Mushroom Coffee: What is behind the supposed miracle cure

Mushroom Coffee: What is behind the supposed miracle cure

Mushroom coffee is said to be a real all-rounder, strengthening the immune system or helping you lose weight. Medicinal mushrooms are being touted as a new superfood – but it’s better to avoid them.

A supposedly trendy drink has been heavily advertised in Instagram stories and reels for some time now: mushroom coffee. In addition to the caffeine in coffee, it is supposed to provide an additional energy boost and be a real miracle cure for health. That’s the advertising message. But what is the truth behind the hype about mushroom coffee?

The idea of ​​mixing so-called medicinal mushrooms into coffee is not new. It has just been given a new coat of paint by the current flood of advertising. If you want to pimp your coffee with mushrooms, you don’t use ordinary edible mushrooms like button mushrooms. The extract of medicinal mushrooms ends up in mushroom macchiato or pliz coffee. These include, for example, the glossy varnish polypore (reishi), the slate slate polypore (chaga) or the hedgehog’s mane, also known as lion’s mane. These medicinal mushrooms do not have an intoxicating effect.

They have this name because they are said to have a positive effect on health. In Germany, consumers can buy the medicinal mushrooms in the form of dietary supplements in capsules or powder. Or as a coffee mix. The products are said to increase performance and concentration, support the immune system, stimulate the metabolism and help with weight loss.

Mushroom Coffee: No scientific evidence for the supposed miracle cure

These medicinal mushrooms have long been used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Individualized combinations and dosages are used there. So this has little to do with the medicinal mushrooms in coffee or as capsules.

The mushrooms contain vitamins, proteins, trace elements, antioxidants and fiber. They also contain complex carbohydrates such as beta-glucans, triterpenes and phenols. These complex carbohydrates are said to have a positive effect on health. The hype surrounding mushroom coffee is based primarily on the assumption that the health claims are true and remain intact when the medicinal mushroom is processed and brewed in the coffee.

But whether these substances actually have a positive effect on our health has not been scientifically proven. Although there are numerous studies on medicinal mushrooms, the quality of the studies often does not meet scientific standards, warns the consumer advice center. Or they are studies on cell cultures or laboratory animals. However, the results of these cannot simply be transferred to humans, but only provide information for further research.

It is therefore unclear whether they have any positive effect on health at all. After a study, the British consumer protection organization Which classifies medicinal mushroom products as products that no one needs. The consumer advocates complain that there is not enough evidence for the effects of medicinal mushrooms.

Medicinal mushrooms can be contaminated

However, mushroom coffee contains less caffeine than regular coffee, it tastes less bitter and is therefore easier for sensitive people to digest. Mushroom coffee can actually make people feel better if they believe in the positive effects of medicinal mushrooms. However, there is no proof of this either.

In the best case, mushroom coffee fans only drink overpriced coffee and feel better. In the worst case, the consumption of medicinal mushrooms could be harmful. Because: Eating medicinal mushrooms can lead to digestive problems. And consumer advocates warn that medicinal mushrooms can contain substances that are poisonous or inedible for humans. If the mushrooms are stored or dried incorrectly, they can be contaminated by other mushrooms – and contaminated with mold toxins.

In addition, medicinal mushrooms are not approved as medicinal products in Germany. Powders or capsules are therefore not manufactured according to specified conditions and are not subject to strict testing, as would be the case with medicinal products. Consumers cannot determine exactly what quality is contained in the nutritional supplements.

So there is no convincing reason to swap filter coffee for mushroom coffee.

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Source: Stern

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