Lion’s mane mushrooms may be a promising supplementary treatment for bipolar disorder (BPD). BPD is a complex condition, and we’d never claim that a mushroom is the ultimate solution—but the evidence is pretty compelling that lion’s mane can be a helpful addition to a treatment protocol.
Join us as we explore the potential benefits of lion's mane for people with bipolar disorder. And, to learn more about this amazing mushroom, read our guide to lion’s mane.
What Is Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus) are medicinal mushrooms commonly found in wooded areas of northern Europe, northern Asia, and North America. This mushroom is considered to be one of the healthiest mushrooms in the world due to the many benefits it provides. Learn more about the power of adaptogens by reading our guide to adaptogenic mushrooms.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a mental health condition characterized by extreme shifts in mood, energy levels, and activity levels. People with bipolar disorder experience periods of intense emotional highs, known as mania or hypomania, and periods of deep sadness or depression. Here are some symptoms associated with bipolar disorder:
Manic Phase Symptoms
- Increased energy and activity levels
- Elevated or irritable mood
- Decreased need for sleep
- Grandiose or inflated self-esteem
- Racing thoughts and rapid speech
- Impulsivity and risky behavior
Depressive Phase Symptoms
- Persistent sadness or hopelessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Can Lion’s Mane Help Bipolar Disorder?
While the scientific research on the direct effects of lion's mane on bipolar disorder is limited, there is promising evidence for related conditions. Studies have demonstrated the ability of lion's mane to reduce anxiety and depression, both in animals and humans.
Consider the following facts:
- Depression and anxiety often accompany bipolar disorder as prominent symptoms.
- Lion's mane can improve depression and anxiety.
- Lion’s mane has a positive impact on brain function.
Given these facts, we can hypothesize that lion’s mane may help with managing bipolar disorder. Although more research is needed to establish a direct link, the overlapping benefits for adjacent conditions provide a glimmer of hope for those seeking alternative approaches to support their well-being.
Certainly, there are no downsides to taking lion’s mane as a supplement. It is affordable, safe, and shown to bestow a range of benefits.
What Are the Brain Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane?
Recent research indicates that lion’s mane could aid in the growth of new nerve cells through its effects on the nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF). A recent study found that the lion’s mane mushroom contains bioactive compounds that can promote nerve cell growth.
Another study on lion’s mane and hippocampal neurogenesis, published in 2023, found that “the lion’s mane mushroom had a significant impact on the growth of brain cells and improved memory formation” and added that a compound found in lion’s mane (Hericene A) “acts through a novel pan-neurotrophic signaling pathway, leading to improved cognitive performance.”
To learn more about this amazing lion’s mane benefit, read our article on lion’s mane and neurogenesis.
What Are the Psychological Effects of Lion’s Mane?
Research suggests that lion’s mane can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorders. Since bipolar disorder consists of depressive and manic episodes and is often accompanied by generalized anxiety, let’s take a look at how lion’s mane can help alleviate depression, anxiety, and mania.
Lion’s Mane Depression Study
A study published in Japan examined the effects of Hericium erinaceus on symptoms of depression in menopausal women. After taking a lion’s mane supplement for 4 weeks, these women reported feeling less depressed than they did at the beginning of the trial, suggesting that lion’s mane is effective in treating depressive symptoms.
Another scientific article on the therapeutic properties of lion’s mane for depressive disorders concluded that “H. erinaceus may be a potential alternative medicine for the treatment of depression.”
If you want to learn more about taking lion’s mane for depression, take a look at our article on the antidepressant effects of lion’s mane.
Lion’s Mane Anxiety Study
Lion’s mane appears to reduce anxiety in both animals and humans. The effects of lion’s mane on anxiety were investigated in a recent clinical trial.
This trial examined the effects of lion’s mane on sleep quality and anxiety levels in female undergraduate students during a stressful exam season. The students reported feeling much calmer, and their sleep schedules improved significantly after 4 weeks of using the lion's mane mushroom extract.
Another study, done on animals, concluded that “mice receiving H. erinaceus had…increased exploratory behavior toward novel objects,” which could indicate lower levels of anxiety in these animals.
To learn more about how you can alleviate anxiety with lion’s mane, take a look at our article on the benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms for anxiety.
Can Lion’s Mane Help with Mania?
There is currently no research on the therapeutic potential of Hericium erinaceus on mania associated with bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder anecdotally take this mushroom to reduce stress levels and relax during their manic episodes, which warrants scientific research into the benefits lion’s mane can have for mania.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Benefits
The lion's mane mushroom offers a range of potential health benefits. This mushroom reduces inflammation, improves cognitive functioning, supports gut health, and alleviates symptoms of many mental illnesses. Here are some key benefits associated with lion's mane mushroom:
- Lion's mane contains dietary fibers that can support gut health by promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and improving overall gut function.
- Some studies suggest that lion's mane improves sleep quality and may help regulate sleep patterns, potentially benefiting those with sleep disorders or insomnia.
- Lion's mane contains bioactive compounds that exhibit anti-inflammatory properties, which may help in reducing inflammation in the body and support overall wellness.
- Hericium erinaceus has been studied for its potential to prevent mild cognitive impairment and improve cognitive functions. It may improve memory, focus, and mental clarity.
- Studies show that lion’s mane can relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions.
- The antioxidant activities of lion’s mane can help protect cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
- Slows down the progression of many chronic illnesses, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of this wondrous mushroom, read our guide to lion’s mane health benefits.
Lion’s Mane Side Effects
There are no known side effects of lion’s mane. Centuries of use, anecdotal evidence, and available animal and human studies all suggest that lion’s mane is completely safe to eat. However, you may experience some mild digestive discomfort if you’re new to this mushroom. Read our blog post on the side effects of lion’s mane for more information.
