performance mushroom guide.

a mushroom boom & bastardization

mushrooms have been around for a long time. the greeks labeled mushrooms as “food for the gods” and hippocrates, circa 450bc, classified mushrooms as a potent anti-inflammatory. there are countless examples of mushrooms being recognized for their medicinal properties throughout history.

performance mushrooms are becoming very popular in modern holistic health and western medicine for their ability to calm the stress response, reduce inflammation, promote neurogenesis and plasticity, strengthen beneficial gut flora, support the immune system, fight pathogens, increase sustainable energy and much more. by now, you can find therapeutic mushroom products on the shelves of most grocery stores, online retailers, amazon, etc. the growing interest in mushroom products is a good sign that more people are discovering holistic health and performance.

like most natural remedies that go mainstream, the mushroom industry is experiencing major authenticity and quality inconsistencies. the market has been flooded with products that test very low in beta-glucan and active compounds that give mushrooms their healing and high-performance properties. while the booming popularity of performance mushrooms is bringing mainstream attention to these healing enigmas, the bastardization of quality and authenticity makes it difficult to find a product that still packs the therapeutic benefits found in nature. if you’re interested in the benefits of mushrooms, you should know what you’re getting.

some pretty impressive mushrooms.

chaga mushroom.

inonotus obliquus

inflammation. oxidative stress. gut health.

chaga is one of the most antioxidant-rich superfoods on the planet, topping the orac scale (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) at approx. 140,000 and contains over 200 phytonutrients. chaga is used in functional medicine to boost the immune system, reduce inflammation and mitigate oxidative stress.

chaga is shown to strengthen beneficial cytokines while reducing damaging cytokines such as tnf-a (tumor necrosis factor-alpha). this immunomodulating effect improves the body’s ability to fight pathogens while reducing the damaging effects of acute and chronic inflammation.

chaga’s high fiber and anti-oxidant properties are especially helpful in improving the conditions of the gut.

roots apothecary chaga fruiting body extract.   >20% beta-d-glucan <2% starch

reishi mushroom.

ganoderma lingzhi.

immune support. stress. liver + kidneys. overall wellbeing.

similar to chaga, reishi is very diverse in benefits with high anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and immune-boosting properties. reishi is considered an adaptogen for its ability to calm the fight or flight response, strengthening resilience in both physically and mentally stressful situations.

reishi is additionally known for its potential benefits to the kidneys and liver by reducing inflammation and reducing erosion of the nephron outer membrane (decreasing kidney permeability).

reishi’s immune-supporting properties are well-rounded, including the promotion of innate immune function, humoral immunity, and cellular immunity. in particular, reishi extract may improve the function of b and t lymphocytes, dendritic cells, macrophages, and natural killer cells. beta-d-glucans are the polysaccharides present in reishi that are responsible for these immune-supporting properties.

roots apothecary reishi fruiting body extract.   >30% beta-d-glucan <5% starch

lion's mane mushroom.

hericium erinaceus.

focus + clarity. neuroplasticity. mood. inflammation. brain health.

lion’s mane is one of the most mainstream and popular mushrooms on the market. shown to stimulate neuroplasticity, memory, focus and, overall brain health, lion’s mane contains two special compounds that stimulate the growth of brain cells: hericenones and erinacine.

in addition, animal studies have found lion’s mane extract can improve the functioning of the hippocampus, a region of the brain responsible for processing memories and emotional responses. this may explain the effects of lion’s mane on improved mood, decreased resistance to new habit forming, and influence on depression. lion’s mane may also help prevent neuron damage caused by amyloid-beta plaques, which is an area of interest for alzheimer's and dementia therapy.

roots apothecary lion's mane fruiting body extract.   >25% beta-d-glucan <5% starch

cordyceps mushroom.

ophiocordyceps sinensis.

physical + mental endurance. inflammation.

cordyceps is known for supporting mental and physical performance and is especially popular in the athlete community. this mushroom (which is technically not a mushroom) supports healthy adrenal function through its stress-protective effects (as an adaptogen) while increasing atp and vo2 (peak oxygen uptake during exercise). enhanced oxygen utilization is attributed to cordyceps ability to increase vasodilation (widening blood vessels) and blood flow. cordyceps is highly recognized for helping improve acute and chronic fatigue and is often paired with lion’s mane to promote creative focus.

studies have associated cordyceps supplementation with increasing activity of catalase (cat), superoxide dismutase (sod), and glutathione peroxidase (gpx) making it a powerful anti-oxidant as well.

roots apothecary cordyceps fruiting body extract.   >25% beta-d-glucan <5% starch

turkey tail mushroom.

