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    Host Defense Information — Mushrooms & Health

    Our Delivery Methods: Capsules & Extracts

    Our Delivery Methods: Capsules & Extracts

    Host Defense Delivery Methods: Capsules & ExtractsHost Defense offers delivery method options to best match your lifestyle needs. Host Defense Capsules work well for daily convenience. If you’re seeking rapid absorption by the digestive system, then Host Defense extracts may be the way to go.


    Host Defense mushroom capsules are made with Certified Organic, non-GMO mushroom mycelium / fruitbodies, encased in a plant-based capsule made from pullulan—a non-GMO, naturally-fermented polysaccharide polymer. Pullulan is starch-free, gluten-free, and preservative-free, and helps protect mushroom material against oxidation.


    Host Defense Capsules & ExtractsHost Defense liquid mushroom extracts are made with U.S.A. grown and processed Certified Organic mushroom mycelium and fruitbodies. Most other brands use only hot-water extraction, which leaves out many valuable constituents.

    Host Defense extracts utilize Paul Stamets’ comprehensive Double and Triple Extraction Methods:

    1. Hot Water

    Certified organic fruitbodies of Reishi, Maitake, Turkey Tail, Lion’s Mane and Shiitake are hot-water extracted to pull out polysaccharides (e.g. beta-glucans, glycoproteins, and other high-molecular weight compounds).

    2. Ethanol

    Mycelium and fruitbodies are extracted with certified organic ethanol, which isolates antioxidants (e.g. terpenes, triterpenoids, inositols, ergosterols, sterols and myco-flavonoids).

    3. Cold Water

    Pure, filtered water is used to extract extracellular metabolites from the living mycelium within the temperature range at which the fungi’s native immune systems are most active.

    For educational purposes only. © 2017 Paul E. Stamets and Fungi Perfecti, LLC, All rights reserved.

    Should You Consume Raw Mushrooms?

    Should You Consume Raw Mushrooms?

    With the increased use of mushroom products, I feel a personal responsibility to inform the public about safety issues regarding mushroom preparations. Misleading marketing causes consumer confusion, risk, and damage to our industry, which is always under scrutiny. At Host Defense we are dedicated to providing the best, evidence-based, scientific information concerning safety and optimum use of mushrooms for health benefits.

    Should you consume raw mushrooms and/or mushroom mycelium?

    • No, absolutely not! Raw mushrooms are largely indigestible because of their tough cell walls, mainly composed of chitin.
    • Dr. Andrew Weil advises, in agreement with other experts, that mushrooms must be cooked! “Mushrooms have very tough cell walls and are essentially indigestible if you don't cook them. Thoroughly heating them releases the nutrients they contain, including protein, B vitamins, and minerals, as well as a wide range of novel compounds not found in other foods,” (Prevention, Feb 1, 2013).
    • Raw mushrooms and raw mycelium may pose health hazards from harmful pathogens and heat-sensitive toxins—potentially causing red blood cell damage1, gastrointestinal irritation and allergic reactions, such as skin rashes2.

    How can one safely use mushrooms?

    • By consuming mushrooms or mushroom products that have been cooked, or heat-treated.*
    • Proper heat treatment denatures toxins, softens fungal tissues, and allows our natural digestive enzymes to access and utilize the inherent benefits of both culinary mushrooms and mushroom supplements: Edible mushrooms should be tenderized by heating to at least 140 ˚F —over many hours— more preferably over 180˚F, most preferably above 200 ˚F to release their nutrients and render them digestible and safe.3

    Are Host Defense® Mushrooms raw or cooked?
    Host Defense® encapsulated products have been heated to proper temperature levels to maximize nutritional benefit and safety. Our process includes:

    • Growing mycelium (the root-like life stage) on Certified Organic, cooked, and sterilized brown rice.
    • At peak performance, we harvest and immediately freeze-dry material, to preserve nutrients and prevent oxidation. (Air-drying, a cheaper and inferior processing method, does not achieve maximum constituent levels nor reduce toxin levels, and is vulnerable to contamination and oxidation.)4
    • We heat-treat the mushroom mass after freeze-drying, to activate and unlock the nutritional compounds and ensure their bioavailability. Host Defense products are assayed a minimum of four times for quality and purity.

