bioactive compounds.

Some mushroom species contain different bioactive compounds in their fruit bodies, and mycelium by whole mushroom powders contain all the components of the mushroom's life cycle.

Mushroom extracts contain beta-glucans and other polysaccharides such as ergosterols and other micro-nutrients that differ depending on the species of the mushroom and the specific extraction process followed.

Some active compounds like beta-glucans are in high concentrations in an extract, while other nutrients might be lost depending on the part of the fungi used and the extraction procedure.

Besides the composition of mushroom powders and extracts, the other difference between the two and where the extract really shines is in the concentration and potency of the product. Mushroom liquids are extremely potent, requiring consumers to only take a few drops to meet their daily nutritional intake compared to powders, which require a much higher intake.

What is the Right Mushroom Extract Dose?

Much like other tinctures and extracts from other compounds like CBD, every person has no specific amount of mushroom liquid.

When choosing the right amount to consume, several factors are at play, including the concentration of the extract, your experience with mushroom supplements, and the reason for taking the supplement. Other minor factors like your body weight and metabolism also weigh in on the amount of mushroom extract you should take.

As a general rule of thumb, you should start by taking the smallest amount possible and giving yourself time to see how you respond before adjusting the intake accordingly until you experience the right effects at the right intensity.

How to Choose the Right Mushroom Liquid Extract

Your liquid mushroom extract largely depends on your capacity to choose the right product for your health and supplement goals. At Koi CBD, we stock a vast range of mushroom liquids, making it easy for every fungi lover to find the extract that best complements their lifestyle.

Here are several factors you should consider that will help guide you toward the best mushroom liquid for you.

Research your functional mushroom species.

Every functional mushroom has a unique profile, contains different types of nutrients, and produces different effects and benefits. Carefully research the benefit profile of each mushroom and pick the ones that are most closely related to the benefits you're looking for. This approach is better and more strategic than trying different mushroom liquids and waiting to see which one gives you the best results.

Consider the extraction process

After settling down on the functional mushroom you feel will produce the best results, the next step is to consider the extraction process used by the brands you’re considering. The extraction process is crucial because it determines the nutrients in the extract. If only hot-water extraction has been used, then only water-soluble nutrients are present in the extract.

Some brands go for double extraction to maximize on the nutrients. This method is preferred because it captures a broad spectrum of the beneficial compounds from the mushrooms.

Another reason why extraction is vital is that our bodies cannot break down and absorb all the nutrients from mushrooms. The extraction process helps overcome this challenge and makes these nutrients available for absorption in the body.

Part of the mushroom used

Check whether the mushroom extract you choose is made from the fruiting body, the mycelium, or both parts of the mushroom. Ideally, you want an extract that features the whole mushroom. If not, you should go for the mushroom's fruiting body because it contains the highest level of beneficial compounds.

Knowing the most interesting nutrients can help you choose the right part of the mushroom you want in your extract. But for starters who might not know, going for whole mushroom extracts is the best approach.

Third-party testing

The health supplement industry isn't regulated, which leaves consumers open to manipulation by brands looking to make a quick buck. Without regulations, brands can place inaccurate marketing information on the packaging, misleading buyers into purchasing products that don't contain any value.

You can only tell that your mushroom liquid extract contains all the nutrients highlighted on the packaging through a third-party lab test.

Reputable brands have partnered with ISO-certified labs to provide testing for purity, composition, and potency. These tests also screen the extracts for common contaminants like herbicides and heavy metals that could harm the consumer.

The results of the tests are enclosed in a Certificate of Analysis, which details the nutrient composition of the extract.

Finally, you should make sure you only purchase your mushroom extract from reputable and trustworthy brands that have been around for some time and have customer reviews that back up their claims of being a legitimate product supplier.

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