Why is organic production so important when choosing a mushroom product?
Fungi act as “sponges”, concentrating toxins and heavy metals absorbed from the ground, or other substrate on which they grow into their mycelium and fruiting bodies.
Wild mushrooms can have a high incidence of contamination from uncontrolled environments (pesticides, industrial residues, uncontrolled landfill, run-off of antibiotics or hormones used in livestock). This is why it is essential to choose organic cultivated fungi products, as their constituents and purity depend heavily on the way in which they are grown.
It is fundamental that any raw material used as a growth substrate for fungi, whether straw, wood or algae, has been organically grown, as used at Hifas da Terra, where we guarantee our products are free of toxins and contaminants. Our mushrooms are grown in conditions as similar as possible to the ideal natural environment (humidity, sunlight, temperature, etc.) for the highest concentration of active constituents, and without chemical fertilisers, pesticides or antibiotics.
What is the difference between mushroom powder and mushroom extract? What’s so special about Hifas’ powders and extracts?
The extract is a concentrated powder, with a higher concentration of bioactive components.
Mushroom powder is created by grinding dehydrated mushrooms, which is what we use in the Hifas da Terra Superfood (powder) and Bio (capsule) ranges.
Hifas mushroom extracts are made by further concentrating these powders down to their active constituents, whilst retaining the full spectrum of mushroom compounds.
The concentration of extraction is indicated by a ratio on the MicoSalud (extract) range of products. For example, 15:1. This indicates that 150kg of fresh mushrooms made 15kg of mushroom powder and 1 kg of 15:1 mushroom extract. So our reishi extract is 15x more concentrated than our reishi powder products.
What is important to understand about mushroom production quality and potency?
Hifas da terra mushroom powders and extracts are made using modern extraction techniques which allow for full spectrum final products that include both the water soluble and fat-soluble constituents. The final full spectrum formula provides stronger, holistic therapeutic effects.
The highest concentration of active ingredients is in the fruiting body (what we think if as a mushroom), which is what HIfas uses exclusively in all its products apart from Cordyceps sinensis, which is made from mycelium (mushroom roots) grown in a liquid medium in a bioreactor, to avoid the sacrifice of insects required to grow a fruiting body for this entomopathogenic mushroom. There is no inert bulking of final products and the highest concentration of active ingredients available is guaranteed.
Mycelium is formed from thin, fragile hyphae that grow into the culture medium, which if it is a solid culture, means that a certain (sometimes major) amount of substrate ends up in the final product. It is important to check mushroom products are gluten-free if they have been grown on grain.
A partial separation (“mycelium powder”), still contains a large fraction of cereal culture. Or, the most common method means substrate and mycelium are processed together (“mycelium biomass” or “full-spectrum biomass”), which means the therapeutic fungal fraction of the final weight of mushroom powder rarely exceeds 30%. In Hifas products there is no inert bulking of final products and the highest concentration of active ingredients available is guaranteed.
What is Hifas’ extraction process?
The extraction process involves first drying the mushrooms at under 40 degrees C. Then using a hydro-alcoholic solvent to extract water soluble and non-water soluble components. Then spray-drying (again under 40ºC) in order to evaporate off both the alcohol and the water. This leaves a highly concentrated extract powder. For example, 150kg of raw reishi are dehydrated to 15kg of dried mushrooms. Then the extraction process yields 1kg of concentrated extract powder.
What is the added benefit of growing mushrooms on wood?
Mushrooms are bioaccumulators, in other words they incorporate some of the substances they grow on into their structure. Therefore, unlike mushrooms grown on a cereal substrate, mushrooms grown on wood and their derivatives are suitable for coeliacs, versus mushrooms grown on wheat, which would contain gluten.
Why do you need to take Askorbato-K HdT?
We recommend taking the Askorbato-K HdT with all our extracts to improve bioavailability of the mushrooms’ active compounds, especially the beta-glucans. As well as aiding absorption, Askorbato-K HdT contains a complex of ingredients valuable for supporting immunity in their own right: a highly absorbable form of vitamin C (ascorbate), potassium, and potent antioxidants from grape seed and olive leaf extracts, which have an antiviral action.
How many tablets of Askorbato-K HdT for each mushroom capsule is advised?
