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October 10, 2023
Plant-based protein powders have become increasingly popular in recent times. Often, they provide a blend of protein sources to deliver all of the essential amino acids. Mushrooms, which are not a good source of protein, don't usually come into the mix. So, our interest was piqued when we came across Four Sigmatic Protein Powder, which claims to be the world's first mushroom protein powder.
It turns out that functional mushrooms are an excellent adaptogen, relieving the stress of working out to build muscle. Four Sigmatic's protein blend comes from chia, pea, hemp, pumpkin, and coconut, providing a complete protein source that is tastier than the standard pea protein-based powders. In this Four Sigmatic mushroom protein powder review, we go under the hood to provide a complete analysis of this unique addition to the plant-based protein powder market.
Table Of Contents:
Four Sigmatic is a company that specializes in adding mushroom extracts to beverages. Based in Finland, Four Sigmatic began with a range of mushroom coffee blends and then extended into the protein powder market.
Four Sigmatic sells their organic plant-based protein powder in four flavors:
You get between 18 and 24 grams of plant-based protein in each Four Sigmatic protein powder serving. That protein is made up of a proprietary blend of the following five types of whole-plant protein sources:
You also get an average of 1500 mg of mushroom extracts from a combination of the best mushroom sources of adaptogens to alleviate stress.
Four Sigmatic Protein Powder provides a high-quality option for people looking for an animal-free protein powder.
The key point of difference here is that the protein, sourced from non-mushroom plant sources, is fortified with the adaptogenic and energy-boosting effects of five different types of mushrooms. While we're not a fan of the proprietary blend labeling regarding the protein sources, we do like the blend of plant-based proteins that make up this product.
Unlike many plant-based proteins, especially those based on pea protein, Four Sigmatic tastes pretty good without artificial sweeteners. When it comes to the chocolate cacao flavor, most people consider it to be better than good. Four Sigmatic doesn't get much credit for the texture of the powder, but it does pretty well in terms of mixability.
Combining quality plant-based protein and adaptogenic mushroom extract makes Four Sigmatic a useful post-workout supplement. With a per-serving price of more than three times one of our favorite protein powders, however, it may be beyond the reach of many.
Overall Verdict: PASS
There are two divisions of ingredients in this product: the protein blend and the adaptogens, which include different types of mushrooms. The five plant-based sources of protein intake are provided as a proprietary blend, so we don't know the actual breakdown of each protein type. That's not ideal, as we prefer full transparency on a product label.
Four Sigmatic contains a blend of pea, coconut, chia, pumpkin, and hemp protein to provide a complete source of essential amino acids. A complete amino acid profile is needed for muscle repair after a workout.
Pea protein provides a great source of the branch chain amino acids leucine, valine, and isoleucine, which are particularly important in protein synthesis (1). The other four proteins here add valuable antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. For example, hemp is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, and organic pumpkin protein provides the essential minerals magnesium and zinc (2,3).
Since vegans need to consume more protein to meet their needs, plant-based protein powders offer a convenient way to shore their protein intake with about 20 gram of protein in a ready-to-drink mix.(4) Chia and organic coconut protein also provide a good source of fiber, which promotes fullness, aids in digestion, and regulates blood sugar levels.
As an adaptogen, ashwagandha may assist the body in coping with stress and lessen its associated symptoms. According to some research, ashwagandha may speed up post-exercise recovery by lowering inflammation and muscle pain (5). Ashwagandha may offer cognitive-enhancing qualities that could enhance memory, concentration, and general brain function. This may be helpful for people who want to keep their minds sharp throughout the day or during workouts.
Ashwagandha has been linked to hormonal balance, which includes supporting men's healthy testosterone levels (5). This might affect gaining muscle and general vitality. Ashwagandha also has antioxidant properties that can help shield cells from oxidative harm, promoting general health and well-being.
If you're interested in a standalone ashwagandha product, check out our article on the Best Ashwagandha Supplements.
Eleuthero, known as Siberian ginseng, is a natural component of traditional medicine. It is categorized as an adaptogen, assisting the body to adjust to stress and regain balance.
According to some research, eleuthero may increase energy and reduce fatigue, which can be especially useful for maintaining workout energy levels (6). Eleuthero is also thought to offer immune-strengthening characteristics that can enhance general health and lower the likelihood of sickness.
Chaga mushroom extract is rich in such antioxidants as polysaccharides and phenolic compounds, making it an excellent fighter against damaging oxidative stress, especially after a workout (7). Chaga also contains beta-glucans, which may boost immune function and aid infection defense.
Chaga possesses anti-inflammatory qualities that may help reduce inflammation in the body. A good source of potassium, calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin D, chaga may also improve gut health and support digestive function.
We've compiled a list of the Best Chaga Supplements here.