Are You Interested in Taking Lion’s Mane for Bipolar Disorder?
If you want to take lion’s mane for bipolar disorder, why not try our delicious medicinal mushroom granola? This mushroom product is vegan, gluten-free, GMP-free, and contains a high-quality lion’s mane extract.
And, if you want to try more of our products, we also offer a delicious and nutrient-dense turkey tail powder you can check out.
How Much Lion’s Mane Should You Take for Bipolar Disorder?
The optimal dose of lion’s mane will vary from person to person. If you’re taking lion’s mane for bipolar disorder, it’s best to start with a low dosage (500-1000 mg) and work your way up until you feel the effects. For more information on lion’s mane dosages, read our lion’s mane dosage guide.
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 extract contains both water-soluble beta-glucans as well as alcohol-soluble triterpenes. Our decoction process breaks down the fruiting bodies and 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 supplements. Therefore, you get as much lion's mane 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 and Bipolar Disorder
Who should avoid lion’s mane?
While no one should outright avoid lion’s mane, people with certain allergies or on certain medications should be cautious when taking it.
If you are prone to allergies, particularly to mold, yeast, or other fungi, be careful when you first start taking lion’s mane. Similarly, if you are on blood clotting or diabetes medication, consult with your doctor before taking this mushroom.
Visit our blog post on the contraindications of lion’s mane for more information.
Does lion’s mane lower dopamine?
Lion's mane does not directly lower or increase dopamine, but it does help regulate dopamine levels. A 2018 animal study looked at the underlying mechanisms of the antidepressant effects of lion’s mane in mice.
The findings of this study suggest that when the mice were stressed, their dopamine levels dropped. The dopamine levels normalized after consuming lion's mane, despite no changes in their stress levels, which shows that lion's mane may be responsible for the stabilization of dopamine levels.
Is lion’s mane good for ADHD?
Though there is not a lot of research on the benefits of lion’s mane for ADHD in particular, anecdotal evidence suggests that this mushroom could be an effective natural remedy for this ailment. Some people even use lion’s mane as a natural alternative to Adderall. To learn more about this topic, visit our blog post on the benefits of lion’s mane for ADHD.
Can lion’s mane replace antidepressants?
While lion’s mane can have a mild antidepressant effect and can be used as an integrative health remedy for depression, it should not be used as a replacement for prescribed treatments for depressive disorders. Never stop taking antidepressants without discussing it with a healthcare professional.
Does lion’s mane help with mood?
Patients with mood disorders and medical reviewers agree that lion’s mane may stabilize mood. This mushroom is an adaptogen, which means that it helps your body adapt to stress, both acute and chronic. Thus, taking it will likely impact your mood in a positive way. Learn more about this topic in our spiritual benefits of lion’s mane guide.
Does lion’s mane affect testosterone?
Lion’s mane may affect testosterone through the stabilizing benefits it has on hormone production. We take a deep dive into this topic in our blog post on lion’s mane and testosterone, as well as one on lion’s mane and DHT.
Does lion’s mane raise blood pressure?
There is no evidence suggesting that lion's mane mushrooms raise blood pressure. In fact, studies suggest that lion’s mane can lower blood pressure in those with high blood pressure. A 2022 study cites that “bioactive peptides [found in Hericium erinaceus] have functional activities such as lowering blood pressure.”
Are there any lion’s mane schizophrenia benefits?
While there is some preliminary research suggesting that lion's mane mushroom may have potential benefits for cognitive function and mental health, more studies are needed to establish its efficacy and safety in treating specific conditions, such as schizophrenia.
Lion's mane contains bioactive compounds that may have neuroprotective and neuroregenerative properties, but it should not be considered a substitute for standard medical treatment.
What is the ideal lion’s mane depression dosage?
There is no exact dosage of lion’s mane mushrooms that will alleviate symptoms of depression in everyone. However, you should strive to take around 1000 mg per day or more if you are taking lion’s mane to ease depression. If you’re new to taking adaptogenic mushrooms, you may want to start with a lower dosage and work your way up, as lion’s mane can upset the stomach if you’re not used to taking it.
Does lion’s mane increase dopamine and serotonin?
Lion's mane may have indirect benefits on dopamine and serotonin production through its effects on hormone regulation. Though these benefits are promising, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of lion’s mane on serotonin levels in humans.
Is lion’s mane a nootropic?
Yes, lion’s mane can be considered a nootropic. This mushroom provides an abundance of benefits for cognitive and mental health. We take an in-depth dive into the nootropic benefits of lion’s mane in a recent blog post, check it out.
Can I take lion’s mane with St. John’s Wort?
Yes, you can take lion’s mane with St. John’s Wort. A lot of naturopathic doctors recommend taking more than one adaptogen, as they all provide a unique set of benefits without interfering with the effects of other adaptogens.
- 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
- Martínez‐Mármol, R. (2023). Hericerin derivatives activates a pan‐neurotrophic pathway in central hippocampal neurons converging to ERK1 /2 signaling enhancing spatial memory. Journal of Neurochemistry. https://doi.org/10.1111/jnc.15767
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- Rodriguez, M. N. (2022). Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus) Exerts Anxiolytic Effects in the rTg4510 Tau Mouse Model. Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland), 12(7), 235. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs12070235
- 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
- Wang, N. (2022). Effects of Hericium erinaceus polypeptide on lowering blood lipids of mice with hyperlipidemia induced by a high-fat diet. Journal of Future Foods, 2(4), 346-357. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfutfo.2022.08.006
The information provided in this article should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Before adding lion’s mane to your health and wellness routine, talk to a health care professional about the potential benefits, side effects, and uses of this mushroom.