Can Mycelium on Grain be Full Spectrum

Full Spectrum: Truth or Marketing Hype?

When it comes to mushroom products, the term “Full Spectrum” gets used a lot.

It is an interesting statement, but what does it mean?

Is it simply a marketing gimmick?

An examination of this statement shows that U.S. producers of mycelium are primarily claiming that their product has all of the fungal parts: mycelium, mushroom, and spores.

In addition, they claim the presence of secondary metabolites and extra-cellular compounds that they maintain are secreted by the mycelium into the sterile grain which their mycelium grows on.

So they are proposing that their products contain a complete menu of what is important in a “medicinal mushroom” product.

An accurate definition of Full Spectrum would be a product that has the full complement or complete range of typical or possible elements, as in nutritional and medicinal compounds.

Let’s break this down and see what it really looks like.

The Presence of Mycelium

There is definitely mycelium in these products but the question is, just how much?

U.S. producers of mycelium actually grow their mycelium on cooked, sterilized cereal grain (rice, oats, sorghum, etc). What they don’t talk about is that the grain is not separated from the final product so it is not 100% mycelium like often assumed, but a myceliated grain, very much like the food product called Tempeh.

Tempeh - Mycelium on Grain

Tempeh is a traditional food product of Indonesia. It consists of growing a fungus on cooked soy beans, a process similar to mycelium grown on grain. Yet Tempeh is sold as a food product and not a dietary supplement.

How much of the final product is mycelium and how much is grain?

Nammex alpha-glucan testing has determined that U.S. grown mycelium on grain, what we refer to as MOG, is mostly starch from the residual grain. This was also confirmed in the McCleary & Draga paper (1).

Nammex ergosterol testing has shown that U.S. grown MOG has as little as one tenth the amount of ergosterol as actual mushrooms. Ergosterol is a fungal sterol and a key indicator of fungal matter. Testing for ergosterol is actually used by the grain industry to measure the amount of fungal contamination in stored grain.

Low ergosterol and low beta-glucans (see Active Compounds below), along with high alpha-glucans confirm that the amount of mycelium in MOG is minimal.

The Presence of Mushrooms

Since the ratio of mycelium, mushroom and spores is never given for a “full spectrum” MOG product, one must take their word that mushrooms are present.

Mushrooms contain very low levels of alpha-glucans in the form of glycogen. They do not contain starch.

Due to this, if a MOG product has any significant amount of mushrooms included, the levels of alpha-glucans should be lower and beta-glucan numbers should be higher.

So the amount of starch in a MOG product is directly proportional to missing fungal material. That is, if there is a high amount of grain starch in a MOG product then there must be a low amount of fungal material.

Mushroom vs Mycelium on Grain
Cordyceps militaris mushroom34.4%1.7%
Cordyceps mycelium on grain<0.1%55.5%
Cordyceps mycelium on grain<0.1%68.4%
Turkey Tail mushroom57.3%0.1%
Turkey Tail mycelium on grain6.7%24.55%
Turkey Tail mycelium on grain9.06%44.78%
Reishi mushroom56.2%0.6%
Reishi mycelium on grain1%38.9%
Reishi mycelium on grain1.1%51.4%
Mushroom vs Mycelium on Grain. Beta-glucan analysis using the industry standard Megazyme test. Note that a simple starch analysis will give the same results for alpha-glucans.


Primordia are Not Mushrooms

The presence of mushrooms claim is often substantiated by claiming the presence of primordia growing on the mycelium colonized grain. Primordia are the initial aggregation of mycelia that precedes the actual mushroom stage. But primordia have not differentiated at this stage and are still just a small knot of mycelium.

Primordia are very small

This petri dish is 3.5 inches in diameter. Each tiny primordia is a millimetre in size.

As you can see, primordia are very tiny and would contribute very little to the overall quantity of a MOG product.

External Addition of Mushrooms

If mushrooms are added externally after the MOG is harvested then the distribution of each should be noted in separate line items in the Supplements Facts panel on the product label to give consumers accurate information with which to make informed purchasing decisions.

The Presence of Spores

If a product contains spores, it must first have the mushrooms that produce the spores. Without mushrooms, few spores, if any, will be present. Spores are not digestible or a proven active part of the fungal organism so their presence or lack of presence is not an important issue.

