In the market there are numerous products based on reishi spores, which are very different from the reishi mushroom. We tell you the differences here.
To talk about the differences between reishi spores and the reishi mushroom, first we have to clarify what a spore is, so as to understand its chemical composition and its nutritional virtues:
Spores are similar to plant seeds. They serve for the reproduction of the fungi.
Just as we may plant a seed and it will germinate and produce the plant in suitable conditions, if we place a spore under ideal conditions, it germinates and produces the fungus (which in the future will produce mushrooms, like the reishi mushroom).
Photomicrograph of spores of Ganoderma lucidum (400x). They are like microscopic seeds.
Both seeds and spores, as reproductive structures, accumulate a lot of energy inside in very little space. This is required to feed the individual in its early stages. In nature, the best substances for accumulating concentrated energy are oils and fats, and therefore seeds and spores have a great amount of oils and fats. Because of this, humans extract oil from sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, colza, almond seeds... etc. and not from other parts of the plant. And the same happens with fungi:
The spores of the fungus Ganoderma lucidum have much oil inside and therefore are chemically very different from the reishi mushroom. This results in very different properties.
Reishi crop. Notice the edge of the cup is full of Ganoderma lucidum spores hanging. The spores are like the seeds of the fungus, a very different product in chemical composition and properties from the reishi mushroom.
To give us an idea about how chemically different they are, I'll go on with the example of the apple that we give in several areas of this website: We know that apples are very tasty and healthy, with lots of vitamin C, rapid assimilation sugars, pectins that contribute to the intestinal transit, water ... However apple seeds are toxic: eating a little glass of them can be mortal! This is because they contain a high amount of cyanogenic glycosides, substances that, upon contact with the stomach, release hydrocyanic acid - hydrogen cyanide- very poisonous.
In the same way, reishi spores have such a different chemical composition from the reishi mushroom that, for example, according to the results of this research, they shouldn’t be consumed in patients with stomach tumors: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24282100 while the mushroom can be considered, according to the researchers of this other publication, as an aid against stomach tumor cells: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24892846
In many websites, they erroneously attribute the same properties to spores and the reishi mushroom, whereas this is totally wrong.
Spores, of course, also have virtues as a dietary supplement, however, they must be studied and see what they can be good for or not, as it is not useful to consider them equal to the reishi mushroom, since they are completely different products.