Lion’s mane is an alternative medicine staple and one of the healthiest mushrooms in the world. One of its many benefits is the ability to repair damaged nerve cells and promote neurite outgrowth. This can be incredibly beneficial in managing ALS. Let’s dive into the benefits of lion’s mane for ALS.
To learn more about this amazing fungus, take a look at our lion’s mane mushroom guide.
What Are Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?
The adaptogenic mushroom lion's mane (Hericium erinaceus) has long been used in alternative medicine. It grows best in temperate to cool climates and is native to North America, northern Europe, and Asia.
To learn more about how lion's mane and other adaptogenic mushrooms work, read our detailed explanation on adaptogenic fungi.
Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane
The health benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms range from reducing inflammation and oxidative stress and aiding the immune system to managing mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
In clinical trials on the effects of Hericium erinaceus on neurodegenerative health conditions, this mushroom:
- improved cognitive impairments related to Alzheimer’s disease
- alleviated symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
- appeared to slow down the progression of multiple sclerosis
- aided in overall cognitive health and prevented cognitive decline in healthy people
If you’d like to learn more about the beneficial effects this alternative medicine staple can have on various health conditions, read our article about the health benefits of lion’s mane.
Lion’s Mane Side Effects
Supplementing with lion's mane mushrooms has no long-term negative effects. If you're new to adaptogens, you may experience some gastric discomfort, bloating, or diarrhea at first, but these side effects should subside after a few days.
What Is ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rare progressive motor neuron disease. It affects nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movement such as walking, chewing, and talking. In recent years, due to ALS awareness efforts, ALS research has become more prominent, but there is still no cure for this disease.
How Does Lion’s Mane Mushroom Help ALS?
As of 2023, no clinical ALS research has been done involving lion’s mane mushrooms. However, clinical trials on the effects of lion’s mane on neurite outgrowth and nerve repair show promising results when it comes to using this mushroom to manage ALS symptoms. Lion’s mane appears to help alleviate muscle twitches, cramps, stiffness, and muscle weakness, which are common symptoms of ALS.
Lion’s Mane Neurogenesis Study
Lion’s mane appears to promote neurogenesis by increasing the production of nerve growth factors (NGF).
An in vitro study suggests that one of the lion's mane mushroom's properties is its ability to promote neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells. Bioactive compounds isolated from Hericium erinaceus fruit bodies increased the presence of nerve growth factor proteins in these cells significantly.
Human clinical trials (such as a double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the effects of Hericium erinaceus on mild cognitive impairment) show promising results, but the body of evidence isn't strong enough to say that lion's mane promotes the growth and regeneration of nerve cells in humans.
To learn more about the effects of lion’s mane on neurite outgrowth, check out our article on the effects of lion’s mane mushrooms on neurogenesis.
Lion’s Mane Study on Nerve Repair
A 2011 animal study looked into the potential of lion's mane mushrooms for nerve repair. Rats with peripheral nerve damage were given an oral extract from the fresh fruit bodies of lion's mane in this study.
The results show that function recovery was significantly faster in rats given lion's mane extracts than in the control group, as measured by a walking track analysis.
Though more research on human nerve fiber injuries is needed, this study suggests that the activity of lion's mane aqueous extract prevents further injury and accelerates nerve healing, at least in animal nervous systems.
Lion’s Mane Motor Neuron Disease Benefits
Health conditions such as ALS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other motor neuron diseases are caused by progressive damage to nerve cells. Lion’s mane appears to promote nerve cell growth and regeneration through the production of nerve growth factors (NGF). This effect is responsible for the apparent benefits of lion's mane for motor neuron diseases.
While there is no cure for most motor neuron diseases, there are ways to slow down their progression and even repair some of the damage caused by the ailment. That’s where lion’s mane comes in. This mushroom appears to have the opposite effect on the brain as neurodegenerative diseases, making it a promising adaptogen to take for motor neuron disease management.
How Can You Start Taking Lion’s Mane for ALS
If you want to start taking lion's mane to manage ALS, you should start with the best supplement on the market. And, at the risk of sounding biased, our medicinal mushroom granola has exactly what you're looking for.
Our granola contains a high-quality, hyperconcentrated lion's mane extract that contains all of the beneficial compounds found in this mushroom (including those that you can't get from eating fresh lion's mane).
The granola is vegan, gluten-free, made with nutritious ingredients, and delicious. What more could you want from a morning bowl of granola?
