Mushroom Fruiting Body VS Mycelium for Pets

January 3, 2023

Written By: Earth Buddy Team

image of yellow Labrador face close up in a field on a sunny day. Read more to learn how mycelium and mushrooms for dogs and cats can improve their health.

When most think of medicinal mushroom supplements in the health world, the immediate picture that comes to mind is that of the actual mushroom. You’re probably thinking of the part of the mushroom that grows above ground. While this is a critical part of a medicinal mushroom supplement, what grows beneath the actual mushroom is also beneficial. That’s where the need for a full-spectrum mushroom supplement comes in. 

By providing the entire mushroom, including what grows in the ground beneath, you can help keep your dog in peak condition and promote long-term health. 

Mushroom Fruiting Body VS Mycelium

Mushroom mycelium and mushroom fruiting bodies are two different things. To understand the mycelium and whole mushroom fruiting body, you must understand the life cycle of a mushroom. Mushrooms have three stages in their life cycle whereby mycelium and fruiting bodies are developed.

The mycelium is the first stage of a mushroom’s life cycle. Mushroom mycelium is the mass of thread-like filaments (hyphae) that grow out of a spore. The filaments are very small, with only one cell wall. These filaments are often called the “roots” of mushrooms because they produce the food that makes up the bulk of a mushroom’s fruiting body. The mycelium network can be vast and expansive, sometimes covering acres or even miles. 

When the mushroom is in favorable conditions, the mycelium then generates what is called a fruiting body. The fruiting body is the actual mushroom. It’s what forms above the ground and allows you to identify what type of mushroom it is. While the mushroom is growing, the mycelium must protect it against foreign invaders or pathogens that would attempt to destroy it. 

Mushroom fruiting bodies come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are simple, like the cap of a button mushroom, while others resemble more complicated forms such as coral or even tiny houses. Some mushrooms have caps that are flat or convex, while others are funnel-shaped or saddle-shaped (depending on which side you look at). Some have gills underneath their caps, while others have pores instead.

The term “fruiting bodies” can also refer to the entire mushroom organism, including its stem and cap, rather than just the spore-producing part of it.

The Fruiting Body

The strong walls of fruiting bodies contain prebiotic fibers that support gut health. They also have protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, though the amounts of each change depending on where they grow. Each type of mushroom has beneficial bioactive compounds like polysaccharides, indoles, polyphenols, and carotenoids that fight free radicals and keep the body’s inflammatory response in check.

Mushroom fruiting bodies also contain minerals, including:

  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Selenium
  • Zinc

Some of the compounds that are available in the fruiting body aren’t present in the mycelium, and vice versa.

Benefits of Mycelium

The longest-living and most metabolically active part of the mushroom organism, mycelium contains a variety of beneficial compounds that have been found to promote health. The mycelium is easy to digest due to the thin cell walls that allow nutrients to be absorbed and enzymes to be distributed. 

Supplements containing mycelium promote immune function. Mycelium assists the immune system by increasing antigen-specific T lymphocyte proliferation and secretion of immunoglobulins. In addition, mycelium may stimulate NK cells, which are important for supporting and promoting long-term health. They also stimulate macrophage activity, which promotes the body’s innate resistance tor pathogens.

The Fermentation Process

A substrate is necessary in order to grow mycelium, whether it’s oats, millet, or brown rice. The mycelium absorbs the nutrients of the substrate it’s placed in. It then ferments the substrate and creates a dense matrix of mycelium and myceliated fermented rice or oats. The mycelium and myceliated substrate become inseparable. 

There is debate surrounding the substrate being included in the product arguing the myceliated substrate is a filler. The argument involves mycelium being grown on a substrate it would have grown on in the wilderness. However, this is not possible as, under normal circumstances, it would be impossible to separate the mycelium from the natural substrate. 

Growing the mycelium on fermented rice or oat substrate provides the ability to produce a high-quality mycelium product. In addition, the fermented substrate supports immune function offering added benefit to the product. By adding the substrate, the product is providing beneficial nutrient compounds that go beyond the beta-glucans found in the mycelium. This fermentation process of the substrate can be likened to many other functional foods like yogurt or kombucha. The fermented product is converted into an entirely new product that provides a full-spectrum of of health benefits.

5 Beneficial Mushrooms for Dogs and Cats

image of yellow Labrador face close up in a field on a sunny day. Read more to learn how mycelium and mushrooms for dogs and cats can improve their health.In the world of fungi, there are 5 types of mushrooms that are commonly discussed as being advantageous to you and your pet. Each type of mushroom offers different benefits, but together they work synergistically to produce optimal results.

Agarikon Mushrooms for Dogs and Cats

One of the oldest and longest-living mushrooms on the Earth is the agarikon mushroom, often known as the “elixir of long life.” This type of mushroom is native to the conifer forests of North America and Europe. Agarikon mushrooms, which resemble beehives, typically hang from the trunks or branches of large, aged trees.

Agarikon mushrooms benefits include

  • Antibacterial and antiviral properties
  • May help protect body cells and tissues
  • Supports normal circulatory function
  • Promotes intestinal well-being
  • Nourishes natural gut bacteria

Cordyceps Mushrooms for Dogs and Cats

Cordyceps is a fungus that grows on specific caterpillars and was discovered in the Himalayan high peaks. In Chinese and Tibetan medicine, cordyceps has long been acknowledged as a potent mushroom with a vast array of benefits. 

