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Fungi are everywhere right now, and mushrooms are rapidly becoming the hottest new trend in everything from salads and side dishes to lattes to smoothies. Mushrooms have long been a delicious savory addition to recipes – but now, medicinal mushrooms (or functional mushrooms, as they’re also known) are being highlighted in new ways. Why this sudden burst of popularity? Well, everyone’s finding out that mushrooms hold potential for health and wellness. And right now, mushrooms are the hottest new gummy supplement, promising a whole bunch of benefits for nearly every aspect of your health.
Should you give mushroom gummies a try? Plenty of gummy vitamins over-promise and under-deliver. So, I gave mushroom gummies a try to find out if they’re worth all of the hype – or if they’re a supplement you should skip.
What are mushroom gummies?
Mushroom gummies are just like any other gummy vitamin varieties. They’re a delicious form of dietary supplement, with a mix of different nutrients and ingredients blended together into a convenient, chewable and sweet gummy treat.
However, mushroom gummies are a bit different from your typical gummy vitamin. Instead of packing primarily vitamins and minerals, they include a mix of medicinal mushrooms. Made with concentrated mushroom powders as well as mushroom extracts, it’s all of the same benefits you’d get from eating mushrooms, but in an easy-to-consume format. And gummies can contain anywhere from one mushroom variety to a whole bunch. Inside a mushroom gummy, you’re likely to find fungi like:
- Lion’s mane
- Turkey tail
- Royal sun
- White button
Really, any mushroom with functional benefits – or health-boosting perks – can be included in a gummy supplement. And they’re designed to be more convenient than eating a plate full of mushrooms, condensing these beneficial fungi into a smaller package that requires no cooking or prep.
What kinds of benefits can mushroom gummies provide?
Because mushroom gummy supplements are made with functional mushrooms, they’re rich in beneficial nutrients. What, exactly, do functional mushrooms offer? These mushroom varieties feature potent combinations of natural compounds that can increase energy, improve or enhance immune system function and help you achieve a better night’s sleep – and that’s just a few examples of what they can offer.
Medicinal or functional mushrooms include beta-D-glucans, which are tied to the immune system; triterpenoids, which work with beta-D-glucans for improved immune function and can combat inflammation; and ergosterol, which works as an immunomodulator and an antioxidant. These mushrooms have also been found to potentially increase energy levels and reduce fatigue. And that’s just a small sample of what functional mushrooms provide.
Each unique combination of mushrooms found in different gummy products can offer different health and wellness benefits. Some promise to enhance your immune system, giving it a protective or supportive boost. Others can help naturally increase energy on a daily basis. And other mushroom gummy varieties may help athletic recovery, providing extra nutrients that the body needs after tough workouts.
So, while a mushroom gummy supplement may not necessarily provide you with vitamins you’re missing out on in your daily diet, they can enhance your overall nutrition. They’re truly a supplement, adding in functional extras that can help in small or significant ways.
How do mushroom gummies stack up to other mushroom supplements?
Mushroom gummies aren’t the first kind of fungi-based supplements to appear at your local grocery store, health and wellness shops or online. They’re simply the latest iteration – and they’re joining the ranks of mushroom capsules, powders and other extract-based products.
But gummies are probably the most convenient, no-fuss option to date. They’re easy to take, like capsules, but tastier (which, let’s be honest, makes them kind of more fun to consume!). And you don’t have to mix or incorporate them into drinks or smoothies like powders, making them great for bringing on the go. Mushroom gummies are also mess-free, which makes them a more convenient everyday supplement.
Mushroom gummies can contain sugars and varying amounts of mushroom extracts
While there’s no denying the delicious taste and the convenience of mushroom gummy supplements, there can be some drawbacks to choosing gummies. The biggest of all? Gummies often aren’t as potent as traditional capsule supplements.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, because gummy vitamins are designed to be sweeter, more palatable supps, they’re not made to be a 1:1 swap. Typically, gummies have fewer vitamins and minerals than capsule supplements – and while research has yet to be done on mushroom gummies, the same may be true for these varieties. If it’s top-tier potency you’re looking for, you’ll likely get more beneficial mushroom extracts out of other kinds of supplements.
Plus, in addition to varying amounts of mushroom extracts and different levels of effectiveness, mushroom gummies also tend to contain sugar – specifically, added sugars. In order to achieve their delicious flavor, mushroom gummy makers have to add in sugars and sugar substitutes. On average, the Cleveland Clinic reports that gummy vitamins have anywhere from 2 to 8 grams of sugar per serving.
Oh, and there’s one more detail you need to know about gummies. They have a shorter shelf life, and as they begin to “go bad” these supplements become less potent. So, if you aren’t reaching for mushroom gummies before their “use by” date, you may not be getting as many of those helpful nutrients as you think you are.
So, do these gummies really work?
After reading up on all of the health and wellness benefits of mushroom gummies, I decided to put them to the test. For 30 days, I took mushroom gummies – specifically, Earth & Star’s Super Multi-Mushroom Gummy – to see if they could deliver on any of their promises.
The Super Multi-Mushroom Gummy is jam-packed with mushroom extracts. It didn’t just include one or two mushroom varieties; it includes an impressive 10, with 2,500 milligrams of extracts per serving. From maitake to lion’s mane to reishi to turkey tail, these potent little gummies had just about every functional mushroom I was looking for. And as a result, their packaging touts benefits like improved memory, focus and concentration; support for the immune system, gut and nervous system; and defense against oxidative stress and inflammation.
My first impression was that I could definitely tell these weren’t your average gummy vitamins. Their Wild Raspberry flavor had a bit of a mushroom aftertaste (but if you’re a mushroom fan, it isn’t exactly a drawback!). And within the first few days of taking these gummies, I noticed a change in my concentration and focus. While it’s hard to tell that gummy vitamins are working, these mushroom gummies would fine-tune my focus within 30 minutes of taking them. They were particularly helpful at helping me hone in on the tasks in front of me.
While I can’t speak to any immune or stress benefits, these gummies definitely had an impact on my day-to-day concentration. Over the course of the month, I was able to fine-tune the timing so I could boost my focus during the busiest parts of my day. And now that I’ve tried them, I’m definitely going to keep reaching for them to give my concentration a boost – and to see what kinds of long-term benefits it might be possible to reap.
Want to learn more about the benefits of functional mushrooms, as gummies or in your foods? Keep reading: