A staple in traditional Chinese medicine, the lion’s mane mushroom appears to provide a slew of benefits for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder.
Read on to learn how Hericium erinaceus can help you manage autism. To learn even more about this wondrous fungus, take a look at our complete guide to lion’s mane mushrooms.
What Are Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?
The lion's mane mushroom is an adaptogenic mushroom that has long been used in alternative medicine and is still regarded as one of the healthiest mushrooms on the planet. It grows best in moderate to cool climates and can be found in North America, northern Europe, and Asia.
Check out our in-depth explanation of adaptogenic mushrooms to learn more about how lion's mane works.
Lion’s Mane Benefits
Whether you’re looking for a mushroom for overall health maintenance or want to treat a specific issue, lion’s mane is the way to go.
Lion’s mane mushroom benefits range from brain fog relief and focus improvement to the ability to alleviate mild depression and even prevent some forms of cancer. This mushroom also appears to boost the immune system and lower blood sugar levels, which is my lion’s mane is quite beneficial to those with diabetes.
To learn more about how Hericium erinaceus can improve your life, read our guide to lion’s mane mushroom benefits.
Lion’s Mane Side Effects
Lion's mane has no known long-term negative side effects. This mushroom has been used in alternative medicine for centuries, indicating that it is completely safe to consume.
If you're new to adaptogenic mushrooms, you might experience some gastric discomfort, bloating, or diarrhea when you first start taking lion's mane, but these adverse effects should subside after a few days of regular use.
Does Lion’s Mane Help with Autism?
Autism spectrum disorder doesn’t have a cure, but lion’s mane appears to alleviate many symptoms associated with this disorder. Hericium erinaceus is incredibly beneficial for the brain and appears to relieve brain fog and improve cognitive functioning. This mushroom is also incredibly beneficial in treating anxiety, a common symptom of autism.
What Does Lion’s Mane Do to the Brain?
Lion’s mane promotes nerve growth (neurogenesis) in the brain. According to clinical studies, one of the lion's mane mushroom's properties is its ability to stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) proteins. These proteins help nerve cells grow and develop properly.
This alternative Chinese medicine staple was studied in vitro for its effects on NGF-mediated neurite outgrowth. The study looked specifically at hericenone K and discovered that it stimulated the production of NGF proteins.
As a result, neurite overgrowth—the fundamental process in neuron differentiation—increased. Based on these findings, it appears that these medicinal mushrooms do, at least in animals, promote neurogenesis.
Does Lion’s Mane Improve Cognitive Function?
Lion’s mane appears to improve cognitive functions such as memory, focus, and learning, as well as alleviate symptoms of brain fog.
A study published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms found that Hericium erinaceus improved cognitive functioning and memory in mice. In this study, researchers looked at spatial memory in wild-type mice given a lion's mane mushroom supplement.
Before they started eating the lion's mane, the mice were given tasks such as the novel object recognition test and the Y maze test. The mice performed significantly better in these tasks after taking Hericium erinaceus for two months, most likely due to hippocampal neurogenesis caused by lion's mane use.
While the effects of lion’s mane on cognitive functions in humans is still scarce, some studies, such as the Japanese study on the effects of lion’s mane on memory, are quite promising. To learn more about lion’s mane’s potential benefits for memory, check out our article on the memory-boosting properties of Hericium erinaceus.
Can Lion’s Mane Reduce Anxiety?
Yes, lion’s mane can reduce anxiety, a common symptom of autism spectrum disorder.
The effects of lion's mane mushroom supplements on anxiety and depression levels in humans were researched in a Japanese study on menopausal women. The women were tested for irritability and anxiety levels before and after taking a lion's mane extract for four weeks.
When tested the second time on these metrics, the women who took the lion's mane mushroom supplement scored significantly lower than their control group counterparts, indicating that they had fewer symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom for Children with Autism and ADHD
Lion’s mane can be quite beneficial for children with autism and ADHD. The beneficial effects of this mushroom for ADHD can’t be understated, with many people opting to use lion’s mane along with, or instead of, Adderall and other prescription ADHD medication.
Many parents with children who have ADHD or autism choose to manage their child’s symptoms with adaptogens, such as lion’s mane.
If you want to learn more, read our article on the benefits of lion’s mane for ADHD. And to learn more about the benefits of this amazing mushroom for children, check out our guide to lion’s mane for kids.
How to Cook Lion’s Mane
Lion's mane can be cooked in a variety of ways, including stir fry, pasta, and as the main course in the form of lion's mane crab cakes or steaks. Here are two delectable lion's mane recipes to try:
Lion’s Mane Crab Cakes
Crab cakes are the most frequently mentioned lion's mane mushroom recipes, and for good reason. Lion's mane crab cakes are a delicious alternative to regular crab because lion's mane mushrooms have a seafood flavor and texture similar to crab meat. If you like seafood, a lion’s mane crab cakes recipe is a must-try.
Lion’s Mane Pasta
Lion’s mane pasta is an easy way to include these medicinal mushrooms into your diet. If you’re out of ideas, try our lion’s mane pasta recipe, it’s delicious and surprisingly easy to make.
Are You Interested in Taking Lion’s Mane for Autism?
If you want to start taking lion’s mane to manage your autism spectrum disorder, you can do so with fresh mushrooms or a lion’s mane mushroom supplement. As unique food textures and flavors can be difficult to get down for people with autism and the flavor of lion’s mane can be overpowering, a high-quality supplement may be a better option.
