High-quality adaptogenic mushrooms are loaded with antioxidants, balance the immune system, ward off degenerative disease, boost the brain, and improve the skin and hair.
But there’s something you must know…
Not all mushroom supplements are equal. In fact, many popular products don’t work.
From the big names to the lesser-known companies, I’ve tested and thoroughly researched over a dozen mushrooms supplements.Adaptogens are super plants (and mushrooms) that protect the body and mind against physical, chemical, emotional, or biological stress. Click To Tweet
Several companies stand out. Today I’m reviewing Real Mushrooms, the fastest growing functional mushroom brand. At the end, I’ll teach you how to buy the highest quality mushrooms (that work), and compare Real Mushrooms against other top brands.
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Real Mushrooms Supplements Reviewed
Real Mushrooms offers a wide variety of popular mushrooms. Only one of which (5 Defenders) is a blend of different mushrooms.
I’ll explain the benefits of each mushroom, and how I personally use the products. I prefer powders for their better value. Call me weird, but I enjoy the flavor too. Each mushroom also comes in pill form.
You can get Real Mushrooms products on Amazon (here). Or, get better prices and a special discount for purchases made through their website (links below).
August 2021 Update: I found this ConsumerLab testing result which rated Real Mushrooms Reishi as the best mushroom product on the market.
Real Mushrooms 5 Defenders Review
Mushroom Dose: 1000mg total (200mg each)
Their flagship product. 5 defenders is a blend of Chaga, Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake, Turkey Tail. All in one.
Real Mushrooms didn’t cut any corners and extracted each mushroom the right way to maximize the potency and value.
I get the benefits of five mushroom species in a single gram of powder.
A 2019 study suggests that mushrooms—particularly Reishi, Shiitake, and Maitake—taken together have synergistic effects.
High-quality Shiitake also seems to slow the aging process by reducing oxidative stress. It also keeps bone strong.
5 different mushrooms in one
Synergy between ingredients
Great for travel
Easy & convenient
Low-dose of each mushroom compared to buying individually
My carry-on always has a pouch of 5 Defenders handy. I like the convenience of having broad-spectrum mushrooms when I burden my immune system with travel. A word of warning 5 Defenders doesn’t taste great. I’ll toss it back with some water.
New: Real Mushrooms D2 Review
Mushroom Dose: 300mg
A new source of bioavailable vitamin D2. One capsule contains 1,000IU of natural vitamin D, 275mg of Shiitake Mushroom Extract, 25mg of Agaricus Mushroom Powder, and 20 percent beta-glucans.
The real star of this formula is the Agaricus Mushroom. When exposed to UV light, it produces up to 40,000IU of vitamin D per gram!
Great to keep the immune system strong during flu season.
I haven’t tested it yet, but will once I run out of my current vitamin A-D-K supplement combination.
Get yours here.
Real Mushrooms Reishi Review
Mushroom Dose: 1000mg total
Unique: Triterpenes > 4%
Nicknamed ‘the herb of immortality’ and ‘queen of mushrooms’, Reishi is the ideal anti-aging mushroom.
Reishi has been used in Asian medicine for hundreds of years to treat aches, pains, allergies, “qi”, immunity, cancer, sleep, and inflammation.
Recent research supports the incredible properties of Reishi,
“[Reishi contains] approximately 400 different bioactive compounds, which mainly include triterpenoids, polysaccharides, nucleotides, sterols, steroids, fatty acids, proteins/peptides and trace elements which has been reported to have a number of pharmacological effects including immunomodulation, anti-atherosclerotic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, chemopreventive, antitumor, chemo and radio protective, sleep promoting, antibacterial, antiviral (including anti-HIV), hypolipidemic, anti-fibrotic, hepatoprotective, anti-diabetic, anti-androgenic, anti-angiogenic, anti-herpetic, antioxidative and radical-scavenging, anti-aging, hypoglycemic, estrogenic activity and anti-ulcer properties. Ganoderma lucidum has now become recognized as an alternative adjuvant in the treatment of leukemia, carcinoma, hepatitis and diabetes.”
Benefits of Reishi:
- Reduced anxiety, depression, and fatigue and improved quality of life in breast cancer patients.
- Reduced insulin resistance.
- Reduced inflammatory markers and restored kidney function in kidney disease patients.
- Suppressed the growth of more adenomas (benign tumors with the potential to become malignant).
- Boosted the immune systems of late-stage cancer patients.
- Improves sleep in rats.
Lighter taste than most mushrooms
Good for relaxing in the evening
I combine Reishi with turmeric, almond milk, and (sometimes) raw local honey. I’ll sip on my homemade evening golden milk latte as I wind down.
Real Mushrooms Lions Mane Review
Mushroom Dose: 1000mg total
My personal favorite, lions mane is the ultimate brain-boosting mushroom.
