Council concerned over wide variances in spore breakage rate of
lingzhi products - CHOICE # 375 (January 15, 2008)
Are products of lingzhi spores（）as good as
their manufacturers' claim?
One claim seemingly universal among
the manufacturers is the assertion over the breakage rate of the
spores - that each and every spore and its wall are fully broken or
cracked open purportedly to maximize the efficacy of the
The Consumer Council has conducted a
laboratory test in response to enquiries about its authenticity
from consumers able to pay dearly to purchase this legendary
Chinese elixir of life.
Without exception, all 16 lingzhi
spore samples under investigation bore similarly claims of "fully
wall-broken", or "breakage rate of 99%" or the like.
Under the powerful magnification of
light microscope, the ultra fine lingzhi spores contained in the
capsules revealed, however, in not a few cases, quite a drastically
Of the 16 samples, only half (8) were
able to achieve over 90% in the spore breakage rate.
Among these high score samples, one
sample actually attained a total 100% while another a close
Of the 8 remainders, on the lower end
of the scale, the worst performer had a breakage rate of the spores
as low as only 5%.
One sample was detected with between
10% and 20% while another with 50%.
Currently there is no law or standard
on what constitutes "fully wall-broken".
The Consumer Council is concerned
over the wide variances found in the spore breakage rate of these
Increasingly, spore breakage rate is
promoted as an important factor in selecting lingzhi spore
Manufacturers are claiming that the
active ingredients are more readily released from broken spores
than non-broken ones and, therefore, more easily absorbed by
consumers in taking them.
Consumers, however, are at a loss to
differentiate the products all bearing similar claim on the spore
In addition, 6 of the samples were
claimed to be "pure" lingzhi spore products but this turned out not
to be the case.
Under light microscope, many of the
16 samples were found to contain more than just the spores but also
other materials, like hyphae, germlings and filling materials. But
these ingredients were often not disclosed for the information of
Further, vitamin E was found present
in 5 of the samples. According to the manufacturers, the vitamin
was added to act as a preservative. However, none of the samples
concerned were labelled with vitamin E on their ingredient
The samples were also checked for the
accuracy in the labelling of their capsule weight and content
weight. One sample was found to be much lower, by over 20%, than
the weight claimed.
Besides the 16 lingzhi spore samples,
the test included 4 models of lingzhi spore oil products.
One of the samples was found to be
spoiled, i.e. the oil was oxidized.
The Consumer Council has notified
both the Customs and Excise Department and the Department of Health
of the overall test findings.
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