It’s one of the most powerful superfoods known to mankind and it can be enjoyed in a number of ways with different recipes for meals, nutritional shakes, and even your morning coffee.
Introducing the shiitake (“she-TOCK-ee”) mushroom.
Loaded with positive health benefits, these tasty little mushrooms are becoming increasingly popular, especially for the AHCC and cancer fighting properties of the fungus .
What makes the shiitake mushroom so special? We’ll explain this and cover all the side effects and benefits later in the article.
First, we’ve ranked the top 5 best shiitake mushroom supplements on the market according to price, product quality, and customer reviews.
So what’s the best shiitake mushroom supplement on the market?
1- Supreme Potential Shiitake Mushroom
Supreme Potential offers an excellent, 900 mg capsule of shiitake mushroom extract sourced from the above ground fruiting body, unlike most shiitake supplements which use a mixture of mycelium with brown rice.
The whole body benefits include improved cardiovascular and immune system health, anti-aging and antioxidant properties, and lowering cholesterol levels.
Here’s what the manufacturer has to say about their company:
“Supreme Potential is a high quality brand of nutritional supplements formulated for a variety of purposes that lead to our customers’ overall wellbeing. We have a passion for promoting wellness and positivity through optimal health, and we empower people to reach their full potential.
We are proud to offer products that promise effectiveness and positive results. We understand the market has become flooded with harmful supplements that are unreliable and unsafe to consume, but we look to provide safe and reliable products that are purposeful without being harmful.”
Also according to the manufacturer, the product contains 750 mg of AHCC which is naturally found in shiitake mushrooms.
Recommended dosage instructions: “For adults, take two (2) capsules one to two times daily, preferably with a meal.”
No artificial ingredients, fillers, binders, or GMOs contained in the supplement. Manufactured in the USA in an FDA approved GMP certified facility.
Each capsules contains 900 mg of shiitake mushroom extract – 100 capsules total in the bottle.
2- Mushroom House Dried Premium Shiitake
If you’re looking for pure, high quality shiitake mushrooms either to harness the nutritional value or just to use for cooking, you can’t go wrong with Mushroom House.
Sold by a remote family business in Thailand, Mushroom House takes it to the next level with the quality of their mushrooms. Customer reviews indicate that these mushrooms are generally larger and have less damage after shipping than their competitors.
Are whole shiitake mushrooms more nutritious than shiitake mycelium brown rice capsules?
Turns out, to obtain a more concentrated form of the glyconutrients and healthy components contained in the shiitake mushroom, the best method is a hot water extraction process sourced with whole fruiting bodies , just like the ones Mushroom House offers.
Comes in a 1 lb. bag of 4-6 cm hand-picked mushrooms.
3- Solaray Shiitake Mushroom
Solaray Shiitake Mushroom is one of the most popular shiitake mushroom supplements sold on Amazon.
Each capsule contains 600 mg of shiitake mycelium mixed with a brown rice biomass. The brown rice acts as the host plant for the mycelium, which is basically the root system part of the mushroom.
The shiitake mushroom mycelium powder is contained in a gelatin easy to swallow capsule for a quick and easy solution to taking the supplement.
Recommended dosage instructions: “Take up to three capsules two times daily with a meal or glass of water.”
100 capsules in the bottle.
4- Host Defense Shiitake Extract
All of the great immune boosting qualities of the shiitake mushroom in a convenient, easy to take liquid supplement. That’s what Host Defense is all about with this product.
According to the manufacturer, this shiitake extract is “made with US grown, triple extracted organic mushrooms.”
Here are the official ingredients in this supplement:
- Fresh Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) mycelium extract
- Dried Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) fruitbody extract
- alcohol (alcohol content 30-40%)
- myceliated brown rice
Recommended dosage instructions: “As a dietary supplement, take 1 mL twice per day. Can be taken with food or without, on an empty stomach or as recommended by your healthcare advisor.”