The Chinese have used it for thousands of years. It’s great for nerve growth.
Brain aside, lions mane helps regenerate the nervous system.
Others love the product equally as much. Throughout the internet you’ll encounter hundreds of five star reviews.
Benefits of lions mane:
- Reduces brain inflammation.
- Balances immune function.
- Strengthens microbiome.
- Exhibits anti-cancer effects.
- Increase neurogenesis, reduce cognitive decline, and even regrow damaged nerves.
- Supports brain health by stimulating BDNF and NGF.
- Reverse mild cognitive decline in the elderly.
- Help nerve-damaged rats regenerate destroyed nerves and regain their ability to walk.
- Improve the Functional Index Measure in patients with dementia.
- Reduce anxiety and depression in women.
- Improves mood and focus.
- Good source of antioxidants.
Excellent for supporting brain regeneration
Improves memory, focus, and mood
Promotes nervous system repair
Safe and effective nootropic
Contains all non-water soluble components
Lions mane may reduce libido
I like lions mane as an ideal morning coffee booster. It has a mild, earthy flavor. I use the lions mane/caffeine combination to stimulate creativity and biohack the learning process.
Real Mushrooms Chaga Review
Mushroom Dose: 1000mg total
Reishi is the medicinal mushroom queen, but chaga is proclaimed the king. I’ve heard chaga referred to as “black gold”
Russians and Northern Europeans have used chaga medicinally for centuries. If you’re looking for a potent source of antioxidants, chaga tops the list with an ORAC score of 146,700.
Benefits of chaga:
- Inhibits oxidative DNA damage
- Extremely high in antioxidants
- Strong anti-viral effects.
- Reduces inflammation.
- Potentially potent anti-cancer effects.
- Improves athletic endurance.
Especially high in antioxidants
Tastes slightly like dark chocolate
Reduces sickness symptoms
Helps with belly bloat
Doesn’t mix well
Chaga can stand alone as a tea. In fact, it was a coffee substitute during World Wars I and II. Some mushroom supplement companies mix powdered Chaga into their coffee blends. I’ll also add Chaga into salad dressings for rich and savory taste.
Real Mushrooms Turkey Tail Review
Mushroom Dose: 1000mg total
I get my turkey tail from friends into mushroom hunting. Apparently, it’s everywhere. I haven’t seen nearly as much research on this mushroom compared to the others.
Their turkey tail is the only Real Mushrooms product I haven’t tried. Friends that have mentioned that it is overpriced. It also doesn’t mix all that well. Most people are better off choosing a different mushroom product.
Benefits of turkey tail:
- High in antioxidants
- Can stimulate the immune system by enhancing macrophage and natural killer cell function
- Contains a high number of gut-healing prebiotics
- Potential anti-cancer effects
- Powerful anti-flu supplement
- Shows potential against HIV microbes.
- Enhances athletic performance
- Improves digestion
Strong immunity booster
Good for gut health
Leaves sediment in bottom of cup
Real Mushrooms Cordyceps-M Review
Mushroom Dose: 1000mg total
Cordycepin: 0.1% – 0.4% per batch
After lions mane, cordyceps is my next favorite.
I don’t “feel” most supplements. Cordyceps is different. When I’m tired, one scoop energizes my workouts.
Real cordyceps is extremely rare and expensive. Far more so than gold! Most cordyceps on the market is fake or low-quality.
Benefits of (real) cordyceps:
- Strengthens adrenals.
- Increases klotho anti-aging protein.
- Scavenges free radicals.
- Anti-aging effect in mice.
- Improves cardiovascular function.
- Increases endurance.
- Reduces stress in rats.
Contains all non-water soluble components
Does not use Ophiocordyceps sinensis mycelium
Powerful energy booster
Sometimes can be too stimulating
Cordyceps is a key booster in my homemade preworkout. I’ll mix it in along with the other ingredients. The taste is mild. I would not recommend cordyceps in the evening as it is the most stimulating mushroom for me.
My Real Mushrooms Supplements Experience
I have an entire room full of supplements. Guests can all but mistake my apartment for a supplement manufacturing facility.
I’m conflicted: on one hand, I love the bold promises of my supplement stacks. On the other, I wonder if all these pills, powders, and ingredients do more harm than good.
I continue to buy from Real Mushrooms for several reasons:
- Great customer service. When I had a problem with a pouch not resealing, they made it right.
- Highest quality products. The mushroom industry is shady. Real Mushrooms doesn’t cut corners like the rest, resulting in more potent products.
- Big sales throughout the year. I find amazing Black Friday supplement deals.
They’re not perfect.
I also wish they’d do a few things differently:
- Some pouches don’t seal well at all. An airtight seal is necessary to prevent oxidation and moisture. They’ve confirmed that they’re working on new packaging.
