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    Host Defense Information

    Mushrooms and the Immune System

    Mushrooms and the Immune System

    From cognition and mood support to energy and stamina, each mushroom species used in Host Defense® Mushrooms™ supplements offers a unique range of potential health benefits. But one thing that each species has in common is the ability to offer immune support. One of the great things about beneficial mushroom mycelium supplements is their ability to support an engaged and balanced immune response.*

    How do mushroom mycelium supplements support the IMMUNE SYSTEM?

    • The immune system is activated by polysaccharides, terpenes, and other compounds found in mushroom mycelium and fruitbodies.*
    • Each beneficial mushroom species contains a wide variety of nutrients and compounds to support our natural immunity.*
    • The variety and multitude of nutrients found in mushrooms is the key to immunomodulation.*


    • Immunomodulation is the regulatory adjustment of the immune system to bring it into balance.
    • Immune cell modulation is important because we don’t want to simultaneously activate every immune cell at full strength. 

    Beneficial MUSHROOMS are immunomodulators:*

    • Mushrooms regulate the immune system to support long-term health by maintaining a balanced immune response.* 

    HOST DEFENSE® supplements can be used every day to help:

    • Augment and regulate the body’s immune system.*
    • Provide support for daily environmental stressors.*
    • Provide polysaccharides to increase the activity & impact of NK cells and macrophages.* 

    We’ve compiled a chart to quickly reference the range of benefits provided by some of the most popular beneficial mushroom species: Agarikon, Chaga, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, Maitake, Reishi, and Turkey Tail:

    Mushroom Benefits at a Glance

    *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

    Our >10X Commitment to Being Climate Positive

    Our >10X Commitment to Being Climate Positive
    As a result of the efforts by this dedicated team, we have committed to not only being carbon neutral, but climate positive! What does climate positive mean? We’re proud to say that as of 2020, Fungi Perfecti and Host Defense are climate positive, offsetting more than 10 times our baseline emissions: >10X Climate Positive.

    Read more

    Our Commitment to Health and Safety

    Our Commitment to Health and Safety

    In light of the quickly evolving global health crisis created by the Coronavirus (COVID 19), we want to take this opportunity to share the steps we have been taking here at Host Defense and Fungi Perfecti.

    We are closely monitoring the situation, locally and globally, and following the guidance of health officials and experts.  While the global spread of a virus like COVID 19 may take unexpected turns, we can reduce the impact on our families and communities by heeding advice from experts and taking action rooted in scientific evidence.

    On Friday, February 28, founder Paul Stamets and the Fungi Perfecti leadership team made the difficult decision to cancel our company’s attendance at Natural Products Expo West, the largest annual Industry trade show for health and wellness brands.  As important as it is for Host Defense to exhibit at the show, the health and safety of our employees must come first.  As Paul has said from the beginning, ‘people over profit, always’.  After having carefully considered the escalating spread of COVID 19, the organizers of Natural Products Expo West did decide to postpone the event, a decision that Host Defense supports and applauds.

    In everything we do, we are guided by our foundational values.  As an operator of FDA-regulated dietary supplement facilities and controlled laboratories for mycelium production, we have well-established sanitation practices. We also pride ourselves on our company culture, our commitment to putting people ahead of profits, and the relationships we cultivate with our valued retail partners.

    As a result of the spread of COVID19, we’re taking drastic steps to help “flatten the curve.”  These actions include:

    • Increasing cleaning protocols in the offices, warehouses, and production facilities.  
    • Encouraging employees who don’t feel well to stay home.
    • Increasing sick time balances for all employees to ensure a broad safety net.
    • Postponing all in-store product demonstrations and educational seminars.
    • Postponing all company travel through April, upon which time we will reassess.
    It’s important to remember that we live in a global community. We’re all in this together, regardless of the disconnect we sometimes feel when something is happening outside of our immediate town or region or country.  But a virus like COVID 19 sees no borders or boundaries.  When one person becomes infected, then everyone they’ve come into contact with becomes vulnerable to infection.  By prioritizing the health and safety or our team, we are attempting to limit the possible number of vectors in both our local and global community.