    Thank you for your continued support on the path to help people and planet.

    1Shibata, T., M. Kudou, Y. Hoshi, A. Kudo, N. Nanashima, K. Miyairi, 2010. “Isolation and characterization of a novel two-component hemolysin, erylysin A and B, from an edible mushroom, Pleurotus eryngii.” Toxicon 56: 1436–1442.

    2Kopp, T., P. Mastan, N. Mothes, S. Tzaneva, G. Stingl, A. Tanew, 2009. “Systemic allergic contact dermatitis due to consumption of raw shiitake mushroom.”Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 34: e910–e913.

    3Choi Y., S.M. Lee, J. Chun, H.B. Lee, J. Lee, 2006. “Influence of heat treatment on the antioxidant activities and polyphenolic compounds of Shiitake (Lentinus edodes) mushroom.” Food Chemistry 99(2): 381–387. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2005.08.004.

    4Ma, L., H. Chen, W. Zhu, Z. Wang, 2013. “Effect of different drying methods on physicochemical properties and antioxidant activities of polysaccharides extracted from mushroom Inonotus obliquus.” Food Research International 50:633-640.

    Stamets 7- The Functional Food Multiple

    Stamets 7- The Functional Food Multiple

    The Functional Food Multiple Formula Designed for Daily Maintenance*

    On a daily basis, we come into contact with over 2000 carcinogenic compounds. Just some of these include:

    • Benzenes from solvents, paints, and dry cleaning
    • Formaldehyde from laminated wood, particle board and some foam insulations
    • Nitrosamines from cigarette smoke
    • Aromatic hydrocarbons from petro-chemicals, paints and various fuels and their exhausts
    • Xeno-estrogens from PCB’s (Polychlorinated Biphenyl, parabens, phthalates, BPA (Bisphenol A)

    Increasingly, people turn to a core group of supplements that typically includes a multivitamin, a probiotic and a DHA/EPA essential fatty acid. This regimen offers some daily support, but what can you take daily for core immunity, for cellular and foundational support throughout the year, to shield from everyday environmental stressors?

    Stamets 7® is the multifaceted, whole-food answer for a daily multiple supporting Immunity for Life!* A balanced formula of seven well-researched species, Stamets 7® offers functional food nutrition on a cellular level to complete your daily regimen.

    Combining mushrooms provides the following benefits:

    • Increased Natural Killer Cell and macrophage numbers and their activity when compared to same sized serving of single species
    • Full range of macro- and micronutrients from the mushroomforming mycelium and growth medium
    • Whole food nutrition, readily digestible and absorbable by the body
    • Novel compounds
    • Greater range of nutrients to support the major systems of the body, when compared to taking a single species

    Stamets 7 Take Away Points

    • A functional food multiple formula that fills the gap in a Core Daily Supplement Regimen
    • Support for daily metabolic and environmental assaults*
    • Full range of macro-nutrients including readily digestible and absorbable proteins and polysaccharides
    • Mushrooms in concert together offer greater range of nutrients to support major bodily systems*

    Why Take A Beneficial Mushroom For Health?

    Why Take A Beneficial Mushroom For Health?

    we share more DNA with mushrooms than with plants

    Because of this connection, we can easily utilize compounds from beneficial mushrooms for total body support.*

    mushrooms support our natural immunity

    Plus they give nutrients to support every body system, from brain and nerves to energy to skin cells.*

    mushrooms are the original superfood

    Used cross-culturally for thousands of years, ancient people utilized beneficial mushrooms for health and as sources of food.