Cordyceps mushrooms have been used in Chinese medicine to improve respiratory health. It may benefit patients with respiratory disorders or those looking to enhance their lung health by enhancing lung function and oxygenation.
Cordyceps mushroom extract may enhance oxygen utilization and energy production in muscles (8). Cordyceps has adaptogenic properties, which may aid the body in adjusting to stress and preserving balance. Cordyceps includes substances that may improve immune system performance.
Interested in cordyceps mushrooms? Check out the Best Cordyceps Supplements.
Reishi mushrooms are recognized for their capacity to improve immune system performance. They include bioactive substances like beta-glucans and polysaccharides that may enhance the body's defense against diseases and infections.
Some studies indicate that the reishi mushroom has anti-inflammatory qualities (9). It could aid in reducing bodily inflammation, which has been related to several diseases. Potent antioxidants found in reishi mushrooms can fight oxidative stress and lower the chance of developing chronic diseases. These antioxidants might assist in defending cells against harm brought on by free radicals.
Finally, it is thought that reishi has a soothing impact on the neurological system, which may encourage improved sleep quality and lessen sleep disruptions. According to some research, reishi may even improve heart health by controlling blood pressure (10).
Reishi is a common ingredient found in some of the Best Mushroom Supplements out there.
Bioactive substances found in turkey tail mushrooms, such as beta-glucans and polysaccharopeptides (PSP), have been linked to immune-stimulating effects. Regular turkey tail consumption may help strengthen the immune system and the body's capacity to fight illnesses.
Turkey tail mushrooms contain substances that may have anti-inflammatory effects, making them advantageous for people with diseases linked to chronic inflammation, athletes, or those with high-stress jobs.
According to studies, Lion's mane may enhance memory, focus, and general brain health (11). Lion's mane mushroom extract contains compounds called erinacines and hericenones, which may be able to boost cognitive function.
Lion's mane is thought to have neuroprotective characteristics, which suggests that it may help safeguard nerve cells and support a robust neurological system.
Lion's mane mushrooms contain substances that may be anti-inflammatory. It may also have immune-stimulating characteristics that can support the body's defense against illnesses.
For more information, check out our article on the Best Lion's Mane Supplements.
Although generally considered to be safe when used as directed, Four Sigmatic Protein powder has a number of potential side effects:
Here's a breakdown of the nutritional value of Four Sigmatic Sweet Vanilla Protein Powder in terms of its macronutrient makeup:
You can make a one-time purchase of Four Sigmatic Protein Powder from the official website for $47.50. With each container providing 15 servings, that breaks down to a per-serving cost of $3.17. If you choose to become a subscriber, the cost per container goes down to $39.14, or $2.66 per container.
That compares to a per-serving cost of $0.86 for Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey, which we rated as the best overall protein powder of this year. For more options on our top-ranked list, read The 14 Absolute Best Protein Powders.
Four Sigmatic Protein Powder has more than 2,000 verified user reviews on Amazon, with an average rating of 4.4 stars.
The general consensus is that this product has high-quality protein powder with truly beneficial ingredients that have a noticeable effect. There are mixed reviews on the taste and texture, with chocolate cacao easily being the favorite. Here are a couple of typical comments:
Let's take a look at some more commonly asked questions about Four Sigmatic below.
The other products in the Four Sigmatic product range are
Yes, Four Sigmatic products are safe when taken according to the directions. The company has developed a reputation for prioritizing safety and quality, rigorously testing for contaminants, and striving to exceed safety standards. They use only the highest quality ingredients and follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards for a pure protein powder.
Yes, Four Sigmatic tests all of its products for heavy metals.
Yes, mushroom protein powders can be a good option for people who want the added benefit of adaptogens and other nutrients that are uniquely found in mushrooms. Though mushrooms are not an especially good protein source, they contain essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Most mushroom protein powders will use sources other than mushrooms to provide the protein content.
Four Sigmatic Protein Powder brings the nutrient-dense adaptogenic power of mushroom extract to your post-workout recovery by adding five varieties of mushroom extract to a plant-based protein blend.
It delivers a tasty, organic, vegan-friendly protein shake that gives you more restorative benefits than your standard plant-based protein powder. However, those extra benefits come at a price, with Four Sigmatic being considerably more expensive than the average protein powder.
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Ashraf SA, Elkhalifa AEO, Siddiqui AJ, Patel M, Awadelkareem AM, Snoussi M, Ashraf MS, Adnan M, Hadi S. Cordycepin for Health and Wellbeing: A Potent Bioactive Metabolite of an Entomopathogenic Cordyceps Medicinal Fungus and Its Nutraceutical and Therapeutic Potential. Molecules. 2020 Jun 12;25(12):2735. doi: 10.3390/molecules25122735. PMID: 32545666; PMCID: PMC7356751.
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