We looked at the latest studies on lion’s mane mushroom and its interactions with prescription drugs. While lion's mane is perfectly safe for most people, it may interact with certain diabetes and blood thinning medications.
Let's dive into the details.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom
The medicinal mushroom Hericium erinaceus goes by many names, with lion’s mane, monkey head, and Santa’s beard being the most common.
Due to its antioxidant activity and health benefits for both the body and the mind, lion’s mane has remained a popular adaptogenic mushroom for centuries, being used in traditional Chinese medicine as well as modern alternative medicine.
Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane
Research on the health benefits of lion’s mane indicates the mushroom has significant potential to promote neurogenesis (nerve growth) and to prevent and repair nerve damage. Lion’s mane mushrooms seem to have protective effects on the brain, as they appear to improve overall mental function and alleviate neuropathic pain, among other neurological effects.
Hericium erinaceus seems to aid in:
- reducing depression and anxiety
- reversing mild cognitive impairment
- protecting against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- reducing inflammation and nerve pains
- encouraging apoptosis of cancer cells
- speeding recovery of nervous system injuries
- lowering blood sugar levels
- reducing symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Side Effects
The centuries of use and the research by professional medical reviewers seem to suggest that lion’s mane is generally safe to consume.
However, due to insufficient evidence on the effects of this medicinal mushroom on pregnancy and newborns, we don’t advise taking it if you’re trying for a baby.
Additionally, avoid lion’s mane if you have a bleeding disorder or are scheduled for surgery, as the mushroom might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding due to its antiplatelet effects.
Does Lion’s Mane Interact With Medications?
There are no studies on the effects of lion’s mane mushrooms on medication. However, due to the antiplatelet and antihyperglycemic effects of the fungus, you should use it with caution if you’re on antidiabetics or medication that slows blood clotting.
Lion’s Mane and Anticoagulants Interaction
Hericium erinaceus mushroom extracts were shown to have an inhibitory effect on collagen-induced platelet aggregation. Since platelet aggregation is responsible for blood clotting, the extract of Hericium erinaceus could slow down the body’s ability to make blood clots.
While this shouldn’t cause any issues and could even be beneficial for normal, healthy individuals, those who are already on blood-thinning medications, which also slow down blood clotting, may experience issues such as slower wound healing and more bruising if they start taking lion’s mane mushroom extracts.
Some of the most common anticoagulants (blood thinning medication) are:
Lion’s Mane and Antiplatelets
Due to the potential antiplatelet effects of Hericium erinaceus, people who are already on antiplatelet medication should use the mushroom with caution. Antiplatelet medication has a similar effect to blood thinners and is often prescribed by healthcare professionals to slow down the body’s ability to make clots.
Some of the most common antiplatelet medications are:
- acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin, Novasen, Entrophen, etc.)
Lion’s Mane and Antidiabetics
According to an animal study on the effects of lion’s mane supplements on diabetic rats, the activity of aqueous extract lion's mane mushroom supplements seems to include antihyperglycemic potential. Although there are no studies on the effects of lion’s mane extracts on people with diabetes, people who are on antidiabetics should be cautious when taking the mushroom.
Both antidiabetic medications and lion’s mane mushrooms lower blood sugar levels, so you may lower your blood sugar more than you expected if you take both at the same time. In order to prevent this, make sure to check your blood sugar levels frequently if you plan on taking extracts of Hericium erinaceus.
The most common antidiabetic medication includes:
Can You Take Lion’s Mane with Antidepressants?
Hericium erinaceus is known for its cognitive function and overall brain health benefits. One of the many benefits of lion’s mane for the mind is the mushroom’s ability to ease mild anxiety and depressive disorders.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the effects of fruiting bodies of Hericium erinaceus on symptoms of depression, and the results show that the participants who were taking lion’s mane dietary supplements showed fewer signs of depression after 4 weeks.
So lion's mane helps depression, but does it interfere with antidepressants? Although more research is needed, so far, no studies suggest that lion’s mane use can reduce or increase the effects of antidepressants. Still, if you want to try the alternative medicine route in addition to traditional antidepressants, make sure to consult a healthcare professional.
Interested in Trying Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s mane is generally safe for most people. Still, if you want to take lion’s mane and use any of the medications mentioned above, it’s best to consult with a medical professional before you start taking a supplement.
Once your doctor gives you the green light, incorporate the helpful mushroom into your diet with our Forij Superfood Granola. In addition to a hyperconcentrated extract of lion’s mane, our granola contains extracts of chaga and cordyceps mushrooms.
The granola is vegan, gluten-free, packed with nutrients, and delicious. What more could you want in a morning bowl of cereal?
Lion’s Mane Drug Interactions FAQ
Is lion’s mane good for the lungs?
Animal research suggests that lion’s mane may be quite beneficial for the lungs. An in vitro study examined the effects of the Hericium erinaceus mycelium on cancer metastasis to the lung cells. The results show that the mushroom extract inhibited metastasis of cancer cells to the lung in mice.
Can lion’s mane cause stomach ulcers?
No, lion’s mane does not cause stomach ulcers. Quite the contrary, the medicinal mushroom seems to improve digestive health and have gastroprotective properties, and it may even protect against ulcers, according to an animal study.
Can lion’s mane help with sleep disorders?
Research suggests that lion’s mane supplements may improve sleep quality, especially in sleep disorders caused by acute stress. A study examined the effects of lion’s mane on insomnia caused by exam-related stress in students. Compared to the control group, students who took the supplement reported feeling less anxious and having fewer sleepless nights after 4 weeks.
This article was written strictly for informational purposes and is not intended to inform about medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any kind. The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).