Hifas recommends 1 Askorbato-K HdT tablet per 2 capsules of mushrooms per dose.
Should you take Askorbato-K HdT at night?
Askorbato-K HdT is not recommended to be taken with capsules at night, since vitamin C can be a bit stimulating plus sensitive stomachs can get upset by the acid at night. We therefore recommend taking the capsules with some herbal tea such as camomile and a few drops of lemon juice instead.
Any other considerations with taking Askorbato-K HdT?
Hifas recommends avoiding use of Askorbato-K HdT in all gastrointestinal conditions when the gastrointestinal tract is hypersensitive, as well as for consumers with kidney complaints, due to its high potassium content.
It is unnecessary to take Askorbato-K HdT with Hifas Onco-Range as the vials already contain organic vitamin C in the form of acerola extract, which enhances the absorption of the concentrated mushroom compounds all in one product.
Is it mandatory to have the Askorbato K-HdT or can it be substituted by orange juice or kiwi, as a vitamin C supplement?
Askorbato K-HdT isn’t just a vitamin C but has also other components like Potassium and antioxidant ingredients, which together work towards better assimilation of the beta-glucans. Food cannot replace this formula to reach the target therapeutic levels of cofactors for mushroom absorption. These cofactors support active transport in the lymphatic system that would not be mediated by food levels of these nutrients in chronic conditions.
Can Reishi be taken in the Summer?
Yes, it can be taken at any time of the year.
Do Hifas mushrooms interact with pharmacological drugs?
Our supplements don’t use the liver CYP450 enzyme pathway, the metabolisation pathway used by most drugs, therefore they do not interact with pharmaceuticals and change their pharmacodynamics and kinetics. This doesn’t mean that mushrooms can’t have an agonist effect with some drugs, reinforcing their action, and thus requiring special monitoring and dose reduction. This can happen with anticoagulants, hypoglycemic and hypotensive drugs, for example, where extra caution is recommended.
Can Hifas mushrooms be taken alongside other drugs/medicines?
Unless otherwise stated by your doctor, Hifas extracts are compatible with pharmaceutical drugs, at the prescribed doses. There is a mild safety consideration when certain mushrooms are used alongside blood thinners, or hypoglycemic drugs, where caution and medication dosage monitoring is essential. However, we advise consultation with one of our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org (free service) for individual cases (especially if a client is poly-medicated) and keeping your clients’ GP or health care provider informed of any supplements they are taking to be cognisant of any additive effects and ensure that dosages are appropriate, or modified as needed.
Are Hifas De Terra confident that there is no interaction between MicoLeo and Mico Rei with anticoagulant drugs?
On the contrary, at Hifas we are aware that mushrooms have a mild blood thinning effect, and we always advise caution when using mycotherapy products alongside anticoagulants. We do not recommend the use of MicoRei in coadministration with Warfarin, or for any patient that is taking any two other anticoagulants at once. In all cases, close monitoring is needed when giving mushrooms alongside conventional blood thinning drugs, for they may affect the required dosage. Clients need to inform their doctors, be monitored, and get their anticoagulant dose adjusted accordingly when using supplements, medicinal mushrooms included.
Have Hifas used mushrooms integratively with Ibrance / palbociclib inhibitors?
No, our medical team has no specific experience with the co-administration of Ibrance / palbociclib inhibitors with medicinal mushrooms, but they have had experiences with similar drugs.
Can mushroom supplements be taken alongside herbs and/or supplements? Or, must they be used standalone?
Generally speaking our extracts are safe to take alongside other nutritional and herbal supplements, as well as most conventional medication.
Hifas recommends that mushrooms be taken alone on an empty stomach i.e. at least 30 minutes separated from food or other supplements for optimum absorption (other than Vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants like resveratrol and grape seed extract, which can enhance absorption – all included in Hifas’ Askorbato K-HdT potentiser product). It is safe to take other herbs and supplements outside of this time range.
Hifas recommends taking mushrooms away from other supplements to avoid any interactions or inhibition of fungal active ingredients, not due to any expected negative interaction between mushrooms and other herbal or vitamin supplements. There is limited research on these interactions and so we err on the side of caution.
Why do we use agave in the Onco range?