trametes versicolor.

immune system. gut health.

turkey tail is packed with anti-oxidants, immunomodulating and anti-inflammation compounds. the flavonoid quercetin promotes the release of immunoprotective proteins while inhibiting the release of pro-inflammatory enzymes. this helps bring the inflammatory response into balance. turkey tail also contains krestin (psk) and polysaccharide peptides (psp) which give turkey tail additional immune-supporting and anti-inflammatory properties. psk promotes immunity to toxins, regulates the immune response, and activates macrophages, which protect your body against harmful bacteria and consume dead cells.

turkey tail has demonstrated the ability to promote a healthy gut microbiome which is also tremendously impactful on the holistic immune response. a test-tube study found turkey tail extract increased populations of beneficial bacteria like bifidobacterium and lactobacillus while reducing potentially harmful bacteria, such as clostridium and staphylococcus.

roots apothecary turkey tail fruiting body extract.   >30% beta-d-glucan <2% starch

roots mushroom products.

adaptive cacao.

holistic & complete.

1600mg fruiting body mushroom extract / serving. 1x concentrations.

our most prized possession, serving the mind-body's many highly dependent systems like the stress response, digestion, inflammation, mood, cognitive performance and immune system. the adaptive cacao is made with 1x mushroom extracts that retain the most beneficial compounds found in fresh mushrooms while harnessing the improving digestibility and absorption of an extract. 1x mushrooms are high in beta-glucan, pre-biotic fiber, trace minerals, and are more well-rounded in benefits than higher concentration extracts.

the adaptive cacao is also packed with anti-oxidant-rich raw peruvian cacao, mineral-rich himalayan salt, neuro-protective mct and adaptogenic ashwagandha. acacia fiber and agave inulin are powerful prebiotics that helps strengthen a good, low inflammatory microbiome. as your good microbiome strengthens, the bad bacteria become weaker. the more we learn about optimal health and performance, the more we understand the importance of healing your gut through a balanced microbiome.

adaptive honey.

focused & specific.

1000mg fruiting body mushroom extract / serving. 8x-10x concentrations.

our adaptive honey is highly specialized with 8x-10x mushroom extracts that concentrate active compounds unique to each mushroom for a more targeted benefit. for example, lion's mane is known for supporting mental clarity, cognitive performance, neurogenesis, neuroplasticity, and overall brain health. 1x lion's mane delivers these benefits and a variety of overlapping benefits with other mushrooms.

benefits include:

  • stress reduction
  • digestion support
  • moderating inflammation.

8x lion's mane concentrates the active compounds that deliver a more powerful benefit of focus, clarity, neuroplasticity, neurogenesis and overall brain health.

Mushroom Extract - Reishi

mushroom extract powders.

simple & versatile.

1000mg fruiting body mushroom extract / serving. 1:1 + 8x-10x concentrations.

roots mushroom extract powders are blended with 1x and 8x-10x concentrations. harness the wide spectrum benefits of 1x mushroom extracts and the focused power of 8x-10x concentrations. mushroom powders are for those who like making their own stacks and enjoy the versatility of using a powder in just about anything. this is also the most cost-effective way to supplement with a specific mushroom.

if you want: the most holistic and well-rounded benefits of mushrooms.
you need: the adaptive cacao.

if you want: flexibility of making your own mushroom ratios and routines.
you need: individually packaged mushroom powders.

reading product labels.

.edu mushroom product label reading  

an unnecessarily long video on the importance of label reading on mushroom products. there's some really good information here if you can muscle through some redundant information.

if you have 20mins to invest, it's worth a listen.
otherwise, all the info in this video is explained below.

fruiting body vs mycelium biomass

make sure the ingredient deck clearly defines the fruiting body on each mushroom. this is the most important consideration when choosing a product. if the fruiting body is not specified, you should assume it’s mycelium.

it’s possible the maker is using a fruiting body and doesn’t specify. if you’re really interested in a product that doesn’t specify, give them a call and ask. if you’re wanting a mycelium product, make sure it's priced significantly (2x-3x) lower than similar fruiting body products for the same milligram. the entire next segment is dedicated to explaining the importance of this.

reishi mushroom. - this does not tell you what part of the mushroom you're getting. this could be mycelium.
reishi mushroom fruiting body. - this clearly defines a fruiting body is used.

therapeutic milligramage.

mushrooms in the ingredient deck won't tell you how much you’re getting. make sure the product specifies strength somewhere. for best results, 1,000mg+ fruiting body mushrooms/serving is a good strength to ensure therapeutic action. many products listing mushrooms on the front label contain less than 250mg mushrooms / serving which will deliver low therapeutic action.

extract vs powder

this is much less important than ensuring fruiting body and milligramage, but extracts are generally more potent. extract just means it's gone through a hot water infusion to break down the cell walls and make active compounds more available for absorption.

in short.

if the ingredient deck of a product clearly indicates fruiting body mushroom extract with total mushroom milligramage 1000mg + / serving, then you probably have an authentic product that will deliver on the therapeutic potential of performance mushrooms.

