I first heard about Four Sigmatic about 3 weeks ago when I was at a friend-of-a-friend’s house and I was offered some of the mushroom coffee from Four Sigmatic that they had lying around. Since then, I’ve been quite interested in the company and have done a lot of digging into them. Four Sigmatic started in 2012 and has become very successful since, doing “8 figures” in sales in 2017 (link) and constantly appearing as one of the (if not the #1) best sellers in the instant coffee category on Amazon.
I expect this video from Tim Ferriss from 2016 did a lot to propel it into the success it’s having today:
I’ve listed to a lot of Tim Ferriss’ podcast and read The 4 Hour Work Week, so that was one thing that got me curious about Four Sigmatic after trying their mushroom coffee. But the biggest driver that made me want to research this company was this chart :
Sounds interesting, no? Not knowing anything about Four Sigmatic, this was starting to move my BS meter. Accompanying this graph, and under the section “What does Four Sigmatic mean?”, is this text:
We identified the most elite foods in the world, naming them “Four Sigmatic.” They’re the best of the best superfoods— the most nutrient dense and most studied. Coffee, green tea, reishi, chaga, blueberry, moringa, turmeric, lion’s mane, pumpkin, and cordyceps are all Four Sigmatic foods, and the list goes on. Nerd Alert! The term comes from a statistical map of all foods. Only 50 foods qualify as “Four Sigmatic” because they are four sigmas (standard deviations) above average food. These foods are foundational to the products we create.
Like I was when I first heard about Four Sigmatic, I’m sure you’re curious about this too. In this article, I’ll dive into whether Four Sigmatic’s products actually live up to their claims and answer the main questions people have about them.
What are some of Four Sigmatic’s products?
Here are the different Four Sigmatic product categories:
- Cacaos (a pure form of chocolate)
- Elixirs (to add into your coffee, tea or smoothie to help with immune support)
- Protein & Blends
The most popular of Four Sigmatic’s products is the Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee which I got to try myself. It was delicious, and surprisingly, the taste wasn’t really “mushroomy” at all — it tasted just like normal good coffee. It’s still 80% normal coffee and 20% mushrooms, and if you hadn’t told me it was Mushroom Coffee, I may not have noticed anything different about it at all. The one thing you should know about the mushroom coffee is that the caffeine content is lower than normal coffee, so Four Sigmatic recommends using three tablespoons of coffee per eight-ounce cup.
Is Four Sigmatic expensive?
Four Sigmatic prices its products reasonably, though being that these are somewhat novelty products with a lot of marketing added on, they’re more expensive than any generic brands they compete with. Taking their mushroom coffee, for example, it’s $15 for 10 packets, and you’ll go through at least 1 and possibly 2 packets (there is 250mg per serving) when you have your morning coffee. That’s way more expensive than Nescafe instant coffee or a budget instant coffee brand like Folgers.
Does Four Sigmatic have real health benefits?
Let’s take a look at what Four Sigmatic says about the health benefits of their products again. Here are the health benefits Four Sigmatic claims for their Mushroom Coffee:
I am not a doctor or nutritionist, and am currently reaching out to people who are who can offer a professional medical opinion. But here is what I have found so far. The consensus is that Four Sigmatic has no health risks, so you shouldn’t have to worry about any negative adverse effects. And for positive effects, there is a reasonable amount of scientific research suggesting that many of the ingredients Four Sigmatic uses do have positive health effects.
Here are a few credible papers and sources that would support many of Four Sigmatic’s claims regarding the benefits of their main ingredients (namely mushrooms, lions mane, chaga and cacao):
- A Journal of Nutrition article in 2014 (“Mushrooms and Health Summit Proceedings”) states “Preliminary evidence suggests that mushrooms may support healthy immune and inflammatory responses through interaction with the gut microbiota, enhancing development of adaptive immunity, and improved immune cell functionality.” (Source)
- An Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine article in 2014 (“Medicinal Mushrooms”) describes a study on how reishi mushrooms boosted the immune system and had anti-cancer effects (Source)
- A Journal of Traditional Complementary Medicine article in 2012 (“Recent progress of research on medicinal mushrooms, foods, and other herbal products used in traditional Chinese medicine”) reviews how the cordyceps mushroom has traditionally been used to treat fatigue (Source)
- An International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms article in 2013 (“Neurotrophic Properties of the Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom”) found that lion’s mane boosted neuron growth (Source)
- A BioMed Research article in 2010 (“Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake”), discussing the benefits of Hericium erinaceus (HE), a well known edible mushroom, says “Our results show that HE intake has the possibility to reduce depression and anxiety” (Source)
- A Phytother Research article in 2009 (“Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment”) (hericium erinaceus is lions mane) found it was “effective in improving mild cognitive impairment” (Source)
- A Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin article in 2008 (“Nerve growth factor-inducing activity of Hericium erinaceus”) found lions mane could increase the expression of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) in some parts of the brain (Source)
- A International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms article in 2011 (“Anticancer effects of fraction isolated from fruiting bodies of Chaga medicinal mushroom”) found chaga could reduce tumor cell growth (Source)
- A Biofactors article in 2004 (“Chaga mushroom extract inhibits oxidative DNA damage in human lymphocytes”) found chaga could reduce DNA damage (Source)
Is all of this conclusive evidence? No. But it’s definitely something. If you have anything to say about this topic, whether in support or against the usefulness of Four Sigmatic’s ingredients that they claim to be so powerful, please comment below. We are looking for solid scientific evidence, not anecdotal reports about how you tried Four Sigmatic and felt like it made you more creative and improved your memory (we all know about the placebo effect, after all).
Will Four Sigmatic get you high like marijuana? Is this for potheads?