The Onco line is refined sugar free. Agave nectar was chosen for it’s low glycemic index (due to its high fructose and inulin), meaning it does not cause a drastic increase in blood sugar in the way refined sugar does. The majority of agave syrup available in the market goes through various chemical processes and some are so highly refined that their composition can be as high as 100% fructose. This processing strips many nutrients and benefits of the fructooligosaccharides, which are naturally abundant in this plant, and removes the prebiotic inulin that can enhance the immune system (one of the reasons we chose raw agave nectar to be part of the Mico-Onco Care range).
Hifas uses minimally processed agave juice. The difference is in the method of extraction.
The raw agave nectar or juice that appears as one of the ingredients in the Onco- Range of Hifas da Terra is raw: Once the plant has been collected, it is cut and pressed to extract the sap in a controlled process that guarantees it isn’t heated above 40º in temperature, in this way the naturally occurring enzymes, nutrients and prebiotic fibres remain intact. There can be contradicting information in the press so Hifas wanted to explain both our cultivation process and reasoning behind the use of raw agave nectar or juice.
How do you take the MicoOnco range products?
The general recommendation for the OncoLine is to begin taking the product as soon after diagnosis as possible and throughout any form of treatment; chemotherapy, radiotherapy or immunotherapy, to maintain quality of life, potentially reduce side effects and to optimise treatment outcomes.
It is recommended to take 1 dose per 24 hours ( 1 vial + 1 capsule – in individual blister packs) for the 1st week, and then to increase the dose to once every 12 hours for the remainder of the treatment course. This dose may be adjusted at the discretion of your practitioner according to body weight and size, or stage of presenting cancer.
It is fine to continue to take the Onco Care line after treatment has stopped if required. Otherwise, once disease progression has been arrested, consumers can move on to a maintenance product such as Mico-Corio PSK.
How long should I take Hifas mushroom extracts for?
Protocols for different complaints will vary. Generally, for acute complaints, we recommend taking the extracts throughout the acute phase and to continue for the following week after symptoms have resolved. Once symptoms subside, we recommend a maintenance protocol* for the duration of recovery time and for long-term support of the underlying cause.
For chronic conditions, we recommend a loading phase of 2 to 4 months of extracts, depending on the condition of the client, with regular follow up consultations to reevaluate the situation and update the protocol accordingly. Please contact email@example.com for specific protocols.
*Maintenance protocols are either based on mushroom powders, made of whole dried mushrooms, with the full spectrum of medicinal and nutritional value, or our 180 Range, which contains a combination of 80% powder and 20% extract, for a more concentrated effect.
Can I consume more than one product at the same time?
Yes, this option is a consideration your therapist will take into consideration in their recommendations. Mushrooms often work better in combination as the synergy of the bioactive ingredients often has a more potent effect than when using a singular strain in isolation.
Can I have less than the prescribed dose?
Dosages are carefully tailored for therapeutic effectiveness to provide a specific concentration of bioactive compounds. Mushrooms are considered dose-dependent, so effective treatment is based on the appropriate dosage for the condition and individual. For this reason it is always advisable to follow your health-care professional’s advice for best results in addressing your condition or imbalance.
Can customers open the capsules and use them in food / are they affected by cooking?
If consumers do not like taking supplements, they can add the contents to meals, e.g. mushroom soup. The capsules can be opened and the contents mixed into food or drinks, but we don’t recommend heating over 40ºC or they will lose their raw quality and some nutritional properties. We also offer superfood powders for the purpose of eating in food form.
Can someone take mushroom supplements if they are allergic to mushrooms?
Absolutely not. If someone is allergic to mushrooms as a food they will also react to mushroom supplements, which will have the same allergenic effect.
Are mushrooms immune stimulators that will increase inflammation in the body and thus should be avoided during infections characterized by inflammation?
Mushrooms are biological response modifiers (BRMs), or adaptogens, i.e. they can modulate the immune system rather than just stimulate it, allowing for improved immune function whilst balancing Th1/Th2 and helping the body fight off pathogens. This means mushrooms can reduce inflammation or increase it as the individual requires.
Should mushrooms be avoided in Autoimmune conditions? Are they immune stimulators?
