Lion’s mane mushrooms are incredibly healthy, but they can have some contraindications. Here’s when you should think twice about taking Hericium erinaceus:
What Are Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?
The lion’s mane medicinal mushroom (Yamabushitake, Hericium erinaceus) is an adaptogenic mushroom that’s been used for culinary and medicinal purposes in alternative medicine for centuries.
This mushroom is considered to be one of the healthiest mushrooms you can eat due to its many health benefits. It grows on dead tree debris and prefers a cooler climate, which is why it mainly grows in northern Europe, northern Asia, and North America.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Benefits
Research on the health benefits of lion’s mane indicates the mushroom has significant potential to promote neurogenesis (nerve growth) and to prevent and repair nerve damage.
Lion’s mane mushrooms seem to have protective effects on the brain, as they appear to improve overall brain health and alleviate neuropathic pain, among other neurological effects.
The effects of lion’s mane on the body are also impressive. This mushroom provides antioxidant activity, appears to improve digestive health, and may even provide protective effects against stomach ulcers.
Potential benefits of the lion’s mane mushroom include:
- reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety
- reversing mild cognitive impairment
- protecting against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- reducing inflammation and nerve pains
- encouraging apoptosis of cancer cells
- preserving cognitive functions and speeding recovery of nervous system injuries
- providing antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic activities
- reducing symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis
Lion’s Mane Spiritual Benefits
Lion's mane mushrooms seem to have spiritual benefits. 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. Lion's mane's bioactive compounds do indeed seem to improve focus and memory.
Lion’s Mane Side Effects
Available research and centuries of use suggest that lion’s mane supplements don’t have any side effects. If you’re new to this fungus, you may experience mild digestive issues when you start taking lion’s mane, but these side effects should subside after a few hours.
Lion’s Mane Contraindications
Hericium erinaceus is incredibly healthy. However, in rare cases, lion’s mane extracts can cause an allergic reaction or an asthma attack, and they may interact with some medications.
Lion’s Mane Allergies
Lion’s mane allergies are extremely rare. However, if you are allergic to other fungi, mold, or yeast, you should look out for mushroom allergy symptoms when taking Hericium erinaceus for the first time.
Symptoms of mushroom allergies include:
- skin rashes or hives
- runny nose and watery eyes
- swelling of the mouth, lips, or throat
- Nausea, vomiting, and persistent diarrhea
Lion’s Mane and Asthma
Though there’s no research on the effects of lion’s mane on asthma, there’s some concern among medical reviewers that this mushroom may aggravate symptoms of asthma. If you have asthma, pay attention to how you feel for a week or so after you start taking lion’s mane. If you notice your asthma symptoms worsening, stop taking Hericium erinaceus.
Lion’s Mane Interactions with Medication
As a medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus can lower blood sugar levels and slow blood clotting. Due to these effects, lion’s mane may interact with medication that has these effects as well.
According to a recent animal study on the effects of lion’s mane on experimental diabetic rats, the activity of aqueous extract of lion's mane seems to include antihyperglycemic potential. Although there are no studies on the effects of lion’s mane extracts on people with diabetes, people who are on antidiabetics should be cautious when taking the mushroom.
Research suggests that Hericium erinaceus mushroom extracts can also have an inhibitory effect on collagen-induced platelet aggregation. Since platelet aggregation is responsible for blood clotting, the extract of Hericium erinaceus could slow down the body’s ability to make blood clots and impact the wound healing processes in your body.
What Is the Ideal Lion’s Mane Dosage per Day?
For overall health maintenance, a daily dose of 250 mg to 750 mg of lion's mane extract per day should be enough, at least in the beginning. Extracts of Hericium erinaceus are typically more potent than powder supplements, so 250 mg of a lion’s mane extract equates to about 2000 mg of lion’s mane powder.
You can increase the dosage gradually if you feel like taking more lion’s mane would benefit you. However, for antioxidants and overall health maintenance, a lion’s mane dosage of up to 1000 mg per day should be plenty.
The Best Way to Take Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
If you don’t have any contraindications, you may be interested in taking lion’s mane mushrooms yourself. If so, why not do so with some delicious medicinal mushroom granola?
The hyperconcentrated extract we use contains 10-15 times the nutrients a regular lion’s mane mushroom powder does, without any of the mushroom flavor.
The granola is made with high-quality, vegan ingredients and contains a perfect daily dose of lion’s mane. What more could you want from a morning bowl of cereal?
FAQ on Lion’s Mane Contraindications
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 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.
Does lion’s mane have immediate effects?
It can take about a month or so for you to notice the long-term effects of lion’s mane. However, you may experience some effects of lion’s mane immediately. For example, you’ll likely feel the energizing and anxiolytic effects of Hericium erinaceus after just a couple of days.
Can lion’s mane increase anxiety?
No, lion’s mane mushrooms should not increase anxiety. Research shows that Hericium erinaceus extracts can relieve mild symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorders.
A recent double-blind, placebo-controlled trial examined the effects of Hericium erinaceus on sleep quality and general well-being of female students during a particularly stressful exam season.
The students reported feeling less anxious and their sleep schedules improved significantly after 4 weeks of using the lion's mane mushroom extract.
Does lion’s mane affect serotonin?
Lion’s mane appears to stabilize serotonin levels. A study on the effects of Hericium erinaceus mushroom extracts on dopamine and serotonin levels examined the production of these neurotransmitters in stressed-out mice. The study concludes that lion’s mane “could be an attractive agent for the treatment of depressive disorders” due to the stabilizing effects it has on serotonin and dopamine.
Does lion’s mane have any psychoactive effects?
No, lion’s mane can’t get you high and does not have any psychoactive effects. Mushrooms that can cause a high contain a compound called psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychedelic that can alter your state of mind. Lion’s mane does not contain psilocybin or other psychoactive compounds, so there is no risk of you getting high from consuming this fungus.
Can you overdose on lion’s mane?
No, you can’t overdose on lion’s mane mushrooms. Whether you’re eating lion’s mane, taking a supplement, or food fortified with this mushroom, there is no risk of overdosing, no matter how much you take.
Is lion’s mane anti-inflammatory?
Yes, lion’s mane does have anti-inflammatory properties. The results of a recent study on the anti-inflammatory effects of Hericium erinaceus (higher basidiomycetes) indicate that lion’s mane exhibited anti-inflammatory effects through the inhibition of TLR4-JNK signaling.
The TLR4-JNK pathway promotes inflammation. By inhibiting TLR4-JNK signaling, Hericium erinaceus seems to lessen inflammation levels in adipose tissue, which is associated with obesity and generally prone to chronic inflammation.
What are the lion’s mane neurogenesis benefits?
Research on the health benefits of lion's mane indicates that lion’s mane mushroom extracts have significant potential to promote neurogenesis, as well as prevent and repair nerve damage.
Lion’s mane mushrooms contain bioactive compounds (hericenones and erinacines) in their fruiting bodies. These bioactive compounds promote the growth of nerve growth factors, which are largely responsible for nerve regeneration.
What’s the ideal lion’s mane dosage for neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a highly painful and disruptive condition caused by nerve dysfunction and damage. Lion's mane appears to alleviate neuropathy by promoting nerve regeneration and neurogenesis.
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 dosage for you.
Can I take lion’s mane with reishi mushrooms?
Yes, you can take lion’s mane with any medicinal mushroom, including the reishi mushroom, as well as turkey tail, chaga, and shiitake mushrooms. 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. This website is not intended to inform about professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any kind. The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).