Though there are no human studies on the effects of lion’s mane mushrooms on blood sugar levels, anecdotal evidence, as well as high-quality animal studies on the topic are promising. Let’s take a look at how lion’s mane can help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
What Is Lion’s Mane?
Native to North America, Europe, and Asia, the lion’s mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. This adaptogenic mushroom is considered to be one of the healthiest mushrooms you can consume thanks to its benefits for physical and mental health.
Lion’s Mane Benefits
Research on the potential health benefits of lion’s mane indicates the mushroom has significant potential to fight chronic inflammation and reduce symptoms of many autoimmune illnesses. Lion’s mane also appears to alleviate dementia, depression and anxiety, as well as improve brain function and cognitive health.
Some of the apparent effects of the lion’s mane mushroom include:
- reduces anxiety and depressive disorders
- improves cognitive functions and overall brain health
- has protective effects against mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease
- reduces inflammation and nerve pains
- prevents blood clots
- alleviates oxidative stress
- encourages apoptosis (cell death) of cancer cells
- improves digestive health and treats irritable bowel disease
- lowers blood sugar levels
- boosts immunity and provides antioxidant activities
- reduces symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis
Lion’s Mane Spiritual Benefits
Lion's mane mushrooms seem to provide an array of spiritual benefits. These mushrooms enhance brain function, aid in depression and anxiety relief, and alleviate brain fog. Shaolin monks in ancient China used the lion's mane mushroom in daily practice to improve their concentration. They believed it increased their "Qi," a mystical, energetic life force.
Does Lion’s Mane Lower Blood Sugar Levels?
Several studies suggest that lion’s mane mushroom extract may be able to lower blood sugar levels.
For example, a 2020 in vitro study examined the effects of Hericium erinaceus on blood sugar levels. Fruiting bodies found in lion’s mane were found to block the activity of α-glucosidase, an enzyme which breaks down carbs in the small intestine.
An animal study published by the National Library of Medicine examined the antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic activities of aqueous extract of Hericium erinaceus in experimental diabetic rats and came to a similar conclusion. Results show that extracts of Hericium erinaceus lower blood sugar levels, at least in animals that exhibit experimental diabetes, after 28 days of use.
Does the Lion’s Mane Mushroom Increase Blood Sugar?
No, lion’s mane does not increase blood sugar levels. In general, mushrooms have a low glycemic index, as they’re low in simple carbohydrates and high in protein. That means mushrooms, including lion’s mane, won’t cause a significant blood sugar spike.
Can Lion’s Mane Cause Hypoglycemia?
No, lion’s mane can’t cause hypoglycemia, but it does have hypoglycemic effects. Therefore, if you’re taking lion’s mane and medication that increases your insulin level, you could experience low blood sugar levels. To avoid hypoglycemia, make sure you stick to a diet regimen set by a healthcare professional and check your blood sugar regularly.
Is Lion’s Mane Good for Diabetics?
Lion’s mane can be incredibly beneficial for people with diabetes. Hericium erinaceus appears to help treat both types of Diabetes mellitus as well as prevent type 2 diabetes.
This medicinal mushroom shows great potential when it comes to lowering blood glucose levels, as well as easing diabetes symptoms and complications such as diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage and nerve pains related to this health condition).
When to Take Lion’s Mane if You Are Taking Insulin?
While you can take lion’s mane mushrooms any time of the day, we suggest taking them in the morning if you’re taking insulin.
Taking lion’s mane in the morning makes it easier for you to track your blood sugar levels throughout the day and adjust your insulin intake accordingly. Luckily, there’s an easy and delicious way to get your daily dose of lion’s mane with your breakfast—our flavorful mushroom granola.
Other than Lion’s Mane, What Mushroom is Good for Blood Sugar?
Various medicinal mushrooms, including the reishi mushroom, cordyceps, and chaga, appear to regulate blood sugar levels. Mushrooms are generally low in calories and carbohydrates, and high in antioxidants, vitamin B12, and protein.
While it’s smart to consume any commercially available mushroom if you have diabetes (shiitake mushrooms and portabella mushrooms, for example), adaptogenic fungi really stand out when it comes to anti-diabetic potential.
Are You Interested in Taking Lion’s Mane for Blood Sugar?
Whether you want to take lion’s mane to regulate your blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes, or as a dietary supplement that helps you manage diabetes, our healthy mushroom granola is the way to go.
The hyperconcentrated extract we use packs quite a punch, as it contains 10-15 times the nutrients a regular mushroom powder does. Plus, our granola is vegan, gluten-free, and delicious—everything you want in an ideal breakfast.
FAQ on Lion’s Mane and Blood Sugar
How much lion’s mane is in Forij granola?
Forij granola uses a high-quality lion's mane 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 supplement. 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.
Who should not take lion’s mane mushrooms?
There are no long-term side effects of lion’s mane, and centuries of use in alternative medicine suggest that lion’s mane is completely safe to consume. However, you should be cautious of taking medicinal mushrooms, including Hericium erinaceus, if you are on blood thinners. Contraindications for lion’s mane also include allergies to mold, yeast, and other fungi.
Does lion’s mane thin your blood?
Lion’s mane mushrooms are anticoagulants, which means they decrease blood clotting. While the adaptogenic mushroom won’t act as a blood thinner on its own, it may aid in the blood-thinning properties of certain medications. If you are on blood thinners, it’s best to consult your doctor before you start taking lion’s mane supplements, as they can affect wound healing by reducing coagulation.
Can I take lion’s mane everyday?
Taking lion’s mane mushrooms every day is completely safe, and can even be quite beneficial. Frequent use has a cumulative effect, meaning you’ll start noticing the effects of the mushroom sooner. However, the dosing on lion’s mane extracts varies greatly depending on the potency, so make sure not to exceed the dose recommended by the manufacturer.
How can I lower my blood sugar without insulin?
Yes, you can lower your blood sugar levels without insulin or diabetes medication by eating foods rich in fiber, protein, and foods that naturally lower blood glucose levels (such as lion’s mane mushrooms). However, if you have diabetes, do not stop taking medication without consulting with your doctor first.
What are the lion’s mane neurogenesis benefits?
Lion’s mane appears to promote neurogenesis (nerve growth) and nerve regeneration.
An in vitro animal study looked at the effect of Hericium erinaceus on nerve growth factor (NGF) mediated neurite outgrowth. The study examined the effects of hericenone K (a bioactive compound found in lion’s mane fruiting bodies) in particular and found that the compound stimulated the production of NGF proteins.
This, in turn, promoted neurite overgrowth (the fundamental process in neuron differentiation). Based on the above results, it appears that lion’s mane mushroom extract definitely does promote neurogenesis, at least in animals. NGF proteins were also shown to increase the production of other cell types, including pancreatic beta cells.
What is the ideal lion’s mane dosage for neuropathy?
Lion’s mane seems to alleviate neuropathic pain, a common diabetes complication. To reduce neuropathic pain, it's best to take about 500-1000 mg of Hericium erinaceus 1-3 times a day. The exact dosage will differ from person to person, so you should experiment until you find the perfect lion’s mane dosage for you.
The information provided in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease or illness. The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or medical reviewers.