Initially Posted: 08/10/2019
Reishi Mushrooms tested by ConsumerLab.com

Reishi supplements compared in this review

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GNC Herbal Plus Mushroom Complex

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Host Defense Mushrooms Reishi

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Nature's Way Reishi

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New Chapter lifeshield Reishi

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Om Organic Mushroom Nutrition Reishi

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Real Mushrooms Reishi Extract 415

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Swanson Reishi Mushroom

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Summary

  • What is it? Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is an edible mushroom. Reishi supplements, commonly sold as capsules or powders, contain material from the dried fruiting body (the top or "mushroom") with or without material from mycelia (the branch-like network that gives rise to the fruiting body). Compounds in reishi thought to be biologically active are 1,3-beta-D-glucan, which is found in both the fruiting body and mycelia, and ganoderic acids, different sets of which are found in the fruiting body as compared to the mycelia. Extracts are also available in which these compounds are more concentrated than in whole dried reishi (see What It Is).
  • Does it help? Reishi supplements made from fruiting body are commonly promoted for "strengthening" the immune system, as well as for lowering blood sugar, improving cardiovascular function, protecting from liver damage and reducing cancerous tumors. However, the evidence supporting these effects is based on small, short-term studies. More research is needed to confirm these effects (see What It Does).
  • What did CL's tests show? Our tests found that although all of the products were confirmed to contain reishi, amounts of 1,3-beta-D-glucan per serving ranged widely from just a few milligrams to over 250 mg, and the cost to obtain 100 mg of 1,3-beta-D-glucan ranged from just 7 cents to $19! Ganoderic acids also ranged widely. One product could not be approved because its labeling could confuse a consumer as to the part of reishi it contains (see What CL Found).
  • Which brand is best? ConsumerLab found that several products provided significant amounts of 1,3-beta-D-glucan as well as ganoderic acids, but one was much less expensive than the others and was chosen as our Top Pick. There were good options for getting fruiting body alone or fruiting body with mycelium.
  • What to look for? When choosing a reishi product, be aware that products that list large amounts of polysaccharides do not necessarily provide large amounts of 1,3-beta-D-glucan (a polysaccharide). Instead they may simply contain large amounts of alpha-glucan, a common polysaccharide in grains, because reishi is grown on grains. This is most common with products listing mycelial biomass (see What to Look for When Buying).
  • How to use? It's not clear if reishi supplements are best taken with or without food, although limited evidence indicated that food may inhibit the absorption of certain ganoderic acids (see What to Consider When Using).
  • Concerns? Mild side-effects may occur. High doses may have a blood thinning effect (see Concerns and Cautions).
You must be a member to get the full test results, along with ConsumerLab's recommendations. You'll get results for 7 reishi supplements -- six selected by ConsumerLab and one other that passed the same testing through our voluntary Quality Certification Program. In this comprehensive review, you'll discover:
  • Which reishi supplements passed or failed testing, and which is CL's Top Pick
  • Quality ratings and cost comparisons of reishi supplements
  • The clinical evidence for reishi for strengthening the immune system, lowering blood sugar, improving cardiovascular function, protecting from liver damage, reducing cancerous tumors and more
  • Amounts of potentially beneficial reishi compounds (1,3-beta-D-glucan and ganoderic acids) found in products
  • Differences among the various parts of reishi you may see listed on labels, including fruiting body, mycelium, and spores, and what to look when choosing a product
  • Reishi dosage
  • Safety and potential side effects of reishi

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