Mushrooms are biological response modifiers (BRMs), or adaptogens, i.e. they modulate the immune system. So they modulate autoimmune conditions and inflammation levels in the body, whilst helping the body fight off pathogens. The most powerful immune modulator, recommended for autoimmune conditions, is Agaricus Blazei Murrill, or Sun mushroom (as in our MicoSol product), followed by reishi, then cordyceps sinensis is recommended for complaints like lupus.
The MicoSalud range of concentrated extracts would be most appropriate for chronic complaints, or potentially even our OncoCare line in more severe cases.
Regarding Tissue specific autoimmunity – would you recommend different mushrooms depending on the condition?
Yes, different mushrooms would be used in a protocol dependent on the condition. Mushrooms would be chosen for their organ specific affinity.
Do medicinal mushrooms contribute to increased inflammation or “cytokine storm” in viral conditions?
A cytokine storm is an excessive or uncontrolled release of proinflammatory cytokines. It’s important to note that mushrooms, unlike pharmaceutical drugs do not have a singular stimulatory or suppressive action. They are complex natural substances containing numerous active ingredients that work via different mechanisms and have an overall synergistic adaptogenic effect, rather than a singular stimulatory effect on the immune system. This means that fungal extracts are regulators and modulate depending on the host’s needs. This means that they can support the body in regulating a “cytokine storm”, rather than triggering one.
Mushrooms are considered biological response modifiers, which means they work in harmony with the body to support its function. Because reishi is adaptogenic it won’t just stimulate/upregulate IL6 and TNF – thus creating a “cytokine storm” – it will regulate/modulate the immune system.
What are triterpenes and why are they important?
Triterpenes are hydrocarbon molecules typically found in plants (part of essential oils), but also found in animal tissue and fungi. Structurally they are composed of 30 carbon units and 3 terpene units. Metabolically they are derived from mevalonic acid, which is derived from acetyl coenzyme A. They are known for being one of the active ingredients in medicinal plants used traditionally used to protect or strengthen the immune system.
Fungi such as reishi are composed of more than 120 different triterpenes,most are highly antioxidant and antiinflammatory, some have great antiviral capacity and others inhibit the synthesis of cholesterol, protect the liver or have an anticoagulant effect. Together with beta-glucans and proteoglycans, they are molecules with more varied actions than just supporting immunity.
Is it safe to use HdT products during pregnancy?
There are no prospective studies available for us to base an informed response on this topic, so Hifas cannot take the responsibility or risk of recommending mushrooms during pregnancy. However, there are no studies that show that there are negative effects from consuming mushroom products during pregnancy either, or any reason to believe they are harmful for the baby, or have a teratogenic effect. However, as we are not able to assure their safe use we refrain from recommending them. The food supplement range, superfood powders and Bio range (not including any extract ranges), are simply a food that is dried.
Why is the UK Mico Corio a mix of Reishi and Cordyceps in the ingredients?
Currently the EU does not allow cultivation and sale of supplements or foods containing Coriolus mushroom (Turkey Tail). However regulations will be changing soon.
In Europe, you cannot grow Coriolus for food supplement use, only import them from outside Europe for medicinal use. There was a longstanding patent on PSK (a key active ingredient from Coriolus) in Japan, which has now been lifted as you cannot patent a natural compound. The good news however, is that the legislation is due to allow ‘ Coriolus versicolor’ as a ‘novel food’ very soon. Because at Hifas, we grow our own mushrooms and perform all the extraction and production in-house it was decided it was against the ethos of the company to buy in Turkey Tail from outside of the EU.
Hifas’ Spanish Research and Development laboratories at HdT found that the specific synergy of reishi and cordyceps at a ratio of 4:1 mimics the mechanisms of action of Coriolus extracts (in terms of immune modulation) and provides the most similar compound profile to Turkey Tail, hence the name Mico-Corio. Once the ban is lifted, we will be able to grow our Turkey Tail and use it in our products.
For now, kindly inform your clients of the above if any questions are asked regarding the content of Mico-Corio.
Which supplement(s) at what dose and duration would you recommend for healing the gut:
Hifas gut healing protocol is: Reishi and Hericium for at least 12 weeks. Then review to see if symptoms have been resolved and reducing the dose or changing to less concentrated products is in order. This is a general protocol, but we tend to recommend an individual case approach with tailored protocols according to a specific situation and individual.