Best Turkey Tail Mushroom Supplements

best turkey tail supplements

Turkey tail mushroom has a long list of clinically-backed health benefits that range from fighting cancer to improving gut health. If you start searching for turkey tail mushroom supplements though, you’ll suddenly find yourself confused by all the options: mycelia extracts, fruiting body extracts, guaranteed polysaccharide content… and each product claims to be the “best.”

This guide is going to go over the best turkey tail supplements as well as what you need to know about the different types so you get a product which actually delivers benefits.

Quick Summary:

  • Turkey tail supplements are made from the mycelia or fruiting body parts of the mushroom.
  • Fruiting body contains more beta-glucans than mycelia.
  • Mycellia contains polysaccharides PSK or PSP, which known for their anti-cancer benefits.
  • It’s impossible to know how much active substance is in mycelium supplements. They may mostly contain fillers. For this reason, many people say fruitingn body supplements are better.
  • It’s best to take turkey tail as a powdered extract. Healthy compounds aren’t as readily released in teas or tinctures.
  • A guaranteed amount of beta-glucans is a sign of a good fruiting body supplement.


Top Pick: Brain Forza Organic Turkey Tail Mushroom Capsules

Why: It is one of the few turkey tail supplements which contains both real fruiting bodies plus mycelia so you get the health benefits of each part of the fungi.

Keep reading to see the other picks for best turkey tail supplements, including 100% fruiting body supplements. 


What Are Turkey Tail Supplements Made From?

Turkey tail supplements are made with either the mycelia or the fruiting body of the mushroom. There is a lot of debate as to which is better.

Mycelia (singular: mycelium) are root-like threads which attach to dead trees in nature. They are the living mass of the mushroom.  Mycelia supplements are relatively cheap and easy to produce. The mycelia is grown on a substrate such as rice starch or oats. Both the mycelia and substrate are then fermented before active substances are extracted, concentrated and dried into a powder.

By contrast, the fruiting body is the reproductive part of the mushroom which produces spores. Because it takes more time and work to grow the fruiting body part of a mushroom, these supplements tend to be more expensive.


Which is better: Mycelia or fruiting body supplements?

Most people say that the fruiting body part of turkey tail is better because it contains a “full spectrum” of nutrients. These include various minerals, antioxidants and polysaccharides. Most notably, the fruiting body contains beta-glucans.  The mycelia also contains beta-glucans but not nearly as much as the fruiting body.

However, mycelia also contain nutrients.  Most notably, mycelia contain polysaccharide-K (PSK) or  polysaccharopeptide (PSP). These are not found in the fruiting body.  PSK and PSP are the primary compounds in turkey tail mushroom linked to cancer benefits.  Thus, almost all studies into turkey tail benefits against cancer use mycelium and not the fruiting body.

There is one major benefit of fruiting body supplements over mycelium supplements: because no fillers or additives used to make the supplements, you know exactly what you are getting. By contrast, it’s almost impossible to know how much of a mycelia turkey tail supplement is actually mycelia.  supplement is actually mycelium: the bulk could just be substrate and fillers.    This is why it is important to choose reputable brands of mycelium turkey tail supplements.

The bottom line?

Comparing mycelium to the fruiting body is like comparing the roots and flowers of chicory: while parts of the same living organism, they have very different properties.  In this sense, neither type of turkey tail supplement is necessarily better than the other.   To get the best benefits, you should take both mycelium and fruiting body extracts.

mushroom mycelia
Mushroom mycelia

(Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)


Best Way to Take Turkey Tail Supplements

The best way to take turkey tail supplements is as a powdered extract or standardized extract.  Fruiting body extracts should be made with the hot water extraction process.  There are also many dried mushroom supplements and tinctures, but these aren’t absorbed as well by the body.


Dried Turkey Tail Mushrooms (Not Recommended)

You can find whole dried turkey tail mushrooms or powders made from the dried mushrooms.  These are then used to make teas or put into smoothies.  While there are some health benefits of taking dried turkey tail mushroom, it is generally not recommended.

As with other mushrooms, the chitin cells of turkey tail is very tough.  The nutrients get “trapped” inside the chitin and are thus poorly-absorbed.

Extract Powders (Recommended)

Turkey tail extract powders can be made from the mycelium or fruiting body.  The powder is often put in capsules but is also available as loose powder.  These extracts are different from dried turkey tail in that they have been treated to break down the tough cell walls of the mushroom, allowing the nutrients to be better absorbed.

Standardized Extracts (Recommended)

Standardized extracts have been tested to ensure they contain a specific amount of a healthy compound.  With turkey tail supplements, the standardized compound is usually beta-glucans.  A high amount of beta-glucans ensures you are getting a quality product.  The downside is that standardized turkey tail extracts are usually pricier.