No 🙂 you may wonder that given some of Four Sigmatic’s marketing-speak (eg. “Four Sigmatic fits transformative magic into your everyday with minimal effort”) and their emphasis on “mushrooms”, but there is zero cannabis or any psychedelic ingredient in any Four Sigmatic product. You will not get high from it.
Is it worth being a member of Four Sigmatic?
Absolutely. Being a member of Four Sigmatic gets you 20% off all orders and free shipping, and it doesn’t cost anything — you just have to make a subscription order and receive 3 shipments of it, and then you’ll have a 20% discount and free shipping (there are also other benefits Four Sigmatic offers like “early access to new products”, “members-only swag”, “monthly price-draws”, “VIP Facebook group” and “membership concierge”, but let’s face it: we only really care about getting a lower price). Subscribing gives you the option of receiving a product of your choice either every 30 days, or every 60 days.
Here’s why I say it’s worth being a member: even if you’re trying Four Sigmatic for the first time and you’re not sure if you’ll ever order from them again, there is nothing to lose by subscribing, since you can cancel after the first order if you don’t like it, as well as add new products to your order or swap products in your order. There is zero downside, only upside (the potential benefit of 20% off and free shipping if you like it enough to be a regular customer).
When you sign up to Four Sigmatic on a subscription, they’ll send you the first shipment in a nice box like this:
Are there any Four Sigmatic coupons or discount codes?
Just order as a subscription as I explained above to get 20% off.
Beyond that, though, Four Sigmatic also offers a 10% discount code if you subscribe to their email list (at the bottom of all the pages on the website):
I tried this and sure enough, got a 10% off coupon in the welcome email:
That discount code is welcome3t4g1x. I tried subscribing using another email account and got the same coupon, so presumably, this coupon is good for anyone who uses it. If it doesn’t work for you, though, just sign up to Four Sigmatic using your own email and get your own coupon code.
What’s my view of Four Sigmatic?
I’ve only tried the mushroom coffee, so I can’t personally comment on most of their product line, but I certainly like what I’ve tried so far! The mushroom coffee is delicious and as good as or better than any coffee I ever tasted, even if I can’t necessarily say I noticed my memory, concentration and focus getting any better. Your mileage may vary.
We put out a request for people who have used Four Sigmatic to write what they thought about it. Here’s what we’ve received so far:
Mushroom Coffee: My friend introduced me to the coffee via Facebook - as I posted something about a new movie about Fungi by Louie Schwartzberg, coming out this week and he thought I should try mushroom coffee! Anyway - I purchased the instant coffee and I love it. It’s perfect for me, someone who wants to limit my intake to one cup per day and I just put the contents in the coffee carafe and put water through the coffee maker like normal and it’s like I’ve got a cup of brewed coffee. The flavors is very nice - tastes like coffee but with a little richer flavor. I really am loving it.
--Darlene Fiske, The Fiske Group
I am a current and so far very loyal customer with Four Sigmatic. I currently use the cordyceps elixir, and have completely given up coffee because of the effects. I have fantastic energy and stamina, both physical and mental, but no chemical high like caffeine can create, along with the sweat and inevitable crash. I haven't had a cup of coffee in over two months, and I'm extremely grateful. I work as a Shamanic Life Coach, often connecting with clients very early in the morning, so it's a treasure to have a plant partner that supports stamina without any ill side effects.
--Kat Courtney, AfterLife Coaching
I've used four sigmatics mushroom coffee alternative a few times and I did notice some increased energy but ultimately switched back to coffee. It's a great product and I would keep taking it but the cost of it and the fact that it didn't work as well as coffee makes it a little hard to justify.
--Cheryl Roberts, Lexie Jordan Jewelry
I like the convenience of individual packets from Four Sigmatic’s product line. In fact, it’s what sets them apart from other competitors in the marketplace. The price range for Four Sigmatic is quite high in my opinion, so if you’re looking to save some money, just buy the mushroom powders in bulk, along with instant coffee (preferably organic), and mix yourself.
--Stella Metsovas, author of Wild Mediterranean
I've bought many Four Sigmatic products over the last few years after hearing Tim Ferriss raving about it on his podcast. I've even had the sampler, so I've tried every single packet offer they've offered. I'll just give comments on 2 of them: Lions Mane Elixer (since that's the most trendy) and Mushroom Cacao Mix (since that's the one I feel working)
The Lions Mane Elixer is the first Four Sigmatic product I tried. It's actually pretty tasty. I bought it because Tim Ferriss said on his podcast that it lights him up. To be honest, I've never gotten any hint of being lit up from this. I've read that you need consistent daily doses of Lions Mane to get the real benefits from it, so I think the jury is out on this one without drinking it every day.
My go-to sleep remedy is the Mushroom Cacao Mix. I've tried countless herbal sleeping pills over the years and this is better than all of them. 30 minutes to an hour after drinking it, I'm feeling ready to pass out. It isn't a feeling like you're taking Nyquil and hit with serious fatigue, but more of a relaxed state where you're just ready to get to sleep. I actually have to time it out so I drink this and still have time to brush my teeth before bed! Not only is it helpful for destressing and getting to bed, it also tastes really good! Seriously, it's hot cocoa 🙂
--Mike Germade, Primal Feeding
As a customer, I have used four sigmatic products and as far as flavor and convenience go I enjoy their mushroom elixirs and coffees. When trying to understand the quality of their product I find it is hard to get any real valuable information. Mushroom quality depends on the percentage of beta-glucans vs starch in the product and nowhere on their site does it state that. I can only assume they source their products from mostly mycelium and each product contains less mushroom and more starch which lowers the quality.
If quality isn't important to you then their products are great.
--Erik Levi, Holistic Nootropics
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