Take 1 mL per serving – 60 mL total in the bottle.
5- Mushroom Science Shiitake
Mushroom Science offers a pretty unique shiitake mushroom product.
Each capsule contains 300 mg of shiitake mushroom extract using the hot water extraction process for shiitake mushrooms grown on wood.
The hot water extraction process is said to contain 50-80x more beta glucan than mycelium grown on rice or liquid alcohol shiitake supplements. One of the few shiitake supplements on the market that use the hot water extraction process instead of brown rice mycelium.
Recommended dosage instructions: “Adults take 1-3 capsules twice daily, AM or PM on an empty stomach.”
Serving size: 1 capsule – 90 capsules per bottle.
What are shiitake mushrooms?
Shiitake mushrooms are fungus that have a smoky flavor and a rich texture.
They are one of the most commonly consumed mushrooms and are probably available in your local vegetable markets and in the produce section of your grocery store (unlike chaga mushrooms). Like the white button mushrooms, shiitakes have an abundance of flavor that intensifies when they are dried.
The Shiitake mushroom is native to East Asia; however, they are widely grown in other parts of the world including Japan, Singapore, China, Canada, and the United States.
While we may consider them a vegetable, shiitakes are a fungus. They are often found growing in the wild on dead or decaying hardwood trees.
How do shiitake mushrooms work?
Shiitake mushrooms are beneficial to our health because they contain a large number of vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that promote good health.
They also contain some of the same amino acids as meat, which makes them an excellent protein alternative for vegetarians and vegans.
Shiitakes are a low-calorie, high-fiber superfood that contain high amounts of B-vitamins and essential minerals. These mushrooms also contain immune-boosting ingredients such as polysaccharides, terpenoids, sterols and lipids.
These are all essential to lowering bad cholesterol levels  and can even help prevent certain types of cancer.
Here are some of the nutrients that you can get from eating a serving of shiitakes.
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B5
The amount of these vitamins and nutrients found in shiitake mushrooms can vary depending on where the fungus is grown.
There are two primary uses for shiitake mushrooms, they are used as food and as a supplement. While it is most common for people to consume dried shiitake mushrooms, you can also cook them fresh as well.
When you add shiitake mushrooms to stir fry, soups, and stews, it brings out a unique flavor described as “umami”. The word means savory and delicious, and it is used to describe the fifth taste after sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.
Shiitake mushrooms have been used as supplements in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. They are believed to improve health and longevity and boost circulation.
Medical experts today have found that the bioactive compounds inside these mushrooms can provide us with even more health benefits, such as protecting us against inflammation and certain forms of cancer.
What are the benefits of shiitake mushrooms?
There are several health benefits associated with these mushrooms because they are loaded with vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants.
They also contain strong natural compounds that can help fight off inflammation and bad bacteria. Here are a few of the many benefits of shiitake mushrooms:
- Improve Heart Health
Studies performed on shiitake mushrooms have shown that they could be beneficial for individuals with cardiovascular disease, or those who may be at risk. The mushrooms contain three compounds that can help lower bad cholesterol levels. These compounds are Sterols, Beta-glucans, and Eritadenines.
Eritadenines are compounds that merge with the enzymes which produce cholesterol. Sterols are molecules that can help prevent cholesterol absorption in the gut, and Beta-glucans are a form of fiber that can help improve cholesterol levels.
A study recently performed on lab rats who had genetically high blood pressure showed that administering shiitakes in powder form helped prevent a rise in blood pressure levels. Experts also feel that shiitake mushrooms are ideal for heart health when eaten as a whole food.
In another study where rats were fed a high-fat diet and then given shiitakes to eat showed that the rats later had less fat in their livers, and less plaque buildup on their artery walls. They also had lower cholesterol levels overall .
- Boost Your Immune System
Based on the results of a study performed in 2015, shiitakes could help to strengthen your immune system. They study had individuals eat dried shiitakes daily for a month.
