Purity and quality assurance of products: organic, production standards, contaminant testing

A distinction can be made between substances of natural, synthetic or transgenic origin.

Most isolated vitamins and minerals are of synthetic origin, i.e. usually produced in a laboratory. Genetically modified vitamins, e.g. from bacteria or modified plants, do not have to be declared as such. If any ingredient is from natural sources, it should be stated, e.g. ‘folate from lemon peel extract’. This ingredient can also be found in the list of ingredients.

If the whole product is certified organic, isolated substances cannot be used. Instead, the whole raw material, e.g. acerola extract, is used to provide vitamin C to the product. Organic or non-GMO products do not contain genetically modified vitamins or carriers.

It is not mandatory to indicate the origin of the product. This is voluntary. However, if a product is marketed with a geographical origin, this must be indicated for primary ingredients, ((Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/775) for all food supplements produced since 1 April 2020, e.g. Made in China, EU and non-EU L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C)).

Organically certified products should be preferred, as controlled cultivation methods can protect against increased exposure to pesticides or irradiation.

Production and quality standards

To ensure consistent quality of the extracts, the different substances in the extract should be analysed and quantified. It is best to perform the first such analysis on the raw material before the extraction process begins. Because a consistently high quality already starts with the raw material. Fungi, like plants, are living organisms and are subject to natural fluctuations in their growth due to external influences. The better the mushrooms are selected and controlled, the higher the quality of the extract. In the best case, this even starts with the selection of the growing cells of the mycelium (comparable to seeds in cereals). It also influences which parts of the fungus are used. The organism consists of the mycelium and the fruiting bodies.
The fruiting bodies are what most people understand as mushrooms, they grow above the ground and can be easily harvested. The mycelium is a fine, densely branched network of so-called hyphae, which completely permeates the substrate and is therefore very difficult to separate. Substrates for mushroom cultivation usually consist of wood shavings or grain. Both are of plant origin and contain substances that are also present in the mushroom, namely polysaccharides. If the mycelium (and thus in most cases also the substrate) is used, the quality of the product is impaired. Often, the content does not consist of the pure fungus, but also of the substrate.

Quality Comparison 1

ManufacturerProductGuaranteed/standardised consistent qualityData on the species and strain of fungusWhat of the mushroom is used?
IMMA Evaluation
Hifas da Terra (ES/UK/FR/DE/IT)Mico-Rei Reishi Organic Extractyes, related to polysaccharides, beta-glucans, ganoderic acid A and other lead substancesGanoderma lucidum with own strainsFruiting bodies5
Ortho Therapie (AUT)Reishi ExtraktYes, related to polysaccharides, beta-glucans and triterpenesReishiNC4
Vitall+ (FR)Reishi BiologiqueYes, related to polysaccharides, beta-glucans and triterpenesReishiNC4
Dynveo (FR)Reishi BioYes, related to polysaccharidesCalifornia ReishiFruiting bodies3
Hawlik (DE)Bio Reishi Extrakt KapselnYes, related to polysaccharidesGanoderma lucidumFruiting bodies3
KiKi-Health (UK)Reishi Extract ORGANICYes, related to polysaccharidesReishiFruiting bodies3
Pilze Wohlrab (DE)Reishi BIO ExtraktkapselnYes, related to polysaccharidesLing ZhiFruiting bodies3
Smaints (DE)Pure Night Flüssigextrakt mit Reishi und HericiumYes, related to polysaccharidesReishiDried mushroom pieces3
Sunday Natural (DE)Bio Reishi Extrakt KapselnYes, related to polysaccharidesGanoderma LucidumFruiting bodies3
Tyroler Glückspilze (AUT)Reishi (Ling Zhi) Flüssigextrakt BIOYes, related to polysaccharidesGanoderma lucidumMushrooms3
Vitaworld (DE)Roter Reishi Extrakt 500 mg 40 % PolysaccharideYes, related to polysaccharidesGanoderma lucidumFruiting bodies3
Bristol Fungarium (UK)Reishi TinctureNCReishi de BristolFruiting bodies2
Mushroom4Life (UK)Organic Reishi MushroomNCReishiFruiting bodies2
Neovital Health (ES)REISHI NEOYes, related to polysaccharidesGanoderma lucidumNC2
Nutrixeal (FR)Reishi BioYes, related to polysaccharidesReishiAll (mycelium, fruiting body, primoridum)1

Almost all manufacturers offer a standardisation of polysaccharides. Unfortunately, very few manufacturers also provide information on the amounts of beta-glucans or even triterpenes and standardise the extracts accordingly. The more ingredients used for standardisation, the more constant the extract and thus also the therapeutic option. Information on ingredients is taken very seriously, especially at Hyphae da Terra, and is provided in a very precise manner.

Quality Comparison 12

Product Purity testing/pollutant analysis OrganicGMP IMMA Evaluation
Hifas da Terra (ES/UK/FR/DE/IT)Mico-Rei Reishi Organic ExtractYesYesYes5
Hawlik (DE)Bio Reishi Extrakt KapselnYesYesYes4
Mushroom4Life (UK)Organic Reishi MushroomYesYesYes4
Sunday Natural (DE)Bio Reishi Extrakt KapselnYesYesYes4
Bristol Fungarium (UK)Reishi TinctureYesYesNC3
Dynveo (FR)Reishi BioYesYesNC3
Nutrixeal (FR)Reishi BioYesYesNC3
Ortho Therapie (AUT)Reishi ExtraktYesneinISO22000:20183
Pilze Wohlrab (DE)Reishi BIO ExtraktkapselnYesYesNC3
Smaints (DE)Pure Night Flüssigextrakt mit Reishi und HericiumYesYesNC3
Tyroler Glückspilze (AUT)Reishi (Ling Zhi) Flüssigextrakt BIOYesYesNC3
Vitall+ (FR)REISHI BiologiqueYesYesNC3
KiKi-Health (UK)Reishi Extract ORGANICNCYesNC2
Neovital Health (ES)REISHI NEONCYesNC2
Vitaworld (DE)Roter Reishi Extrakt 500 mg 40 % PolysaccharideYesneinNC1

With most manufacturers, we found information on testing for harmful substances. Vitaworld and Ortho Therapie do not indicate the organic certification of their extracts. In addition to the organic label, Hyphae da Terra declares the so-called 360° traceability, which, according to the manufacturer, starts already during the cultivation of its own mushroom strains and provides better traceability and control in the production process. By means of DNA analysis – the so-called fingerprint analysis – an exact genetic profile is already created during the selection of the mushroom strain for a product, which provides information on the content profile of the mushroom. This individual profile enables traceability and the best mushroom strain can always be cultivated. This is a very high safety factor in the production chain and allows a specific yield of the desired ingredients to be obtained. Bristol Fungarium also uses local mushroom strains and therefore offers a high level of quality assurance. The products are processed in the EU, UK and partly in the USA. Both extraction and bottling must be carried out according to GMP guidelines to ensure high quality. Unfortunately, this information was not available from all manufacturers.

Click here for the next article on the topic of product quality learn something about the sustainability of mushroom manufacturers together with us!

Are you interested in our product comparison? Click here to go directly to the end result of this product comparison!

You can find more information about our quality standards here.

Important: Depending on the mushroom product and the area of application, it naturally takes different periods of time before the effect is noticeable.
It can take anywhere from a few hours (energy booster) to several months (anti-ageing). So how long do I have to take a mushroom extract before I notice a noticeable effect? Here is a good overview of what happens in the body when Reishi, Cordyceps and Lion’s Mane are taken over a long period of time in PDF format.