Whole spores have no proven medicinal value. This is why reishi spore products are “cracked” or “broken” prior to sale.

The Presence of Grain

What is often overlooked and unstated is the presence of grain in a MOG product. Nammex analysis of MOG products has shown alpha-glucan numbers from 30-60%. This is almost solely in the form of starch which comes from the residual grain which is not fully consumed by the mycelium.

Mycelium growing on grain

Mycelium growing on grain and the grain is still easily distinguishable.

Can a mushroom product be a complete representation of these fungal organisms if it contains 30-60% starch?

Analysis shows that MOG products contain a significant amount of residual grain and this has been measured as high levels of alpha-glucans in the form of starch.

The Presence of Active Compounds

Mycelium on Grain has low levels of the important beta-glucans.

Beta-glucans make up the majority of the fungal cell wall and are responsible for the immunological activity of mushrooms. Nammex beta-glucan testing using the Megazyme test shows an average of 6% beta-glucans in MOG whereas mushrooms have an average of 35% beta-glucans.

If a MOG product has low amounts of beta-glucans this would indicate a lack of actual fungal material. It would also demonstrate a critical deficiency.

The Presence of Secondary Metabolites

Secondary metabolites are well known in mushrooms and produced in quantity.

Mycelium producers claim these metabolites are produced in their grain-grown products. But rather than providing analytical data as proof, instead they point to research with mycelium grown in liquid culture. Mycelium grown in liquid culture (ie. Cordyceps Cs-4) and mycelium grown on grain are completely different products.

Liquid culture mycelium vs mycelium grown on grain
Cordyceps Cs-47.58%1.61%
Cordyceps mycelium grown on grain1.5%64%

As seen above, the difference in beta-glucans and alpha-glucans confirms the lack of mycelium in mycelium grown on grain and the high presence of starch. This also demonstrates that pure mycelium also has low levels of alpha-glucans.

Nammex analysis has shown high amounts of secondary metabolites such as triterpenoids in reishi mushrooms and next to no triterpenoids in MOG reishi products.

Triterpenes in reishi mushroom and reishi mycelium

HPTLC analysis of reishi mushroom and reishi mycelium showing that reishi mycelium contains undetectable amounts of the beneficial triterpene compounds in reishi.

There is little to no research that demonstrates beneficial levels of secondary metabolites are being produced by mycelium grown on grain. In fact, the opposite has been shown.

The Not So Full Spectrum

It is clear that MOG products are not full spectrum in any true sense of the term. Despite claims, analysis shows that they lack fungal material which corresponds to lack of active compounds and high levels of grain starch.


Cordyceps Mycelium on Grain Nutritional Comparison

Nutritional analysis of Cordyceps mycelium grown on grains showing that these products closely mirror the grain itself and not the true Cordyceps mushroom.

It is seriously misleading for a Mushroom product to be called Full Spectrum if it contains 30-60% grain starch. That is not a true representation of these fungal organisms.

A genuine mushroom product has high levels of beta-glucans and low levels of alpha-glucans. It also has triterpenoids and ergosterol and a profile that conforms to the mushroom, not the grain.

This fact was confirmed in recent research by USP (United States Pharmacopeial Convention). They determined through a number of analytical methods that only 5 of 19 samples of reishi mushroom products could actually be considered genuine. Three of those 5 samples were extracts from Nammex. (2)

If you are looking for a truly beneficial mushroom product, it is the mushroom itself that has the full complement and complete range of nutritional and medicinal compounds. The mushroom, traditionally used for centuries and scientifically proven, is genuinely Full Spectrum.


  1. McCleary, B. V., & Draga, A. (2016). Measurement of Beta-Glucan in mushrooms and mycelial products. Journal of AOAC International, 99(2), 364–373.
  2. Wu, D.-T., Deng, Y., Chen, L.-X., Zhao, J., Bzhelyansky, A., & Li, S.-P. (2017). Evaluation on quality consistency of Ganoderma lucidum dietary supplements collected in the United States. Scientific Reports, (June), 1–10.

