do mushroom powders work

Do Mushroom Powders Work Better Than Extracts?

There’s a big debate going on right now on the internet. Go figure! But this one hits closer to home so I decided to share some insights with all of you to help unravel this mystery. Do mushroom powders work better than extracts, or visa versa?

Reasons for writing this article:

  • To help better inform people 🧘‍♂️🧘‍♂️
  • Unravel misconceptions and truths 🔬🔬
  • Find the best delivery method 🥤🥤

Why are mushroom powders a subject for debate?

There seems to be a lot of misinformation that is causing a surge of social media posts that are urging people to stop buying mushroom powders. The main subject for debate – the bio-availability of the active ingredients.

Of course, when you are using medicinal mushrooms, you want them to contain the active ingredient that’s going to make you more healthy. And you would expect your body to have no trouble using those nutrients.

By now you might be questioning, do mushroom powders work?

mushroom powder in a fruit smoothie

So are mushroom powders bogus?

Not at all, but there are some misconceptions circulating around. The main one is that mushrooms contain chitin (which is true), that it can’t be broken down by our bodies (which is false), and that it blocks the bioavailability(which is also false).

This has sparked many debates where people now praise mushroom extract over the raw powder itself.

Then, I should be taking mushroom extracts, right?

We are definitely not against using mushroom extracts by any means. Our amazing-tasting Shyne Coffee uses 500 mg of mushroom extracts per cup and the effects are noticeable, based on our customers testimonials.

So, long story short, yes you can and should be incorporating mushroom extracts into your daily routine. They are amazing and you will feel great!

Best of all, they now come in many forms – so you don’t have to use a traditional pill or liquid extract. Instead, why not enjoy a cup of delicious coffee as part of your daily health ritual instead?

What Is Chitin And Why Are People Concerned?

chitin, mushrooms, shellfish, insects

Chitin is a special material found in some animals and plants. It’s a bit like the armor that protects them!

Where is Chitin Found?


    • Chitin is in the shells of crabs and lobsters.
    • It’s also in the crunchy parts of insects.
    • Mushrooms have chitin in their cell walls.

Think of chitin as the tough stuff that makes these creatures strong and safe. It makes a crab shell hard and an insect’s outer layer crunchy.

Chitin is made of tiny building blocks called molecules. These molecules link together to make a strong, flexible material. Imagine linking many small LEGO blocks together to build something big and sturdy. That’s how chitin is put together!

Here’s a fun fact: Chitin is similar to another important material called cellulose. Cellulose is found in plants and helps them stand tall. Both chitin and cellulose give strength and protection, but chitin is more flexible and strong.

Does Chitin Block Nutrient Uptake in Humans?

While chitin is indigestible, it does not significantly block human nutrient uptake. It can sometimes lock out certain nutrients, but it’s presence in foods is mostly beneficial to our digestive systems.

🧘‍♂️ Indigestibility:

Chitin is mostly indigestible for humans because we lack the necessary enzymes, called chitinases, to fully break it down. This means it passes through the digestive system largely intact.

🌿 Fiber-like Properties:

In the human digestive system, chitin acts similarly to dietary fiber. Just like fiber, it can help with digestion by adding bulk to stool and aiding in regular bowel movements.

🥗 Nutrient Uptake:

Chitin itself does not significantly block the absorption of nutrients. However, because it is indigestible, it can sometimes encapsulate other nutrients, making them less accessible for absorption. This is similar to how some fibers can trap nutrients, which are then excreted rather than absorbed.

🍄 Possible Benefits:

Some studies suggest that the presence of chitin can actually have metabolic benefits, such as promoting a feeling of fullness, which can help with weight management.

🧩 Immune Response:

The presence of chitin can activate the immune system, potentially influencing how nutrients are processed and metabolized.

In summary:

Do Mushroom Powders Work? Yes, absolutely. Our bodies work amazingly to break down chitin by promoting increased enzyme development.

So, while chitin doesn’t significantly block nutrient uptake in humans, it can influence the digestive process in ways that are mostly beneficial.

How Eating Powdered Mushrooms Helps Break Down Chitin

Recent research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has highlighted a fascinating benefit of consuming chitin-rich foods like mushrooms. The study found that when mice consumed chitin, their bodies produced more chitinase enzymes specifically designed to break down this tough fiber.

But, do mushroom powders work to benefit us? 

When you consume mushroom powder, you introduce chitin into your digestive system. This presence of chitin activates your immune system, prompting your stomach cells to ramp up the production of chitinase enzymes. These enzymes act like tiny scissors, cutting through the chitin and making the nutrients more accessible for absorption.

Adaptive Enzyme Production: Your body naturally adapts to the intake of chitin by increasing the production of chitinase, improving your ability to digest and benefit from mushrooms.

Enhanced Nutrient Absorption: By breaking down chitin, these enzymes help you access the valuable nutrients stored in mushrooms, such as vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds.