- Powders sometimes clump.
- High-doses of functional mushrooms can get expensive.
- Products don’t openly disclose levels of certain active ingredients (like cordycepin in their cordyceps). Their team, however, is happy to answer any questions.
- Custom formulas. I’d prefer lions mane and cordyceps in one pouch. This might be possible down the line.
I spend a lot on supplements. So I think long and hard about the expensive ones. At around $0.50 per serving, Real Mushrooms products aren’t outrageous nor cheap. But I keep coming back to them.
Since I discovered them, I’ve constantly had my two favorite products in stock:
- Lions mane
Lions mane is the core ingredient in my genius coffee recipe. Cordyceps provides a noticeable energy boost in my homemade pre-workout recipe.
Recently, I’ve moved toward broad full-spectrum supplements, and away from isolates. I want to get the most nutritional bang for my buck.
Of all the companies I’ve tried, Real Mushrooms has been the most consistent medicinal mushroom brand with effects that I actually feel.
How to Choose High-Quality Mushroom Supplements
First, what are mushrooms?
You might lump them together with plants, but mushrooms are in the fungi kingdom. Humans have evolved alongside mushrooms and fungi, yet we’ve largely ignored them until recently.
“Mushrooms are miniature pharmaceutical factories, and of the thousands of mushroom species in nature, our ancestors and modern scientists have identified several dozen that have a unique combination of talents that improve our health.Paul Stamets
The best supplements are only useful if your body can digest and absorb them.
Real Mushrooms is dedicated to producing the highest-quality mushroom supplements. Their certifications speak for themselves:
When evaluating products, ask the following two questions:
- What is inside
- What is not inside
Key Features of the Best Mushroom Supplements
Like all plants and fungi, the medicinal compounds inside mushrooms (alkaloids) concentrate when grown properly. These powerful compounds are what make certain mushrooms “functional”.
Of particular interest (but not limited to) are bioactive compounds like beta-glucans and triterpenes,
Mushrooms have many helpful nutrients, including beta-glucans for immune enhancement, ergothioneines for antioxidative potentiation, nerve growth stimulators for helping brain function, and antimicrobial compounds for limiting viruses.”Paul Stamets
Before buying a new product, scutanize the label.
Quality mushroom supplements should specify:
- Extraction method (some bioactives require hot water while others extract best in alcohol)
- Beta-D-glucans percentage (more is better)
- 100% extracted from fruiting bodies (greater potency)
Spotting Mushroom Supplement Scams
Mushrooms are bioremediators. They soak up everything in the environment around them, including toxic chemicals.
You don’t want heavy metal toxicity from a bunk product. Mushroom expert Paul Stamets states:"If you do not know where the mushroom products you are consuming are grown, think twice before eating them." Click To Tweet
Make sure that the manufacturer has undergone third-party lab testing. I ask for a copy of the report. Real Mushrooms proudly displays cultivation information and testing results.
When evaluating mushroom products, watch for:
- Heavy metals
- Starch levels (waste of money)
- Grains (waste of money)
- Mycelium (less potency)
Pay close attention to heavy metal levels on third-party reports. If they don’t provide lab test results, steer clear!
Real Mushrooms Compared to Other Brands
There are a few dominant players in mushroom supplements.
If you browse long enough you’re sure to encounter these.
A quick note: wild mushrooms are expensive. Almost all companies source from in-house grown mushroom suppliers.
Nammex is the highest quality, affordable mushroom supplier.
Unless you can afford wild Cordyceps at $20,000 per kilogram, make sure that whatever brand you choose sources from Nammex.
Here’s how Real Mushrooms stacks up against the others. For simplicity, I compared each company’s cordyceps powder.
Real Mushrooms vs. Host Defense
I used Host Defense products before Real Mushrooms.
Invented by the well-known mushroom expert Paul Stamets, Host Defense produced mushroom supplements decades before the competition. They’ve been in business for over 40 years.
On the surface, the two companies are quite similar. They have one large difference:
Host Defense uses mycelium where Real Mushrooms uses (the superior) fruiting bodies.
Recall from earlier that fruiting bodies are better researched, more potent, low in starch, and completely grain-free.
I’d rather not spend my money on grain fillers.
If you’re looking for quality, effectiveness, and value, Real Mushrooms wins.
Real Mushrooms vs. Nootropics Depot
Nootropics Depot (ND) holds its own against Real Mushrooms.
At first blush, it seemed far cheaper. To accurately compare the two, I had to standardize the servings and product size. Price-wise, they come out the same. Unless you use the “subscribe and save” option on Real Mushrooms which saves an additional 15 percent.
I like that Nootropics Depot indicates Cordycepin levels.
Both use hot water extraction and whole fruiting bodies.
If they are indeed grain-free, I would like to see Nootropics Depot list that along with their starch percentages.