How Nammex Grows Mushrooms

Since Nammex only sells genuine mushrooms, we think it is important that everyone understands exactly how our mushrooms are grown. We have put together this 30 minute video that brings mushroom growing out of the dark and into the light. We hope you enjoy it and can appreciate the many steps that growing mushrooms naturally entails.

Cordyceps Supplements: What You Need to Know

In the marketplace today, the majority of products that called themselves Cordyceps sinensis are typically not genuine sinensis. That’s because these products do not contain actual fruiting bodies (mushrooms). They are mycelium based.

A look at the history of Cordyceps sinensis offers a fascinating story of an ancient traditional Chinese medicine entering the modern world.

Cordyceps are not in your Supplements

Wild Cordyceps sinensis fruiting bodies, commonly known as the caterpillar fungus.

Historical Record

Ophiocordyceps sinensis fruiting body

Ophiocordyceps sinensis fruiting body. The caterpillar is underground and the fruiting body is above ground.

Ophiocordyceps sinensis is a fungus commonly referred to as Cordyceps sinensis. In China it is called called Dōng chóng xià cǎo, translated to “Winter Worm, Summer Grass” and in Tibet it is called Yartsa Gunbu. Winter worm, summer grass refers to the fact that it parasitizes and consumes a hibernating caterpillar over the winter and then produces a grass blade-like fruiting body in the late spring. This “caterpillar fungus”, is consumed caterpillar and all. It is commonly found in the soil of highland prairies at elevations of 3500 meters in the Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, Qinghai and Tibet.

O. sinensis was first recorded in a 1694 Chinese Herbal and its use is at least 300 years old or more. It was officially recorded in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia in 1964 as an herbal drug. It is today one of the most famous of the traditional Chinese medicines and medicinal mushrooms. Due to its fame and popularity the wildcrafted supply has come under intense harvesting pressure making it the most expensive herb in China today. National Geographic recently referred to it as “Tibet’s Golden Worm”.

The current wholesale price is as high as US$20,000 per kilogram.

Traditional Uses

According to the State Pharmacopoeia Commission of PRC, 2005, O. sinensis is used for the treatment of fatigue, cough, hyposexuality, asthenia after severe illness, renal dysfunction, and renal failure.

Asthenia denotes a lack of energy and abnormal physical weakness, especially after debilitating illness, and this is a primary area of traditional Cordyceps use. Cordyceps is also prescribed for exhaustion and fatigue. Some have noted that this use of Cordyceps relates directly to its ability to enhance endurance and strength.

Quality Control and Active Compounds

The search for the active principles in Cordyceps species has been ongoing for over 50 years. Although this research has identified a number of compounds that have shown activity, there are few unique compounds that occur in the quantities necessary to demonstrate strong species specific activity. For this reason, standards have been used that are common among other species of fungi. Mannitol and the nucleoside adenosine are two such compounds.

It is now believed that the polysaccharides in Cordyceps represent the most biologically active compounds due to their anti-oxidant, immunopotentiation, anti-tumor and hypo-glycemic activity. There is also an increasing body of research that indicates Cordyceps militaris may be an important key. Cordyceps militaris also possesses  immunomodulating and antioxidant effects. Cordycepin occurs in sufficient quantity to make it a genuine marker compound for Cordyceps militaris.

How this Relates to Today’s Marketplace

For the longest time, no one had been able to produce a mushroom (fruiting body) from a C. sinensis mycelium culture so mycelium is currently the only affordable and most used option for C. sinensis products in North America.

Only recently have the Chinese figured out how to cultivate this fungus to produce a mushroom. It first involves growing the hepialus moth which Cordyceps sinensis infects. Then they inoculate each moth with C. sinensis mycelium and incubate it in an environment similar to the Himalayan conditions. While cultivating the caterpillar fungus is now possible, the price tag has still not come down to anywhere affordable for the average consumer.

Meanwhile, wild C. sinensis (photo above) have become the most expensive mushrooms in the world. Bulk prices in China are around $20,000 per kilogram. With a price tag this high there is no way authentic, wild C. sinensis fruiting bodies could end up in any affordable product.

Despite this, the bulk of Cordyceps products typically show a photo of the caterpillar fungus on their labels even though their products do not contain them.