Lion’s Mane Dosage for ALS
The exact lion’s mane mushroom dosage for ALS differs from person to person. If you’re new to adaptogens, it’s best to start with a dose of 750-1000 mg, as to avoid digestive discomfort. Once you get used to lion’s mane, you can increase the dosage to 2000 mg or more, until you are happy with its effects.
How Much Lion’s Mane Is in Forij Granola?
Forij granola uses high-quality lion's mane extracts made from whole medicinal mushrooms. Our dual extraction method extracts both water-soluble beta-glucans as well as alcohol-soluble triterpenes. Our decoction process breaks down indigestible chitin cell walls of the mushroom to get much more of these compounds out than ordinary processes do.
One serving of our granola provides 250 mg of hyperconcentrated lion's mane mushroom extract, which is eight times more concentrated than regular lion’s mane dietary supplementation. Therefore, you get as much lion's mane potency as you would if you were taking a 2000 mg mushroom powder supplement, all in one bowl of granola.
FAQ on Lion’s Mane for ALS
Can lion’s mane cause nerve damage?
No, lion's mane does not cause nerve damage. This mushroom appears to help prevent nerve damage associated with neurodegenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease, and aid in nerve recovery. Lion's mane also relieves neuropathic pain, which is a common symptom of nerve damage.
Does lion’s mane grow new nerves?
While lion’s mane does not grow new nerves on its own, it appears to stimulate our brain to grow nerves. Contrary to popular belief, the human brain grows new nerve cells throughout its whole life, and lion’s mane medicinal mushrooms seem to aid in this process.
Does lion’s mane work immediately?
The full effects of Hericium erinaceus should be felt within the first two weeks of taking lion's mane supplements. However, don't be discouraged if you don't see immediate results. Try different doses of lion's mane until you find one that makes you feel good, and you'll notice its many benefits within a month or so.
Who should not take lion’s mane mushrooms?
Although most people are safe to use lion's mane, it does have some contraindications. If you have a history of allergies or are allergic to mold, yeast, or other fungi, you should use lion's mane or another adaptogenic mushroom with caution.
Some medications, such as diabetes medications, may also interact with lion's mane. If you are taking any medications that may interact with lion's mane, you should consult your doctor for medical advice before taking Hericium erinaceus.
What does lion’s mane cure?
No mushroom, including lion’s mane, can cure a disease on its own. However, this mushroom appears to aid in the treatment of many health conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
The medicinal mushroom Hericium erinaceus can also aid in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, improving the immune system, and even ease symptoms of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Does lion’s mane increase dopamine?
Although lion's mane medicinal mushrooms do not appear to increase dopamine, they do appear to stabilize dopamine levels in animals. This effect is likely behind the beneficial effects lion’s mane can have on depression.
A 2018 animal study investigated the underlying mechanisms of the antidepressant effects of lion’s mane mushroom extract in mice. The findings suggest that when the mice were stressed, their dopamine levels dropped.
Their dopamine levels stabilized after taking lion's mane extracts, despite no changes in their stress levels. This suggests that lion's mane may be to blame for the increase in dopamine levels, though more human research is required to fully comprehend this lion's mane benefit.
Can lion’s mane be taken long term?
Taking lion's mane mushrooms long term is not only completely safe, but extremely beneficial. Long-term benefits of lion's mane, such as improved cognitive functioning and the ability to alleviate Parkinson's disease symptoms, become more apparent the longer you use this mushroom.
Is lion’s mane addiction possible?
No, even if taken daily, lion's mane mushrooms are not addictive. Even if you're taking high doses of lion's mane, you won't experience any side effects or withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it, but you will stop reaping its benefits.
When is ALS awareness day?
ALS awareness day is on the 21st of June..
- Lai, P. L. (2013). Neurotrophic Properties of the Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 15(6), 539–554. https://doi.org/10.1615/intjmedmushr.v15.i6.30
- Zhang, C. C. (2015). Chemical constituents from Hericium erinaceus and their ability to stimulate NGF-mediated neurite outgrowth on PC12 cells. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 25(22), 5078–5082. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2015.10.016
- Mori, K. (2009). Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytotherapy Research, 23(3), 367–372. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.2634
- Wong, K. H. (2011). Peripheral Nerve Regeneration Following Crush Injury to Rat Peroneal Nerve by Aqueous Extract of Medicinal Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae). Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2011, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1093/ecam/neq062
- Chiu, C. H. (2018). Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects through Modulating BDNF/PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β Signaling in Mice. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 19(2), 341. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19020341
This article was written strictly for informational purposes and is not intended to provide medical advice or diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and should not be used for medicinal purposes.