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    Host Defense Blog

    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.


    Primordial Pops

    Primordial Pops

    Strawberry Chocolate Marshmallow Skewers

    Happy Valentine’s Day and MUSH LOVE from Host Defense®!
    Nothing says ‘I LOVE YOU’ like mushroom mycelium and CHOCOLATE
    Host Defense® Primordial Chocolate™ Strawberries

    What you’ll need:

    Bring it all together:

    • Put each marshmallow on a skewer – set aside.
    • Rinse strawberries and trim leaves and stems – set aside.
    • Break apart 3 bars of Primordial Chocolate™ in a microwave safe bowl.
    • Heat on high in 30 second increments until melted – stirring every 30 seconds.
    • Dip each strawberry in melted chocolate.
    • For something a little extra, dip the chocolate-covered strawberries in coconut flakes, sugar, sprinkles, or topping of your choice.
    • Place on parchment paper and refrigerate for ~20 minutes or put in the freezer for ~10 minutes – until the chocolate sets.
    • Remove each dipped strawberry from the parchment paper and place on a marshmallow skewer to serve – don’t forget to take pictures first!



      2019 Milestones

      2019 Milestones
      Check out what we've been up to in 2019! We've got company highlights, sustainability efforts, media appearances, and research reports for you in one succinct graphic. More to come in 2020!

      Read more

      Host Defense® Reishi Chili

      Host Defense® Reishi Chili

      Looking for a game day recipe?
      Why not include a Host Defense® mushroom mycelium powder in your favorite game day chili?
      This hearty dish is sure to be a crowd pleaser. The Reishi powder not only supports energy & stamina, but also enhances the body’s ability to adapt to stress – perfect for the big game!*

      Prep Time: 15 minutes
      Cook Time: 60 minutes
      Yield: 12 Servings

      What you’ll need:

      • 3 lbs Ground meat – we used 2 lbs ground beef and 1 lb ground pork
      • 1 16 oz can Low Sodium Broth – we used chicken, but beef or vegetable would also work
      • 1 14.5 oz can diced Tomatoes
      • 1 Jar of your favorite Salsa
      • 1 medium Onion, diced
      • 2 Jalapeños, diced
      • 2 Bell Peppers – we used 1 orange and 1 yellow
      • 2 16 oz can Pinto Beans
      • 1 16 oz can Black Beans
      • 4 Tbs Host Defense® Reishi Powder
      • 2 Tbs Avocado Oil (can substitute with oil of choice)
      • 3 Tbs Chili Powder
      • 1 Tbs Paprika
      • 1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
      • 1 Tsp Garlic Salt
      • Ground Black Pepper to taste
      • Salt to taste

      Bring it all together:

      Sautee onions, jalapenos, and bell peppers in oil until the onions become translucent. Add meat and cook thoroughly. Once the meat is cooked, add canned tomatoes, salsa, beans, and broth. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Add seasonings, stir until mixed. Simmer uncovered 45 minutes – 1 hour, stirring occasionally until desired consistency is reached. Add Reishi powder. Serve to taste with shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips & cornbread!

      *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.

      Brain & Body™ Golden Milk Latte

      Brain & Body™ Golden Milk Latte

      Warm up this winter with the Host Defense® signature Golden Milk Latte! Our MycoBotanicals® Brain & Body™ Powder has Reishi and Lion’s Mane mushroom mycelium, Turmeric, Ginger, Cinnamon and Black Pepper. Combine it with your favorite milk to make a warm and fragrant latte. Add extra spices, sweeteners, and coconut oil for an evening treat!

      By combining the beneficial mushroom mycelium of Reishi – The Mushroom of Immortality and Lion’s Mane – The Smart Mushroom, Host Defense® MycoBotanicals® Brain & Body™ promotes Sound Mind and Strong Body.*

      Here’s our go-to Golden Milk Latte recipe!



      Pour all ingredients into a medium-sized saucepan, set aside one star anise. Heat mixture over medium/high heat, whisking briskly. Do not boil. Strain liquid to remove peppercorns and star anise, and pour into two mugs. Add star anise and cinnamon for garnish if desired. Enjoy!


      *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.