So What is Mycelium?

Mycelium is the vegetative body of a fungal organism and is somewhat similar to the root system of plants. It is the stage in the fungal life-cycle that gathers nutrients which enable the production of a mushroom. Unfortunately, today many so-called mushroom products, including Cordyceps, are made from the mycelium and not the mushroom.

With C. sinensis there are two methods of production.

Cultivation of Cordyceps using Liquid Fermentation

Cordyceps Cs-4 Liquid Fermentation Tank

A Cordyceps Cs-4 liquid fermentation tank at manufacturing facility in China.

By the 1980’s it became clear to people in China who were working with and utilizing Ophiocordyceps sinensis that the supply was not keeping up to the demand for the fungus. This was reinforced by the ever increasing price in the marketplace. In fact, the Chinese government has named Cordyceps a National Treasure and instituted export restrictions in an attempt to bring some stability and control to the wild harvest.

Since the 1980’s numerous pure cultures were developed in China that claimed to be O. sinensis. Yet from all these pure cultures, only one scientist actually demonstrated the growth of a fruiting body. Mycelium that does not produce a fruiting body is called an anamorph, indicating this mycelial state. Numerous anamorphs were developed and called O. sinensis, with an anamorphic name also attached as a qualifier (ex. Paecilomyces hepiali). These anamorphs were used to produce large quantities of mycelium using fermentation technologies based around growing mycelium in sterile liquid media. The pure mycelium and sometimes the liquid were harvested, dried and sold as an alternative to the wildcrafted and very expensive O. sinensis. It should be noted that DNA analysis showed that many of these products were actually C. militaris, and not O. sinensis.

The most well known of these anamorphic products is called Cs-4. It was extensively analyzed in order to compare its basic nutrient and chemical profile to the wild Cordyceps. Amino acids and nucleosides were analyzed and compared. Then the Cs-4 was subjected to many clinical trials to see if it produced the same benefits and effects as the wild Cordyceps. By 1990, on the basis of positive clinical trials, Cs-4 was certified by the Chinese National government as suitable for use in TCM hospitals and it was recognized as a new and safe natural product drug.

If your Cordyceps product is mycelium made in China, it is likely Cordyceps Cs-4, considered to be a strain of C. sinensis made by fermentation technology, which means it should be 100% pure mycelium.

Cultivation of Cordyceps Mycelium on Grain

Mycelium on Grain

Fungal mycelium grown on grain. As you can see, the grain is still a major part of this product.

If a C. sinensis mycelium product is made in the USA, it is produced using sterile grain as the growing medium (a solid substrate rather than a liquid). The mycelium is grown out on the grain and when ready for harvest, the mycelium and grain substrate are then dried and ground into a powder.

The issue here is that the grain ends up in the final product, which becomes a mixture of mycelium and grain.

Tests have shown that since Cordyceps mycelium grows very slowly, the starch content of mycelium on grain can be upwards of 65% due to the residual grain while the mycelium content remains very low.

For reference, pure fruiting body products typically have less than 5% starch. Not only is there a high starch content and low mycelium content, there is no research based on Cordyceps mycelium grown on grain. High starch content can easily be confirmed at home by doing a simple iodine starch test.

Authenticity of Cordyceps sinensis

The final question is the actual authenticity of Cordyceps sinensis cultures. In a recent workshop on product adulteration, the lead scientist for Authen Technologies, a DNA sequencing laboratory, stated that of the dozens of C. sinensis samples submitted for testing over the last 5 years, only one was authentic.

Cultivation of Genuine Cordyceps Mushrooms

Cordyceps militaris Fruiting Bodies

Cordyceps militaris Fruiting Bodies

A recent breakthrough is a method for the cultivation of Cordyceps militaris fruiting bodies, a different species of CordycepsCordyceps militaris is cultivated on a highly nutritious substrate, indoors in climate controlled grow rooms. This has resulted in the availability of Cordyceps fruiting bodies in reliable quantities for the very first time.

Research on C. militaris has demonstrated that the medicinal properties are similar to O. sinensis and in fact C. militaris has been used interchangeably in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

This also means there is absolutely no confusion as to the actual identity of the fungus since C. militaris is easily identified. Companies now have the opportunity to source Cordyceps in an organically certified cultivated form rather than a mycelium based product.

