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Medicinal Mushroom Wars What’s Better: Mushroom Fruiting Body or Mushroom Mycelia?


Medicinal mushrooms have become a popular way to naturally strengthen immunity, sharpen cognitive function, and boost energy. If you find yourself feeling depleted, unfocused, or susceptible to whatever’s going around, you may have thought of trying medicinal mushrooms.

But when it comes time to choose a medicinal mushroom product, it can get confusing fast. For starters, there are loads of different mushroom species on the market. Then, within those species, there are different fungal parts. Some supplements are made from the mushroom fruiting body, and others are made from the mushroom mycelia (or root system). What’s the difference, and does it matter?

What’s the Difference Between Mushroom Fruiting Body and Mushroom Mycelia?

When you think of a mushroom, you probably picture the fruiting body. This is the above-ground portion of the organism, the part you buy at the grocery store. But mushrooms have an extensive underground root system that can live for hundreds — even thousands — of years, as short-lived fruiting bodies emerge from the soil and die back (or are picked). The fruiting body is the reproductive part of the organism. It produces spores that fall to the ground, germinate, and create mycelia, which in turn produce more fruiting bodies.

Are Beta Glucans Better Than Alpha Glucans?

There are two kinds of active constituents present in medicinal mushroom products: alpha glucans and beta glucans. Alpha glucans are concentrated in the mycelia, and beta glucans are concentrated in the fruiting body. If you’ve researched this topic, you may have read that beta glucans are more potent than alpha glucans, and that supplements made from the mushroom fruiting body are superior to those made from the mushroom mycelia. However, this is an overly simplistic view. A lot depends on how the mycelia are grown.

How Are Mushroom Mycelia Grown?

The anti-mycelia faction is right about one thing: The typical mushroom mycelia supplement does have fewer active compounds than the typical mushroom fruiting body supplement, and that does make these products less potent. That’s because most mushroom mycelia that are cultivated for use in immune supplements are grown on a substrate of grain, such as millet or rice. The mycelia and any remaining grain are ground together to make a powder, which results in a diluted product. But not all immune supplements feature mushroom mycelia made this way. Case in point: AHCC®.

The AHCC® Difference

AHCC® is a clinically researched, highly absorbed proprietary medicinal mushroom extract that is grown by culturing mushroom mycelia cells in a nutrient-dense liquid medium — not on grain. As a result, AHCC® is pure, undiluted medicinal mushroom mycelia. But that’s not the only thing that makes it different.

  1. Genetically identical. Over three decades ago, Japanese scientists tested hundreds of subspecies of mushrooms to find the one that was best at increasing the activity natural killer (NK) cells — your body’s first line of defense against attack. Knowing how special it was, they stored this super mushroom sample in a deep freezer inside an ISO-certified laboratory, where it remains to this day Every batch of AHCC® is made from this original sample through cell culturing rather than asexual reproduction. As a result, each batch is genetically identical to the original.
  1. Easily absorbed and utilized. Alpha glucans and beta glucans are big molecules, which makes them difficult to absorb. AHCC® is made through a patented culturing process that significantly reduces the molecular weight of its alpha glucans. In fact, while the active constituents of most medicinal mushroom weigh more than 200,000 daltons, AHCC® alpha glucans have a very low molecular weight of under 5,000 daltons. This makes them easily absorbed and utilized by the human body.
  1. Clinically proven. Ultimately what matters in choosing a medicinal mushroom supplement is not which actives it contains or where they come from, but if the product actually works. AHCC® has been more extensively tested than any other medicinal mushroom supplement on the market. More than 100 research facilities and universities around the world have conducted studies on AHCC® and AHCC has been the subject of more than 100 published scientific papers, including over 30 human clinical trials. That’s a track record no other mushroom-based supplement comes close to.

The result of these innovations? An exceptionally effective medicinal mushroom supplement like no other. Quality of Life offers three different AHCC® products:

* FDA disclaimer

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