The Real Mushrooms team has 40 years of mushroom cultivating experience, so I prefer them. When they’re out of stock I might consider ND.
Real Mushrooms vs. Oriveda
I wanted to like Oriveda. Navigating their website was hard enough.
When I visited their site I was informed that I am currently unable to order directly through them since I am located in the USA. Instead, I’d have to find a reseller.
I like that they’ve assayed and published the active ingredient breakdown of their cordyceps:
You may notice that some bioactive ingredients are considerably below the others.
For example, both Nootropics Depot and Real Mushrooms contain beta-glucan levels of >25 percent.
Of all the products compared, their product lists the most cordycepin, one key primary active ingredient in cordyceps supplements.
If you’re in search of the absolute highest cordycepin, adenosine, or other nucleosides levels, Oriveda is the best bet.
Assuming you can stomach the extreme price of $72.95 for 120 capsules. I’m not convinced that the huge jump in price is worth the greater cordycepin. It’s cheaper to just take more Real Mushrooms and get more of the other compounds too.
Real Mushrooms vs. Thrive 6
Produced by Freshcap, Thrive 6 is another blend of the most popular mushroom supplements:
- Organic Chaga
- Organic Cordyceps
- Organic Lion’s Mane
- Organic Maitake
- Organic Turkey Tail
- Organic Reishi
Each tub contains 60 doses, equally split between the above. That puts the dose of each mushroom at a measly 166mg. Insufficient to get the benefits found in clinical studies.
Their website does not follow the common practice of displaying the full packaging and ingredients label. Also, their entire line of products has disappeared from Amazon. Due to widespread supplement contamination and that it’s the same price as RM, I cannot recommend Thrive 6.
Real Mushrooms vs. Om Organic Mushrooms
Om is another popular mushroom brand that’s gained popularity in recent years.
At first glance, their line of products tick the boxes of quality mushrooms. Each canister contains 100 doses, at ~ two grams per serving. For the price it looks unbeatable.
Upon further inspection, you’ll notice that it’s not just the ultra-potent fruiting bodies. Instead, Om grows their products on oats and skips the processing necessary to make certain mushrooms absorbable. The ambiguous label masks the high grain and starch content. You can verify this yourself by taste. Real reishi, for example, is quite bitter but theirs tastes sweet. Om is cheap because you receive very little actual mushroom.
Real Mushrooms Product Comparison Table
|Product||Specialty||Servings||Cost||Mushroom Dose||Mushroom Type||Extraction Method||Certifications||Beta-Glucans||Starch|
|5 Defenders||Complete||45||$34.95||1000mg (200mg each)||100% whole fruiting body||hot water / alcohol extract||USDA Organic, Gluten-Free, Non-GMO, Vegan, Kosher||>20%||<5%|
|Reishi||Longevity||45||$34.95||1000mg||100% whole fruiting body||hot water / alcohol extract||USDA Organic, Gluten-Free, Non-GMO, Vegan, Kosher||>15%||<5%|
|Lion’s Mane||Cognition||60||$29.95||1000mg||100% whole fruiting body||hot water extract||USDA Organic, Gluten-Free, Non-GMO, Vegan, Kosher||>25%||<5%|
|Chaga||Digestion||60||$29.95||1000mg||100% whole fruiting body||hot water extract||USDA Organic, Gluten-Free, Non-GMO, Vegan, Kosher||>8%||<5%|
|Turkey Tail||Immunity||45||$34.95||1000mg||100% whole fruiting body||hot water extract||USDA Organic, Gluten-Free, Non-GMO, Vegan, Kosher||>30%||<5%|
|Cordyceps||Performance||60||$29.95||1000mg||100% whole fruiting body||hot water extract||USDA Organic, Gluten-Free, Non-GMO, Vegan, Kosher||>25%||<5%|
Real Mushrooms: The Best Affordable Functional & Adaptogenic Mushrooms
You can go wrong with mushrooms. Bad products are worse than none at all.
To choose a quality mushroom supplement, look for:
- Quality ingredients and preparations methods
- Free of common contaminants
The wrong extraction methods can negate any medicinal, healing benefits.
Do your research before choosing a product. I’ve had good experiences with Real Mushrooms, but they’re not the only brand.
Pickup your mushrooms at the lowest price possible on the Real Mushrooms website. Get an additional 10% off with coupon code URBAN here.
Or buy them on Amazon:
Do you use medicinal mushrooms? If so, what brand?
Real Mushrooms Review & Comparison : Scam or Functional & Adaptogenic Mushrooms?
Real Mushrooms sells 5 defenders, lions mane, cordyceps, chaga, reishi, tremella, & turkey tail. I've compared the best brands, read this honest review for the winner.
Product Brand: Real Mushrooms
Product In-Stock: InStock