The Best Functional Mushrooms on the Market Today

Assorted functional mushrooms displayed on a white background

If you're sick of using medicines and mystery chemicals in your supplements, you may want to try a more natural remedy. Known for their bioactive compounds, many strains of mushrooms have played a central role in natural medicines for thousands of years.

Well, that's one of the reasons why functional mushrooms have become so popular in the supplement industry in recent years. So, what are functional mushrooms, how do they work, and are there any adverse side effects? So, let's talk about that!

What Are Functional Mushrooms?

Functional mushrooms often have a negative connotation due to so-called "magic mushrooms," which contain high amounts of the illegal hallucinogen known as psilocybin. However, functional mushrooms are entirely different from magic mushrooms, but they still offer the same level of potential health benefits, often used for:

  • Balancing energy levels
  • Regulating mood and sleep cycles
  • Strengthening immune functions
  • Aiding with digestion
  • Enhancing the natural glow of the skin

The list continues, and there is still ongoing research to conclude further potential health benefits and claims. Nevertheless, from anecdotes and existing research, functional mushrooms are proving to be a serious boon to overall health.

These can be used in a variety of manners, but most often, they come in the form of capsules, much like other health supplements. You may also prefer functional mushroom granola bars or powders, depending on your preferences!

Medicinal Mushrooms

One of the most popular subcategories of functional mushrooms is medicinal mushrooms, used for specific health benefits. Many of these mushrooms offer antioxidative properties, which means they can potentially reduce the damaging process of oxidation and kill harmful cells.

However, you should note that these are dietary supplements, not drugs. Therefore, these are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as food, not drugs.

Adaptogenic Mushrooms

Some evidence suggests these mushrooms help relieve stress and stress-related health conditions. This is because these mushrooms contain adaptogens, which are chemical compounds that help our bodies adapt to (or potentially alleviate) chemical, biological, and physical stress.

Most Popular Functional Mushrooms

Different people will use functional mushrooms for different purposes, so it's important to know what you're looking for. Let's go over some of the most popular functional mushrooms, their supposed benefits, and their possible side effects to help you make an informed decision!

Lion's mane

1. Lion's Mane

Hericium Erinaceus, more commonly known as Lion's Mane, is known in the culinary world for having a seafood-like flavor, which is why it's often served with seafood dishes in Europe and Asia. However, it is also commonly used to support cognitive functions in our brains, making it one of the world's most popular functional mushroom strains!

Like others on this list, we require more data to guarantee the health benefits and safety of these supplements. Some studies have indicated that Lion's Mane may cause slow blood clotting in certain patients when taken in large doses.

Blue oyster mushrooms

2. Blue Oyster

Blue oyster mushrooms are one of the most popular oyster mushrooms for health supplements and cooking. Generally speaking, oyster mushrooms are believed to provide:

  • Heart and immune system health benefits
  • Healthy blood sugar control
  • Antioxidant/anti-inflammatory effects

Blue oyster mushrooms specifically offer these same benefits with a very forgiving and easy growing process, making them ideal for beginners. Blue oyster mushrooms are also highly nutritious as a dietary food, and they are pretty easy to grow yourself with the right grow kit

While the long-term side effects of blue oyster mushrooms in humans are entirely unknown by science, blue oyster mushrooms have been used in popular culinary dishes for centuries!

Black pearl mushrooms

3. Black Pearl Oyster

Black pearl mushrooms are another type of oyster mushroom commonly used in culinary arts and for supplements. They are a hybrid mushroom bred in Japan from two popular European and Asian mushrooms.

For general nutrition, black pearl mushrooms contain a variety of micronutrients that are often challenging to obtain in sufficient amounts from other plant foods, including selenium, iron, calcium, and vitamin B12.

On top of that, these mushrooms are high in polysaccharides and statins, which are believed to have both anti-cancerous effects as well as lower cholesterol. Excessive consumption of black pearl mushrooms has been linked to respiratory effects in animal studies, but they show no adverse side effects in human consumption, making them perfectly safe to consume in average doses! You can even grow them yourself with a Black Pearl grow kit!

White pearl oyster mushrooms

4. White Pearl Oyster 

Pleurotus ostreatus, the white pearl oyster mushroom, is highly sought-after in the culinary world and was only recently cultivated for the commercial food industry. Germany first produced these mushrooms during World War I for sustenance, primarily for their ability to grow on a wide variety of substrates, including paper, cardboard, straw, and other common waste materials.

The white pearl oyster is similar nutritionally to the black pearl oyster mushroom, although it is packed with different antioxidants, giving it its off-white or grayish color. 

There are no known side effects in humans for consuming any oyster mushrooms in moderate amounts, so feel free to try them for yourself. Much like the other functional mushrooms on this list, you can even pick them up at the Ft Collins Farmer's Market!

Try Functional Mushrooms for Yourself

Much like eating portabella mushrooms, there is minimal risk to trying these for yourself. While they are regulated as supplements, people have been cultivating and eating these mushrooms in the culinary world for centuries. So, give some of them a try and see for yourself! Current research on functional mushrooms is promising, so try some for yourself and feel free to contact us with any questions!

Back to blog