Throughout temperate woodlands in North America, Europe, and Asia, mushrooms are a familiar sight. Growing on dead or dying wood, they break down and recycle plant and animal matter, and are an integral part of a forest’s ecosystem. What makes them so powerful when it comes to healing? The secret lies deep within the mushroom.
Fruitbody vs. Mycelium
The visible portion of the mushroom that grows above the ground is called the fruitbody. But the main part of the mushroom is the mycelium — an intricate web of root-like filaments that produce the visible fruitbody. The mycelium is a key stage in the mushroom life cycle where a series of complex cellular events occur. As the mycelium grows, it absorbs nutrients from its food source—in nature, decaying wood or plant matter.
During the mushroom’s mycelial stage, new biologically active compounds are produced, including beta-glucans, glycoproteins, ergosterols, triterpenoids, and other constituents. And studies show those compounds are responsible for profound benefits, especially immune health. Mushroom mycelium engages natural killer cells, white blood cells, and other components of the immune system. Years of industry-based research, as well as internal and third-party testing, have demonstrated that mushroom mycelium offers powerful, balanced immune support.*
Using the Fruitbody and Mycelium
While fruitbodies are rich in immune-supporting beta glucans, they’re only part of the whole mushroom story. The mycelium is the rest of the narrative. That’s why Host Defense uses both. Host Defense mushroom supplements utilize the complex chemistry of the entire mushroom life cycle, including the mycelial stage, for a significantly wider array of beneficial compounds and a broader range of health benefits.
In human blood (ex vivo) and human clinical trials, Host Defense supplements with fruitbodies and mycelium were proven to have powerful immunological activity—not only engaging but also modulating, immune response.* Tests using three Host Defense mycelium-based products found mycelium:
- Increased innate immune cells for protection;
- Activated white blood cells for immune strength; and
- Regulated immune cell compounds for balanced immune response.*
“Growing” Mushroom Supplements
When mushrooms are grown for supplements, mushroom mycelium cultures are inoculated into a food source—a growth medium called a “substrate.” The growing mycelium ferments and cultures the substrate, in a process that’s similar to how yogurt is made. The fermentation process creates unique nutritive compounds and alters the substrate into a potent healing compound in its own right. Research shows that when brown rice is used as a substrate it engages the immune system’s built-in method of checks and balances to keep it from overreacting— not too little, not too much, but just right.
The Host Defense Difference
To make its mycelium, Host Defense starts with certified organic brown rice as the substrate, inoculating it with sustainably harvested mushroom cultures derived from pristine forests near the Olympic rainforest in Washington State. The mycelium is harvested during the peak stage of growth to capture the most abundant profile of active constituents. Host Defense includes fruitbodies from its own farm, grown using organic practices, along with the mycelium and nutrient-rich substrate. And to ensure potency and purity, all Host Defense products are verified by independent labs that use internationally recognized and validated testing methods.
For the most powerful, balanced immune support, look for mushroom products that include not only fruitbodies but also the mycelium and fermented substrate. Because that’s where the real mushroom magic happens.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.