The study underscores the body’s remarkable ability to adjust and improve its digestive efficiency. By incorporating powdered mushrooms into your diet, you not only benefit from their rich nutrient profile but also enhance your body’s enzymatic activity, making digestion more effective and promoting overall health.

How Does Heat Effect Chitin?

Heat is one of the easiest ways to break down chitin. (if you still want to) By applying heat the chitin can be broken down before it enters our digestive system. Oftentimes, when preparing mushrooms we use heat. This can significantly break down the amount of chitin present in mushrooms.

According to the study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, chitin remains largely intact even under significant heat stress. Here’s a brief look at how different cooking methods affect chitin:

Heat Resistance of Chitin

🌡️  Boiling:

Temperature: Around 100°C (212°F).

Effect: Boiling mushrooms does not significantly break down chitin. Chitin remains largely intact, acting similarly to dietary fiber. Boiling may soften the mushrooms and make other nutrients more accessible, but chitin itself remains resilient.

👩‍🍳 Convection Oven:

Temperature: Typically ranges from 175°C to 220°C (350°F to 425°F).

Effect: Baking mushrooms in a convection oven can lead to some softening of the chitin structure, but it does not fully break down. The heat helps in cooking the mushrooms and making other nutrients available, but the chitin remains mostly unchanged.

🍳 Frying:

Temperature: Typically around 160°C to 190°C (320°F to 375°F).

Effect: Frying exposes mushrooms to higher temperatures and can cause some degradation of chitin. However, the breakdown is still minimal compared to the temperatures required to significantly alter chitin structure.

Breakdown Temperature of Chitin

Significant Breakdown: According to the study, chitin starts to significantly break down only at temperatures around 200°C (392°F) and above. Even then, complete degradation requires temperatures closer to 380°C (716°F) and higher, which are not typically reached in standard cooking methods.

Practical Implications

While everyday cooking methods do not significantly break down chitin, incorporating powdered mushrooms into your diet can help you harness the benefits of chitin. Your body can produce chitinase enzymes to aid in the digestion of this tough fiber, making nutrients more accessible and promoting better metabolic health.

heat breakdown of chitin in mushrooms

Conclusion: Do mushroom powders work better than extracts?

The intricate world of chitin and its role in mushroom nutrition is often misunderstood. Recent scientific research sheds light on this resilient fiber, debunking common misconceptions and revealing how it truly interacts with our bodies.

Contrary to the belief that chitin is a mere barrier to nutrient absorption, it plays a crucial role in enhancing our digestive health and metabolic functions.

Chitin, found abundantly in mushrooms, may be tough to break down, but our bodies are equipped with the remarkable ability to produce chitinase enzymes. These enzymes work diligently to break down chitin, making the valuable nutrients within mushrooms accessible and beneficial.

🍄 Adaptive Response: Our bodies naturally produce chitinase enzymes to digest chitin.

🧬 Nutrient Release: This process makes nutrients in mushrooms more accessible.

🥗 Gut Health: Chitin acts like dietary fiber, promoting a healthy digestive system.

💪 Metabolic Benefits: Gradual digestion of chitin supports weight management and metabolism.

Incorporating mushroom powders into your diet leverages this natural enzymatic activity. The fiber-like properties of chitin promote gut health, while the gradual digestion facilitated by our own enzymes ensures a steady release of nutrients.

Cooking methods like boiling, baking, and frying may not significantly break down chitin, but they prepare mushrooms in ways that enhance their palatability and integrate seamlessly into various dishes.

🍲 Boiling: Softens mushrooms but doesn’t break down chitin.

🍞 Baking: Slightly softens chitin, enhancing texture.

🍳 Frying: Uses higher temperatures, leading to some chitin degradation.

When combined with mushroom extracts, which offer concentrated doses of specific nutrients, you achieve a balanced approach to harnessing the full spectrum of benefits mushrooms provide.

In essence, chitin is not a hindrance but a key player in the nutritional value of mushrooms. By embracing both powdered and extract forms of mushrooms, we can fully appreciate and utilize the health benefits these incredible fungi offer.

Let’s move past the myths, and questioning if mushroom powders work,  and embrace the science—chitin, when understood and utilized correctly, is a powerful ally in our quest for optimal health.

TL;DR: Understanding Chitin and Mushroom Nutrition


🍄 Chitin in mushrooms acts like dietary fiber

🔬 Our bodies produce chitinase enzymes to break down chitin

🧬 Enzymes make nutrients in mushrooms more accessible

🥗 Chitin promotes healthy digestion

💪 Supports weight management and metabolism

🍲 Boiling softens mushrooms but doesn’t break down chitin

🍞 Baking slightly softens chitin, enhancing texture

🍳 Frying causes some chitin degradation

🥄 Powders leverage natural enzyme production; extracts offer concentrated nutrients

🌟 Using both powders and extracts maximizes health benefits

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