    From our family to yours, stay safe, stay healthy, and let’s all look out for one another during this global crisis.  

    Efficacy of Mushroom Mycelium & Fermented Rice Substrate Confirmed!

    Efficacy of Mushroom Mycelium & Fermented Rice Substrate Confirmed!

    The use of beneficial mushrooms and mushroom mycelium in the form of supplements – capsules, extracts, powders, etc. – has increased significantly in recent years. Further, the proven efficacy of mushrooms and mushroom mycelium for supporting immunity and overall wellness has become well-documented in scientific communities and well-known in the natural products industry.  This increase in popularity has also given rise to the spread of misinformation about the use of fruiting bodies, mushroom mycelium, and the cultured substrate used to grow mycelium.   

    Newly published, peer-reviewed research in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine not only shows the health-supporting benefits of mycelium, but also substantiates the immunological activity found within the cultured substrate itself.

    (Read about the study here!)It Starts With Organic Brown Rice  Substrate Inoculated With Mushroom  Mycelium  Mushroom Mycelium Then Grows  to Peak Efficacy Consuming and  Transforming the Brown Rice  Host Defense® Uses This Process  To Provide The Broadest Range of  Unique and Complementary  Health Benefits in All Our Products


    When mushroom mycelium is grown for use in supplements, grains such as brown rice are commonly used as a food source, or ‘substrate’. Mushroom mycelium digests the rice substrate by secreting enzymes to break down the grain, which increases the mass of mycelium while reducing the presence of grain. During the growth process, the grain substrate becomes enmeshed with and inseparable from the mycelium. Removing what is left of the grain substrate is not practical at production scale, and so some fermented substrate is generally included with pure mycelium in mycelium-based mushroom supplements.

    Because some fermented substrate remains in the final mycelium-based product, some distributors of mushroom ingredients have suggested that mycelium-based products are largely composed of “fillers” and “lack immunological components”. However, newly published, peer-reviewed research in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine contradicts those claims. Our researchers at Fungi Perfecti® teamed up with third-party immunology experts at Natural Immune Systems, Inc. (NIS) to investigate the health benefits of both the mushroom mycelium and the fermented rice substrate on which mycelium used in Host Defense® products is grown. 

     Mushroom mycelium is “very potent” in terms of triggering immune cell function.”  The fermented substrate, even when separated from pure mycelium, is highly active in supporting natural immune function.  Pure mycelium and fermented substrate each offer unique yet complementary health benefits.  The immune-enhancing benefits of mushrooms are generated from a very wide range of constituents, not just beta-glucans.

    These findings are truly exciting and propel the mycelium and fermented substrate conversation forward, negating misinformation of immunological “inactivity”. Not only does the mycelium and the fermented substrate concurrently activate different aspects of the immune system, these findings also suggest that the rice is not simply a filler. The rice is the starting material, but during the fermentation process a biotransformation occurs, altering the substrate, which gives it health-supporting properties.

    Co-author Paul Stamets notes, “In my scientific opinion, mushroom products not incorporating mycelium are at a decided disadvantage, given the results of recent research.”

    In contrast to mushroom mycelium and its fermented substrate, the same immune assays were performed on brown rice substrate that was not fermented by mushroom mycelium. With the plain, unfermented rice, no significant immune activity was detected.

    Renee Davis, R&D Director at Fungi Perfecti®, states "We've long known of the exceptional bio-transformational qualities of mushroom mycelium—the enzymes and novel small molecules are capable of significantly altering the chemical character of its substrate. The results are incredibly exciting to us as a research team, and we are proud to contribute to the scientific community in a way that moves the conversation forward."

     Read more about the research here!

    Paul Stamets & Fungi Perfecti, LLC

    Founder and Chief Science Officer of Fungi Perfecti®, Paul Stamets has been recognized for decades as a leading innovator in the field of mycology, with a focus on revealing the health-supporting properties of mushrooms. As a renowned researcher and author of six books and numerous peer-reviewed scientific papers, Stamets' Host Defense® Mushrooms™ formulations have long been the most sought-after and highly valued within the dietary supplement industry.