As a result, they had less inflammation and their immune levels were on the rise. This could be due to the compound polysaccharides which are in the mushrooms .
- Fight Obesity
There are some components in shiitake mushrooms that have fat-reducing properties. Eritadenines and B-Glucan are effective in helping with weight loss. Recent studies have shown that B-Glucan, which is a soluble dietary fiber, can increase satiety, delay nutrition absorption, and reduce the buildup of fat.
- Cancer-Fighting Capabilities
The polysaccharides in shiitakes are also responsible for the mushroom’s cancer-fighting abilities. Lentinan is a polysaccharide that can fight tumors by promoting immune system health. It has also been shown to prevent the growth of leukemia cells.
In countries such as Japan and China, lentinan is currently being used with chemotherapy to improve the immune function of patients with gastric cancer, and enhance their overall quality of life .
- Antibacterial & Antiviral Effects
Shiitake mushrooms include various compounds that have antibacterial and antiviral effects. They include Oxalic acid, Lentinan, Centinamycins A & B, and Eritadenine.
- Improve Energy & Brain Function
Shiitake mushrooms contain a high amount of B-Vitamins. They can help support adrenal function which can be useful with improving energy levels. They can also help balance hormones and eliminate brain fog to help you maintain focus. It has also been known to help improve cognitive function, which could be useful with memory loss.
Many people are deficient in B-Vitamins and that can cause a decrease in energy, unhealthy blood cells and poor focus. Adding more shiitakes to your everyday diet can help to provide you with the energy boost that you need to remain alert and stay focused on your daily tasks.
- Strengthen Bones
Mushrooms contain Vitamin D and they are the only natural plant source that does so. Vitamin D can help build strong bones and improve our overall calcium levels.
- Amino Acid Support
Shiitakes are a unique plant because they contain all the eight essential amino acids. They also contain an essential fatty acid known as linoleic acid. This fatty acid aids in weight loss and can help build strong muscles.
Linoleic acid may also improve digestive function, reduce food allergies and sensitivities, and it has bone-building benefits.
What are the side effects of shiitake mushrooms?
Most people can consume shiitake mushrooms without any issues. However, there are some potential side effects that may occur.
There have been some rare cases where individuals developed a skin rash after eating or touching raw shiitakes. This is a condition known as shiitake dermatitis. It is believed to be caused by the lentinan content in the mushrooms.
Using powdered mushroom extract as a supplement over an extended period of time may cause some side effects such as upset stomach, sensitivity to sunlight and skin irritation.
There have been some claims that eating mushrooms can cause gout-like symptoms. This is believed to be caused by the high purine content. Yet at the same time, some studies have shown that eating shiitakes and other types of mushrooms can actually lower the risk of gout .
How do you take shiitake mushrooms?
The great advantage to taking shiitake mushrooms is that unlike many other dietary supplements, these mushrooms can be added to a variety of recipes and they have a very pleasant taste.
You can cut off the bottom half of the stem, or remove it completely to make the mushroom easier to eat since the stems can be harder. Slice the mushroom into thin strips and scatter on a salad. Or cook in a mixture garlic and butter to serve along with pasta. Shiitakes can be eaten raw, cooked, or dried.
If you choose to take the supplement form of shiitakes, there are powder and capsule varieties available.
However, you should be careful and only take the recommended dosage. It can be much easier to take a higher amount of shiitakes in capsule form. And that could lead to developing harmful side effects.
Shiitake mushrooms are a superfood that contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which can improve your immune system and prevent harmful diseases such as heart disease and certain types of cancer.
While studies based on the effectiveness of shiitakes and eliminating cancer are still ongoing, the results of numerous tests have been very positive. Shiitakes have been used in China for several years in combination with chemotherapy to treat gastric cancer. And the fungus has been used for centuries as a remedy for several types of illnesses.
Shiitakes are safe to eat in reasonable amounts and make a powerful addition to soups and stews.