Are Mushroom Supplements Safe?

by | Updated: February 28th, 2023 | Read time: 6 minutes

Whether you prefer oyster mushrooms in your tagliatelle pasta or favor a grilled portabella with goat cheese and pesto, chances are high you are aware of mushrooms’ legendary nutritional status. Low in calories but high in nutrients, mushrooms are jam-packed with a wealth of key vitamins and minerals—so much so it was only a matter of time before they made their way into dietary supplements.

Concept of Are Mushroom Supplements Safe Represented by Bowl of Mushrooms and Mushroom Powder on Wood Surface

That time is now. From reishi to support a brighter, more balanced mood to chaga to encourage immune health, mushroom supplements are currently being touted as the go-to source to bolster stamina, boost brain power and more. In 2017, The Guardian reported that the mushroom supplement market had pulled in $5 million in revenue, and that number is only expected to climb in the coming years.

But forget its trendiness for a moment: Functional mushrooms, like reishi and chaga, have been utilized for health supportive purposes in Eastern medicine for centuries. For a good cause, too: Fungi brims with several of the most essential nutrients we need to perform at our peak.

At the same time, the Wild, Wild West of the internet is abuzz with alarming information suggesting that mushroom supplements may lead (seriously) to extreme, even debilitating side effects—thanks to the post-apocalyptic series, The Last of Us, which attributes zombie-ism, for lack of a better word, to a type of fungi that infects its hosts and triggers them to bite others to spread the brain infection. The said host in the real world, though? Insects.

Scientists have been swift to debunk the myth that such a possibility is plausible in humans, but it nonetheless begs the question: Are mushroom supplements safe? And why should you consider adding them to your self-care regimen in the first place? Read on, as we’ve got the answers.

What are mushroom supplements?

Mushroom supplements run the gamut with numerous formulas featuring several various types of mushrooms. A few of the most popular mushroom supplements on the market are:

  • Reishi
  • Chaga
  • Cordyceps
  • Lion’s mane
  • Shitake
  • Turkey tail
  • Maitake
  • Tremella

In these supplements, as well as others, these particular mushrooms are ground down into a powder form and typically added to foods and drinks, whether it’s a cup of tea, a smoothie, a soup, a stir-fry or a hyper-trendy latte at a hip and health-conscious coffeeshop. They’re also available in edibles (like gummies), extracts and pill form.

Do mushroom supplements taste like mushrooms?

Mushrooms may be incredibly nutritious but they also have a polarizing effect—at least when it comes to one’s palate. Fortunately for some, many medicinal mushroom supplements (not to be confused with psilocybin, “magic” mushrooms) have no flavor at all, or merely a subtle, earthy taste.

What are the benefits of mushroom supplements?

Mushroom supplements are skyrocketing in popularity because of their potential benefits, and each supplement offers its own slew of advantages. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular.


A staple in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), reishi mushrooms brim with polysaccharides and the immune-modulating protein, Ling Zhi, which are believed to naturally support immune health. Reishi also contains a bioactive compound known as triterpene, which has been shown to organically promote a steadier, happier mood.

Lion’s mane

In many ways, its name says it all: This trendy mushroom supplement may certainly make you feel powerful, particularly because it supports the synthesis of myelin (which pads your nerve fibers) and nerve growth factor (NFG), both of which are imperative to brain health. Science verifies that lion’s mane organically encourages concentration levels and memory in mice.


Whether you’re rethinking that 6 p.m. Barre class you scheduled because late afternoon fatigue has set in or want to up-level your energy to stay in line with your toddler, cordyceps may offer you the burst of vitality you need more effectively than a quad shot iced espresso. Specifically, cordyceps has been found to support oxygen utility and circulation, which may organically foster athletic performance.

Turkey tail

It may have a funny name (and, no, this fungus does not come from a turkey) but turkey tail is widely revered in Eastern medicine and has been used in China since the 15th century. This is due in part to the fact that it contains a particular polysaccharide (PSK) that may naturally nurture the immune system.


Chaga mushrooms are nutritional powerhouses. While research on Chaga mushrooms is still in its infancy, what we know so far is that their high concentration of antioxidants may organically facilitate immunity and defy the telltale signs of aging spurred on by oxidative damage.

Are mushroom supplements safe to take?

Never mind the silliness of the internet which confuses fiction, like The Last of Us, with fact: Mushroom supplements are, yes, generally safe to take but you should always get the green light from your healthcare provider before starting a supplement of any kind. This is especially crucial for pregnant and lactating women.

Furthermore, if you have an allergy to mold, you may want to avoid mushroom supplements altogether (bear in mind that ‘shrooms are a form of fungi). Some mushrooms, such as chaga, also have elevated amounts of oxalates—chemical compounds found in a host of vegetables and fruits that may provoke a negative reaction, like inflammation and painful joints, in some people.  Also, a few studies indicate that mushroom supplements may cause adverse side effects, primarily an upset stomach.

If your healthcare provider has given you the approval to give mushroom supplements a try, it’s vital to conduct your research. Here a few matters to stay aware of:

Source of the mushrooms.

Mushrooms act as bio-accumulators. Simply put, this means they absorb what’s in the soil in which they grow, including heavy metals and toxins such as pesticides. With this in mind, you should always determine where the mushrooms were sourced, just as you should always shoot for organic, non-GMO brands. As a rule when it comes to supplements, you should avoid those that come from Mexico, India, and China; research reveals that supplements from these countries may be unstandardized and contain toxins. 

Quality, reputable manufacturer.

The beauty of purchasing nutritional supplements online is that you typically have access to rankings and reviews. You may also want to check out information from the Office of Dietary Supplements. Be sure to ascertain the supplement has gone through third-party testing and has received a stamp of approval from Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), which evaluates supplements for quality and contaminants.

Select the right mushroom supplement for your health and wellness goals.

As discussed, each type of functional mushroom has a unique effect. Alternatively, you can explore hybrids that may lead you closer to several health and wellness goals at once. Mushroom Revival’s Mushroom Mix, for one, boasts ten different types of mushrooms, including cordyceps, lion’s mane, maitake, turkey tail and tremella. Plus, these functional mushrooms are worked into a juicy gummy—no funky aftertaste whatsoever.

What about ‘everyday’ mushrooms?

Many of the benefits of mushroom supplements can be found in consistently, even relentlessly, practicing the main pillars of health: Sound, rejuvenating sleep, excellent nutrition, ample hydration, plenty of fresh air and exercise, and spiritual and mental well-being. Mushrooms, the sort you do see on a menu and in a market, are a valuable, bulletproof method for amplifying your overall nutritional status and improving your health as a whole. From vitamin C to riboflavin, they feature a bevy of antioxidants and important minerals—which are, in the end, the real magic.

These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

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