Natural Foods Merchandiser
NFM Secret Shopper: Will mushroom supplements boost immunity?

NFM Secret Shopper: Will mushroom supplements boost immunity?

Each month, NFM’s secret shopper heads incognito into a natural products store with a question. The employee’s answer—and our expert’s evaluation of the response—is reported here. Our aim: to help you improve your store’s customer service. This week our question is about medicinal mushrooms for immunity.

Store: Natural foods chain in the Rocky Mountain West

Question: I'm looking for something that will help my immune system. Will [Fungi Perfecti Host Defense supplement] help my immunity?

STORE: Yes. That’s one of the best you can take. It’s medicinal mushrooms. It will really boost your immune system.

NFM: How does [Host Defense] compare to these other [immunity supplements]?

STORE: Mushrooms have been shown in scientific research to be the best immunity boosters. We carry a lot of products such as Source Naturals Wellness Formula and Immune Support that have many different herbs—echinacea, for instance—that work really well too.

NFM: So [Host Defense] will help me fight off a cold?

STORE: It’s more preventative. It will boost your immune system to help prevent a cold. So then if you start getting sick and need to go to medicinal herbs, you can try Immune Support or WishGarden Herbs Kick-Ass Immune. Boiron’s homeopathic Oscillo is also really good—that will usually get rid of colds pretty quickly.

Todd Runestad, supplements swami and editor-in-chief
of Functional Ingredients magazine and EngredeaTodd Runestad

The employee gave some pretty good answers. Mushrooms have been used in Asian cultures for centuries for overall vitality and health. Science has shown that mushrooms will activate primary and secondary host defenses at a cellular level that can help the immune system.

There are a lot of natural products and ingredients that will lessen the severity and duration of a cold. But the employee isn’t claiming this product will cure a cold overnight. Rather, out of the vast pantheon of immunity products the store carries, he’s recommending mushrooms as the best. Since research validates it, I think it’s fair and accurate to say the product will “boost your immune system.”

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