In the generally staid world of supplements, mushrooms are innovating their way to center stage. Long regarded for their health benefits, particularly for their unique immunity support, today’s mushroom supplements are casting a wider net, targeting young people interested in increased athletic endurance as well as aging baby boomers anxious to ward off dementia.
Among the recent offerings to hit the shelves: New Chapter’s LifeShield Mushrooms line; Health-Mate, a condition-specific, anti-aging line from maitake specialist Mushroom Wisdom; and innovative products from smaller entrepreneurial manufacturers such as MycoFormulas and Onnit Labs.
Shoppers’ interest seems to be piqued, especially when it comes to “hot” mushroom species like immunity-boosting reishi and endurance-enhancing cordyceps. Case in point: Sales of reishi supplements jumped more than 43 percent in 2010, according to the Schaumburg, Ill.–based market research firm SPINS. With initial research suggesting further health benefits—from cardiovascular health to vitality to blood sugar management—fungi-based supplement sales look like they will continue to, well, mushroom.