The lion’s mane mushroom seems to have health benefits across a range of conditions from depression and anxiety to diabetes and cancer. But, can it help your athletic performance?
What Is Lion’s Mane?
The lion’s mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) is an adaptogenic mushroom native to northern Europe, northern Asia, and North America. Thanks to its many physical and spiritual benefits, lion’s mane is among the healthiest mushrooms you can consume.
Lion’s Mane Benefits
Research on the health benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms indicates this fungus has the potential to promote the production of nerve growth factor proteins and repair brain cells. Hericium erinaceus appears to lower blood sugar levels, improve cognitive function, lessen oxidative stress, as well as improve overall mental clarity.
Some of the potential benefits of lion’s mane include:
- reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression
- reduces inflammation and nerve pain
- improves cognitive function
- has a protective effect on the brain and improves overall brain health
- reduces the risk of heart disease
- accelerates fat metabolism and aids in weight loss
- protects against mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease
- encourages apoptosis (cell death) of cancer cells
- improves gut health
- boosts the immune system and improves immune functioning
- has neuroprotective properties and reduces brain damage in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis
Lion’s Mane Side Effects
There are no known side effects of lion’s mane. Although there are no studies on the negative effects of Hericium erinaceus, anecdotal evidence and centuries of use suggest that lion’s mane is completely safe to consume, both as a food and as dietary supplementation.
Lion’s Mane Benefits for Athletes
Lion’s mane is incredibly beneficial for athletes. This functional mushroom provides an array of mental and physical benefits that can aid athletic performance. For example, lion’s mane reduces fatigue, increases energy, reduces inflammation, and provides focus and concentration. Let’s take a look at the many benefits of the lion’s mane mushroom for athletes.
Lion’s Mane Vitamin Content
Lion’s mane is incredibly nutritious and rich in vitamins. This mushroom contains high levels of B vitamins such as thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and B12. B vitamins are important for athletes, as they support energy metabolism, increase energy levels, and promote brain health. Hericium erinaceus also contains minerals such as potassium and zinc, which are great for muscle recovery.
Lion’s Mane and Building Muscle
Lion’s mane can help you build muscle due to its anti-fatigue activities. This mushroom appears to promote blood flow to the muscles, which, in turn, leads to an increase in muscle endurance and a decrease in physical fatigue levels, at least in mice.
In this animal study, the mice that consumed lion’s mane mushrooms for 28 days had lower levels of blood lactic acid, serum urea nitrogen, and malondialdehyde, three compounds responsible for fatigue.
Lion’s Mane and Recovery
The lion’s mane mushroom reduces inflammation and recovery time, which means you’ll be able to train to your full potential every day. The anti-inflammatory potential of Hericium erinaceus has been widely researched, with results showing that this fungus has incredible potential for treating inflammation.
For example, the results of a recent study on the anti-inflammatory effects of Hericium erinaceus indicate that lion’s mane exhibited anti-inflammatory effects through the inhibition of TLR4-JNK signaling. By inhibiting TLR4-JNK signaling, lion's mane seems to lessen inflammation levels, which leads to faster muscle recovery.
Lion’s Mane and Weight Loss
The lion’s mane mushroom improves fat metabolism and aids in weight loss. Therefore, whether you need to lose weight for a competition or to better show off muscles you’ve worked hard on, Hericium erinaceus is a great mushroom to consume.
Research, such as this 2013 animal study, has shown that lion’s mane extract improves fat metabolism, which can be helpful for endurance athletes. And, if you want to keep your weight as is, lion’s mane can be a terrific weight maintenance tool, as well.
Lion’s Mane and Focus
An athlete’s performance is equally dependent on focus and concentration as it is on physical capabilities. When it comes to cognitive benefits, lion’s mane is the best mushroom you can consume. Hericium erinaceus improves concentration, memory, and focus, which is integral for peak performance during training and competitions.
Taking Lion’s Mane for Athletes
If you’re interested in taking lion’s mane as an athlete, there are many ways to do so. Try one of our lion’s mane mushroom recipes if you want to give this culinary delicacy a taste. And, if you don’t like the flavor of lion’s mane or want an easier way to get the nutrients this mushroom provides, opt for a lion’s mane mushroom product such as our granola.
Our delicious medicinal mushroom granola is vegan, gluten-free, contains organic, high-quality ingredients, and a hyperconcentrated lion’s mane extract. What more could you ask for in a delicious bowl of cereal you’ll be excited to eat every morning?
Lion’s Mane Dosage for Athletes
The ideal lion’s mane dosage differs from athlete to athlete. If you’re new to adaptogenic mushrooms, we recommend starting with 750-1000 mg of lion’s mane per day and working your way up, so as not to cause digestive discomfort.
How Much Lion’s Mane Is in Forij Granola?
Forij granola uses a high-quality lion's mane mushroom extract made from the whole medicinal mushroom. 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 extract, which is eight times more concentrated than regular lion’s mane mushroom supplements. Therefore, you get as much potency as you would if you were taking a 2000 mg lion’s mane mushroom powder, all in one bowl of granola.
FAQ on Lion’s Mane for Athletes
How quickly does lion’s mane work?
That depends on what you’re taking the mushroom for. You can notice the short-term effects of lion’s mane after just a few days. You’ll likely feel less anxious and more energized within the first two weeks of taking lion’s mane extracts. However, to reap the long-term benefits of lion’s mane, you should be taking it consistently for at least a few months.
Can I take lion’s mane everyday?
It’s not only completely safe but highly beneficial to take lion’s mane mushrooms every day. Long-term benefits—such as the lion's mane’s ability to prevent diabetes and reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s disease—become more pronounced the longer you use this mushroom.
Does lion’s mane have testosterone?
No, lion’s mane does not have testosterone. However, Hericium erinaceus may affect testosterone levels in your body. Due to the neurogenesis potential of lion’s mane, these mushrooms may be able to increase testosterone levels, which could be immensely beneficial for athletes, as higher testosterone levels typically equate to better performance.
Does lion’s mane increase dopamine?
Yes, lion’s mane can increase dopamine. The main goal of lion's mane mushrooms is to keep your body in a state of homeostasis, whether that means lowering your cortisol or increasing your dopamine levels. This effect on dopamine is likely behind the beneficial effects lion’s mane can have on depression.
When should you not take lion’s mane?
You can take lion’s mane any time of day. However, we recommend taking Hericium erinaceus in the mornings, with your breakfast. That way, you’ll reap its energizing and focus-boosting benefits throughout your workday. Taking lion’s mane in the evenings may make you feel restless, especially if you’re not used to the effects of adaptogenic mushrooms.
What does lion’s mane do to the brain?
Lion’s mane is among the best mushrooms for brain health. This fungus has significant potential to promote nerve growth and nerve regeneration, and may even reverse symptoms of diseases that affect the brain (for example, lion’s mane shows great potential when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease treatment).
Can I put lion’s mane in pre-workout?
You can add lion’s mane mushroom powder to a pre-workout supplement, and lion’s mane pre-workouts are a popular choice for athletes. However, we recommend taking lion’s mane about 15 minutes before taking your preworkout, as the caffeine in preworkout can affect lion’s mane absorption.
Can I take lion’s mane with other functional mushrooms?
Yes, you can take lion’s mane with any functional mushroom, including turkey tail mushrooms, chaga, and Ganoderma lucidum (reishi mushroom). When it comes to medicinal mushrooms, the whole is better than the sum of its parts, so you’ll likely reap more benefits of lion’s mane if you take it with other adaptogenic fungi.
This article was written strictly for informational purposes and is not intended to 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.