    Modern science continues to recognize the array of health-supporting compounds found in mushrooms.*

    mushrooms are functional food, can be used everyday and have a full-spectrum of constituents which:

    • support a multitude of body systems*
    • augment the body’s immune system*
    • provide building blocks for our systems on a cellular level*
    • contain enzymes to support digestion and assimilation of nutrients*
    • contain polysaccharides to increase the activity & effectiveness of natural killer cells and macrophages*
    • neutralizes free radicals with antioxidant activity*
    • contain prebiotics and are food sources for probiotic microflora in the intestinal tract
    • support stress and fatigue reduction*
    • provide support for daily metabolic and environmental assaults*
    • offer a food source of nutrition that is readily digestible and absorbable*

    Beta-Glucan Analysis and the Seven Pillars of Immunity


    Currently, there seems to be a lot of confusion about beta-glucans and their contribution to the beneficial properties of mushrooms. In order to shed more light on the subject, Paul Stamets has written a new article, "Beta-Glucan Analysis and the Seven Pillars of Immunity".

    Q: Why don’t you list beta-glucan content on your products?

    A: Because we want to be accurate. The testing methods used to determine beta-glucan content are highly inaccurate.

    Over the years, Fungi Perfecti LLC has spent thousands of dollars on product testing for beta-glucan content at various laboratories. The reported beta-glucan values from several independent laboratories vary greatly even though identical assays were performed. The most commonly employed assays for determination of beta-glucan content can only detect soluble beta-glucans; the insoluble beta-glucans remain undetected. Beta-glucans differ in their solubilities depending on their size, functionality, and interaction with other molecules. In agreement with other organic chemists specializing in beta-glucan analysis, we have concluded that the currently employed methods are unreliable! Deciding to place a percentage on our labels gives us sufficient pause, as we know each methodology and each laboratory would yield a different result. There is no standard, accepted,  validated methodology in the industry. This fact makes us reluctant to make any such claims on our product labels, and makes any purported beta glucan levels listed for any mushroom product dubious.

    Analytical laboratories have admitted that some mushroom companies use chitinase to convert otherwise water-insoluble sugars (chitin) into beta-glucans so their analyses falsely meet their desired marketing goal; a technique that simply embellishes the beta-glucan content in order to mislead the customer. Another trick some companies employ is to use beta-glucans isolated from yeast, such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae and list them as ‘mushroom beta-glucans’ on their product label—more than a bit of a stretch of logic, truth and reason. Yeasts are the simplest forms of fungi: many yeasts do not form mycelium and lack the cellular complexity of higher fungi, The other, non-beta-glucan constituents embedded into the cellular architecture of mushroom mycelium distinguishes the immunological activity of mushrooms from yeasts..

    Here at Fungi Perfecti, we are addressing this problem. Dr. Regan Nally, who directs our chemical analytical division, is leading this research effort by writing for publication an article for peer-reviewed journal exploring numerous inaccuracies in beta-glucan analyses.

    So I ask: what would you do? What is the scientifically accurate and ethical response? If you had one identical product tested at several laboratories but whose results ranged from Non Detectable to 40%, which would you put on the label? This is why Fungi Perfecti is different: if we are not confident in the scientific method being used by the industry, we refuse to pass on what we consider to be misinformation.

    The immune system is activated multifactorially by many components in mushrooms. Beta-glucans are just one. Other constituents include but are not limited to alpha-glucans, ergothioneines, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory sterols, lipids, glycosides, and mycoflavonoids—many of which work synergistically to optimize health. The efficacy of a multi-constituent approach has been positively confirmed in the scientific literature. Many of these active ingredients are not water soluble, meaning that they are not pulled out by hot water extraction. The inclusion of these beneficial co-ingredients enhances their protective effects. These constellations of complementary constituents are the foundation of our Host Defense mushroom product line.

    For educational purposes only. © 2013 Paul E. Stamets and Fungi Perfecti, LLC, All rights reserved.