As a consumer, one of the fundamental criteria in selecting a product is quality. It is common to rely on visible mentions in the labelling: claims, guarantees, compositions, etc. This is why most companies communicate information about the product on the labelling to help the consumer search for a reference to make a decision
In a niche market such as Mycotherapy, this information, in addition to being very specific, is not necessarily understood by consumers and those who advise them. At the same time, some companies whose core business is not Mycotherapy will suffer from their lack of knowledge by putting forward “false good” mentions on their labels.
This lack of understanding of Mycotherapy can lead to the production of a product that is ultimate of poor quality and that serves the consumer, the practitioner and the manufacturer. As experts in Mycotherapy, our mission is to educate all those who wish to consume, manufacture, advise and reference these particular products to offer the best possible product at the end of the chain. This article gives you the keys to recognising a good product in Mycotherapy.
Index of content
- 1. Organic Farming
- 2. Presence of seals
- 3. Traceability of 360º products
- 4. Qualitative and quantitative presence of beta-glucans
- 5. Maximum concentration of active biomolecules
- 6. Absence of non-essential components
- 7. Pure products, not mixed with compounds without scientific evidence
- 8. Appropriate galenic forms
The definitive guide to find the best supplements or food supplements
We often want to know how to choose the best protein supplement, the right omega-3 or iron supplement. From a quality point of view, the gold standards for choosing the best food supplement refer to quality, safety and efficacy. As experts in the production of supplements based on medicinal mushrooms, we know these rules and apply them in all processes to offer sincere and excellent products :
- The production of extracts at Hifas da Terra is uniform and controlled, from the cultivation processes to placing the product on the market, following the pharmaceutical GMP standards of excellence.
- Implementing the latest generation of Sustainable Double Extraction technologies, directly related to the potency of the products, guarantees the highest concentration of active biomolecules.
- A triple analytical control is carried out to guarantee the safety, purity, and concentration of active biomolecules, as well as confirmation of the stability of the final product. This includes microbiological, pesticide, heavy metal and gluten analysis.
However, there are many options on the market. A study published by the scientific journal Nature revealed that only 25% of medicinal mushroom products contain the amount of Reishi that their label reflects. Therefore, the criteria that make a plugin meet our expectations are worth reviewing.
How to recognize a good product in Mycotherapy?
As a prescriber but also as a consumer, one of the fundamental criteria for choosing one product over another is quality, but what exactly does it mean? We are talking about labeling and everything that a brand communicates through its packaging and labeling.
1 Organic Farming
This list’s first golden rule is the mushrooms’ organic origin. Logical, you may say, because an organic product respects precise specifications and guarantees a formula without pesticide residues. Yes… but not only! In Mycotherapy, the organic label is even more important than that because mushrooms behave like real sponges for pollutants. In fact, countless scientific studies on the analysis of mushrooms collected on certain sites show a concentration of mercury or caesium. Without questioning the seriousness of the companies without organic labelling, because this one has a cost, reasonable doubt is allowed as for the traceability of the products.
2 Presence of labels
Labels are a good indicator of product quality. However, it is necessary to know how to decipher them. In a market that is not well known to consumers, such as Mycotherapy, it is necessary to be able to clearly reassure consumers that the products are in line with their needs and desires, especially in terms of specific diets. However, be sure to distinguish between certain labels that are crucial to quality and others that are purely informational.
2.A- Labels issued by certifying bodies
On the labels of products, many labels are the result of a control audit carried out by a certifying body, which is itself approved to label companies that request it. In the case of Mycotherapy, there are several labels:
– An organic agriculture label: in addition to the controls carried out by the actors of the sector, to allow the consumer to verify the traceability of organic products, two official labels exist:
o The Organic Agriculture (AB) logo: it corresponds to the United Kingdom label created by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. It certifies that a product contains at least 95% of certified organic agricultural ingredients. Note that this French AB logo is optional.
o The Eurofeuille logo: this is the European label that characterizes products that respect the specifications of organic agriculture. This community logo is mandatory for organic products. It must be accompanied by a mention specifying the origin of the raw materials as well as the number of the certifying body.
A vegan label or mention: a vegan product implies that it is made without any animal product, including meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. By definition, Mycotherapy products are vegan. However, some capsules may contain animal gelatin. If there is nothing on the label, you can check the type of capsule on the list of mandatory ingredients of the product.
- GMPs (Good manufacturing practices): this seal means a uniform and controlled production, from cultivation to marketing. It certifies that the company complies with the guidelines recommended by the agencies that control authorization and licensing. These guidelines provide the minimum requirements that a manufacturer must meet to ensure that its products are of consistently high quality, from batch to batch, for their intended use.
2.B.- Informative seals
Often affixed near official labels, these seals are the responsibility of the company. They inform the consumer about the compatibility of the product with his values, his motivations to buy or his diet.