Cordyceps mushroom include: 

  • Enhances exercise tolerance
  • Helps support normal cardiovascular function
  • Boosts exercise performance and endurance
  • Helps support normal respiratory function and health
  • Supports and promotes long-term health
  • Enhances the physical and mental well-being of an animal

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms for Dogs and Cats

Lion’s Mane is a type of mushroom and member of the Hericium genus. It grows all over the world, but most commonly in North America and Japan. The name comes from its resemblance to a lion’s mane, which gives it its unique appearance and texture.

Benefits of this Lion’s Mane mushroom include

  • Enhances brain function
  • Helps keep your pet calm and relaxed
  • Helps support cognitive function
  • Supports normal nerve function and healthy inflammatory response
  • Promotes a healthy digestive tract
  • Supports cardiovascular function

Turkey Tail Mushrooms for Dogs and Cats

Turkey Tail mushrooms for dogs are one of the most popular types of mushrooms in the world of herbal medicine. They are found all over the world and are easy to identify since they have very distinctive shapes. These mushrooms are known by many other names, including turkey tail fungus, turkey fungus, and shelf fungus.

Benefits of Turkey Tail mushroom include:

  • Supports the immune system
  • Supports normal GI health and function
  • Supports normal GI health and function
  • Maintains a normal inflammatory cytokine cascade
  • Support a healthy immune system
  • Helps maintain proper gut flora
  • Helps support liver function

Reishi Mushrooms for Dogs and Cats

Reishi mushroom is a medicinal mushroom that has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It is known as ling zhi or “spirit plant,” giving it the nickname “mushroom of immortality.” Reishi mushrooms are found growing on dead or dying trees, especially elm trees.

Benefits of Reishi mushroom include:

  • Supports cardiovascular health
  • Helps with seasonal or dietary allergies
  • Helps support stamina and endurance
  • Supports pets with seasonal allergies
  • Soothes skin-related issues associated with seasonal allergies 

A Full Spectrum Product

Although the beta-glucans from the fruit body and the immunologically active compounds in mycelium have a vast array of health benefits, they are each unique and work synergistically to produce a full-spectrum effect.

The beneficial compounds in mycelium are greater than those in the fruiting body; however, both the mycelium and fruiting body have a significant health impact. 

For example, in the Reishi mushroom, the fruiting body contains higher levels of triterpenes. The triterpenes are responsible for:

  • Enhancing immune response 
  • May help relieve inflammation associated with normal daily exercise and activity
  • May promote liver function by supporting the normal detoxification process
  • Promote homeostasis and help maintain normal emotional balance

However, to obtain the full benefit of the reishi mushroom and obtain all the antioxidants available, both the fruiting body and mycelium should be consumed. 

A full-spectrum product provides not only the mycelium and fruiting body, but all the extracellular compounds produced throughout the mushroom’s life cycle. The extracellular compounds are what were once responsible for protecting the mushroom against competing organisms in the soil. 

Rather than choosing one part of the mushroom over the other, a full-spectrum product incorporates as much of the mushroom as possible to provide optimal benefit.

Analyzing a Mushroom Product for Dogs and Cats

When you walk into the world of supplements, it can be overwhelming and difficult to determine which products are high-quality. 

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) informs manufacturers that they should identify the components of the product; if it contains the fruiting body, mycelium, or both. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers follow these rules, and with the plethora of supplements out there, reviewing each product to ensure it meets these standards would be incredibly time-consuming. 

With little to no regulation, it is up to you as the pet parent to determine what products will work best for your pet. To do this, you must fully examine each individual product.

Read the label in its entirety. Don’t skip over this step. Keep in mind that the manufacturer may not be specific about their ingredients. This is where you should search for transparency. Ask questions about the product if any information appears unclear. 

Take a look at the lab results as well. Has safety testing been conducted on the product you’re considering? Mushrooms should have safety testing done for heavy metals and other toxic pollutants. 

Earth Buddy uses USDA-certified organic mushrooms from the U.S. Earth Buddy’s mushroom supplements are developed from whole-food mushrooms and mycelium from Agarikon, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, Reishi, and Turkey Tail. They are activated and freeze-dried to preserve a full-spectrum of beneficial compounds.

Benefits of Powder Mushroom Supplements for Dogs and Cats

image of earth buddy mushrooms capsules for dogs and cats on a white table with stone behind it. Read this blog to learn more about how mycelium and mushrooms for dogs and cats can benefit their health.

Full-spectrum mushroom powders contain a number of different species and strains of mushrooms. This means that you are getting all the benefits from each type of mushroom at once, which may aid in overall wellness. You might even experience relief from different health issues at the same time because the different strains work on different parts of the body.

Full-spectrum medicinal mushroom supplements that are in powder form are also convenient to provide. Mushroom powder is easy to administer and can be added to wet, dry, or raw food without changing the taste significantly or interfering with how well they work in the body. It also won’t require refrigeration like some other supplements do, so you don’t have to worry about keeping it cold all the time or storing it somewhere cool.

Full-Spectrum Hemp Extract and Full-Spectrum Mushroom Powder

At Earth Buddy, the above mushroom types are combined with cannabis to produce an adaptogenic blend. This blend works synergistically to help improve your pet’s immune system, help your pet remain calm and relaxed, and help relieve occasional joint stiffness.

As a fully transparent organization, feel free to reach out to us with any questions, concerns, or comments you may have. 

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