Best of all, the price is affordable, making the use of Cordyceps possible on a much greater scale.


To summarize, there are no economical market options for Cordyceps sinensis products. Cordyceps sinensis, the caterpillar fungus, is simply not possible as an affordable product offering. It is not in your products.

Cs-4 is pure mycelium, but the quality of the many Cs-4 products can be variable and it is often filled with carriers. USA produced mycelium on grain has no research to support it and is mostly starch from the residual grain.

At Nammex, after all our analysis and research, we can confidently say that Cordyceps militaris is a breakthrough product that provides all the benefits of cordyceps that people are seeking.

How to Grow Liquid Culture Mycelium

Mycelium can be produced using a number of different methods. One common method is the production of what mushroom growers call grain spawn, also referred to as a Solid State Fermentation, or SSF. This method is commonly used in the U.S. for the production of fungal mycelium for use in health products.

The second method, and one that is extensively utilized for the production of many microbial products, including fungi, is called liquid fermentation. This refers to the production of mycelium in a tank of sterilized liquid nutrient media. The media formula for fungi generally has a carbon nitrogen ratio of 7:3 with added minerals.

Liquid Fermentation Tanks

Multiple fermentation tanks at a commercial factory in China

To start this process, a pure culture of mycelium is propagated in small containers which are then used to inoculate a larger volume of liquid in production scale tanks. The process takes place under aerobic conditions that are maintained by mechanically stirring the liquid and pumping sterile fresh air into the tank. Metabolic gases such as CO2 are allowed to escape. By maintaining a consistent temperature, mycelia grow and expand into a true biomass. After 3-8 days, the mycelial biomass is separated from the fluid media, dried and ground to a powder. The fluid can also be purified to harvest any extracellular compounds that the mycelia may have produced.

Liquid Fermentation Flow Chart

Liquid Fermentation Flow Chart

This process is used extensively in China to produce Cordyceps mycelium, Reishi mycelium, and a few other basidiomycete mycelia. The most famous product made with this technology is Cordyceps Cs-4.

The advantage of this process is that it is highly standardized and the final product is pure mycelium, without the residual grains or substrates you get by using solid state fermentation (mycelium on grain).

What’s the difference between mushroom, mycelium and mycelium on grain?

Watch the video above where Jeff describes the following:

  • the life cycle of a basidiomycete organism (commonly called a mushroom)
  • the difference between mushroom and mycelium
  • how mycelium is used to create grain spawn, which is “seed” for mushroom growing
  • what grain spawn actually looks like
  • how medicinal mushroom and pure mycelium research is being used to support the sale of grain spawn
  • the industrial process for making grain spawn
  • how grain spawn is grown in a completely sterile environment, nothing close to natural conditions
  • why there is very little mycelium in grain spawn
  • how companies are taking grain spawn and selling it as a “mushroom” product

Buyer beware: Grain spawn is commonly referred to as mycelium, or mycelium biomass by the companies that sell it as a health product.

Grain spawn is not mushroom and definitely not a genuine medicinal mushroom product.

Why Growing Mushrooms in North America is not Economical for Health Products

What is the cost of growing mushrooms in North America and selling them as health product?

A prime example is the shiitake mushroom, since this is a major mushroom with many local growers, making it readily available on the fresh market in North America. Shiitake producers can provide a good example for our investigation of locally grown mushrooms as health product.

Let’s start with a producer price; what the grower will receive. The producer price will certainly vary from state to state and depend on whether the producer sells directly to supermarkets, restaurants, wholesalers or maybe even sells directly to consumers. Another variable will be quality of the mushrooms and if they are organically certified. Because of these variables, I am utilizing statistics collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). These numbers are collected yearly and will be a consistent and reasonably accurate picture of producer prices. [1]

In 2007, the USDA producer price for fresh shiitake varied from $4 to $5.50 per pound. By 2013, the USDA producer price declined to an average of $3.33 per pound. If I take the $3.33 price and multiply it by 2.2, I reach $7.33 for a kilo of fresh shiitake.