Our functional mushroom granola is a delicious way to get this amazing mushroom into your diet, even if you hate the taste or texture of mushrooms. The granola is vegan, gluten-free, delicious, and made with the best hyperconcentrated lion’s mane extract. What more could you ask for in a morning bowl of cereal?
Lion’s Mane Dosage for Autism
Anecdotal evidence suggests that you should take a higher dose of lion's mane to alleviate autism spectrum disorder symptoms.
A typical lion’s mane dosage for autism ranges from 2000 mg to 5000 mg per day, but it's best to start with 1000 mg and gradually increase.
Starting with 2000 mg may cause digestive issues if you're new to this nootropic brain booster. To prevent this side effect, take lion's mane with food (or consume lion's mane-fortified foods).
How Much Lion’s Mane Is in Forij Granola?
Forij granola uses a high-quality lion's mane mushroom extract 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 extract, which is eight times more concentrated than a regular lion’s mane mushroom supplement. 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 Autism
When should you not take lion’s mane?
While this mushroom is safe for most people, there are some contraindications to taking lion's mane. If you are allergic to mold, yeast, or other fungi, you should exercise caution when taking lion's mane or any other adaptogenic mushroom.
Lion's mane can also interact with some medications, such as medicine that lowers blood sugar levels. If you are taking medication that lowers blood sugars, you should consult with your doctor before taking Hericium erinaceus.
What is the best thing for autism?
The therapy that works best for autism, according to researchers, is behavioral therapy. General health maintenance, physical activity, and a well-rounded diet also aid in autism symptom management.
What natural medicine is good for autism?
In addition to lion’s mane mushrooms, natural medicine good for autism includes Ginkgo biloba, turmeric, and reishi mushrooms.
Does lion’s mane increase dopamine?
Lion’s mane appears to stabilize dopamine levels. A 2018 study examined the underlying mechanisms of Hericium erinaceus' antidepressant effects in mice. The results suggest that when the mice were stressed, their dopamine levels dropped. However, after taking lion's mane, their dopamine levels stabilized, despite the lack of changes in their stress levels.
This suggests that the lion's mane may be to blame for the increase in dopamine levels, though more human research is needed. This effect on dopamine is likely behind lion’s mane’s ability to alleviate mild depression symptoms.
Does lion’s mane repair neurons?
Yes, according to research, lion’s mane can aid in the neuron repair process. For example, a recent animal study looked at the effects of these medicinal mushrooms on ischemic stroke brain injuries.
Researchers administered an aqueous extract of Hericium erinaceus to rats who had suffered an ischemic stroke. The rats who took the lion's mane supplement had significantly less brain damage than those who did not.
Can lion’s mane make you smart?
Lion’s mane may not make you smart, but this Chinese medicine staple will certainly aid in your focus and memory. In animal research, lion’s mane improved cognitive abilities such as problem solving and spatial memory.
Is lion’s mane a stimulant?
Although Hericium erinaceus is not a stimulant, taking lion’s mane can stimulate the brain. This functional mushroom appears to improve cognitive functions (particularly focus and memory) and may even alleviate ADHD symptoms. Unlike coffee and other stimulants, however, it does not cause jitters or a midday energy slump.
Where can I find a lion’s mane grow kit?
You can find a lion’s mane growing kit online and in stores that specialize in fungi. Lion’s mane mushrooms are not difficult to grow, but they don’t do well in all climates. If you want to get the lion’s mane mushroom benefits but don’t live in a climate suited for growing these mushrooms, try incorporating it with a high-quality extract (such as one found in our granola).
Can I take lion’s mane with the reishi mushrooms?
Yes, you can combine lion's mane with any medicinal mushroom, including reishi mushrooms. When it comes to using medicinal mushrooms for health maintenance and improvement, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, so taking lion's mane with reishi mushrooms and other adaptogenic fungi will likely provide more benefits.
Can lion’s mane boost the immune system?
According to research, lion's mane mushrooms have the potential to boost the immune system. A recent study looked at the effects of lion's mane on immune health in mice. According to the findings, the lion's mane mushroom improved overall immune function in mice by boosting cell and humoral immunity.
- 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
- Rossi, P. (2018). Dietary Supplementation of Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Agaricomycetes), and Spatial Memory in Wild-Type Mice. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 20(5), 485–494. https://doi.org/10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.2018026241
- Saitsu, Y. (2019). Improvement of cognitive functions by oral intake of Hericium erinaceus. Biomedical Research, 40(4), 125–131. https://doi.org/10.2220/biomedres.40.125
- Nagano, M. (2010). Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake. Biomedical Research, 31(4), 231–237. https://doi.org/10.2220/biomedres.31.231
- 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
- Lee, K. F. (2014). Protective Effects of Hericium erinaceus Mycelium and Its Isolated Erinacine A against Ischemia-Injury-Induced Neuronal Cell Death via the Inhibition of iNOS/p38 MAPK and Nitrotyrosine. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 15(9), 15073–15089. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms150915073
- Sheng, X. (2017). Immunomodulatory effects of Hericium erinaceus derived polysaccharides are mediated by intestinal immunology. Food & Function, 8(3), 1020–1027. https://doi.org/10.1039/c7fo00071e
Forij FDA Disclaimer
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.