"mushrooms that test high in polysaccharide and low in beta-glucan are basically exotic potatoes"

beta-d-glucan is a type of polysaccharide found in mushrooms that give them powerful anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating properties. many performance mushroom benefits stem from their beta-d-glucan content. however, these compounds are only found in therapeutic levels in the fruiting body.

mycelium biomass is high in polysaccharide content from the starch substrate it's grown on, but low in beta-glucan content. many products will show polysaccharide content as a measure of potency, but this means nothing since polysaccharides are the most common carbohydrate found in food. you need to see beta-glucan content specifically to know the therapeutic potency of a mushroom/product.

you want a mushroom that's high in beta-glucan (>15%) and low in starch (<5%) to know it's a legit fruiting body extract.

a deeper dive into mushrooms

a little picture of a mushroom to help visualize the following explanation.

(example of oat substrate method)

fruiting body
contains 2x-3x higher concentrations of beta-glucans and active compounds.
contains no grain substrate.

mycelium biomass
an inseparable block of oat substrate and mycelium network.
contains 30% - 70% oats and 30% - 80% mycelium. the entire block is processed for product making and is significantly weaker in beta-glucan and active compounds than the fruiting body.

understanding fruiting body vs mycelium biomass.

this is important.

how mushrooms are grown.

to grow a mushroom, spores are injected into a substrate (the material mushrooms grow on e.g. soil, grains, or wood pulp). spores grow into hyphae and join each other to create a mycelium network that expands through substrate and extracts nutrients. when a strong mycelium network is established, a fruiting body grows from the surface to spread more spores. when you think of mushrooms, you probably picture the fruiting body (long stem and bulbous cap). however, oftentimes 90% or more of a mushroom's biomass is actually mycelium, and while mycelium is a brilliant network and the living organism of the mushroom, it contains far less beta-glucan and active compounds than the fruiting body.

if you buy a product that uses mycelium, you’re probably purchasing more grain filler than mushroom.

most commercial mushroom growers use a grain substrate. as mycelium expands, it attaches and becomes inseparable from the grain to create one product called mycelium biomass. there’s a big problem with this.

how much mycelium and how much grain is in the biomass?

this varies widely and depends entirely on the grower. if mycelium biomass is pulled for product making as soon as mycelium expands through the grain, you will get far more grain than mycelium. if the grower allows this process to continue, the amount of mycelium will increase. however, even at its strongest, mycelium biomass will contain anywhere between 30%-40% grain. mycelium pulled early for faster product making may have anywhere from 40%-70% grain content.

for example, this means 1000mg reishi mushroom in the form of mycelium biomass can be anywhere from 300mg-700mg grain. depending on the price, you may overpay tremendously for this product and you definitely won't receive the therapeutic potential of reishi mushroom.

here’s the ultimate problem. the product label will probably just say “1000mg reishi mushroom”, without any indicator of whether it's a mycelium or fruiting body. if it’s mycelium, you probably won't be informed about how much pure mycelium you’re getting and how much grain you’re getting in that 1000mg serving.

most growers use oat substrate because oats are high in fiber and have measurable amounts of beta-glucans. since beta-glucan content is a common and relatively accurate measure of mushroom potency, growing on oats can make lab tests and nutrition charts for mycelium products look stronger.

why would anyone sell a product that’s mostly grain filler and let you believe it’s a highly therapeutic mushroom product? the answer is the same across all industries, they either don’t know or don't care. both answers are part of the same problem.

a product maker selling reishi mushrooms can source mycelium biomass for about $25 or they can buy the same amount of fruiting body mushroom for $75. mycelium is much cheaper, faster to grow, easier to get, and can be called “reishi mushroom” on a product label. if you’re an individual or company that's primarily incentivized by making money on a trending health product, you will probably opt for the cheaper and easier source of reishi mycelium biomass. there are plenty of companies out there using authentic reishi fruiting bodies and labeling products transparently, but there are arguably more that are not. as a consumer, you need to know the difference.

there are reputable companies selling appropriately priced mycelium biomass and clearly indicating its mycelium. mycelium biomass has health benefits if grown by a reputable company and is priced at 2x-3x multiples less than fruiting body extracts.