So far so good. But health products are sold as a dry powder, usually in tablet or capsule form. We need to find the dry weight of a kilo of fresh shiitake. Mushrooms are commonly 90% water and most commercial shiitake would conform to this figure. So one kilo of fresh shiitake is only 100 grams of dry shiitake. To get a kilo price for dry shiitake we would multiple by 10, or 10 times 100 grams.

Multiplying $7.33 by 10 equals $73.33. This is the value of a kilo of dried shiitake as it compares to the price of the fresh product. One kilo of dried shiitake is a quite different product with a much higher price.

Now, this is where it becomes very difficult for the North American shiitake producer. The producer must get $73.33 for the dried kilogram. And that price is for bulk dried mushrooms; we haven’t even added in the costs of drying the mushrooms and milling them to a powder that most health companies would require. Nor have we added the cost of testing the powder for microbes and heavy metals.

We can safely say that the shiitake mushroom producer needs to sell one kilo of dried shiitake for at least $75.00 to get the same price as his fresh product.

But now the producer has to compete with China, where shiitake growing originated and where 85% of the world’s mushrooms are grown. A kilo of dried shiitake mushroom powder produced in China will cost approximately $15-20, depending on the variables we identified earlier. That is one fifth the price of the North American producer.

Is it economical? Does any producer have this kind of business? I have not seen any North American grown shiitake mushroom powders in the health and wellness marketplace.

Now, think about this. Mushrooms are often sold in extract form, which concentrates the medicinal compounds and allows a more potent powder to be put into the capsules. With a 4:1 extract, one only takes 2×500 mg capsules instead of the non extracted powder which would require 8 capsules.

If 4 kilos of dried mushrooms at $75.00 per kilo are concentrated into one kilo of extract, the cost would be as follows.

Dried shiitake: 4 kgs x $75 per kg = $300.
Production cost of the extract. = $75 per kg minimum
A 4:1 extract would have to be sold for a minimum of $375.00 per kilo.

This is at least 3 times more money than the most expensive wholesale price for shiitake 4:1 extracts.

Economically speaking, North American mushroom producers cannot grow and sell either a simple shiitake mushroom powder or a shiitake mushroom extract. There is no money to be made in this business. And that holds true for all medicinal mushrooms, not just shiitake.

However, North American companies are able to produce mycelium on grain in a laboratory and sell it for $20-25 per kilo. This process is simple and economical. This is the reason so much mycelium has been produced and sold in North America. It’s all a matter of economics and has absolutely nothing to do with the actual functional value of the mycelium on grain product.

1. Mushrooms (August 2013) 15 USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service

How are your Mushrooms Produced?

This is a very important question to ask since there are many aspects of mushroom production that need to be properly understood in order to make educated decisions about a specific mushroom product. Read more

10 Questions to ask About Your Mushroom Product

1. Is the product made from mushrooms or mycelium?

Even though the label may say “mushroom”, you need to look at the Supplement Facts panel. For example, does it say Reishi mushroom? Reishi mushroom mycelium? Or Reishi mycelium? Some products will list the latin name, Ganoderma lucidum, without mentioning mushroom or mycelium.

Honest companies will reveal if the product is mycelium. They will also state in the “Other Ingredients” that there is grain or myceliated grain. Note that it is a requirement for herbal products to state “plant part” and also whether there are other unrelated materials present.

Many companies selling mycelium products will have the word “mushroom” everywhere. In their literature, label, website. Seeing the word mushroom so many times can obscure the actual product – low potency mycelium on grain.

2. Why are there so many companies selling mycelium on grain (MOG)?

MOG is actually nothing more than what commercial mushroom growers call “grain spawn”. Grain spawn is cheap to produce and is therefore economical to grow in North America. Unfortunately, mycelium grown on grain or rice contains minimal amounts of the important compounds that are in medicinal mushrooms. Myceliated grain is cheap to produce, often cheap to purchase, but the lack of medicinal compounds makes it gram for gram the most expensive product on the market.

3. Is the product a mushroom powder or an extract?

Although mushroom powders are superior to MOG powders, they are still less potent than a concentrated extract. Traditional Chinese Medicine, which has used mushrooms and herbs for thousands of years, almost always makes a tea from herbs. Tea is a simple water extract. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners will boil herbs for long periods of time to extract the medicinal compounds.