- GMO-free (genetically modified organisms): There are no “GMO-free” labels per se, but voluntary labeling by the manufacturer indicating that the product does not contain genetically modified organisms, either in the mushrooms themselves or in the substrate on which they are grown. At Hifas da Terra, we seek out and use the best strains of mushrooms that are guaranteed to be GMO-free. In fact, we have one of the largest fungi libraries in Europe.
- Lactose-free: medicinal mushrooms do not require the use of dairy products during the entire manufacturing process, from cultivation to the finished product. At Hifas da Terra, this seal reassures the 20% of consumers in Europe who are lactose intolerant (or do not wish to consume lactose) because some of our products naturally contain calcium. In France, there are no thresholds for using this label.
- Gluten-free: the “gluten-free” label is reserved for products containing less than 20 milligrams of gluten per kilogram of product. This is a very important statement in Mycotherapy, because it allows to distinguish products that contain only mushrooms from those that include the culture medium (often cereal containing gluten). Generally, the culture medium is present in products based on mushroom mycelium, as these microscopic filaments are impossible to dissociate from the culture medium and producers have no choice but to integrate it into the formula. As a precautionary measure, we advise you to avoid products containing mycelium if you are gluten intolerant.
- Naturally dried: sometimes called the “RAW” process, this indicates that the products are dried at a gentle temperature (around 40°C) in order to maintain the biological and nutritional properties unaltered.
3- 360° traceability of products
Only a perfect traceability of the Mycotherapy products guarantees the best concentrations of bioactive molecules and their stability in the finished product. At Hifas da Terra, we perform up to three analytical controls on raw materials and finished products.
4- Presence of the composition and quantity of B-1,3-1,6-D-glucans
ß-glucans are components found in both cereals (and therefore the culture medium) and mushrooms. However, not all ß -glucans are capable of modulating immune functions; these properties depend primarily on their primary chemical structure. Cereal β-glucans, exhibiting (1,4)-β-linked glucans, do not show immunomodulatory effects. In contrast, mushroom-derived β-glucans, which consist of a (1,3)-β-linked backbone with a small number of (1,6)-β-linked side chains, are essentially known for this effect. The presence of fungal ß-glucans in products can be ascertained by looking for these specific beta-glucans in the composition: beta-1,3-1,6-D-Glucans.
5- Maximum concentration of bioactive molecules in mushrooms
Medicinal mushrooms contain a plethora of molecules of interest for health. These molecules are widely studied for their anti-tumour, immunomodulatory or antiviral actions. Among them are triterpenoid compounds or fungal polysaccharides like beta-(1,3)-(1,6)-D-glucans.
At Hifas da Terra, we believe that it is important for the consumer to have the guarantee that the product contains these compounds of interest, even though the legislation does not require it. Most of the manufacturers are satisfied with displaying the content of Polysaccharide, or even beta-glucans, which provides a little guarantee of the composition of the product (see points 2 and 4).
Let’s look at some of the unique compounds:
– Reishi: ganoderic acid
– Maitake: grifolan
– Shiitake: lentinan
– Hericium: hericenones, erinacins,
– Cordyceps: cordycepin, cordycepic acid.
6- Absence of non-essential components
As we have seen, it happens that the culture support (for example rice or millet) is transformed with the mushroom. This phenomenon mathematically weakens the benefits of mushrooms, because in this case, the polysaccharides (including beta-glucans) of the carrier are counted in the displayed contents. The positive effects of the medicinal mushroom are further reduced as the quantity of cereal in the capsule increases. In addition to being a loss of biological effect, this reduces the cost for the manufacturer to the detriment of the consumer.
7- Products not mixed with other natural medicines without specific studies
Mycotherapy has the advantage of having a very strong scientific reference. In addition to our own studies, it is a science that guides the formulation of our products and their indications. However, there is no such thing for synergies with other types of products.
From the point of view of natural medicine, phytotherapy is not recommended for the same reasons as gemmotherapy or aromatherapy. It is wrong to think that without prior studies, the mixtures of several active ingredients will add to or even potentiate the effects of the products. For these reasons, we advise avoiding taking formulas that mix several other natural medicines, but rather to space out the doses between these products.
8- The galenic form: avoid micro-granules and tablets
On the market, a multitude of galenic forms coexist, each with its own specificities: powders and extracts can be integrated into capsules, tablets or drinkable forms (ampoule, bottle). At Hifas da Terra, we only work with 100% natural extracts in solid forms (standardized extracts and mushroom powders) that offer high levels of active ingredients under optimal extraction conditions and have been used in tens of thousands of scientific publications at national and international level as well as in clinical trials and patents. These are the capsule and/or vial formulations from which we can speak of proven scientific results and with which Hifas da Terra is developing various lines of research with patients.
In Mycotherapy, some laboratories are also starting to develop modified release dosage forms (MRFs) without pharmaceutical or clinical justification, as there is no clinical data to date demonstrating advantages over those formulated with natural extracts. It should be remembered that the initial development by the pharmaceutical industry of these galenic products was due to their use in the development of drugs for substances with narrow therapeutic margins, adverse effects related to plasma concentration, short duration of action and/or pharmacological tolerance with constant plasma levels.