Before we begin… I want to be clear that we are NOT the only quality mushroom extract provider on the market. Anyone who says they are the only good option is full of it.
Still, there are only a handful of companies producing effective extracts (and you probably haven’t heard their name).
Some of the biggest brands on amazon have been exposed for having little to no mushroom contents in their extracts. And worse, a few of the top names in this industry have failed their bacteria/mold contamination tests.
PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE:
My wish is that you read this and use these tips to help you find a quality, SAFE, and effective lion's mane extract that gives you the healing powers of medicinal mushrooms…
Whether you buy our product or not, I genuinely want you to receive the benefits because they’re nothing short of life changing.
And in case you’re curious, these tips are coming from someone who’s personally grown THOUSANDS of pounds of lion’s mane, reishi, and cordyceps.
1. Look For Dual Extractions
First, you may have seen that there are pills, powders, liquid extracts and wondered...
What’s the best!?
Let’s be crystal clear:
You do NOT want to consume Lion’s Mane Mushrooms raw.
At least not if you’re trying to eliminate brain fog and get the focus boosting benefits everyone is talking about…
Lion’s mane tastes GREAT and I cook it up regularly, but there’s an indigestible fiber in lion’s mane (and in most medicinal mushrooms) called “chitin”, that blocks your stomach from absorbing the beneficial compounds.
The chitin needs to be broken down and removed from your lion’s mane with an Alcohol and water extraction in order to get the most benefits…
Here lies the problem with most lion's mane supplements:
Most powders and capsules contain dried up lion’s mane which have simply been ground up (not extracted)...
So the powders often still contain the benefit-blocking chitin.
On the flipside, ALL liquid extracts have at least gone through some form of extraction. And for this reason…
Liquid extracts are typically the most effective way to consume lion's mane (and virtually all medicinal mushrooms).
However, there’s a problem with a lot of liquid extracts...
Some companies boast about having alcohol-free extracts.
On first glance, this looks like a benefit, but you need alcohol in your extracts to get the most out of the lion’s mane mushroom.
See, Lion’s Mane contains two major active compounds that result in the benefits that make it so popular for eliminating brain fog:
Without going too deep in the science, you need both compounds in your extract to have a full spectrum extract that’ll give you the focus boosting and memory supporting benefits of lion’s mane...
And here’s the kicker:
Hericenones are extracted using alcohol.
Erinacines are extracted using hot water.
So the most effective lion’s mane extracts are using a dual extraction with both hot water AND alcohol extractions to ensure a full spectrum extract.
2. You Want Fruiting Bodies Only
There is a dirty ploy in the mushroom industry to boost profits and cut costs while intentionally sacrificing quality to the customer (you)...
I call this trickery, “Mycelium Mischief”.
Now in case you’re not familiar with the way that mushrooms grow...
All medicinal mushrooms start as spores.
Next, the spores mate and they become networks of “mycelium” which eat a “substrate”, typically sawdust as their fuel to grow.
When the mycelium is completely full of nutrients, it will start “fruiting” and that’s when the actual mushroom appears...
The picture below shows bags of substrate being consumed by mycelium, before they turn into actual mushrooms.
Why is this important to you?
Well, the majority of clinical studies done on the benefits of lion's mane mushrooms are on the fruiting bodies of lion’s mane (the actual mushroom), not the mycelium.
There are a lot of companies that include the mycelium (and sawdust) in their product because they can get more mushroom weight out of the same crop to extend profits.
They can falsely claim a higher milligram dosage of lion's mane per bottle with this approach. For this reason, milligram statements in the mushroom industry are not a reliable method for judging potency.
A lot of mushroom growers enhance their sawdust with wheat bran as well, so there can be hidden gluten in the mycelium as well…
3. USA Grown and 3rd party tested
You may be familiar with the term 3rd party testing.
Quick refresher: this is when the supplement company sends off their final product to a lab (that is not owned by the company) to verify that the product is free of contamination and safe to use.
You DEFINITELY want your lion’s mane extract provider to be third party tested but the problem is that it’s too easy to pay those guys off.
I know BIG companies that have failed their tests, written a check, and the product is out the door in customers belly’s the next day.
Personally, I prioritize USA grown over third party testing.
The majority (95%+) of medicinal mushroom supplements sold in the US are grown in China and shipped on a long voyage across the sea before it’s sold to a corporate factory to be mixed in the products.
The issue with this approach is simply the nature of mushrooms.
They’re grown in extremely humid temperatures.
Lion’s mane is over 70% water by volume (like us humans)... And this leave for a small margin of error in the drying process.
They have to be dried COMPLETELY before they’re shipped across the sea.
See, if a TINY bit of moisture is left inside and they were not thoroughly dried before they were shipped - nature’s medicinal gift can turn into a toxic poison due to mold and bacteria growth.
This is why the number one side effect reported online with lion’s mane is an upset stomach.
There’s a small part of the population who are allergic to mushrooms and this accounts for some of these reports, however, it’s usually a contamination quality issue due to sourcing in China. Which again, is over 95% of the products on the market. Especially on Amazon.
To be crystal clear:
There’s nothing wrong with Chinese lion’s mane.
China makes some of the best mushrooms in the world.
The mushrooms are subject to contamination when they're shipping from China.
You want your products to be grown and extracted in the same location.
So if you’re in the USA, choose USA grown products. It will at least ensure that your mushrooms have not been through a long voyage across the sea which is the prime environment for bacteria/mold to form.
So the pro tip is this: Avoid companies that ship the lion’s mane from far away and then process it somewhere else. And unfortunately, this is COMMON practice for the majority of pills, powders, and superfood mixes.
How to select the most effective lion's mane supplement:
Now you may have seen some of the links to our product scattered throughout this article, but in case you haven't yet seen what we have to offer...
Here's what makes our lion's mane extracts one of the most effective lion's mane supplements that you can buy:
1. They're Advanced Dual Extracted
We use organic cane alcohol to soak our lion’s mane and break down the tough indigestible fibers for a minimum of 2-4 weeks.
Then we do a low, slow boil in a special type of ultrapure “Kangan Water” which has smaller water molecules that provide a more thorough extraction.
2. USA grown AND Extracted in Portland, OR
We practice what we preach. All of our mushrooms are grown here in the United States and extracted in our Portland, OR facility (formerly Dallas, TX). No overseas shipping, only super fresh mushroom extracts handcrafted with love.
3. Third Party Tested
We regularly send our product samples to be verified by a third party lab. We do this to ensure safety to you (and my family). We take the products every day. We’re in this business to help and heal and this is an important step to make sure we’re doing good in this world.
4. Fruiting Bodies Only
We do not use “mycelium mischief” in our products. There are only 3 ingredients in our extracts. Ultra pure water, organic cane alcohol, and lion’s mane FRUITING bodies only to ensure maximum potency and effectiveness.
5. Handcrafted in Small Batches
To ensure maximum freshness and the highest quality, we produce our extracts in small batches of 1000 bottles at a time.
We use black bottles so light does not degrade our potency like the Amber colored bottles commonly used with liquid extracts. And you can see the difference in color between our liquids and the other competitors.