A hot water extract is a very simple and effective way to concentrate mushrooms and at the same time make them more bio-available. The combined use of alcohol and water is utilized when some important compounds in the mushroom are not water soluble, such as Reishi or Chaga triterpenoids.

4. Does the product make any statement regarding the amount of the medicinal compounds?

The majority of medicinal mushrooms are known for their active polysaccharides, called beta-D-glucans. Some mushrooms like Reishi also have triterpenoid compounds. Take note of whether these compounds are listed and quantified. If they are, make sure the company can support this claim with actual testing documentation. Some companies list multiple “active” compounds without any actual testing results.

Don’t be fooled by high polysaccharide numbers. Polysaccharides can simply be starch, which is an alpha glucan and a major component of grain. Grain is commonly found in mycelium products.

5. Is the product Organic?

Be sure it is Certified Organic. It should have the logo of USDA Organic or NOP or other certification organization. Natural does not mean organic. Nammex has been working with organic mushroom producers in China for 20 years. We organized the first organic certification courses for mushrooms in China in 1997. Our growers are time tested.

6. Where is your product made? Where does it come from?

Mushrooms utilized as health products are rarely cultivated in North America. It’s just too expensive. Most mushrooms today come from Asia, primarily China. In fact, China produces 85% of the world’s mushrooms. Even Japan, a traditional mushroom producer, is the number one importer of Chinese mushrooms.

Nammex has worked with Chinese mushroom growers for 20 years. We have selected cultivation areas in China that are deep in the mountains and far from industrial pollution. We stand by our Chinese partners 100%.

7. Can I trust Chinese mushrooms? All I ever hear are stories of how polluted it is in China.

Any company selling food or herbal products grown in China will be required to run detailed analyses. First and foremost will be a Heavy Metals test. Then it will be important to test for agricultural chemicals and microbial contamination. Call the company and ask if their mushrooms meet the standards set for these categories.

Nammex gets all its mushrooms deep in the mountains of China, far from the lowland industrial pollution. Our mushrooms come from the ancient Chinese heartland, the original source of world mushroom cultivation. We have a rigorous testing program that all products must meet before they are released.

8. I have a product that says it’s mycelium and mushrooms. Is that a good combination?

Some companies make the claim that their product has “all stages”, or is a “unique combination” of mushrooms and mycelium. They may also claim this is therefore “full spectrum”. They make further claims that this provides a more diverse menu of medicinal compounds. A mushroom and its mycelium are actually made of similar tissue, but with important differences. Mushrooms are genetically more complex and have more medicinal properties.

Look to see if the companies that make this claim actually give you a percentage of each fungal part. One company that makes this claim uses only 10% mushroom in one of their products. Another doesn’t even state how much of their mycelium product is actual mushroom.

Don’t be fooled. Mushrooms are more expensive and therefore likely to be left out or included in small amounts just to make the claim of being present. Call these companies and ask them to provide some guarantee of the actual amount of “plant part” presence.

9. Is your product “Full Spectrum”?

What actually does a full spectrum mushroom product mean? Generally speaking, this means that the product in question has all the major components of the mushroom present. So an analysis of the product would show a profile that matches the data that is present in major published research or government databases.

For example, the USDA has a database of foods and natural products that lists nutritional information based on approved analytical tests. If the product is a mushroom extract, full spectrum would indicate that the naturally occurring components would remain in approximately the same ratio as the mushroom itself.

How is it possible then that mycelium grown on grain or rice, which is part of the final mycelium product, can be full spectrum? It simply can’t be, by definition. Whether you have pure mycelium or a real mushroom, the addition of grain negates a claim of full spectrum. It gets worse when one realizes that the majority of a MOG product is actually grain.

Nammex products are 100% naturally produced mushrooms. This is the true definition of Full Spectrum.

10. Did you know that a mycelium product cannot be labeled as a mushroom? 

FDA states this clearly in Compliance Policy Guide, Section 585.525.

Be aware that mycelium on grain producers always use the term mushroom for their product sales. This is misleading and is counter to FDA regulations. Be certain of your product labeling.