When most people think of mushrooms, they probably imagine sautéing them for one of their favorite stir-fry or pasta dishes but mushrooms come in many shapes, sizes, and functions! Some have incredible health benefits, some make you hallucinate (eek!), some can kill you…, while others have incredible flavor! (hint: we don’t use the kind that will kill you or make you hallucinate in our blend). Mushrooms have been consumed for centuries across many different cultures and, today, continued research supports the use of functional mushrooms for many different health benefits. (Not sure what all the buzz is about functional mushrooms? Read more here!) When it comes to consuming mushrooms, you can cook some varieties or get them as a powder or as a powder extract for convenient, daily doses! So, you might be wondering: what are the differences between mushroom powder and mushroom extract? How can they benefit my health? Which option is the most cost- and health-effective? Well, look no further because we have the answers! Let’s dive in together!
The fungi contenders
Mushroom powder and extract are made differently, resulting in different strengths. Despite their differences, both are rich in antioxidants, polysaccharides, and other nutrients proven to have immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, and other health-promoting effects. For example, one study reports that Chaga, a mushroom extract that we use in our blend here at Daybreak Cacao, has rejuvenating effects on the body at the cellular level and even promotes increased life spans for cells—making mushrooms just what the doctor ordered for a long and healthy life! Now that we’ve covered these benefits, let’s take a closer look at how mushroom powder and mushroom extract formulations are made, which one has more benefits, and which one stands above the competition.
How the formulas compare:
Mushroom powder is made by grinding whole mushrooms into a fine powder. It’s a super easy and convenient way to add mushrooms to your diet because it can be added to smoothies, soups, and tons of your other favorite meals. Mushroom powder contains the whole mushroom, including the cell wall. Unfortunately, this reduces the bioavailability of the active compounds, making it less potent and less effective than mushroom extract. With this information in mind, let’s take a look at its common rival mushroom extract.
Mushroom extract, on the other hand, is made by extracting the active compounds from mushrooms using a solvent, such as water or alcohol. The extract is then concentrated and dried to create a powder or liquid form which allows you to incorporate it into your meals and drink blends. For example, we use only mushroom extracts in our Organic Cacao + Morning Mushrooms blend to achieve the maximum health and energy benefits, and we add the soothing, natural flavor of chocolate to the mix, ensuring a healthy and satisfying drink to start your day. Also, not only is mushroom extract considered to be more potent and effective than mushroom powder since it contains a higher concentration of active compounds, but your body can more easily absorb the nutrients from this type of formula. So, choosing mushroom extract is less work for you and your body!
Studies on mushroom extract also show that it has a stronger immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory effect than mushroom powder. That sounds like a win-win to us! The only downside to the extract formula is one that we actively fill. Mushroom extract is generally more expensive to manufacture than mushroom powder since it requires more processing and is sold in smaller quantities. At Daybreak Cacao, however, we make mushroom extract more affordable, accessible, and delicious than ever through our organic blend. It is one of our primary goals to help you have access to the more effective formula and health benefits without breaking your bank.
Some of our fave organic mushroom extracts
It’s time to bring on the drum roll as we introduce four power-packed, organic extracts that we use in our Organic Morning Mushroom and Organic Sunrise blends. With the following highlights, you’ll see why they’re our favorites:
- This mushroom has an abundance of health benefits which gives you that much-needed natural energy boost! It contains vitamins K, E, and B12; minerals such as iron, magnesium, and zinc; and various peptides such as cordymin which reduces inflammation and increases the antioxidants in your body. Cordymin also aids in reducing free radicals, which are molecules that negatively affect your body and can cause health problems—this alone is a reason to include this extract in your diet! Finally, Cordyceps extract includes multiple fatty acids which are essential to various bodily functions including improving your body’s responses to your hormones and ultimately reducing your risks for a large amount of diseases. These are just a few of the benefits you can get from them! It’s hard to find a single ingredient that can top it, so it’s an understatement for us to say that if you can have any extract in your daily lineup, have it be this one. While both of our blends contain cordyceps, our Sunrise blend has an additional dose of this mushroom extract!
- There are many benefits to Chaga mushrooms lying underneath the surface. Are you looking to reduce internal inflammation? Then look no further than Chaga extract! This mushroom has been used for thousands of years for various medicinal purposes, especially in China. In particular, Chaga has been proven to reduce symptoms of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis or gout due to the plethora of vitamins and minerals it contains. Chaga is also high in calcium, which is great news for our vegan friends out there to reap all the benefits that calcium has to offer: stronger bones and teeth, maintaining a healthy heartbeat, better blood clotting, and nerve and hormone regulation. Calcium also plays a big part in avoiding osteoporosis, which afflicts millions of women throughout the world. All in all, this is an extract that you can’t afford to miss out on!
Lion’s Mane Extract
- This fun, polypore mushroom is chock-full of benefits! In addition to the multiplicity of vitamins that strengthen skin elasticity, nails, and your immune system, this mushroom has many amino acids. Within all these amino acids are many that specifically create brain functions essential to good mental health such as dopamine (the happy hormone), chemicals that support sound sleep, and serotonin which regulates your mood, sleep, and appetite. All of these brain functions need the proper foundation to live a happy, rested, and functional life. So, if having good mental health, strong hair (or mane ;)) and nails, and a healthy gut are high on your priority list, Lion’s Mane is your new best friend.
Turkey’s Tail Extract
- This mushroom will have viruses running in the other direction as it’s great for supporting your immune system and helping your body function at top speed and effectiveness. Turkey Tail has also been known to have powerful antioxidant effects on the body that support your blood sugar and blood pressure levels. This is definitely one mushroom we can be thankful for on Turkey Day.
The fungal verdict
While both formulas have health benefits, when we dig a bit deeper into whether to choose powders or extracts, mushroom extract always comes out on top since it's more powerful, functional, effective, and has a bigger bang for your buck than mushroom powder. Mushroom extracts, like the ones we highlighted before, have so many key nutrients that are essential for our bodies to be in tip-top condition, and they will have you feeling like your best, energized, healthy self every day. We strive to make the health and natural energy benefits of mushroom extract more accessible than ever, which is why we have created our organic morning blends—one place where all the powerful extracts happily coexist in a simple mug! We know that once you feel its effects you will not regret including it as a staple in your daily routine.