*Watch out for brands which promise a guaranteed amount of polysaccharides. There are many types of polysaccharides and not all give health benefits.

Tinctures and Liquid Extracts (Geneerally Not Recommended)

There is a lot of debate about whether mushroom tinctures provide benefits or not.  Alcohol does not break chitin down well, so some of the nutrients may remain trapped in the mushroom.  However, there is also research showing that alcohol extracts of turkey tail do indeed contain healthy compounds. It still appears that powdered extracts are more potent though.

(Sources: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)

*Read more about the difference between tinctures, dried herbs and extracts


Turkey Tail Supplements from China

Most wild-harvested turkey tail mushroom comes from China. Various analyses have found toxic contaminants in Chinese-produced supplements – including turkey tail.  They may contain high levels of heavy metals, carbendazim, endocrine disruptors and other contaminants.

This doesn’t mean that all brands which use Chinese-sourced turkey tail mushroom are bad.  They just need to ensure that the mushroom isn’t grown in contaminated areas and that they perform their own third-party lab tests.  (14)


Best Turkey Tail Supplements

#1. Brain Forza Organic Turkey Tail Mushroom Capsules

This supplement contains both mycelia (80%) and fruiting bodies (15%). The rest is spores and primordium (the point where the fruit starts forming).  The combination means you’ll get the benefits of both PSK and beta-glucans.  The brand is reputable and grows their turkey tail in the USA.  It’s also affordable yet still high quality.

  • Approximatley 80% mycelium and 15% fruiting bodies
  • 500mg per capsule
  • 90 capsules per bottle
  • Hot water extraction method
  • USA grown and manufactured
  • Certified organic and non-GMO
  • Buy Here

2. FreshCap Organic Turkey Tail Capsules

This supplement is made from only the fruiting body of turkey tail.  It contains a guaranteed 35% beta-glucans, which is more than other brands and a sign of a high-quality product. They don’t say where the mushrooms are grown though.

  • Fruiting body
  • Minimum 35% beta-glucans
  • 500mg per capsule
  • 120 capsules per bottle
  • Hot water extraction method
  • Certified organic and non-GMO
  • Buy Here

3. Wild Foods Store Turkey Tail Powder

This brand gets their turkey tail from China where it is grown on hardwood.  They diligently test their product with a third-party lab and do make batch test results available.  Because this is a loose powder and not capsules, it is one of the more affordable turkey tail supplements available.  The color is nice and dark, a sign of a quality product.

  • Fruiting body
  • Package contains 4oz (113g)
  • Loose powder
  • Hot water extraction method
  • Certified non-GMO
  • Buy Here

4. Real Mushrooms 5 Defenders Supplement

This extract powder contains five different medicinal mushrooms, including turkey tail.  The mushrooms are sourced from China through the Nammex brand. That brand has a good reputation of providing quality products.  In addition to that, Real Mushrooms uses a third-party lab to test the mushrooms for heavy metals.  While the product seems pricy, it is cheaper than most other mushrooms supplements on a gram-per-gram basis – especially considering it has a guaranteed amount of beta-glucans.

The reishi is grown on logs, the turkey tail and chaga are wild-grown, and the shiitake and maiitake are grown on sawdust logs.

  • Contains chaga, turkey tail, maitake, shiitake, and reishi mushrooms
  • Chaga and reishi are organic
  • 100% fruiting body
  • Package contains 1.59oz (45g)
  • Loose powder
  • Minimum 20% beta-glucans
  • Certified non-GMO
  • Buy Here

5. Noomadic Turkey Tail Capsules

Here is another good turkey tail supplement with a guaranteed amount of beta-glucans.  At 30%, the guaranteed amount is very high.  The reason this supplement doesn’t rank higher on the list is because it is fairly pricy per gram of extract.

  • Fruiting body
  • Minimum 30% beta-glucans
  • 500mg per capsule
  • 60 capsules per bottle
  • Hot water extraction method
  • Wild grown in Japan
  • Buy Here

6. Om Turkey Tail Mycelium Powder

If you are looking for an affordable turkey tail supplement, then this is a good option.  It is made from mycelia, which contains the PSK polysaccharides which are known for their cancer-fighting benefits. While there is no info about how much mycelia is in the final product, the powder is a dark color which is a sign that there isn’t too much substrate in it.

  • Mycelia powder
  • Package contains 3.5oz (100g)
  • Loose powder
  • Grown in Carlsbad, California
  • Certified organic and non-GMO
  • Buy Here

Image credits:
Mycelia” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Laurel Fan,
Turkey-tail, Trametes versicolor” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by J. Maughn .

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